Construction Industry: Back to Work on May 7, 2020

Construction Industry: Back to Work on May 7, 2020

With the advent of the re-opening of the construction industry in Michigan on Thursday, May 7, 2020, schedule pressures, labor shortages and material supply chain disruptions are likely to be wide-spread lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As many in the industry will be re-mobilizing to job sites simultaneously, this will place significant strain on the supply chain (which will also be remobilizing), and you should plan accordingly. This will undoubtedly result in a slower pace of work, which will be exacerbated by new health and safety requirements. Therefore it is essential you provide all interested parties with appropriate notice and ensure you have suitable equipment to meet new job site safety requirements.

Key to an effective plan is making all subcontractors, suppliers, and stakeholders aware of your intention to return to work on May 7, 2020, and your expectation that they meet their contract obligations and support you as required as projects placed on hold through the lock-down period resume.

As you return to work, it is important to remember despite the fact that the cause of the challenges ahead is completely unprecedented, the best tools to protect you and your business are the same every day best practices in use before the arrival of the novel corona virus.

The most important of these best practices include:

1. Follow the contract. Contract terms still apply and govern your relationships with your clients and customers; therefore, make sure you are meeting all of your obligations under the terms of controlling contracts going forward.

2. Give contractually appropriate notices. If certain contract conditions cannot be met by you, or have not been met by others, give proper notice to the appropriate parties according to the terms of the contract.

3. Communicate with all parties. Maintaining open communication is the best way to identify and assess potential issues before they become bigger (and more expensive) problems.

4. Sound project management techniques remain essential.

5. Document everything. The best way to protect your business and to prove you are meeting your obligations under applicable contract documents is to maintain good project notes and make important communication with relevant parties in writing.

While facts and circumstances are unique to each project, by adhering to the best practices outlined above, you will make your business better able to navigate and protect itself from potential challenges you will face ahead.

As always, should you have specific questions, or issues you need assistance in addressing, the construction team at Kotz Sangster is always available to help.