The COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted almost every sector, including the construction industry. Contractors and project managers have to decide which services are essential and make assessments on a per-project basis. And despite the stringent efforts, many projects had to stop due to safety concerns. While some may be lucky enough to proceed, there are many adjustments and changes that impact operations every day as the government implements new guidelines. Indeed, if you want the construction to continue and salvage as much of the revenue as possible, the following checklist should help ensure safety and security during the pandemic.
Prepare for the possibility of an emergency shut-down
Government regulations may change at any time and require non-essential services to shut-down for the time being. It could also happen in case there’s an infection outbreak at the construction site. As such, it’s the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that there’s a shutdown protocol in place. Since construction projects may involve several contractors and stakeholders, keep everyone in the loop, especially if you have a contract with a plant hire company like www.ruttle.co.uk. Some essential inclusions of the plan are:
- A comprehensive list of materials and services that would need proper protection and security.
- Efficient access for emergency vehicles should the need arise.
- An effective exit strategy for emergency closure and evacuation.
- A plan to keep the site secure and materials protected from the elements in case of prolonged closure.
- A plan to isolate utilities such as gas, water, and electricity.
Even after closure, construction projects may require consistent monitoring and inspection. As such, there should be a well-defined protocol and guide in terms of personnel who will be authorised to conduct these inspections. Every visit should be well-documented and follow a checklist of tasks. Lastly, the plan should always follow the essential health and safety protocols such as the wearing of protective clothing, masks, and observing social distancing.
Considerations involving contracts, insurance, and other legal matters
Because of the looming uncertainly brought about by the pandemic, unexpected shutdowns and delays in construction projects impact contracts, which could have some legal implications. However, since the event is beyond anyone’s control, there may be options available as far as reducing or eliminating legal accountability. Before seeking legal advice, you can always negotiate with stakeholders and other project contractors. Once you’ve come up with a new agreement, there’s no need to have lawyers involved. But, it’s always good practice to ask for advice as far as legal options are concerned.
Another essential consideration during these times is to review insurance coverage. You’ll need to determine the extent of coverage available in relation to the pandemic. You may also need to brief your employees regarding their benefits, especially regarding health and compensation.
It’s also possible that the government may implement new policies that could impact the construction industry. It’s your responsibility to remain updated regarding changes, especially when it comes to potentially receiving financial aid from the government or any form of relief for losses sustained due to emergency closure and work delay.
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