Contractors in a Post-Pandemic World

Contractors in a Post-Pandemic World

By Sara Ametrano and Matt Baynton

 

Picture this: it’s March 6th, 2020. There is a contagious virus wreaking havoc overseas, but in Canada it’s business as usual. We’re going to work, meeting family and friends at restaurants and even travelling. Then, a couple weeks later, we too enter a lockdown, thinking in a few days or weeks, we’ll be back at the office or on the job site – we’re preparing for our return. Well, those days turned into weeks, and those weeks into months. And now, over a year later, we’ve adapted to a new normal of social distancing and remote work for many of us.

As cases have risen and fallen over the past year, construction projects have halted and resumed. These disruptions caused confusion and stress between owners and contractors, both concerned with the delay of work and increasing budgets. Contracts between project owners and contractors often include a notice of delay and a Force Majeure clause, but the verbiage and section inclusions can change from one contract to the next. It comes as no surprise that the many starts and stops and contractual ambiguities have had an impact on a contractor’s operations over the past year.

While the construction industry has faired better than most industries, it hasn’t been without its struggles. It is important for brokers to understand any struggles their clients may be having  so that they may help ensure that their clients are set up for success post-pandemic.

When your contractors are about to begin a new project or resume former operations, it would be a good idea to cover the following topics with them:

  • Have on-site social distancing or supply chain delays lead to increased costs and profit fade?
  • Are construction owners coming to the table with financial relief under their contracts?
  • Are they considering amending new contracts to address potential future lockdowns or delays?
  • Have they communicated their existing circumstances to their bank and is the bank supportive?
  • Have they been able to replenish their backlogs with profitable new contracts?

Brokers will play an important role to help contractors navigate through the balance of the pandemic and should start working with them now to ensure they are prepared to take advantage of any stimulus spending that may be part of the government’s economic recovery plan.

Bonus tip for contractors:

Communicate with advisors, such as construction lawyers. They will be able to provide advice on the best language to use in your notice of delay, as well as give guidance on how to approach a new project when the pandemic dust settles.

What Trisura can do:

As we do with our other products, Trisura can tailor the professional liability coverage to fit each specific class of professional that we insure. Trisura takes a unique approach to all claims and provides expertise and solutions so organizations and individuals can quickly return to their business.

What about federal support?

The Government of Canada recently announced its plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Government is turning to the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to help reach the goal, requiring support in five main areas: public transit, green infrastructure, trade and transport, broadband and clean power. CIB has already taken steps toward the ambitious goal, announcing a plan to invest $10 billion over the next three years, which will support economic growth and create new jobs in many sectors, including construction.

Looking for more information? Contact your Trisura surety representative today! Contact us.

 

The views expressed in this article are exclusively those of the author;  they do not necessarily reflect the views of Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, its affiliates or partners.

Executive Outlook 2021: Chris Sekine, Trisura

Executive Outlook 2021: Chris Sekine, Trisura

Originally Published by Canadian Underwriter, December 23, 2020.

President and CEO, Chris SekineChris Sekine, President, CEO, Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company

COVID-19 has affected most businesses, and the insurance industry is no exception. Businesses are operating in a more uncertain environment than ever before. Insurers and reinsurers have adjusted underwriting appetites, which has influenced portfolios, available capacity, and pricing. Given current hardening conditions, we expect industry results to gradually improve. For many businesses, near-term results will be contingent on government support in response to the pandemic and the potential for further lockdowns.

Insureds are navigating challenging industry dynamics. The pandemic, combined with the hard market, amplified the need for brokers and their value. This is true for both insureds and insurers, and especially those with complex commercial risks. Trisura is a broker-driven company and we are working closely with our broker partners to navigate these turbulent times.

We expect the risk tolerance of businesses/insureds to evolve. Cyber risk is a good example of an exposure that businesses may not have appreciated. As cyber attacks have increased through COVID-19, businesses are looking to the insurance industry to help manage this risk.

