Extending or renovating your home and worried about how Covid-19 will affect your building works?
As the Covid-19 situation develops and social distancing measures continue, unfortunately some building sites may be forced to close temporarily. If this happens to your building project it’s very important to ensure that this site closure is approached in accordance with the terms of the building contract.
In this Covid-19 Temporary Building Site Closure Procedure blog we have therefore outlined the steps that we believe need to be taken to ensure this is all carried out correctly.
The Project Manager
The good news is that if you have appointed a CLPM building project manager to act as your Contract Administrator then you do not need to worry. Your designated Project Manager and our Quantity Surveying Team will work together on your behalf – liaising with your build team and organising all of this for you.
If you are not so fortunate, and do not have an independent project manager for your building project, then we hope this outline of what we will be doing here at CLPM will still be of some help.
STEP 1 – SITE SUSPENSION NOTIFICATION
If your contractor advises us that the site is to be closed, then your Project Manager will request formal notification that works are being suspended. Naturally we will keep you fully updated, and copy you in to the communications throughout the process.
STEP 2 – SHUT DOWN PROCEDURE
Your Project Manager will then issue the CLPM site shutdown procedure as a Contract Administrator’s Instruction, to ensure the site is left safe and costs are mitigated where possible.
STEP 3 – VALUATION & PROGRESS TO DATE SUSPENSION
The next thing your Project Manager and Quantity Surveying team will then do is to carry out a valuation survey of the works progress, on the date of the suspension. This will be prepared as a draft valuation of progress to date of suspension – in readiness for the next valuation date (in line with the usual valuation timetable).
STEP 4 – SUSPENSION COST MITIGATION MEASURES
Our team will then talk with your Contractor to request the anticipated weekly running costs for site while in suspension. We will highlight their obligation to keep these costs to a minimum. This will be the challenging bit, as the Contractor may not be able to be entirely sure, as there will be the minimum need to carry on insuring the site and we would expect a weekly inspection of the site for security and basic integrity of the building. We will request that as much as possible is “off-hired” as part of shut down procedure, but there maybe ongoing costs eg.scaffold hire and some staff costs.
We will then help you keep a track of these costs by issuing valuations on an ongoing basis for the “monthly suspension running costs” in accordance with the contract. This is an action the Contract Administrator is obliged to do under the terms of the building contract.
STEP 5 – SITE CLOSURE & MONITORING
Your Project Manager will work through their close down “To Do” lists with your contractor. Here are just some of the actions he or she will take on your behalf :-
a) Making the Building Ready for Closure
We’ll establish if there any works that ideally should finish before the site is closed. This might be for stability, safety or for wind and weather-tightness. We will determine who will be doing them and if overtime is required, in order to achieve a better close-down. Your Project Manager will also sort out how that will be agreed and how it will be costed.
b) Health & Safety Considerations
We will help ensure that the site is safe against casual entry and that the building is structurally safe. This might include instructing the contractor to fill in any major open excavations and removing ladders etc.
c) Site Protection
Likewise we will instruct the contractor to ensure that all materials are safe and protected from the elements.
d) Cost Mitigation
Cost mitigation will involve checking that all plant is documented and off-hired where practical. This may include Herras fencing hire as well as skip, cabin and toilet hire. Scaffolding will need to be discussed on a case by case basis. In addition we will establish if there are any materials on order that will now need to be cancelled.
All the project team will need to be briefed on the close-down date. We will check if there are any licences in place that will need extending and speak to you to check if there are any insurance implications.
f) Contingency Planning
An important action is to ensure that all of the project team have each others’ contact details and to agree what the chain of communication is should there be an emergency.
Note: We appreciate you may also want us to visit your site from time to time, so we can carry out any further inspections as agreed with you and your contractor until work re-commences.
STEP 6 – RECOMMENCEMENT OF BUILDING WORKS
Once your Contractor is ready to resume construction works, he will notify your Project Manager of the date of re-commencement. Your Contractor will carry out a safety condition survey on re-start and will report any issues to your Project Manager.
It is CLPM’s opinion that this delay will mean the Contractor is entitled to an Extension of Time, so basically moving the completion date for the project without incurring any potential Liquidated Damages (if noted in the Contract). It is CLPM’s present view that the Contractor will also be able to claim reasonable costs during this period (though this is generating quite a lot of discussion within the industry at the moment). It will be CLPM’s role to ensure these are kept to a minimum and that the Contractor is trying to mitigate these costs where possible.
To date the Contractors we have dealt with are taking a pragmatic approach and are keeping these costs low (one has said zero costs), but there is still very likely to be an additional cost to the Employer.
Our recommendation is that these discussions are initiated at the earliest opportunity with your Contractor.
GET IN TOUCH
We do hope you have found our Temporary Building Site Closure Procedure guide useful.
As you can see, it certainly highlights the benefits of having a building contract in place and then appointing an experienced independent building project manager to oversee your project and act as your Contract Administrator!
If you are organising a building project and would like to understand more about the role of Contract Administration and importance of building contracts – and how we can help you, then do get in touch.
Call 01923 896550, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a contact form.