Leading practices to help manage COVID-19 related work shutdowns

20th May 2020


With COVID-19 disrupting countless construction projects across the U.S., contractors are seeking ways to mitigate impacts to their projects and their bottom lines.

In many states, construction projects have been halted and, in others, construction is proceeding—at least for now—as state and local governments try to balance the benefits of maintaining jobs while safeguarding public health. Following is a collection of leading practices that contractors experiencing full or partial construction shutdowns can employ to mitigate their risk:

During Full Project Shutdown

  • Discuss shutdown-related issues, impacts and costs with the owner.
  • Track costs incurred during shutdown, and continue to submit payment applications.
  • Document the status of the site on a regular basis to the extent possible.
  • Compile and maintain communication with all parties related to the shutdown, including the owner, subcontractors, insurers, etc.
  • Determine the status of procurement and delivery of materials. If material delivery cannot be stopped or postponed, discuss with the owner how materials will be stored.

During Partial Shutdown or Enhanced Worker Protections 

In addition to the leading practices listed above, contractors facing partial shutdown or enhanced worker protections should consider the following: 

  • Remember that impacts still could happen.
  • Ensure that contractual obligations are well understood, and that proper procedures are followed to prevent disqualification of future delay and cost impact claims.
  • Track productivity issues related to providing a safe work environment, such as social distancing and/or daily “health-check” interviews with each worker.
  • Document and track daily installation quantities, labor hours, and equipment hours during the shutdown, which will provide a good data set for later analysis against unimpacted periods either before or after the shutdown.
  • Document the status of the project and any measures taken to mitigate impacts.
  • Document progress and productivity before and during the partial shutdown, as well as after any additional measures are concluded.
  • Update the project schedule to reflect impacted progress.
  • Communicate projected impacts and slowdowns to the project team in writing.
  • Separately track costs related to additional measures taken.
  • Review all time cards and labor tickets to ensure that work is being properly tracked and allocated.
  • Obtain letters from subcontractors that detail their staffing and productivity impacts.

After Shutdown or Cessation of Enhanced Protections

  • Document the status of project upon return to normal conditions.
  • Update the project schedule to the first date following work re-start.
  • Take photos of the project site and any concerning conditions.
  • Track remobilization costs separately.
  • Document work force levels, by trade and subcontract, after remobilization.
  • Track performance in the first 30 days following remobilization, or until performance reaches pre-impact levels.
  • Track scopes of work that had experienced productivity challenges.
  • Establish a baseline for unimpacted work scopes, for comparison to scopes of work impacted by a shutdown or enhanced worker protections.
  • Track daily installation quantities, labor hours and equipment hours.

How HKA Can Help

HKA can provide assistance throughout all stages of a construction shutdown:

  • We develop protocols and guidance for project managers to follow in response to COVID-19 suspensions, delays and productivity issues. Our protocols help project managers mitigate possible losses, provide notice, document conditions, and compile data for potential use later in delay or damages claims.
  • HKA provides comprehensive claims support and oversight. We review client agreements and summarize relevant contractual obligations and protections related to COVID-19, and highlight and advise on any exceptional measures required. 
  • HKA’s consultants with expertise in project management, delay, quantum and contractual claims can be mobilized to support, or be embedded in, contractors’ COVID-19 taskforces.
  • We provide objective reviews of contracts, and can help validate contractual strategies developed.
  • HKA reviews and drafts correspondence, and helps to collect, organize and validate related data. We set up tracking systems and ensure schedule updates, monitor project status, and prepare detailed reports and communications. We also oversee setup of a data collection systems, and review data for quality and suitability for potential claims.
  • Should claims be unavoidable, HKA assesses delay and damages, and prepares damages claims, time impact analyses and productivity impact analyses.

Caryn W. Fuller has over twenty years of professional experience in engineering, construction, project management, project controls management and construction claims analysis. Caryn is a project/program leader with a proven track record in leading high-profile large-scale global construction initiatives with a focus on cost control, scheduling and reporting. She consistently ensures project completion on time and budget, while maintaining optimal customer service. Strong financial and business acumen. Scope has included Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC).

This publication presents the views, thoughts or opinions of the author and not necessarily those of HKA. Whilst we take every care to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of publication, the content is not intended to deal with all aspects of the subject referred to, should not be relied upon and does not constitute advice of any kind. This publication is protected by copyright © 2020 HKA Global Ltd.

HKA provides comprehensive claims support and oversight. We review client agreements and summarize relevant contractual obligations and protections related to COVID-19, and highlight and advise on any exceptional measures required. ”
Caryn W. Fuller, Director HKA

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