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COVID-19 quarantine? 10 things you might finally get done

18 March 2020

#Construction & Infrastructure, #COVID-19

Andrew Statham

Published by Andrew Statham

COVID-19 quarantine? 10 things you might finally get done

As responses to COVID-19 continue to develop, it seems that many construction and infrastructure businesses might have at least part of their workforce working from home or otherwise remotely. Some employees might think, ‘Sweet, I needed a holiday’. Think again.

Sure, you could work your way through a packet of TimTams without those questioning looks from colleagues, but work practices will naturally adjust to accommodate COVID-19 precautions. Skype, for instance, might just prevent pyjamas becoming the new norm in workday attire.

Even if you are still in the office, the usual workflow might well be disrupted to some degree, but productivity need not take a nosedive. Now might be the time to tackle all those things you knew needed doing, but which you’ve just not had the head space to attend to. The absence of a commute might mean that mythological notion of ‘spare time’ might arise.

While the list will differ for all of us, we outline 10 key things you can now prepare for to get you in front of the game once the world returns to normal.

1. Compliance risk assessment

When did you last audit your compliance checklist? Do your materials or suppliers comply with non-conforming building products legislation? Do labour hire licencing regimes affect your business? If you are using labour hire arrangements, are they consistent with the current legislation? Have you assessed your modern slavery obligations and how you will respond when asked? Do your payment regimes comply with security of payment legislation? Have you got all the right licences for your business, and are they up to date?

2. Update your suite of contracts

It is rare that a company’s suite of contracts is truly up-to-date. Do your standard contracts reflect current legislation? Do they appropriately deal with risk or do they reflect an out-of-date risk appetite? Are your force majeure, consequential loss, extension of time and delay cost provisions current? Does your standard joint venture agreement reflect how you prefer to operate within joint ventures these days? Do you even have a standard contract to cater for a regular need?

3. Check your insurance coverage

Do your insurance policies cover your current risk profile? Are you now providing goods, work or services that you weren’t previously? Is your professional services description, disclosed to insurers, current? Is your business interruption policy up to date and reflective of your current needs?

4. Check your delegations matrix and power of attorneys

Is your delegations matrix up to date? Does it refer to the correct roles and positions within your business? Are all the delegations still set at the right levels for your business as it is now? Do your powers of attorney adequately address the powers to be delegated? Do you have the right powers of attorney? 

5. Contract procedures

Are your contract review, negotiation, risk approval, and execution procedures up-to-date? Is your risk matrix in need of an overhaul?

6. Calendar and Bring-up system

Do you need to update your contract renewals or lease review calendars? Is your panel of major suppliers due for a review? Do you have licence renewals you could get started on?

7. Probity

Do your probity protocols require a refresh? Do they reflect best practice and appropriately benefit from your IT systems and capabilities?  Is your team aware of what a good information barrier is made up of? 

8. Business planning

Now might be a time to get a head-start on your team’s business plan for next year. Do you have an understanding of upcoming major business procurements and developments and how they might draw on your team’s resourcing and capabilities? Have you linked in all relevant stakeholders, to get a holistic view of what might be needed? How flexible is that plan anyway?

9. Continuing education

There are always those continuing education requirements that need to be fulfilled. There are numerous pre-recorded training videos accessible on-line. You could also think about what your business needs to learn or refresh on in the next year – how about that training plan you never quite got round to?

10. Crises management

Lastly, together with your business continuity response team, track your response to COVID-19. Critically examine its effectiveness, capture lessons learned, developing refinements to your plans as necessary.                                                    

Many of the tasks listed above will require input from others. That is intentional. For many, working remotely can feel quite isolating – that might even apply to those still working in the office if you are operating on a skeleton staff. It is important that employees continue to feel connected and included. Use the phone or video conferencing, and avoid email if possible. Who knows, tackling these “best practice” issues might be good for your business in more than one way. 

Author: Andrew Statham

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Andrew Statham

Published by Andrew Statham

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Andrew Statham

Andrew Statham

Special Counsel


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Suzy Cairney



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