What Should Be in a Contractor’s Disaster Recovery Plan?

Industry veterans share their best tips for creating an effective disaster recovery plan.
By Rachel E. Pelovitz
April 14, 2020

Michael W. Bennett
Vice President
Pittsfield, Maine

Cianbro’s disaster recovery plan is a documented process that includes step-by-step procedures to restore the company’s business to “normal” operations following a disaster. It includes who to contact, identifies our internal emergency response team and details the specific plans for each facility. The program also includes annual training and drills.

First and foremost, it begins with safety. We must ensure that our team, business partners and clients have a safe work environment to return to. We expect a thorough hazard assessment be completed for each disaster and a plan on how we will safely return to work.

Within our program, you will find a heavy emphasis on safety protocols, which outline our company-wide resources including tools, equipment and materials. The program provides the company’s succession plan, a communication strategy, as well as IT and data recovery.

We want to restore our business as quickly as possible to ensure we continue to support our client’s needs in a safe and efficient manner.

Dan Kapner
Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram, P.C.
Washington, DC

Natural disasters can strike at any moment and have the ability to cause unprecedented damage to communities.

When creating a disaster recovery plan, project participants must evaluate the availability and scope of insurance policies in place, including property, casualty, builders risk and other policies; the scope of coverage must also be determined, including whether the policies cover wind storm and flood damage, business interruption losses caused by delays and how project participants will collect and preserve materials necessary to substantiate claims.

In addition, it is critical that contractors carefully review and understand the particular terms of their construction contracts to identify applicable provisions or relevant to extreme or catastrophic weather events (such as delays, increases to costs of the work, claim submission requirements and disputes), as well as understand their rights and responsibilities so they are best equipped to get the project back on track.

John Reyhan
Manhattan Construction Company
Tulsa, Oklahoma

With three full-service offices in hurricane zones, Manhattan’s disaster recovery plan has been put to the test on several occasions.

Phase 1: Hurricane awareness. Six days in advance of landfall, our team initiates planning to secure operations, which provides team members time to make safety plans for homes and families.

Phase 2: Hurricane watch. 24-36 hours in advance of landfall, phone lines are transferred outside of the affected area. Pre-storm communications protocol and reporting are established.

Phase 3: Hurricane warning. 12-24 hours in advance of landfall, operations are secured. The safety lead issues notices for Phase 4 action and provides NOAA storm updates every few hours. The team evaluates post-storm damage potential and recovery options.

Phase 4: Damage prevention. 12 hours in advance of landfall, supervisors lockdown operations and leave the area.

Post-storm: Confirm the safety of team members and their families. Assess damage and needs.

by Rachel E. Pelovitz

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