If you are involved in construction, NOW is the time to consider the potential force majeure impacts associated with the pandemic Coronavirus. Things are beginning to drastically change on a minute-by-minute basis. From travel restrictions, to the suspension or cancellation of events on an international level, to company-wide policies and restrictions, the global uncertainty has led to the possibility that a force majeure delay will occur. Thinking otherwise is not being proactive. The Coronavirus, and the impacts / delays associated therewith, is beyond anyone’s control. Due to the uncertainty, it is hard to fathom at this time a reasonable challenge to someone’s reaction to this concern or their companywide response to the concern.
- If you are a contractor, subcontractor, or even a supplier, my suggestions would be as follows:
- Revisit your contracts and see what type of force majeure language it has – anything relating to delays beyond your control or epidemics;
- Examine to see whether you have a basis for additional compensation AND additional time;
- Examine what type of notice you are required to provide for force majeure events;
- Be proactive – send notice now of the potentiality that this pandemic can impact / delay the job –no one should take offense to this letter as this pandemic has impacted all walks of life;
- If an impact occurs, send follow-up notice accordingly to ensure rights under the contract are preserved; and
- For future contracts, incorporate language that specifically addresses epidemics and pandemics now that the occurrence of this issue has become real.