We expect many business trends established before COVID-19 to return and business operations will resume much as they were pre-pandemic. For example, we anticipate a return to working in-office and in-person interactions with our brokers and partners. Although most companies successfully transitioned to working remotely, we don’t believe that is sustainable in the long run. Businesses rely on personal relationships. Virtual meetings are a great temporary measure, but they simply can’t replace in-person meetings.

That being said, the success of remote working arrangements will provide a broader tool set to employers and employees. For those with appropriate job functions, employers should offer flexible working arrangements.

Embracing technology will enhance productivity and collaboration of established operating norms. What hasn’t changed is that good people are the very core of a successful business.

Underwriter of the Year – Emily Thompson

Underwriter of the Year – Emily Thompson

Headshot of Sr. Underwriter Emily ThompsonThis year’s Insurance Business Canada awards may have taken on a different format, but there was no denying that the excitement could be felt through the entirety of the event. The event celebrates the insurance industry, recognizing organizations and professionals for their dedication and achievements. And we are proud that a member of Trisura’s talented team was selected as the 2020 Underwriter of the Year!

Emily Thompson, a senior underwriter for Trisura, has been in the insurance space for seven years. Throughout her career, she has been eager to learn and grow, and is now often consulted for her expertise in the surety space by both clients and peers alike. As 2020 has proven to be a year full of unique challenges, Emily has been integral in Trisura’s approach towards working through the pandemic, maintaining a sense of consistency and continuing to offer unique solutions for industry partners.

Congratulations, Emily, on this much-deserved accolade!

We chatted with Emily about her professional journey so far. Below, she delves into how she got started in the industry, the help she has received and her advice for potential industry newcomers.

Trisura: What is your favourite part about working as an underwriter in the surety space?

Emily: Without a doubt, the people. The surety industry is very people-driven and working collaboratively with great people across our industry makes the work exciting. Every client is unique, and we are often presented with scenarios where a traditional approach might not work. I find that through collaboration, both internally and with our external partners, we can arrive at a positive outcome for everyone. It’s exciting to deliver a tailored solution and enjoy in that success with others.

Trisura: What drew you to the industry?

Emily: As a math and business student in university, surety underwriting intrigued me with its combination of financial analysis, understanding a business’ health and the teamwork involved between the surety, broker and client. But while the numbers tell part of the story, listening to a client proudly tell the story of their business and their past successes builds a strong connection with the client, and gives me, as an underwriter, a glimpse into their world. Getting to know the people in a business provides a great insight into how they operate and how I can best support them. The analytical part of the job drew me in, but its the people I have met that make the industry a great field to work in.

Trisura: How has the pandemic impacted your role, and have you implemented a new approach in conducting business with your brokers?

Emily: The pandemic has had a big impact! To me, the most important thing has been maintaining strong communication. Everyone is managing more uncertainty than ever, while also navigating a new work environment and managing multiple priorities. Maintaining transparency and open communication has been important to me in conducting business. I also aim to ensure the way we operate continues to be consistent and offer stability.

Trisura: Do you have a mentor? If so, what sort of impact has he or she had on your professional development?

Emily: I have had a number of mentors over the past few years at Trisura. Each of them has taught me a lot about the industry, underwriting, communication–you name it. They’ve also given me a lot of room to practice new skills and throw myself into new projects, learning more along the way. I can’t thank those mentors enough for allowing me many opportunities to grow both as an underwriter and a person. There is always more to learn, and I am excited to continue to do so, with the support of some great people at Trisura and throughout the industry.

Trisura: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in insurance?

Emily: Dive in and be curious. For me, I was looking for a career in a field relating closely to my math and business background. I hadn’t considered insurance seriously, until my second co-op term with Trisura when I started in surety underwriting. In the first few days, I quickly saw how interesting the business was and began asking questions and soaking up information. As I immersed myself in the industry, it opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. There is always something more to learn, and I’m excited to see what more is in store!

