Coronavirus crisis: impacts on the construction industry Even now each case is different
In the current crisis, construction companies may assume that, if a building project is disrupted by the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, they could automatically invoke Force Majeure, discontinue or restrict their services and request extensions of the construction period.
However, invoking Force Majeure is not that simple.
Example: A construction company has to allow for certain cases of illness, e.g. influenza during winter.
Force Majeure with regard to the absence of employees caused by the coronavirus crisis can only be assumed if it exceeds the usual level of absences. Scattered cases of coronavirus infections are therefore probably not sufficient.
The situation can be assessed differently in the case of extensive quarantine measures, extensive confinements or even shutdowns of companies.
Employees returning to their home countries as a precautionary measure for fear of infection, or border closures must again be assessed differently, they are most likely not considered consequences of Force Majeure.
Above all, a consideration under aspects of the coronavirus crisis becomes difficult if a construction company has already been in default before March 2020, i.e. before the Federal Government has initiated the measures, and the Force Majeure is not, or only partly, the cause.
A case-by-case consideration is therefore unavoidable.
Rechtsanwalt, Notar - registered office Frankfurt/Main