Construction Projects and Coronavirus

March 23, 2020

Like many businesses across the country, construction projects are being hit by uncertainty, and for many clients, the prospect of their sites being at a standstill for months is a cause of real concern.

Whether it be staff shortages due to self-isolation, or a government-ordered lockdown there is no doubt that this will have ramifications for both employers and contractors, but there are steps you can take now which can minimise your exposure.

At Ashtons Legal we have a specialist construction team who can assist you deal with these difficulties in a commercial and pragmatic way. Sarah Duncan, who has over 19 years experience in the sector has the following comments:

1. Don’t panic but do prepare! Ask your legal advisor or contract administrator to check the position in the contract, if an issue arises regarding staff shortages this is likely to be a grey area, in the event of a government-ordered “lockdown” this is likely to be a force majeure event which would entitle the contractor to additional time and money if they operate the contract procedures correctly.

2. Consider ways to minimise your exposure to additional preliminary costs, could you take partial possession of part of the site?

3. Speak to your contractor and contract administrator and agree on a way forward, the contractor has a duty to try to mitigate costs and delay as much as possible, and taking a conciliatory approach will reduce costs in the long run.

4. Consider drawing up the agreed terms in a formal agreement, including any options regarding payment terms and drawdown so that both parties have cost certainty.

We are here to support your business through this difficult time, to give you the best opportunity of minimising costs taking early and specialist advice is crucial. If you have any queries, please contact Sarah Duncan directly on 07484 047524.

This information is correct at 1.00pm on 20 March 2020.