Trisura Group Ltd. Appoints George R. James to Lead U.S. Surety Operations

Trisura Group Ltd. Appoints George R. James to Lead U.S. Surety Operations

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, NOVEMBER 30, 2020 – Trisura Group Ltd. (“Trisura”) (TSX: TSU) is pleased to announce the appointment of George R. James as Chief Underwriting Officer, Surety, for the organization’s new U.S. surety platform. This appointment will be effective January 4, 2021. George will lead Trisura’s entry into the U.S. surety market and head its U.S. surety operations.

George R. James to lead Trisura U.S. surety operations.

George is a seasoned surety leader with 25 years of experience, extensive market knowledge and deep-rooted relationships across the United States. George’s career includes 14 years in executive leadership positions at International Fidelity Insurance Company (“IFIC”), including the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer. At IFIC, George was instrumental in the strategic positioning and operations of the company and delivered consistent and profitable underwriting results. In addition, George was a past Chair of the Commercial Surety Advisory Committee of the Surety & Fidelity Association of America. Trisura looks forward to drawing on George’s leadership capabilities as we expand in the U.S. market.

With the launch of Trisura’s U.S. surety operations, agents and brokers will be able to access a North American platform including Trisura’s Canadian operations, currently the third-largest surety provider in Canada. Trisura’s North American platform will leverage the strong underwriting track record and profitability of the Canadian group in addition to the established infrastructure including an innovative online portal and e-bonding platform. Consistent with Trisura’s strategy, the U.S. surety platform will partner with a select agent and broker network and will offer custom solutions and experiences that are always “a step above.”

Chris Sekine, responsible for Trisura’s global surety platform and President and CEO of Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, expressed his excitement about the new addition: “I’ve known George for 15 years,” said Chris. “His passion for the surety industry has allowed him to consistently deliver above-market results over his career. George knows the importance of building and strengthening relationships and is committed to providing agents and brokers with an exceptional experience. I’m eager to see our U.S. surety operation launch and grow under George’s leadership.”

 

About Trisura:

Trisura is a leading international specialty insurance provider operating in the surety, risk solutions, corporate insurance, fronting and reinsurance segments of the market. Trisura has three principal regulated subsidiaries: Trisura Specialty Insurance Company in U.S., Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company in Canada and Trisura International Insurance Ltd. in Barbados. Trisura Group Ltd. is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “TSU.”

Further information is available at https://www.trisura.com/group. Important information may be disseminated exclusively via the website; investors should consult the site to access this information. Details regarding the operations of Trisura Group Ltd. are also set forth in regulatory filings. A copy of the filings may be obtained on Trisura Group’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com.

For more information, please contact:
Bryan Sinclair
Tel: (416) 607-2135
Email: bryan.sinclair@trisura.com

Federal Government Support for Construction amid COVID-19: A Surety Perspective

Federal Government Support for Construction amid COVID-19: A Surety Perspective

Federal Government Support for Construction


COVID-19 Impact on the Construction Industry

The construction industry is a significant part of the Canadian economy representing 7% of the country’s GDP and employing over 1.4 million people in 2019. In the past, governments have mitigated the impact of economic slowdowns through fiscal stimulus, including funding infrastructure and construction projects as a means to stimulate the economy. The 2008 financial crisis is a recent example of fiscal stimulus focused on “shovel ready” projects supporting the construction industry. Support for these projects created employment, economic activity and helped to mitigate potentially more severe consequences of the financial crisis.

During the COVID-19 crisis, many construction projects have been identified as an essential service to ensure the completion of vital infrastructure, housing and healthcare projects. Unfortunately, other significant, but ‘non-essential’ projects have been shut down or progress has been significantly impaired. In Quebec, almost all construction work has been completely shut down. Contractors will face severe economic hardships as a result of COVID-19 resulting from revenue impairment, delay costs and input cost escalation. They will face challenges including supply chain interruptions, labour shortages and contaminated job sites. At the same time revenues have decreased, they will bear unplanned safety costs, costs associated with temporary site closing and security. Contractors who have borrowed to finance their operations also face interest expenses that accrue even during periods of inactivity, as well as principal repayments unless their lenders are willing to defer those payments.

