You’ve Been Suspended – Were You Ready?

Businessman standing in front of fork with downtown in distance

Project participants should begin contingency planning for possible project shutdowns.

April 20, 2020
Curtis W. Martin, Patrick J. Greene, Jr. & Levi W. Barrett - Peckar & Abramson

“Effective tomorrow … the City is suspending all regular activity at construction sites in Boston.” This was just one of the surprises that greeted contractors last week. Contractors and owners with projects across the country are scrambling to comply with mandated governmental suspensions. Project participants should begin contingency planning for possible project shutdowns.

Reacting to Suspension

Your legal rights and remedies will be largely determined by your contract and the laws applicable to it. But some basic principles will be applicable depending on the source of the suspension.

Suspension by the Owner: An owner work suspension suggests review of the contract’s suspension of work clause. Federal contractors would look to the FAR Suspension of Work clause, FAR 52.242-14, but that is applicable if the suspension is by the Contracting Officer; the US would argue that a systemic suspension was a sovereign act and outside the FAR clause.

Contractors for private work and state or municipal work may have contractual suspension of work clauses. At least some suspension clauses provide relief for time and money.

Reprinted courtesy of Peckar & Abramson attorneys Curtis W. Martin, Patrick J. Greene and Levi W. Barrett
Mr. Martin may be contacted at
Mr. Greene may be contacted at
Mr. Barrett may be contacted at


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