Opinion: Get Covid-19 site restart contract terms sorted now

Aaron Morby 3 years ago
Share

This week the bulk of contractors still on site shutdown will begin the return to work across England and Wales.

The industry is in uncharted territory complying with new safe working restrictions and the added transport and accommodation challenges.

Social distancing is not yet written into any contracts but it is something that will clearly generate extra costs and hit production.

Industry leaders fearing the worst have called for clients, main contractors and the rest of the supply chain to support each other and adopt conflict avoidance approaches.

But for subcontractors who have already been on the receiving end of 7-day notices and the threat of LADS, good practice guides are just window dressing.

There are good ways and bad ways to get through the challenges ahead.

The question of who pays for the added costs and programme slippage should not be left for courts to decide on in the future.

At this extraordinary moment in time, the industry is looking to unite in a common cause – trying to get back to work safely.

This moment must not be thrown away.  But the biggest mistake is to focus on the aspiration, blind of the likely problems.

Projects should have agreements in place that are legally solid to avoid a tsunami of litigation later down the line.

Restart terms and conditions need to be set in stone now or it will become a future contract-row bonanza for lawyers and a blight on construction.

A recognised Covid-19 claim provision that takes account of slower working conditions would also be a good idea.

Sites must be monitored to ensure safe practice is genuinely being followed.

The Health and Safety Executive with its resource shortcomings cannot be relied upon to police this across the country.

The industry must put in place its own strict plans for how it will deal with failures to observe good practice.

It also needs to find pragmatic ways to measure the relative safety in relation to viral transmission of different ways of working.

Contractors or subcontractors should not be bullied into working if they have genuine safety concerns for their employees, nor should they be allowed to hold clients to ransom.

But they must get as watertight an agreement as possible before work commences or problems will fester.

At its core, construction is a very flexible industry used to absorbing shocks, so it has the capacity to change.

Now is the time to start. 

 

Latest news

Materials giant CRH looks to sell contractor Farrans

More than 550 staff set to get new owner
1 day ago

West Yorkshire transport projects delayed to save £270m

Over 30 transport schemes to be placed on hold due to cost inflation budget pressure
12 hours ago

Decision on A1 Costain dualling job delayed for third time

Development consent decision for £260m Northumberland scheme put back a further 9 months
13 hours ago

Colas wins £140m Cheshire highways upkeep deal

Incumbent contractor Ringway will handover to Colas in April
13 hours ago

Skanska to lend staff cash

Contractor links-up with finance firm to offer affordable loans to employees
13 hours ago

Ilke Homes pulls off £100m record-breaking fund raise

Largest-ever capital raise by a UK modular house builder to fund expansion
1 day ago

Construction buyers fear for year ahead

"Construction companies now have a tightrope to walk in terms of being ready for recovery and cautious around investment"
1 day ago

Gove calls for competition probe into house building

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill 'strengthened' with new measures
1 day ago

Schools get £500m for energy upgrades this winter

Extra cash found for better heating controls, insulation and energy efficient lighting
1 day ago

1,000-home North London scheme approved

Developer Hill will start work in the Spring on South Tottenham site
1 day ago

Bid race for £500m Suffolk construction framework

Construction and building services firms called up for East of England four year deal
1 day ago

Mace employs robot dog to avoid slip and trips in tunnel

Robot working in dark and hazardous conditions under Heathrow Airport
1 day ago

Administrator details confirmed at Southampton M&E firm

Begbies Traynor now in charge at Working Environments as suppliers face large losses
2 days ago

Former Galliard chief takes helm at Inland Homes

New CEO Don O'Sullivan sets out to return south east house builder to profitability
1 day ago

Applicant numbers nosedive for construction vacancies

Recruitment market gets even more competitive - how the Enquirer can help
2 days ago

Industry veteran to head Henry Bros northern arm

Peter Commins, former Kier and Balfour Beatty northern chief, to spearhead growth drive
1 day ago

Housing association shuts in-house modular factories

Swan closes loss-making steel frame and cross-laminate timber factories
2 days ago

350-homes approved around iconic London Tube station

Housing blocks to be built around Grade II-listed Hounslow West Tube station
2 days ago

Domis set for £195m Boddingtons Brewery scheme

Developer Salboy buys Manchester site to kickstart long-awaited 556 homes project
2 days ago

John Lewis £500m funding deal to build 1,000 rental homes

Deal to advance BTR flats at store sites in Bromley, West Ealing and Reading
3 days ago

Esh launches new housing retrofit division

Esh Retrofit Solutions will target market to improve the energy performance of social rented homes
2 days ago

Eric Wright wins tricky £52m Liverpool transformation

Contractor working with engineers at Ridge and Partners on "challenging" Stanley Lock Flight site
5 days ago

Investment giant buys Bristol M&E contractor

RDCP Infrastructure acquires Avon Combined Electrical Services
5 days ago

Demolition start for £50m Farnworth town centre rebuild

Caddick Construction is tipped for main works due to start in the spring
5 days ago

L&G Modular strikes deal to build 1,000 affordable homes

Modular homes business teams up with Hampshire's Vivid housing association
5 days ago

Former Erith operations director joins John F Hunt

Scott Exell named new operations director at demolition specialist John F Hunt
6 days ago

Green light for £135m Leeds twin tower resi scheme

Construction to start in New Year on 500 build-to-rent apartments
6 days ago

Mace hits 1m tonnes carbon saving target for clients

Present work pipeline betters 2026 carbon emission saving target
6 days ago

Plans in for £40m surf park at former Kent colliery

Seahive surf lagoon and health resort will be built near Deal
6 days ago

Crushed demolition worker vows to return to industry

Shannon Brasier hoping to return to construction following horror accident
6 days ago

Contractor services