NEC ECC: Working Area - In light of Covid-19 should it be changed to include dwellings or would it invite more problems?

Due to COVID-19, the requirement has been growing for changing the working area to accommodate those working from home. Should this be changed for those non-site based staff or could it create problems in itself?

The NEC Contract Board Chair has recently done a four-part short guidance video series which answers various questions for projects procured under NEC in this global pandemic.

It was raised in part four that the working area is designated just for work on this contract and not dwellings that are serving other functions. It was also highlighted that when extending the area to include homes, it would not only be the cost of people but charges such as electric and heating, therefore creating more problems.

This has been raised as I note in one of your previous responses to a similar question, that the PM has no reason not to accept the proposal to change the working area to suit.

In theory there is no limit to what you can add to the Working Areas, so long as it is used to Provide the Works and also not used for ‘other work’. One of the problems with such an arrangement, however, would be maintaining control over who is working, when they are working and what they are actually doing.

The potential for ‘other’ charges is subject to fairly strict tests from HMRC in terms of reimbursement for expenses, although up to £4 a week can be made without the need for supporting documentation. This may also be offset by a reduction in certain other costs, such as travel, subsistence, etc.

It is not an ideal situation and hopefully both parties will recognise that it requires reasonable changes to be made to accommodate Regulatory and guidance requirements.