Professional and Career Topics

  • 1.  Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 09-29-2021 10:00 AM
    I am in the process of hiring a contractor for work on my house.  I received a contract and thought about adding a Covid-19 clause to it, but held off.  The HVAC and other service folks I have had, have been respectful of the house rules throughout the pandemic.  Having kids under 12 in the house, we adhere to them firmly.  The project manager assigned to the project arrived unvaccinated, removed his mask several times, exhibited symptoms, and reported that he tested positive recently.  This contractor has been removed for the project and I am currently in the process of signing a new contract with someone else.  As the owner of the jobsite and a party to the contract, I am free to modify the contract as I see fit.

    How should Covid-19 clauses be added to a contract?  Should it address vaccines, masks, testing, or symptoms specifically?  Should the clause be specific to Covid-19 or a general health provision that could be used once the pandemic subsides?  Will such clauses be an impediment to getting the work done?

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    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 2.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-04-2021 10:06 AM

    In my previous internship I witnessed a large project being held for a while because of the rise of COVID cases in the area. All meetings and agenda are held and discussed by the client and contracting company and make decisions and deals how they could possibly start it without visiting the site. In "How should Covid-19 clauses be added to a contract?" well firstly it affects the timeline of project and understanding the delays, limited site meetings but concise agenda must be done or more on virtual meeting, and probably required fully vaccinated employees. While in "Should it address vaccines, masks, testing, or symptoms specifically?" employees might do rapid COVID testing before giving a permission that they go on the site/ state. And more importantly following simple restrictions while on the site like wearing mask, having 1 meter distances, and good hygiene practices among your people. "Should the clause be specific to Covid-19 or a general health provision that could be used once the pandemic subsides?" Yes, for safeties, the contract must be clear, the consequences must discussed accordingly, and the budget during the pandemic must be plain. And "Will such clauses be an impediment to getting the work done?" It depends how you will submit to the terms and conditions of the contract sufficiently. I believe they will give you ultimatum, and expect they can turn over the contract, but as long as you can communicate well, then decide if you can stand with it and worth while. I wish you all the best luck in your company. 

    I'm also adding some documented linked relevant with your questions. Please checked.

    https://www.bloomberglaw.com/product/health/document/X3NNK6S4000000

    And subject matter like the article below:

    https://www.clarkslegal.com/Blog/Post/Covid19_clause_extensions_of_time_and_additional_cost_

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    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    Student
    City of General Trias Cavite
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  • 3.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-04-2021 09:08 PM
    Chad, you are free to do as you please around your own home.  The Society's Board of Direction at their meeting today reaffirmed the Society's position that all attendees at ASCE-sponsored events going forward, MUST be vaccinated against COVID-19.  Many other organizations, including the Federal Government, have adopted similar mandates, so I think you are on pretty solid ground if you were to include a similar requirement in any contract you sign for work at your home.

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    Lawrence Magura P.E., D.WRE(Ret.), F.ASCE
    OWNER
    Lake Oswego OR
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  • 4.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-05-2021 02:57 PM
    As a party to the contract, you are not free to modify as you see fit unless both parties agree.  This is going to cause issues with contracting as an existing contract can usually be cancelled for convenience if this clause exists, but you would still owe the contractor for any work completed and this gets sticky as you have an incomplete project.

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    Paul Wood P.E., M.ASCE
    SR STRUCTURAL E
    Charleston County
    North Charleston SC
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  • 5.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-05-2021 03:55 PM
    Thank you all for your input!  I agree, the contract can only be modified prior to being signed by both parties.  I think I need to add a vaccination requirement and mask requirement (for unvaccinated).  Without the mask provision, there could be too much latitude in not fulfilling the contract for arbitrary reasons.  I also do not want to be in the position of verifying vaccine documents.

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    Chad Morrison P.E., F.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 6.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-27-2021 07:57 AM
    I work on a job site with 350 person, and we all have a vaccination mandate on top of a mask mandate. I don't think its hard to ask for such a standard, and I would think a caring contractor in the residential home market would be able to do the basic of making his/her client feel at ease. It's your home.

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    Charles Ou-Yang S.M.ASCE
    Yorba Linda CA
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  • 7.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-11-2021 10:40 AM
    COVID 19 will be cover by Health and safety with the standard Contract, especially with the presence of Vaccines nowadays.

    May I know what type of contract you use for this scope?

    Ensure that the contractor has its own All Risk Insurances.

    Any cost related that will be generated during the execution of work can be check with their unforeseen items(contingency).



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    Manolito Cresencio A.M.ASCE
    QS Qupervisor
    Riyadh
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  • 8.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-18-2021 04:58 PM
    Here is the language in all Washington State Department of Transportation contracts (including consultant contracts)

    Governor's Proclamation 20-05/21-14
    3 The Contractor, by submitting its Bid, agrees that it will comply with Governor's
    4 Proclamations 20-05 as amended and 21-14 as amended, regarding COVID-19
    5 Vaccination Requirements, and that it will require its workers, service providers,
    6 subcontractors, suppliers, and their workers to comply as well. Furthermore, prior to
    7 starting Work, the Contractor shall provide a Vaccine Declaration form (WSDOT
    8 Form #271-050).
    9
    10 The Proclamations are available at: https://www.governor.wa.gov/office-governor/official-actions/proclamations

    12
    13 All costs related to the Governor's Proclamations shall be considered included with
    14 or incidental to other Bid items

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    Susan Everett P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Manager
    Seattle WA
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  • 9.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-28-2021 10:33 AM

    Contracts may have clauses that refer to "Acts of God" which are meant to indemnify contractors from things beyond their control. Insurance companies use these quite often to limit what they pay out when things get beyond what humans normally control.

    If the not being vaccinated is the criteria for exposure concern, than your focus is backward, the people under 12 in your household are a cause for concern because they mingle with others under 12 and then potentially pose a threat to anyone entering your house unless you're testing your dependents legal frequently. So maybe one clause you need is an "Acts of God" to cover you and your legal dependents in case they infect someone, not vice versa.

    I'd say yes remove someone who clearly has symptoms, just bear in mind the vaccine masks more than it reveals. What you will need to do is require actual testing so you're dealing with reality, not supposition. Costs more than masks, but getting the stuff can be lethal.

    If you have to take legal action against someone, it always helps if you have actually taken some effective measure, like testing, to deal with the situation.

    W D Bala, PE, SE, MS Safety Engineering
    Professional Engineer
    Hawkins, Texas
    <o:p></o:p>



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    William Bala P.E., S.E., M.ASCE
    Owner
    Hawkins TX
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  • 10.  RE: Covid-19 Clause in Contract

    Posted 10-28-2021 08:56 PM
    You can add a COVID vaccine requirement into a contract and there are many examples on line.  I recommend you look at the Washington State Department of Transportation website or the King County (Washington) website for examples.

    I also recommend you keep unvaccinated family members out of the construction area for the duration of the construction.

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    Susan Everett P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Manager
    Seattle WA
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