Recently, I was on a webinar hosted by the American Institute of Architects. The discussion topic was about how to improve relationships between Architects and Contractors. I expected a lively discussion about scope of work and maybe some dialogue about design-build versus design-bid-build. The panelists included an Architect, a Developer, and a General…
General Contractor should not rely on the Owner’s contract to define the terms and obligations between the Contractor and his subcontractors. Rather, the GC should specifically state any and all of their sub-contractor terms (including payment obligations) independently of the Owner’s obligations to the GC. The Contractor should adhere to those terms independent of what may or may not be happening between the Contractor and the Owner.
Despite these blessings, you may know, that this year, my drive for continuing this blog waned. I shared how my workload was at an all-time high, but my motivation was at an all-time low.
Since that time, I would not say that things have changed very much.
We are still in a pandemic. My work load remains high. Motivation for writing this blog remains low.
In contrast to working in an office, working from home can be very isolating. Dealing with that effectively can be challenging, but after some time, and by making a few adjustments, these feelings can be overcome.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of mass quarantines around the world has created a great deal of uncertainty. The decision by many of the World’s largest Companies to permanently work from home, has left Landlords holding their breath as they wait to see what the market does.
Typically I try to announce speaking engagements in advance, but as you know, I’ve been a little off from my normal routines lately.
Regardless, I recently participate in a virtual event hosted by Worldwide Business Research (WBR) creators of the ProcureCon series.
The event was hosted and moderated by Ryan Kulp (Program Director for ProcureCon Facilities). The three hour event included panel discussions, presentations, and fireside chats with 9 leaders in Facilities Procurement.
The segment I participated in was a fireside chat between Ryan, myself and my friend and colleague Michael Beauregard.
As if the burdens of COVID19 were not enough, racial tensions in the US have come to a boil in the wake of the heinous murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
You might have noticed that I missed a few postings over the last few weeks. My last post published 3 weeks prior to my sitting down to write this post.
Don’t worry, I have not been exposed to Corona Virus. My lapse in activity is attributable to being too busy with work combined with a temporary lack of motivation.
In a previous post I shared how the beginning of this year started with several hot projects. Despite the impact of the Corona Virus, none of those projects have slowed down. That together with a flurry of other activity has made it very difficult for me to find time to write.
There is a discussion thread on the AIA Practice Management Forum which started with the question, “How is your firm ensuring efficiency in a remote working environment?”
There have been a number of replies which I would characterize as mixed.
The comments range, from expressions of gratitude for the time regained from no longer needing to endure a commute, to complaints about having to adapt to working in pdf. Keep in mind these are Architects accustomed to reviewing large scale full size sheets. Reviewing drawings on a computer screen (in pdf) is very different from being able to make comments and corrections directly onto a drawing.
Regardless of whether you relish working from home or dread it, working from home is here to stay. The sooner people internalize this, the sooner they will be able to adapt. Only then will they achieve similar or perhaps even greater levels of efficiency as compared to working from an office.
In an article posted on Lexology by the law firm of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, Brenda Radmacher a partner and construction law expert writes about the new jobsite safety measures that Companies will have to observe in light of COVID-19.
Radmacher does a great job of identifying the new norms, both on and off the jobsite, Workers will need to observe in order to avoid spreading the disease.
Some of these new norms are common widespread recommendations such as washing hands and observing social distancing, but some are very specific to construction and some are likely to impact costs and schedules.
I recommend reading Radmacher’s article, but I wanted to address a few specific recommendations.
A couple of weeks ago, I published an article discussing some of the additional costs Owners might see in the wake of the global CoronaVirus outbreak and government ordered quarantine.
In that article, I made the statement, “Contractually, this event falls under the Force Majeure clause…”
While I still believe that the COVID-19 epidemic meets the definition and the intention of a Force Majeure clause, I recently read several articles that further refine my understanding of Force Majeure and how it can be applied.
As with any article where I address legal terms, such as Force Majeure, I defer 100% to professional legal advice and recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances before you take any action.
That advice notwithstanding, I did want to share with you some interesting points of view.
Ever since the CoronaVirus landed on the United States it’s impact has been uncertain. Having witnessed the impact it had in China, we collectively braced for impact, but I don’t think anyone thought it would have the effect that it has.
Two week’s ago, I reported that New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had been placed under lock-down by the Governor’s of each state. Since then several states have followed suit.
According to Business Insider.com 36 states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico are under stay-at-home orders.
A federal directive has yet to be issued as the number of infected persons in the US reaches over 300,000 cases.
Each of the 36 states have generally ordered everyone to stay home and avoid physical contact by observing social distancing of 6 feet or more. All gatherings of 50 or more have been cancelled and areas where people typically congregate like beaches and state parks have been closed. I have heard some anecdotal stories of police breaking up “Corona Parties” of 50 or more people defying the order.
For the most part, businesses have been shuttered and over 3 Million people have filed for unemployment, but some businesses have been allowed to continue operations.
Businesses that can operate remotely and businesses deemed “essential” have been allowed to remain open, but determining whether a business is “essential” has proven to be more difficult than expected.
The construction sector has had an especially difficult time determining how to proceed. This is due in part because of the disparity from state to state and a lack of a federal mandate.