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Scott Lambert

Yesterday (25 March 2020) the Dubai Government issued a directive that all private sector companies and commercial establishments (excluding pharmacies, cooperative societies, grocery stores and supermarkets) implement a remote work system for 80% of employees to 9 April 2020.

On the first reading of the directive it appeared that construction sites may have to shut down.

The Dubai Economy website offers further clarification however the exemptions from the directive, while including car workshops and other workshops and technical and electrical services, do not appear to cover construction works on site.

This directive was then further clarified yesterday evening by a further circular which clearly stated that construction, contracting and building materials is a critical industry that is excluded from the directive but should take necessary precautionary measures with due regard to the guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing.

You should ensure that these guidelines on sanitisation and social distancing are practised on your sites and in relation to the transport of the workforce to and from site.

If a further directive is given which removes this exclusion it will cause a cessation or significant impairment to work progressing on site with any project.

In light of the rapidly changing situation both Employers and Contractors should immediately review their contracts to plan on how to respond should this occur. This review should include the programme, change of law, force majeure and notice of claim clauses.

The effect of giving notice under different clauses may have implications on entitlements for additional time or cost. It is essential that any notice be given under the correct clause, be properly drafted, given as required by the contract and be given within the time required.

It is imperative that any planned response be considered and be in accordance with the contract otherwise the cost implications could be significant.

For more information or assistance on any of this, please contact Scott Lambert on the details below.

Scott Lambert
Partner
E: s.lambert@beale-law.com
T: +971 (0) 4 356 3904