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Stop work orders are a nightmare for contractors

General contractors in Idaho and around the country are often required to pay liquidated damages when their projects are not completed on time, which means they do everything they can to keep things moving. Stop work orders prevent them from doing this because they order them to halt construction until some sort of problem is resolved. Addressing the issues that lead to stop work orders can take days or even weeks, which could be ruinously expensive for contractors working on slim profit margins.

Stop work orders

Stop work orders are legally binding when they are issued by government agencies like planning or environmental control departments. They are most often issued to contractors when changes have been made to a building’s design and new planning approval is required. Officials can also order work stoppages when:

  • Workplace safety regulations are violated
  • Contractors do not have workers’ compensation insurance in place
  • Unlicensed contractors are being used
  • Hazardous materials are discovered
  • Environmental laws are being broken

Dealing with stop work orders

When officials issue stop work orders, they must let contractors know what has to be done before construction can be restarted. This usually involves obtaining planning permission, implementing safety measures or removing toxic materials. Stop workers can close down part of a construction site, or they can bring an entire project to a halt. Contractors that allow work to continue after receiving a stop work order can face stiff fines that accumulate daily just like liquidated damages.

Avoiding stop work orders

Stop work orders can usually be avoided by making sure that proper planning permission is obtained, workers’ compensation coverage is in place and workplace safety regulations and environmental laws are followed. If these steps are not taken before work commences, construction could be halted and profits may all but vanish.