With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, medical professionals around the world are racing to develop a vaccine. Not only does the coronavirus hysteria affect public health, it also puts a massive concern on businesses and the economy.

Those in the building and construction industry need to consider their suppliers, contracts, delays and employees, to name a few.

For builders experiencing delays


You’re likely to have already noticed an impact on your supply chain – this is inevitable, especially if your supply chain involves China.

As construction lawyers, we often tell you what your rights are. However, it’s important that you understand your responsibilities. You are responsible for the supplies that you select and if they hold up the project, it falls to you.

Consider where your supplies come from. If they are imported or have been cut off, think of alternatives or look outside the box. You may also consider stocking up on supplies, either once you have found a suitable alternative or if you’re still able to buy from your regular supplier. The toilet paper craze amongst consumers may seem farfetched, but as a business owner, “panic buying” shouldn’t be considered too crazy at a time like this. It may be beneficial to stock up on the materials that your construction projects need to avoid massive delays or missing out on the materials altogether. Keep an open line of communication with your supplier and consider the availability of the materials you need.


Contract administration is vital. If you’re anticipating a non-supply related delay, you must ensure to document that to the principal. Assess whether your Extension of Time request to the Principal aligns with the contract provisions and time bars. These will prove to be very helpful when it comes time to consider Liquidated Damages. You should carefully negotiate new contracts to ensure that you take these into consideration.

You should also review your contract for a force majeure clause – which relieves your company from performing its contractual obligations when certain circumstances arise beyond your control.

For help reviewing, negotiating and amending or drafting contracts, contact one of our trusted lawyers today.


Consider your employees and what your obligations to them are in relation to continuing work and their ongoing employment. Once you have your supplies and contracts under control, remember that your workers are the backbone of your construction projects. You should anticipate employees calling in sick and needing time off.

For Developers/Principals

Anticipate that there will be delays. It is better to work with your builders than against them – resulting to aggressiveness will not solve supply chain problems that your builders may experience.

You should ensure that you administer the contract in accordance with its provisions. You should also consider a force majeure clause both with the builder and any head contract you might have. For contract advice, contact our lawyers here.

Becker Watt Lawyers are your trusted legal advisors with over 25 years of building experience. We provide transparent legal advice without the complicated jargon. For more advice on reviewing, negotiating and amending or drafting contracts, book in a consultation on 07 3269 4888 or contacts us here.