Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Like most industries, building and construction is feeling the impacts from the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. From material delays to workplace risk management issues, the scope of disruption continues to grow in scale. So, given the unique and unprecedented situation, what should you be considering from a contract perspective?
Review your contracts
While it is unlikely that your contracts will include a clause specific to a pandemic, there may be other inclusions that provide grounds for an extension of time. Common clauses may include the following:
Unavailability of labour necessary to carry out the work.
Unavailability of materials necessary to carry out the work.
Reasons beyond the reasonable control of the contractor and not reasonably foreseeable at the time the contract was signed.
Force majeure, a clause that details a list of events beyond the reasonable control of each party and the rights and obligations in the event they occur.
Pay close attention to contract details regarding making a claim for an extension, including the manner in which it should be made, stipulated timeframes and record keeping requirements.
Make a claim for an extension
If you have grounds to claim for an extension of time and the need arises, consider the following:
Provide notice as soon as the delay is apparent.
Act in accordance with the contract provisions for the service of notices.
State the reasonable estimate for the period of delay.
Follow the required approval and record keeping requirements.
Seek legal advice
Unlike common issues that cause contract delays, the scope of impact from Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still unknown and when considering possible, long-term contract delays, this can become complex.
If your contract/s do not provide clear scope for a pandemic situation, talking with a lawyer can help provide clarity for your specific situation. In addition to valuable insight into your rights and available remedies, a legal expert can also provide advice on how to effectively communicate contract delays during this difficult time.
Do you need some [legal] help? Get in touch with our team for a confidential discussion about your specific situation.