9 April 2021 – Publication of Supplementary Note 4 – January 2021 Public Health Measures

On 30 March 2021, the Government announced the phased easing of the public health measures first introduced in January 2021. Amongst other measures, these regulations require the continued closure of all non-essential construction sites until 4 May 2021. Certain categories of construction project will, however, be permitted to re-start works from 12 April 2021.

In consideration of the financial burden this further period of site closure will place on Contractors, the OGP has today published a note recommending that Employers consider extending the ex gratia relief previously proposed by the OGP until 4 May 2021 (or, if earlier, the permitted date of site re-opening).

This note is the fourth in a sequence of notes supplementing guidance first published by the OGP on 12 February 2021 and provides guidance for all contracts entered into either before, on, or after 14 April 2020.

Further information on Supplementary Note 4 – January 2021 Public Health Measures is available here.

11 March 2021 – OGP Publishes Supplementary Note 3 – ex gratia payment extension

On 5 March 2021, the government extended the public health measures first introduced in January 2021 until 5 April 2021. Amongst other measures, these regulations require the closure of all non-essential construction sites.

In consideration of the continuing financial burden this additional period of site closure will place on Contractors, the OGP has today published a note recommending that Employers consider extending the ex gratia payments previously proposed by the OGP until 5 April 2021.

This note is the third in a sequence of notes supplementing guidance first published by the OGP on 12 February 2021 and provides guidance for all contracts entered into either before, on, or after 14 April 2020.

Further information on the Supplementary Note 3 – January Public Health Measures is available here.

 

5 March 2021 – Publication of model forms of the Covid-19 Site Closure Supplemental Agreement for use with standards forms of PW-CF6 and PW-CF7 

Today, the OGP has published model forms of the Covid-19 Site Closure Supplemental Agreement, which are compatible for use with standards forms of PW-CF6 and PW-CF7 respectively. These should be used in conjunction with the supplementary guidance notes (as appropriate to the date that PW-CF6 or PW-CF7 contract was made) and the Covid Costs Notices published by the OGP on 26 February 2021.

Further information is available here.

26 February 2021 – Publication of supplementary guidance documents and model forms of Supplemental Agreements in order to give effect to the proposed ex gratia scheme announced on 12 February 2021

On 12 February 2021, the OGP published guidance to Contracting Authorities party to the standard forms of Public Works Contract regarding the public health measures introduced on 8 January 2021. Amongst other measures, this guidance recommended these Contracting Authorities consider a scheme of ex gratia payments be made to Contractors affected by site closures under the public health measures. Today, the OGP has published a series of supplementary guidance documents and model forms of Supplemental Agreements in order to give effect to this proposed ex gratia scheme.

Further information is available here.

12 February 2021  – OGP publishes note in relation to public health measures announced on 6 January 2021

On 6 January 2021, the Government announced public health measures aimed at limiting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic (the “closure order”).  Inter alia, the public health measures required non-essential construction sites to close between 6pm on 8 January 2021 and 31 January 2021.  On 26 January 2021, the closure order was extended to apply  until 5 March 2021.  The OGP has today published a note that:

  1. Outlines the provision for delay and cost in the standard forms of public works contracts (“Public Works Contracts”) arising from the current circumstances for those sites impacted by the closure order (“affected pwc construction sites”);
  2. Sets out recommendations for ex gratia payments by Employers to Contractors in relation to affected pwc construction sites where the works were procured using Public Works Contracts* ; and
  3. Provides advance notice of a forthcoming amendment to the  Public Works Contracts for future contracts.

*Supplementary guidance and other material will be published separately.

As in its Covid related 2020 publications, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) continues to encourage Employers and Contractors to take a collaborative approach to dealing with the impacts of the closure order on public works contracts.

Further information is available here.

11 December 2020 – Participants required for Office of Government Procurement’s Review of the operation of the roles of Standing Conciliator and the Project Board

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is undertaking a Review of the dispute resolution procedures in the public works contracts (the Review). As part of the Review we are seeking expressions of interest to participate in the Review of the operation of the roles of Standing Conciliator and the Project Board. If you have past and/or current experience and working knowledge of the roles of the Standing Conciliator and the Project Board, the OGP would like to hear from you.

Initially, we are seeking expressions of interest to participate in a survey and interview as part of the primary research stage (Stage 1) of the Review.  The survey and interviews will be carried out by Indecon International Consultants on behalf of the OGP and all contributions will remain anonymous.  Those submitting an expression of interest should ideally be or have been*:

– Appointed to the role of Standing Conciliator
– An Employer/Employer’s Personnel
– A Contractor/Contractor’s Personnel
– An Employer’s Representative (ER)
– A Contractor’s Representative/Contract Manager/Project Manager
– A Design Team Consultant
– Appointee to a Project Board

*On projects where the works stage has been ongoing for at least 12 months

If you are interested in participating in this survey and interview and possess the relevant experience as outlined above, please notify us of your expression of interest via the link here.

The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 15 January 2021.

Background of the Review

The Standing Conciliator role and the Project Board were introduced in 2016 in response to the OGP’s ‘Report on the Performance Review of the Public Works Contract’ in 2014.  The report sets out a series of interim recommendations for the procurement of public works projects under the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) including:

– The introduction of an informal dispute resolution process at senior management level within the respective organisations that are parties to the Contract – the Project Board – for the purpose of reviewing disputes with the intent of reaching a resolution.

