March 20, 2020

ConsensusDocs Addresses Coronavirus Delay Risk Explicitly, Other Standard Documents Do Not 

By: Brian Perlberg, Esq. ConsensusDocs Executive Director & Senior Counsel.

ConsensusDocs contracts, such as ConsensusDocs 200 Owner/Constructor Agreement with General Conditions, section 6.3.1(j) explicitly allows for delays that are reasonably due to epidemics. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) A201 nor any other standard construction contracts, explicitly mention epidemics or pandemics. The AIA A201 does have a catch all that allows for an extension of time for “other causes that the Contractor asserts, and the Architect determines justify delay.”  Given today’s concerns, a specific reference to epidemics, like the one in ConsensusDocs is much more preferable. Moreover, in states like New York, there is case law that would preclude a claim under the AIA A201 language, but would allow it under a ConsensusDocs contract because epidemics are specifically articulated. Going forward, you should consider including an escalation clause, like what is in the ConsensusDocs 200.1 Time Impacted Materials Addendum to help address volatile cost concerns. Look to the AGC of America COVID-19 webpage at https://www.agc.org/coronavirus-covid-19 for additional helpful resources, such as a sample notice of delay letter. Contact AGC Sr. Counsel Brian Perlberg at brian.perlberg@agc.org if you have additional questions.