FMB reveals over half of builders experience tool theft

FMB reveals over half of builders experience tool theft

Tool theft is plaguing the construction industry with more than half of builders in the UK having had their tools stolen, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The key results into the FMB’s research into tool theft are as follows:

  • More than half (51%) of UK builders have had tools stolen;
  • Of those builders that have been victim to van tool theft:

– 46% had their side panel or door broken/pierced and prised open;

– 23% had their windows smashed and doors opened from dashboard;

– 22% had their locks picked.

  • The most common preventative measures builders take in order to limit tool theft include:

1) Bringing their tools inside at night (19%);

2) Installing extra locks in the van (19%);

3) Parking against a wall (18%);

4) Marking tools with an address, phone number or painting them a special colour (9%);

5) Parking in an area not visible from the road (9%);

6) Installing safes in their vans (7%);

7) Installing CCTV and advertise its use (7%);

8) Installing extra alarm systems in the van (7%);

9) Registering serial numbers of tools on an online database (7%).

Commenting on the research, Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “More than half of builders in the UK have fallen foul of tool theft with concerns growing over a crime wave wreaking havoc across the construction industry. Tools are being stolen from vans and direct from construction sites, with some builders even being assaulted by would-be thieves.

“The impact of this on the nation’s smaller building firms is particularly disruptive. Not only is there a high cost in terms of both time and money spent replacing these expensive tools, and to fix the damage caused, but without the right tools, firms are simply unable to work. This is leaving construction firms vulnerable at a time when other factors, such as skills shortages and material price rises, are already causing the sector a headache.”


This November, Heating Engineer Peter Booth is launching a campaign calling for tougher action on the perpetrators of van crime and he is asking the industry to get behind the campaign by signing a petition and using the hashtag #noVANber across social media.

Peter’s petition will call for mandatory sentences for those convicted of these types of crime, as well as compensation orders (meaning the criminals will be ordered to pay for what they have stolen and any damage caused).

Andrew Radford, Radford Construction, had thousands of pounds worth of tools, PPE and a wallet stolen when a company van was broken into. Discussing the theft, Andrew said: “Losing the tools was a huge blow because it delayed work on site while we replaced them. We also had to spend a lot of time contacting our insurance company, the police and cancelling the cards. Also, because our builders’ merchants details were in the van, we had to set up passwords to make sure it was only company colleagues who could obtain goods on our account.”

Merchants can use this as an opportunity to get behind the campaign, to not only drum up support and the spread the word, but also promote the various security products on offer, to prevent crimes like this from occurring.

The petition can be signed here and more information on the campaign can be found on our sister site,, via the following links:

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