As a result of new restrictions, the majority of Irish construction projects effectively ceased all physical work on sites from 6 pm on Friday 8 January last week.
There are some very limited exceptions permitted, which are set out under the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No. 10) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. These exceptions can be summarised as follows:
- Essential health and related projects and essential educational facilities at primary and post-primary level
- Certain essential projects at Technological University Dublin Campus Grangegorman
- Construction or development of social housing, subject to the following conditions:
- The local authority/ approved housing body confirms that the completion of the housing project is necessary to alleviate homelessness, overcrowding etc
- The project is or is intended to be funded in whole or in part by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage
- The project is scheduled to be completed by 28 February 2021
- Essential works on vacant residential properties, owned or controlled by a local authority/approved housing body, necessary to allow for allocation to those on social housing waiting list, scheduled to be completed by 28 February 2021
- Works of adaptation relating to a housing adaptation grant where the person in respect of whom the grant is payable consents to the work being carried out
- Construction or development funded by the pyrite remediation scheme, scheduled to be completed by 31 January 2021, where the completion of such construction or development is essential to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid -19
- The repair, maintenance and construction of critical transport and utility infrastructure
- The supply and delivery of essential or emergency maintenance and repair services to businesses and places of residence
- Housing construction and completion works ongoing on 8 January 2021 where such works are scheduled to enable occupation by 31 January 2021
- Construction and development projects necessary for the maintenance of supply chains in respect of certain manufacturing services and certain information and communications services
- Construction and development projects relating to the direct supply of medical products for Covid-19
The text of the statutory instrument can be viewed here together with a full list of exemptions.
Following the lessons learned from the first wave of the pandemic, many contracting parties sought to negotiate bespoke “Covid Clauses” within their construction contracts with a view to managing and apportioning risk for Covid related project delays and cost increases. In the past 9 months, LK Shields have been at the forefront of negotiating these clauses on behalf of Employers and Contractors and (where applicable) getting them approved by financial institutions and investors in Irish projects. If you require advice with regard to Covid Clauses, the restrictions or what your obligations or entitlements are under the construction contracts, please do not hesitate to a member of our Projects and Construction Team.