Coping With Covid In The Construction Industry
The construction industry is (understandably!) full to the brim with unanswered questions concerning all manner of things such as contracts, programme implications, extensions of time and much more.
Over the coming weeks, I'm going to record a series of videos which I hope will help answer the most common questions. Have you got any questions you would like us to answer? Please get in touch and I will do my best to answer them.
Who Should You Notify?
There are various different stakeholders that must be kept notified of site and project issues including Insurers, Building Control, Warranty Providers, Funders/Banks.
Our MD Parm Bhangal explains some of the keys things that need to be communicated to each of these people in this video.
'When asked about what to do during this lockdown period, I will always revert to three things, communication, communication and COMMUNICATION! In the construction industry (and in all businesses!) it is imperative you stay in regular contact with all the key people involved in your projects.'
If you need any further information or advice, or if there is something you would like us to cover please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Communications and Record Keeping
The next video in the 'Coping With Covid In The Construction Industry' series by Parm Bhangal deals with subjects we have alluded to in the past, communication, record-keeping and site protection.
What is good record keeping? examples could include
Meetings (via Zoom)
Emails and letters.
Please watch our video for more details.
Issuing Payment Notices
Video 4 in our 'Coping With Covid In The Construction Industry' series deals with Issuing payment notices.
Regardless of the situation, you still need to issue payment notices or pay-less notices.
Please watch our video for more details on why this is so important and the possible consequences for not issuing the notices.
As always, get in touch if you have any questions you' like Parm to answer.
Extension of Time Claim
How do we put in an extension of time claim? am I permitted to do this and under what clause?
Do we need to accept requests for a time extension?
As you would expect, this is another question we are regularly asked - and the answer varies depending on the type of contract that bounds the project.
In most main forms of JCT contracts, there is a list of relevant events where you can put in an extension of time - unfortunately, Covid-19 isn't one of these!
However, there are two relevant events that a person could call upon - as long as they have not been struck out of the contract!
Minor works contracts are slightly different, NEC contracts are different again and of course, your own personal contracts could again be different.
Parm's video covers all the relevant details you need to know and gives some information about how you should write an extension of time letter.
Every contract is different. If you want further advice or assistance putting together an extension of time claim or reviewing a claim submitted then please do not hesitate to contact us.
Loss and Expense
In a previous video, we discussed an extension of time.
In normal circumstances, an extension of time would come with loss and expense claims.
These are not normal circumstances!
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic if you request an extension of time under force majeure or a change in legislation there is no entitlement for loss and expense or LAD due to it being a neutral event.
If you have had to re-mobilise, de-mobilise, or have cabins and plant on site and you have to leave the site you may be asking who is going to pay for them?
Every contract is different but if you want further advice or assistance then please do not hesitate to contact me.
Will My Construction Costs Go Down?
As Quantity Surveyors, Project Managers and Estimators we're often asked about construction costs and with the currently Covid pandemic, people want to know if their construction costs are going to be affected.
We look at this as an issue of economics - supply and demand.
To give an example, currently, there is a shortage of plaster products, and products of this type that would normally sell for £5 are being sold for up to 7 times as much!
This is simply down to insufficient supply.
If products are selling for an inflated price it is to be expected that the cost of your build is going to increase.
What else could happen?
As we come out of isolation, construction projects that would normally have one bricklayer, roofer, electrician, may now hire 4 or 5 in order to get the project back on track, larger companies could take lots of resources, therefore, affecting supply and of course increasing costs.
On the flip side, if large housing companies cannot sell the number of houses that they need to sell, they may pull some of the trades which could then decrease the need for a trade and this may decrease the costs.
Will furloughed staff going back to work after Covid affect the housing market? Will people want to buy houses or improve their current homes?
There are many uncertainties to consider when answering this question. Here are some of our thoughts and ideas.
Social Distancing On-Site
Here's an Interesting question - how exactly do you keep to government social distancing guidelines whilst you are on a construction site?
Many trades work together or in close proximity to one another, so it does present us with (yet another!) challenge.
As an example, heavy lifting rules - we need to abide by HSE guidelines but how do two people lift something heavy if they need to be closer together than 2m?
We'd really like to hear your thoughts on how you are safely overcoming this particular issue and what strategies you have in place on your sites.