A large proportion of Canadian construction companies are small to mid-sized businesses, in many cases family owned. The reduction in revenue and increased costs will weaken the balance sheets of small businesses disproportionately vs. their larger peers. Many will need financial assistance to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important that these essential businesses remain solvent. Once pandemic restrictions end, Canada will need these construction companies ready to employ Canadians to complete existing projects and undertake anticipated “shovel ready” stimulus work. Alberta announced a $1.4 billion commitment for capital maintenance and renewal for 2020-21, and it is speculated that the federal government will accelerate the $180 billion ‘Investing in Canada’ plan that remains largely unspent.

As Canadians emerge from social distancing, construction companies will need assistance to finance the costs of re-mobilization. This includes payroll in advance of project revenues, and working capital to take on new projects and secure surety bonds.

Surety Bonds in Canada

The majority of publicly funded construction contracts require that surety bonds (performance and labour and material payment bonds) be posted by the contractor to the public authority. Ontario’s Construction Act requires all such public projects are bonded in the province. Most other provinces are currently in the process reforming builders’ lien acts, are addressing prompt payment concerns and are contemplating the mandatory use of surety bonds on all public projects as they are in Ontario.

Surety bonds are a form of performance security where a Performance Bond guarantees the contractual obligations of a contractor and a Labour and Material Payment Bond guarantees labour, subcontractors and suppliers will be paid. Contractors qualify for surety bonds based on their creditworthiness. The credit assessment is similar to that for a commercial loan. Balance sheet strength, working capital, prior experience and capacity are all elements of the surety’s assessment of a contractor. Generally, contractors with stronger balance sheets and working capital will qualify for higher levels of surety support. However, unlike a bank, a surety is not collateralized for the surety credit they authorize and the surety bond liability they assume.

In 2017, the Canadian Centre of Economic Analysis (CANCEA) published a study called the Economic Value of Surety Bonding in Canada [CANCEA Report]. The CANCEA study concluded that the benefits of surety bonds in high risk economic conditions are as follows:

  • $25 of economic activity is recovered per $1 of premium paid
  • $3 of tax revenue is recovered per $1 of premium paid by all levels of government
  • 200 job-years recovered per $1 million of premium

As a result, in these extremely difficult economic times, surety bonds will be instrumental to help ensure the integrity of publicly funded stimulus projects.

Following the COVID-19 crisis, many construction contractors will face significant financial difficulties; some may face insolvency as a result of the pandemic. Those that survive will struggle with an impaired ability to re-start their business and may not qualify for conventional loans. Qualification for surety bonds is based on the creditworthiness, so any significant impairment of financial strength will negatively impact a contractor’s ability to both finance construction projects and to qualify for surety bonds. As stimulus projects are tendered, a healthy marketplace will require a diverse and active pool of contractors bidding the work.

Government Financial Assistance for Construction

Financial assistance for the construction industry will ensure that contractors survive the shutdown period and are positioned to re-start their business, employ workers and qualify for surety bonds once restrictions are lifted. The federal government has announced strategies for financial relief for businesses through loans, guarantees and wage subsidies. We urge the federal government to consider a specific strategy for the construction industry, given the importance of the sector to stimulate the Canadian economy. We suggest that this could be a two-stage process:

Stage 1 – Pandemic Restrictions & Economic Shutdown:
During the period of slower economic activity, contractors may need support to remain solvent. Federal government loans or guarantees to commercial lenders, coupled with relaxed credit assessment criteria and deferred repayment terms, will help contractors survive while revenues stall. If guarantees are made to commercial lenders, separate “pandemic” loan facilities can be established to keep relief proceeds separate from previous commercial loans. However, the terms and conditions of such loans must be uniform and consistent across all lenders and for each of their clients. Both BDC and EDC are vehicles available to the federal government to offer such financial assistance.

Additionally, the Canadian Construction Association is advocating an Emergency COVID-19 Construction Cost Relief Program that will be critical alongside expanding the eligibility criteria of the government’s wage subsidy program to aid contractors in maintaining key staff to be prepared when the shutdown period end.

