Twelve Questions to a Project Restart Strategy

Construction projects that shut down production in the wake of COVID-19 concerns deserve careful consideration when it comes to restarting operations.

In a perfect world, projects would continue exactly where they left off, with no disruption. In reality, however, regaining momentum on a construction project, especially when that occurs after a complete stop, takes considerable time and energy.

Be mindful of health and safety guidelines provided by your state and remember that construction contractors who have a proactive and comprehensive approach to project restarts increase their odds at successfully avoiding impacts from the shutdown.

Here are some questions to address as your company and project teams formulate a restart strategy:

Has there been a discussion with the owner? What about the lender? What is the status of previous pay applications?
What is the status of the General Conditions on this project? Are there cost allocation codes delineated for COVID-related expenses? What about remobilization costs?
Have local, state or federal officials, in their respective building departments, been laid off or furloughed? What is the current backlog of inspections?
If your project is still seeking permit approvals for specific phases of the project or the entire project, how long is that delayed? What is your status within the queue? 
Where does your project long-lead items stand? Are there new critical path items that were not contemplated? Are there raw material shortages that impact your project?
Which trade partners or subcontractors may present concerns in maintaining or accelerating your project? Which contractors are at risk due to supply chain disruptions? 
Restart meetings should be prioritized by subcontractor, but also by the potential impact of their products – or lack of products – to the project schedule. Consider inviting key suppliers and manufacturers to restart meetings.
Do you have subcontractor PPE? If inadequate PPE is available, will engineering controls need to be implemented to eliminate the hazard?
What is the status of the schedule as operations resume? Has there been formal communication on time extensions, if needed? Is the original project completion date unchanged?
Where do you stand on requests for information, architectural supplemental instructions, change orders and submittals? Are there specific items outstanding? What is the timeline to complete or expedite?
Have there been formal discussions with the owner and lender? Have you notified your Builders’ Risk insurance carrier? How are delay-related costs being identified and tracked, separate from normal construction operations?

The short- and long-term effects of this pandemic are yet to be known, but contractors with a sound strategy towards restarting operations will be the key to their companies’ future successes. Please contact your local independent agent if you have questions or concerns you would like to discuss with your Cincinnati Insurance loss control representative about restarting your construction project.
Our loss control service is advisory only. We assume no responsibility for management or control of customer loss control activities or for implementation of recommended corrective measures. These materials were gathered from trade services and public information. We have not tried to identify all exposures. We do not warrant that this information is consistent with Cincinnati underwriting guidelines or with any federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance.

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