Planning for the construction industry Christmas shutdown period

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Things to consider and how to prepare

Most construction workers will enjoy a well-earned break over Christmas as the industry grinds to a halt for the so-called shutdown period. While everyone loves a holiday, there is some vital preparation to do before this period to ensure you don’t return to an administrative disaster zone. Counting days, being aware of late payments, and using the correct invoicing procedure ahead of time will save you headaches when you return to work early in the new year. At All Star Access Hire, we keep working throughout the shutdown period, providing you with the usual high standard of assistance, including our 24/7 breakdown service. The following are a few things to keep in mind before the shutdown period.


Counting days

Principals, superintendents, and contractors will all be familiar with the infamous counting of days when it comes to accounting for the shutdown period. There are various reasons that days need to be counted, including:

  • Meeting completion deadlines
  • Organising subcontractors and other workers for labour and site security
  • Sending out payment claims and invoices as well as schedules
  • Forecasting delays and making extension requests

If you’re staging a contract for a project that will run over Christmas and the New Year, you need to consider the shutdown period. You may also need to consider the additional time it may take to secure the site before Christmas and open it in the new year after the shutdown period has finished.


Late payments

Statutory payment claims or applications for adjudication under the Security of Payment legislation can cause trouble during the festive period, when integral staff members may be away. An office or site closure may mean that claims become due over the shutdown period; therefore, a company may not respond quickly enough. This is a big issue when the Security of payment due dates are set in stone. To avoid repercussions, any claims received before the shutdown period should be reviewed and responded to promptly before office closures.

You can avoid missing a statutory Security of Payment due date by taking precautions such as:

  • Keep an eye on all inboxes and site offices for service of notices and online portals immediately before the shutdown period.
  • Delegate responsibility for responses to notices and claims to a specific person over the shutdown period.
  • Monitor due dates for payments and establish a system to respond where they fall within the shutdown period or early in the new year when staff may still be on leave.


Invoices during shutdown periods

If you need to invoice at the end of the year, you will need to check your contract with the other party to see how a shutdown period may alter your invoicing schedule. Here are some considerations that you may need to make when invoicing near shutdown periods:

  • Does the contract refer to days or ‘business days’ when discussing the time for payment?
  • If the phrase ‘business days’ is used, does this definition exclude public holidays or the shutdown period?
  • Is there a term in the contract that outlines that if an action such as invoicing or payment falls on a non-business day, then it must be done on the next business day?

As you can see, even with sending off invoices at the end of the year, there are intricacies involved. It’s best practice to always check contracts with third parties when unsure of your obligations to other entities.


Equipment security and maintenance

Another aspect of the shutdown period is site and equipment security. The work site must be adequately protected from equipment theft or vandalism. The shutdown period is also the perfect time to consider your equipment service and maintenance needs. Proper maintenance ensures that your equipment can meet the demands of performance upon resuming post-Christmas shutdown.


All Star Access Hire over the festive season

While most companies shut over Christmas, here at All Star, we keep working all the way through, supporting you with your every access hire need. We are typically busy over the ‘shutdown’ period, so if you require scheduled maintenance on your equipment, book it ASAP. Our 24/7 breakdown line will still be available, and our mechanics will be hard at work repairing our customers’ equipment.

Find out more about maintenance and servicing.

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