COVID-19 and my construction contract – what do I do now?
The impacts of Covid-19 are likely to be far reaching in the construction industry, as they will be throughout the world. You might be facing any of the following issues:
- Sick or quarantined employees (or otherwise unavailable workforce);
- Work-site closures;
- Limited access to the site, or anticipated materials or equipment;
- Disruptions to your supply chain, or a change in price of materials;
- Site maintenance obligations during any shut-down or postponement of work (including preservation of materials and upkeep of equipment);
- Communication challenges in your own company, between different parties to a contract, or with third party contractors on the site;
- Travel impacts;
- Inefficiencies due to critical social distancing measures (among other things); or
- Delayed inspections or approvals.
There are many other imaginable costly impacts.
As you anticipate addressing the challenges that Covid-19 will bring, there are a few useful steps that you can take NOW, that will help you down the road:
1) Practice good record keeping!
Carefully identify and record the impacts of Covid-19 to your business. Keep track of increased costs, material price changes, unavailability of workers due to illness or quarantine, interrupted access to the site, etc. Do this now, in real time. Open a new spreadsheet or folder, record impacts in site reports or meeting minutes. Take the initiative- there are few things about this situation you can control, but for your own records.
2) Be mindful of your contract provisions and take action where necessary.
There may be notice periods for delays that have been triggered, change orders to be requested, safety accommodations, etc. Don’t just assume the contract will administer itself (it won’t)!
We are here to help, and are ready to speak with you about your Covid-19 questions (initial 30 min. consultation fees will be waived). Please reach out to Stephanie Streat, [email protected], 604-917-0045 to discuss your legal questions. We will get through this.