Commercial construction has started back up again. Projects across the country are resuming and the industry continues to add jobs, with one study indicating that 56 percent of industry losses since the beginning of the pandemic have been recovered. Yet, challenges still exist with owners and contractors facing new aspects of liability due to the Covid-19 environment. While many contracts account for the effects of force majeure events, the unique nature of this year’s disruptions and return-to-work adaptations may open the door to some equally unique claims or litigation. New, and frequently changing, parameters across the industry will require all parties, including developers and contractors, to adopt a targeted approach to their preparedness while maintaining flexibility to stay successful.
One of the riskier things a party to a construction project can do right now is view a return-to-work as a return-to-normal, whether disregarding safety and health protocols or failing to be on top of the primary issues impacting others across the industry. With so much uncertainty about longer-term impacts as a result of the situation we all find ourselves in, communication is essential through every level of the project to make sure all team members are meeting the changing parameters. Adapting operations and expectations is worth the time and consideration in order to help reduce a project’s risks.
While factors outside of personal control continue to influence all facets of the work, a large part of making sure that Covid-19 related liabilities don’t continue to limit real estate development is careful oversight of vendors and contractors. Though many of the risks facing each are specific to their own work, the nature of litigation means all parties involved in the building project are susceptible to being brought into a suit. Their lapses are not separate from the project itself, particularly if developers have also failed to set the tone through their own preparedness for the potential impacts on the project.
What does preparation to successfully navigate the effects of the pandemic look like under current, and potentially ongoing, circumstances for your team and project?
For ongoing projects, begin with a thorough documenting of the project’s progress as well as any disruptions and delays that were a result of the pandemic’s impact to establish a clear record.
Read on >>> Source: The Real Deal The new reality in commercial construction due to Covid-19