The COVID-19 pandemic has brought along many different challenges for businesses in its wake. These new demands are no different in the construction industry, as it has been dramatically affected by the pandemic in ways including the necessity of implementing on-site safety measures and ensuring insurance coverage for potential liabilities brought on by COVID-19. Because of this, consistent documentation within the construction industry has become incredibly important for the protection of resources during this unpredictable time.
Increased Demand for Construction Insights
According to an article in Construction Dive, the construction industry accounts for more than $1 trillion in annual spending, accounting for a major portion of the national GDP, and making construction a major driver of the U.S. economy. Because of the industry’s economic significance, many construction firms have been expected to showcase a documentation package to site owners at the completion of a project. This documentation generally includes specifics on certificates of occupancy, city and state inspection reports, as well as structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing reports, structural testing reports, and architectural mock-ups.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this type of documentation has not been the norm as of late. Owners have increased their demands for various construction insights and documents, ultimately wanting to see more data in order to reduce the potential risks. In order to ensure new projects are moving forward as they should, owners are now requiring visual evidence of effective job completion. General contractors are now expected to share pictures throughout the construction process in order to display clear developments. Additionally, owners are now requesting virtual tours of jobsites in order to see project developments in real time.
Further insights into potential causes of delays have also recently become more requested by owners as well. Financially invested parties ultimately want to know how a contractor can rectify issues relating to material shipments or sick workers in order to meet deadlines and keep the project on schedule. As a result, contractors are relying even more extensively on documentation at every stage of a project to protect themselves – both in the event of future litigation and to ensure they are paid.
How Construction Documentation Has Evolved
The increased demand for documentation from construction owners has impacted the industry in numerous ways in which it could continue to evolve for the future. Some of the ways construction documentation has changed amid the pandemic include:
Firms are maximizing future documentation on online portals and apps where they can share materials with team members, owners, and other stakeholders involved with different projects. This enables authorized users to access frequently updated information on architectural details, plans, and permits whenever they may need it.
Updated Social Distancing Policies
In order to protect against potential liabilities from workers or owners due to COVID-19, many contractors are choosing to post their policies and procedures for safety within these newly adopted online portals. In doing this, contractors can more easily ensure that adherence to CDC guidelines is well documented for owners to see in real time.
Photos play a vital role in the construction industry for tracking project progress and spotting any damage, however they are not useful unless provided with context. For instance, if it is not clear what particular pipe, wall, or entry is being viewed, as well as a date and time for the photo, it won’t deliver value. In properly cataloging and tagging the photos according to jobsite location, it is much easier for owners to track the progression of a project. Contextual images with a date can provide the evidence owners need.
Digital Project Management
Project management software allows for simpler tracking of pricing and delivery of construction materials. Now, potential price increases or shipping delays due to COVID-19 can be shared project participants in order to negotiate contract terms and provide insight for contractors affected by changing conditions.
Houston Construction Lawyers
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought along many challenges for those in the construction industry. As the industry continues to adapt to these challenges, the need for fast and detailed documentation is imminent in order to prepare for potential liabilities. In order to ensure your construction business is properly protected, the construction lawyers at Feldman & Feldman can help.
Feldman & Feldman has represented construction clients throughout the duration of their projects, from helping to draft and solidify strong contracts to successfully handling any disputes that arise before, during, or after a project. If your construction firm is in need of legal assistance during these uncertain times, contact us today for more information.