Study claims UK builders lose £10,000 to tool theft over 40 year career

MORE than three quarters of the UK builders surveyed have had their tools stolen, according to new research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Of the 83% who have been the victim of theft, 38% of the tools were stolen from vans, 34% from sites, 7% from sheds or garages and 3% from their own home.

Of the builders who had tools stolen in the past ten years, 78% said that the value of the loss was £2,500. One in ten builders said that they had at least £10,000 worth of equipment stolen, while 2% said they had at least £20,000 worth of tools stolen.

The research concluded that, over a 40-year working life, a UK builder will typically lose £10,000 worth of tools and a subsequent six days of work due to the loss.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said, “Decisive action is needed to tackle tool theft. Eight in ten builders report that they have had tools stolen before. This is causing mental health issues amongst builders with reports of depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, stress and even suicidal thoughts. The Government needs to look into tool theft and consider the need for the introduction of tighter regulations around selling second-hand tools, and greater minimum fines for those convicted of tool theft.”

“Builders need to take extra steps to reduce the risk of theft by bringing tools inside at night, installing extra locks in the van, marking tools with an address or phone number, and painting them a special colour. Builders should also check their insurance policies to see what they have covered. Websites are available where tool serial numbers can be registered for extra piece of mind when it comes to making a claim on insurance. Tool theft is not a victimless crime and stronger government action is needed to help tackle this growing problem.”