Again, these contractors will be needed once the shutdown period ends to employ workers and build shovel ready projects.

Stage 2 – Stimulus Period:
Once pandemic restrictions lift and business operations resume, contractors will require access to working capital to fund the cost of re-booting their business. Such financial assistance from the federal government could be in the form of loans/guarantee with favourable interest rates and repayment deferrals.

Access to Surety Bonds:
Contractors will require access to surety bonds to bid new projects while pandemic restrictions are in place and more importantly, once restrictions end and the stimulus period begins. Unfortunately, contractors’ financial strength will be impaired and financial information reflecting the impact of recent shut downs may not be immediately available. EDC often structures reinsurance arrangements on behalf of Canadian companies and provides guarantees to primary surety companies in the event normal market capacity is not available. We understand that EDC’s “domestic powers” have been extended due to the pandemic. Reinsurance support from EDC to licensed surety companies could be an efficient way to maintain construction companies’ access to surety bonds during these uncertain times.

Government assistance specific to the construction industry will ensure Canada is well positioned during the stimulus period while the construction market stabilizes. Consensual time extensions to existing contracts and assistance with loans/guarantees from BDC and EDC to help with liquidity during the start-up period will aid construction companies, and additional initiatives to support contractors encountering increased costs will provide further assistance. However, companies will ultimately need revenues restored for when deferred liabilities such as taxes, workers compensation premium, debt payments and deferred costs materialize. Government stimulus through investment in shovel ready contracts during the recovery stage will be critical. For contractors to begin work, sufficient working capital and access to surety bonds will necessary and the government can bridge these issues.

Trisura’s Commitment

Trisura supports initiatives championed by the Canadian Construction Association and many other federal, provincial and local construction associations. With the support of federal government-backed loans with adequate repayment deferrals, Trisura would consider such assistance as part of the contractor’s own equity as opposed to debt that must be serviced. This will favourably boost underwriting ratios that are used to assess creditworthiness.

In addition, with the support of EDC, Trisura is willing to commit a dedicated pool of risk capital to back surety bonds for contractors negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Trisura stands ready to work with the construction industry and with all levels of government in developing practical solutions to the challenges that will be faced by all stakeholders as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. Reinsurance offered by EDC is one such method which is familiar to the surety industry and would increase the available bonding capacity in the marketplace.

Trisura is a proud Canadian owned Surety company. We primarily support the small to medium sized businesses which are critical to the Canadian economy. Further, we are committed to innovation and delivering solutions to boost both the industry and the economy. We developed an online Contractor Bond Portal to qualify surety for small contracts, as well as Trisura Bond Portal for non-construction commercial surety products. In addition, we are the only surety in Canada to have developed its own technology to deliver electronic bonds as project procurement methods continue to evolve.

Trisura is committed to meet the challenges ahead and do our part to ensure the Canadian construction industry is successful in helping to stimulate the economy post COVID-19 and restore the market to a stable environment.

Navigating Business through a Global Pandemic: More Advice Related to Contractor Project Shutdown

Navigating Business through a Global Pandemic: More Advice Related to Contractor Project Shutdown

By Victor A. Bandiera

 

The following is third in a series of articles for contractors during these changing times. As more provinces and states close certain projects we want to provide some information regarding steps a contractor might consider. Every project type is different but there are some general best practices when shutting down and preserving a project.

This is a list of suggestions for consideration by a contractor if work is ordered stopped or suspended by authorities or owners or due to lack of resources on a project as well as a few general comments on how down time can be spent to get ready for start-up.

