Whilst the vast majority of parties are adopting a reasonable and co-operative approach, some have faced a lot of pressure to get full numbers of people back on site. Some of those demands come from those of a non construction background, who have adopted the simplistic and flawed logic of saying that there has been no mandatory shutdown, and the government’s “get back to work” message means that things can and should get back to normal.
Many sites have been open in some shape or form over recent weeks, and various statistics suggest that whilst productivity is inevitably decreased, it is improving as new working methods bed in and the supply chain recovers, particularly for materials.
Where clients have had unreasonable pressure applied to them, or fear that a harder approach will be taken as time goes on, we have been helping them ensure they understand the mechanisms in their contracts, and to make sure they build up a protective “paper trail” through good record keeping. Many are asserting and reserving their rights, particularly in relation to force majeure, whilst parallel negotiations are going on to seek to agree revised commercial terms for the project.