As the most active months of hurricane season approach, it is important to review your company’s protocols and procedures should a storm make landfall near one of your jobsites. Many Florida counties and municipalities have statutory requirements for ensuring the safety and security of active construction sites in the event of a hurricane – most of which require fastening of materials, removal of lightweight debris, and protection of laborers. While it is important to be up to date on the requirements in your locality, a question that usually arises during these situations – a question that the local statutes generally do not provide for – is who bears the cost and responsibility of ensuring these safety precautions are implemented properly?
The best way to fairly allocate the risk and cost of implementing these measures is through specific language in your prime/sub agreements. A hurricane safety provision should always aim to accomplish two things:
- Abide by the local laws and rules regarding responsibility of securing the jobsite, and
- Fairly distribute the responsibility and cost amongst contractors on the site such that no single party is overburdened by this responsibility.
While there are many ways to fairly allocate this risk, one of the most popular and effective options is to provide the owner/GC a flat fee price for ensuring your work on the jobsite will be secured according to the local rules in the event of a hurricane. Other contracts will call for reimbursement of the costs associated with following the local hurricane safety rules.
It is important to keep in mind the other provisions of your agreement that may be affected by a hurricane, including performance deadlines and material costs. The best way to ensure that your exposure is limited under these circumstances is to review your contracts with your construction attorney before it is too late.
Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.