– The introduction of a Standing Conciliator for pre-dispute management purposes, in order to encourage proper engagement between the Parties and assist in the avoidance of disputes.

More detailed information is available in the OGP’s CWMF Guidance Note 3.1.1 on dispute resolution.

Engagement of Consultants

Indecon International Consultants have been appointed by the OGP to undertake an investigation of the current operation of the Project Board and the Standing Conciliator role.  The investigation will involve gathering empirical data from industry practitioners involved in public works projects where Standing Conciliators and Project Boards have been appointed.  This research constitutes Stage 1 of the Review.  The data gathered will be collated and analysed by Indecon Consultants who will then, at the end of Stage 1, prepare a report for the OGP setting out conclusions and recommendations.  It is the intention of the OGP to publish a summary of all findings and recommendations along with a position paper on dispute resolution under the public works contracts during Stage 2 of the Review.

Methodology

– Stage 1

The research is programmed to take place over a 12-month period commencing in December 2020.

Phase 1 – Structuring:
During this phase a database of possible survey and interview participants will be compiled in order to aid in the design of the sampling methodology.  It should be noted that not all who express an interest in participating in the research may be contacted.

Phase 2 – Gathering the Empirical Data:
During this phase an international practice review will take place.  The survey design will be finalised prior to the initiation of research fieldwork, concluding with interviews with participants selected from the expressions of interest.  Phases 1 and 2 are scheduled to be completed within the first 6 months of the programme.

Phase 3 – Analysing Empirical Data:
The empirical data collected from the research, surveys and interviews will be analysed and reported to the OGP during Phase 3.

Phase 4 – Reporting:
In this last phase of Stage 1, all detailed conclusions and recommendations will be formulated and reviewed prior to Indecon Consultants issuing their final report to the OGP.  This will conclude the involvement of Indecon Consultants in the Review.

– Stage 2

Stage 2 will be carried out by the OGP in conjunction with the Government Construction Contracts Committee (GCCC). It will involve the evaluation of the data and recommendations reported from Stage 1 and conducting further analysis, if necessary, before publishing a position paper and thereafter considering policy amendments to the dispute resolution provisions in the suite of public works contracts.

Please be advised that participants can withdraw from the Review at any point.

If you have any queries please contact publicworkscontractsreview@per.gov.ie.

10 December 2020 – Publication of OGP Brexit Information Note December 2020

Please note that the fourth in a series of information notes prepared by the OGP’s Policy Unit aimed to provide guidance for public bodies charged with dealing with public procurement and the management of public contracts in the context of changes which will arise due to Brexit has been published.

This update note is intended to provide public bodies with advice on actions they may wish to take in the context of Brexit and its implications for public procurement in Ireland.

The OGP Brexit Information Note December 2020 is available to download here.

23 July 2020 – Note: Guidance on Protocol Measures in Live and Future Tenders published

In consideration of the impact the measures required by the Return to Work Safely Protocol (the ‘Protocol’) may have on works programmes, the OGP has today published a Note providing guidance for Contracting Authorities regarding both ongoing and future works and works-related services tenders. This Note provides guidance for three scenarios:

  1. Where the tender process was initiated before publication of the Protocol, the deadline for receipt of Tenders has passed, and the Contract has not yet been awarded.
  2. Where the tender process was initiated before publication of the Protocol and the deadline for receipt of Tenders has not yet passed.
  3. Where the tender process has not yet commenced.

The note is available to download here.

09 July 2020 – Template: Covid Co-operation Framework published

The OGP has today published the template ‘Covid Co-operation Framework’ outlined in its Note published on 24 June 2020. This template framework may be used by Employers party to the standard forms of Public Works Contract listed below to engage with Contractors on a ‘without prejudice’ basis in respect of the implementation of measures on construction sites required under the Return to Work Safely Protocol.

The Covid Co-operation Framework consists of two documents: (1) Letter Agreement, and (2) Covid Notice.

Letter Agreement

The Letter Agreement for use with PW-CF1-5 is available to download here.

The Letter Agreement for use with PW-CF6 is available to download here.

The Letter Agreement for use with PW-CF7 is available to download here.

Covid Notice

The Covid Notice appended to the Letter Agreement is available to download in an  editable format here.  Note that this Covid Notice is compatible with all three Letter Agreements provided above.

Further guidance on the use of the Covid Co-operation Framework can be found in the Note published on 24 June 2020, available to download here.

The OGP has also published today an addendum to the Note of 24 June 2020 providing guidance on the use of the Covid Co-operation Framework in conjunction with PW-CF6 and PW-CF7, available to download here.

24 June 2020 – Note: Covid Co-operation Framework published

Since 18 May 2020 construction activity has been returning on all construction sites that were previously deemed non-essential in the context of the public health measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19. This includes the vast majority of public works projects.

In consideration of the challenges that the Return to Work Safely Protocol introduces to certain construction operations, the Office of Government Procurement is today publishing guidance for those Employers that are currently party to a standard form Public Works Contract (PWC) in relation to the implementation, by contractors, of the measures associated with meeting the requirements of the Protocol on construction sites. A template document formalising the agreement described in this note will be published next week.

This is the latest in a series of notes aimed at mitigating the impact of the necessary public health measures on the delivery of projects under the National Development Plan.

The note is available to download here.