COVID-19 and the Construction Industry

Here's How You Can Protect Your Business

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Preparation for the Job Site Mandated Shutdowns due to COVID-19

On Tuesday, Boston became the first major city to shut down all construction activities altogether, and the San Francisco Bay Area also declared a shelter in place order, which has effects on construction as well, though not to the extent of the Boston directive.

Many more shelter in place orders and complete construction shutdowns are happening daily and expected since we are just in the beginning stages of the consequences from the outbreak.

So what can you do to protect your company and prepare for job site shutdowns? Below is a list of proactive items you should be doing now to be ready:

Develop or Review your Emergency Preparedness Plan

Unlike other emergency plans for storm events, you must keep in mind that once your project is shut down, it may last multiple weeks or months. So before the actual shutdown notice, make sure you have a plan in place. Review this plan with your team and the project site owner or contractor. This document should outline the exact steps that you will take to secure your project to protect the building, stored materials, and equipment left on-site in the event of a shutdown. This process is especially important when working on existing building renovations or projects that connect new construction to existing facilities.

Prepare a Job Site Risk Analysis

With the threat growing every day for shutdowns, you need to assess, document, and photograph all potential risks and impacts on your job site, keeping in mind that storms and possible severe weather will not take a time out during the work stoppage.

Increase awareness and protect your interests by sharing your report with the owner, contractor, and other stakeholders. Your analysis report should include cost impacts if stored materials are compromised due to storm damage or any other unforeseen cause. Having everything well documented before the shutdown will give you the supporting documentation to prepare for added project costs, schedule impacts incurred, or an insurance claim, if needed.

Take Inventory of Materials On-site and Document all Work in Progress

Documenting all work currently in place, and taking an inventory of materials and on-site will help when assessing the job site for damage after job resumes. This documentation should be saved and submitted to the entire project team.

When Work Resumes

Safety is your priority when you and your team can return to the job site. You will not if any hidden dangers now exist from a storm or other causes of damage. Once you can safely access the site, you need to inspect your project, take inventory, and can compare it to your prior documentation.

By taking these planning and preparations steps, you will be well-positioned to continue your operations profitably, efficiently once this outbreak passes, and we can back to normal.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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