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Winston Churchill once said, (some say he didn’t say it) “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Unfortunately during the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems there have been incidents that reflect this thinking. HRAI encourages charity and goodwill in all your dealings at this time, but we also caution members not to leave themselves open to victimization from unlucky occurrences and unscrupulous parties with cynical intentions.

If you are in the middle of HVAC and construction projects that you have halted willingly or by regulation, you should protect yourself from the ravages of time and weather, from your own knowing or unknowing neglect or liability, and of course, from the poor excuses of those taking advantage of the crisis.


Protecting your investment in a project is always hard, but more difficult when a forced stoppage occurs with an indefinite end date. If your contract permits you to invoice the project owner for work to date, it would be a good idea to consider doing this as soon as possible. We are experiencing not just a contagious illness, but also a contagious economic downturn. Companies are going to be hurt. Protect yours.

Prompt Payment rules recently became law in Ontario and several other provinces, and unless a government has made announcements to the contrary, they likely remain in force. Consult your lawyer.

Click this link to an earlier HRAI story on prompt payment in Ontario. Several provinces have set up government web sites containing guidance under the topic of ‘prompt payment.’


HRAI’s COVID-19 information portal can be found at this link. It contains information on government financial supports available to companies during the crisis. It also provides guidance for companies that need more clarity on specific situations. For example, if you have a project in Ontario and are not sure whether it must be halted and/or whether prompt payment rules will be relaxed, you can call 1-888-444-3659.


How has the site been left during the pause? Companies have responsibilities and the COVID-19 pandemic may not serve as an adequate explanation for ignoring them. Is equipment properly shut down? If so, is it adequately protected from the elements? If the equipment is required to be operating to protect the project owner’s assets, has this been clarified and properly managed? Are special arrangements such as desiccant heaters, cameras, remote monitoring, and insurance company inspections needed?

Here are some links to articles that may serve as useful references:

Desiccant heaters and more

Insurance company notes on fire, water, and theft

Preparing the job site for severe or winter weather:

Preparing the job site for summer weather:

Electrical lockout/tag out notes:


In the unfortunate situation where you must make a claim for damages at a job site, the link below might be helpful. LEVELSET is a construction payment consultant in New Orleans. The article covers legalities and its first section may not be particularly useful for the COVID-19 situation, as it involves defining the cause of the delay, but the piece also offers a list of what to consider including in delay costs, that may prove helpful.