Virus Rules Create Uncertainty in Construction Field

March 31st, 2020

Although Governor Northam’s recent Executive Orders do not explicitly address construction activity, reports indicate that many job sites are limiting access to 10 or fewer workers at a time.  Both general contractors and subcontractors could be prevented from manning their jobs the way they had planned, with the result that delay in completion will become an increasing threat.

Most construction contracts contain detailed and even onerous notice requirements when a party encounters obstacles that delay performance.  In fact, it’s quite common for these provisions to go so far as to hold claims for additional time or payment waived if the procedures are not followed to the letter.  Under the immediate strain, it is easy to forget about these contract clauses, but any general or subcontractor can ill afford such neglect.

No contractor wants to get to the end of a job, only to find the owner seeking to invoke a liquidated damages clause or to claim for damages resulting from delayed completion.  But that’s exactly what can happen if contractors fail to recognize that today’s unexpected environment may be activating this time bomb across every one of their jobs.

Moreover, general and subcontractors can often mount claims of their own for delays imposed upon them against their wishes or beyond their control.  But again, most construction contracts include sections governing “claims,” and anyone expecting compensation at the end of the job would be well advised to pull out each contract document, read it carefully, and follow it to the letter.

At Marrs & Henry, we are here to assist you in understanding your contracts and to help your business properly tender claims and change orders. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

Marrs & Henry remains fully open and available to you during our current, difficult time.