Updated: Dec 15, 2020
If you work in the construction industry in Queensland, there are a number of things you need to consider in the lead up to the Christmas and New Year period (aka Christmas Shutdown). We have put together a quick list to help you get prepared.
Check your contracts
Make sure the Christmas Shutdown doesn’t pose any potential issues with your current contracts. Pay special attention to any specified timeframes and the definition outlined for the terms ‘working days’, ‘business days’ and ‘days’.
If you are experiencing or expecting delays, or require an extension of time, make sure you provide notifications in accordance with contractual timeframes. Typically, the Christmas Shutdown period can only be claimed as a delay if ongoing works during this period were not reasonably foreseen at the time of signing.
Make sure you are on the front foot with any potential contract issues and chat with a lawyer if you need clarification.
Know your payment obligations
Do you know how the Christmas Shutdown period will affect your obligations under the Building Industry Fairness (Security of Payment) Act 2017 (BIF Act)?
Here is what you need to know:
Under Schedule 2 of the BIF Act, business days are defined as NOT including the following:
a Saturday or Sunday; or
a public holiday, special holiday or bank holiday in the place in which any relevant act is to be or may be done; or
any day occurring within any of the following periods: 22 to 24 December, 27 to 31 December and 2 to 10 January.
So, what does this mean for the upcoming holidays? For the purpose of the BIF Act, from 22 December 2020 through until 10 January 2021, is not considered to be business days. They are not included in calculating due dates.
Implement an administrative process
During your business closure, make sure you implement a simple administrative process to monitor any incoming correspondence and to help manage customer and supplier expectations.
In the lead up to your closure, consider:
putting up notices on your website, social channels and a note in your email footer advising your upcoming closure dates.
telling specific customers or suppliers who may need to know that your office will be closed.
During your closure, consider:
putting an out-of-office reply on your email/s and phone messages. You may opt to include details on who to call if the matter is urgent.
organising for someone to monitor emails, mail and messages while the office is closed. For example, while you are closed payment claims and schedules may be issued to you or you may receive other important notices.
Keep your staff in the loop
In the lead up to your office closure, it pays to make sure everyone is on the same page. Make sure team members know when your business is closed and direct any concerns or queries to the right person. Having a seamless and robust communication process in place in the lead up to your Christmas Shutdown, can help reduce potential issues and confusion when you are closed.
Do you need some legal help in the lead up to your Christmas Shutdown? Contact our team for a no-obligation chat.