Global Pandemic Advice for Contractors

Notices and Communications

  1. Refer to your executed contract, subcontracts and purchase orders to understand and provide any required notices for delay including due to force majeure, required applications for extension of time and claim for costs if applicable. Please review with your lawyer to implement appropriate strategy. You probably need to send notice for each instance and impact costs as known, remembering that you can always amend later. Keep a log to track which items were sent, when they were sent and to whom.
  2. Communicate your intended actions with the owner, subtrades and suppliers. If appropriate, arrange a telephone or video call to discuss project shut down.
  3. Collect and document potential costs for site shut down and maintenance costs.  These should eventually be sent to the owner after reviewing contractual requirements.
  4. Ensure you have copies of your insurance policies and review with your broker for any limitations of insurance coverage or relevant exclusions. If suspension is for extended duration, notice to your insurer might be required. Also diarize the expiry date of the policies and obtain extensions if required. Also ensure you have current certificates of insurance from subcontractors.
  5. Notify your surety of suspension of work on a project and expected resumption date and revised completion date. In some cases, Owners, such as Defense Construction Canada, require consent for the surety to the extension.
  6. Review local requirements and permits and any requirements for notice with emergency services, inspection services, site monitoring and normal frequency site maintenance services (toilet, waste collection, water delivery, fuel, etc.).

Secure and Preserve Project

  1. Develop written plan to protect the project, materials and public, which plan should be monitored periodically. This would include emergency contacts posted at site.
  2. Inventory and protect materials and equipment on site and monitor same. Ensure to observe all manufacturers’ recommendations for storage, etc.
  3. Ensure site signage is clean and appropriate for a dormant site. This would include emergency contacts, egress, that all fire protection/extinguishers are operational, clearly and appropriately located, all fire sprinklers systems are checked and any other site emergency systems like communications are operational.
  4. Ensure all safety rails and barricades, kick plates and safety nets remain in place. Ensure any hoarding, scaffolding, stairs and ladders are properly anchored, clear and unobstructed and protected where possible from public access or vandalism.
  5. Revisit site lighting (exterior and interior) and confirm is satisfactory for safety and operational, while also checking operation periodically.
  6. Ensure climactic controls in any building or temporary structures are appropriate for purpose during site shutdown and monitor (especially as seasons change) remotely if necessary.  This includes temperature, humidity, air circulation and moisture content. Make sure to include storage of materials on site that might have specific requirements or limited duration of exposure.
  7. Ensure any temporary heating systems are not open flame if possible and that flammable substances, liquids/solvents and compressed gases are removed from site if possible or stored properly.  Ensure barricades and signage is clear and visible and spill protection equipment is in place. Ensure shut off gas lines are operational or shut off and clearly labelled.
  8. Ensure to check temporary filters for heating systems.  Ensure to check warranty impact of extended usage before project completion of permanent equipment.
  9. Consider any temporary roofing, cladding, temporary tarps. damp/waterproofing or temporary enclosures or hoarding to protect unfinished work and avoid water penetration and site condition decay.  Some permanent materials are only allowed to be exposed for certain periods.  Check manufacturers’ materials for guidance.
  10. Ensure traffic control signage is maintained to plan including cleaning and replacement if damaged.
  11. Document site condition and inventory with dated photos/video that are labelled. Consider usage of drone for overall site status and elevated photos.  Consider as built survey of site condition when shut down especially if unit price contracts.
  12. Keep log of last time on site for each trade and last delivery of suppliers.  Ensure to co-ordinate demobilization of tools and equipment and keep proper records.  Consider half load season if considering demobilization of equipment.  Also ensure all manifests of removals are catalogued and removed from site including permanent and temporary materials and equipment (owned or rented or leased). Any demobilization of goods or equipment from site should be explained to other parties especially if will impact future costs at start-up.
  13. Take inventory and review third party rentals and site servicing contracts and consider returning equipment and goods or suspend rentals if possible, including written confirmation of understanding between appropriate parties.
  14. Consider shutting off domestic water supply if possible, to avoid possible damage if leak or unplanned discharge.  Ensure pressure of incoming fire lines if required.
  15. Review any open excavation and where possible consider temporary backfilling trench or excavation after appropriate as built information and marking of infrastructure.  If not ensure any utility supports and shoring or trench support is monitored.
  16. Would be wise to spend some time cleaning and organizing site and removal of waste to avoid fire hazard.  Also removing any potential trip hazards.
  17. Ensure temporary electrical power sources are secure and any cables are free of moisture and temporary extension cords are not trip hazards.
  18. Ensure equipment has vandalism guards in place and parked in safe and well-lit spot to minimize risk of vandalism and theft.  Test GPS trackers.
  19. Site and tool cleaning if warranted and disinfection if required.
  20. Ensure inventory of all materials and check insurance lists to ensure protection for theft or vandalism.

