Contractor’s preparation guide for the December Holidays

by | Oct 28, 2022


Although the following information is addressed to contractors, it will also be of value to everybody anticipating shutting down during December.

By now we are all looking forward to the end of the year. However, not without being faced with the dilemma of having to “batten down the hatches” and review risk mitigation measures, to take care of the forces of nature and other perils, that are real risks of our everyday lives.

Consort would like to share some valuable information that may help, not only our Contractors and Subcontractors, but all Insureds, during a period when you may become more vulnerable and exposed. It is a time of the year when ideally, we all need peace of mind knowing we have done the best we could to ensure a relaxing holiday without having unnecessary worries.  Consort has formulated some tips and ideas to help you plan for the December holidays.


We are likely to experience an “abnormal” period of what is expected to be heavy downpours and flooding, following the return of the La Niña storm phenomenon. There are predictions and warnings of severe weather conditions occurring any time from November 2022 to January 2023, and maybe even further into the New Year. For Contractors and Subcontractors, now is the time to prepare for the possible onset of loss or damage to building materials, processing equipment, machinery, as well as construction plant and equipment. 


Theft, flood, vandalism, malicious damage, sabotage, and fire are some of the main perils that construction plant and equipment are exposed to. Considering a very strong likelihood of adverse weather conditions expected in the coming months, construction plant and equipment can be extremely vulnerable to water damage. Consort has witnessed this with the KwaZulu-Natal floods in April this year, when millions of rands worth of damage were caused to equipment ranging from cranes, to forklift trucks, to dozers, and other “yellow metal” plant and equipment.

A very important consideration and reminder to all Contractors and Subcontractors is to make sure “lay down” or plant storage areas are free from exposure to fire risks, and that grass or vegetation is cleared away. Fire breaks and other fire prevention or mitigation measures should be a priority, especially where there is an accumulation of plant and equipment including building materials and the like. Damage by condensation to piled storage risks should also be considered. 


Crime is rampant throughout the country and probably the worst it has been for the past decade or so. The criminal element is working around the clock looking for “soft targets”. In the construction industry, theft of construction plant and equipment, including malicious damage and vandalism, have become major concerns for Insurers.  With the upcoming builders’ annual holiday, Consort would like to remind Contractors and Subcontractors to consider a safe and secure environment for their construction plant and equipment, whether it be stored in the yard or at the contract site. Be aware that in some instances, plant all risks policies have restrictions and / or limitations.  It is also important to ensure that the on- or off-site security arrangements are adequate.  Check that your security service provider is equipped with all the necessary technology and manpower to provide a professional back-up service.     


During the December shutdown period, an open or exposed contract site is where different perils can bring about a host of losses or damage. In preparation of the site, it is recommended to draw up a table of potential exposures, and to address them one by one.  For example, storm or flooding on earthworks platforms.  Make sure you have your rain gauges erected in a position where accurate measurements can be taken. Regular measurements should be taken and recorded.  Perimeter security such as lighting and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras should be fully operational prior to the shutdown. 


Where possible, switch off and unplug all equipment not in use – if unable to switch off equipment, it is recommended that your surge protection devices and systems are checked prior to the holidays.


Before you lock up and go, make sure the premises are free of debris, free of combustible goods, and are tidy. Clean up and remove all debris and articles that can be inducive to fire and / or blocking of water drainage. Prevention is better than cure.


In July 2021, South Africa experienced one the worst disasters in the history of the country. A politically inspired event lead thousands of citizens and foreign nationals to a spree of looting, rioting, destruction of property, and the killing of innocent people.  The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were deployed to try and take control of the situation and arrest the perpetrators.  Sadly, the situation went out of control, but for those clients who were fortunate enough to have had South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) protection, there was some relief. It cost SASRIA billions of rands.  We remind our Contractors and Subcontractors of all the construction plant and equipment, including materials that could be exposed to a SASRIA related incident.  One can definitely not afford to be without this cover.  Consult your Financial Services Provider / Broker or Intermediary to get more information about this cover and its beneficial extensions if you do not currently have SASRIA in place.  


As we mentioned in the content of this message to our Contractors and Subcontractors, virtually every engineering insurance policy (let alone other types of policies), have warranties and / or conditions imposed as part of the contract agreement between the client and the Insurer. We cannot emphasise enough the need to familiarise yourself with these warranties, terms, provisions, conditions, and exceptions of your policy.  If in doubt, always feel free to consult your Financial Services Provider / Broker or Intermediary.

Consort, their stakeholders and staff wish you a peaceful and well-earned break.