The coronavirus has affected every aspect of construction projects. Additional health and safety efforts, lower productivity, disruptions to the supply chain, and labor absenteeism/shortages are all now commonplace. Contractors are wise to track these costs and any associated extraordinary efforts to mitigate the coronavirus. While most agree that the unforeseeable impacts of the current pandemic and crisis entitle the contractor to a time extension associated with delays under a force majeure provision, there is no universal agreement as to whether the financial impacts are also compensable.
Those working under the AIA contract documents (or similar contracts) may find relief in AIA A201 Section 10.4 dealing with emergencies. This section allows the Contractor to act at his discretion with respect to an “emergency affecting safety.” If coronavirus concerns, let alone an outbreak, constitute such an emergency, the Contractor is entitled to assert a claim to seek additional time and/or COMPENSATION associated with the emergency. Naturally, Contractors must take care to provide timely notice of the claim in accordance with the contract documents.