Site Monitoring

  1. Arrange for site security and/or periodic site visits as necessary.  Consider video surveillance as alternate to site security. Document and have written checklist and date performed and by whom. Test externally monitored security alarms and camera recordings periodically.
  2. Strongly consider keeping site log of site visits during suspension of work.  Include weather, interior temperature, check of site security, safety equipment, traffic control, dewatering status, all drains are cleared, any damage noted, and mitigation steps required.
  3. Ensure to inspect and clear all drains including storm water inlets, catch basins, floor and roof top drains.  Ensure free of debris and sediment.
  4. Ensure any site dewatering or bypass pumping is monitored and maintained and documented.  Consider appropriate back-up systems and test regularly.
  5. Ensure all fencing and hoarding is maintained and consider improvement to protect public especially if open excavation.
  6. Ensure equipment on site is in safe and appropriate location especially as maintenance may be required.
  7. Ensure any shoring or trench support is monitored.  Any temporary supports for utilities etc. are re-evaluated and consider alternate support plans considering extension of duration required.  Review trench plates and other trench decking used and maintenance.
  8. Water level monitoring and contingent plans for possible flooding during spring run-off.

Project Management Updates

Use the time during which project operations are suspended to update project management items such as:

  1. Documenting all the above steps and costs done to preserve the work.  Track costs using separate cost code(s).
  2. Confirming contractual schedule and performing update for current as built condition at time of shutdown.
  3. Spend time to catch up on change orders and updating quotations, revised change request submittals and change logs.
  4. Follow up on outstanding project submittals including shop drawings, close out requirements.
  5. Consider hiring construction claims consultant to aid in scheduling updates and claims preparation.
  6. Ensure project records are safe and backed up or copies are off site including as-built drawings, correspondence, permits, inspection reports and other project records.
  7. Apply for payment for the final amount of work even if a partial month.  Follow up on accounts receivable, document last date of work and when lien rights expire.  Consider filing timely written payment bond claims. Obtain executed copies of payment bonds from owner or contractor for your file to be proactive.
  8. Process invoices for subcontractors and suppliers and ensure their certificates of insurance are current, obtain statutory declarations and workers compensation clearance certificates if required by subcontracts.

General Comments

  1. Review any employment agreements or collective bargaining agreements for notice provisions and call back provisions.
  2. Consider applying for government subsidies available.
  3. Update weekly corporate cash flow to consider impact of suspended projects and overhead requirements.
  4. Take advantage to do any preventative maintenance on owned or rented equipment (cash flow permitting).
  5. Think of having third party risk management or safety officer review site and report as independent review.
  6. Revisit costs to complete after reexamining methodology changes, including social distancing and other additional measures that will be required when work resumes.
  7. Review company succession plans and ensure backups are designated for each key position including use of third parties if necessary.
  8. Ensure heightened company awareness on cyber-crime (such as attacks through phishing). Also ensure have contingency plan if something occurs since for most people working remotely a problem could be devastating.
  9. Consider electronic methods for third parties that need to sign subcontracts and purchase orders in the near term to avoid couriers and need to find physical company seals.
  10. Update health and safety plans including additional measures to ensure better project precautions in the future.  This might include new measures of shift staggering and site wash facilities.
  11. Think about how project start up can be phased in and documenting how things ramp up including remobilization costs.

 

We trust this provides food for thought and stimulates other items for consideration as this list is not all encompassing. We all hope that any shutdowns will be for a short duration but, if not, plans can always be revisited as no one wants to deal with items on an emergency basis.

Please continue to reach out to your Trisura contacts for any further questions or concerns.