Possible purpose of monitoring

Video surveillance of construction sites can have different reasons:
Sometimes the owner wants to show on the Internet how well things are going on the construction site. This may attract solvent buyers or tenants. Most of the time, however, it is a matter of preventing theft. There is a lot of valuable material on building sites. That lures sometimes completely wrong prospective customers. Relatively often, protection against vandalism also plays a role. Far too often, dubious „artists“ are realized on just finished facades.

Different types of photographs

These keywords describe the purpose of video surveillance. It determines what kind of recordings are required:
To proudly show the progress on the construction site on the Internet, panoramic shots of the entire construction site are sufficient. Individual persons need not be visible on them. They are not of interest. The situation is different when it comes to protection against theft or vandalism. In such cases, the video recording should serve as evidence in an emergency. It then goes to the police to find the perpetrators.

Connection between the purpose of surveillance and the type of recording

The purpose of video surveillance thus determines what type of recording is allowed. But the interests of the construction workers also come into play. In order to do their job, they must be present on the construction site during their entire working hours and move around there.

Personal rights of the construction workers

As for all other workers, the following applies to them: permanent video surveillance is not normally permitted. Of course, it could also happen that a construction worker commits a theft during his work. But this is the exception.

Therefore, the basic rule remains, which also applies in other areas of working life: in order to solve thefts by employees, video surveillance is only permitted after all other means have been exhausted. Purely preventive video surveillance to prevent theft by employees would not be permissible.

Typical rules of thumb

Considering these backgrounds, some simple rules of thumb for video surveillance of construction sites emerge. They are:

  • As a rule, video surveillance is not permitted during the times when work is being carried out on the construction site.
  • If only a part of the construction site is being worked on, the other parts of the construction site can be monitored.
  • Video surveillance may only cover the construction site itself. Neighbouring properties and public roads in front of the construction site are taboo. If thieves could enter the construction site via a neighboring property, a proper fence is the right remedy, but not the video surveillance of the neighboring property.

Duty to inform

Naturally, the same information obligations apply to data processing on construction sites as elsewhere. Clear and unambiguous information signs are therefore necessary. They must contain the usual information. In particular, they must provide information about who is responsible for video surveillance.

Clarification of responsibility

This question is not always easy to answer. There is often a general contractor who coordinates and supervises all processes on the construction site. Then he will normally be the person in charge. However, it is also conceivable that different companies are responsible for different areas of the construction site. Then there will be different people responsible for different sections of the construction site.

Deterrence? Sure!

Some people think that such signs are a deterrent to thieves and other unwelcome visitors. This is a welcome side effect, but it has nothing to do with data protection.

Deletion of the video recordings

After which time the video recordings have to be deleted cannot be answered in general. Usually it should be possible to evaluate recordings within two weeks. Camera systems that do not allow longer recordings are practical. After two weeks at the latest, the old recordings are overwritten by new recordings.

Of course, this only applies if nothing has happened. If, on the other hand, a theft has occurred, the person responsible will secure the recordings and hand them over to the police.