In a recent interview with Laura Cooley, Emily Federico, Senior Managing Director in the Ankura Construction Disputes & Advisory Group speaks about strategies for identifying and managing unprecedented issues in construction projects. In her remarks, she covers the importance of building a framework for processes and controls to ultimately respond to or mitigate risks. Following the interview, Emily Federico will join Ankura expert Colleen Lenz and Sara Bryant of Murtha Cullina LLP at the upcoming The Women Who Build Summit to further discuss her insights and guidance to proceed.
The first issue to consider is the lack of attention given early in people's careers to building acumen. This can hinder their ability to respond to future risks with litigation and arbitration. To alleviate this risk, it is important to establish a process of action from the beginning of a project. Communication is also critical, especially when there is a recognizable issue, as knowing where to take it can prevent future problems.
Individual project teams may not understand what constitutes notice in their contract or when to provide it. Establishing clear guidelines for notice can give everyone on the team an opportunity to make decisions and allow for an open discussion about whether to proceed.
Delay, whether excusable or not, is also a significant issue. COVID-19 has impacted many vendors and suppliers, leading to suspensions on deliveries and COVID-19 claims. This has resulted in a loss of productivity and delays. Vertical transportation, such as elevators with capacity restrictions, has added a significant amount of waiting time. Lost time with hand washing and temperature checks has also been an issue. Supplier and vendor procurement has been impacted as well, particularly for overseas equipment or materials. In response, "pandemic" can now be found written into contracts, but there remains uncertainty about what claims constitute as compensable.
Documentation is crucial in construction jobs, and there is variability in what needs to be documented. It is important to have a project schedule that aligns with specifications, accurate daily reports that include any issues, and cost records that code every change. Critical documentation is essential as if it is not documented, it is not considered done.
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