Project Closeout Starts at the Pre-Construction Meeting

Project closeout should be one of the most celebrated phases of any construction project. The design team can see their knowledge and planning put to actual use; the construction team can pack up their equipment and “turn over the keys” and the owner can finally achieve functional use of the building or area that they have wanted or needed since initial project conception.

Project closeout can also be one of the most frustrating phases of a construction project due to any combina­tion of the following:

  • Completion of inspections and punch list items
  • Scheduling of systems commissioning, demonstration and training
  • Submission of record documents
  • Resolving claims and disputes
  • Completion of releases and final certificates.

Causes for these frustrations can be attributed to personnel being assigned to other projects, insufficient al­location of time, and lack of financial incentive. One way to improve the closeout process is to start talking about project closeout at the pre-construction meeting before construction begins and again at a pre-close­out meeting before substantial completion. Some important items to review at these meeting include:

  • List of all required closeout documents and requirements
  • Start-up, testing, adjusting and balancing of systems and equipment procedures
  • Scheduling and agendas for commissioning, demonstrations and training
  • Completion of contractor’ s initial punch list prior to architect/engineer inspection
  • Architect/engineer and owner final punch lists including tracking of completion and back-checks
  • Record drawing and submittals formatting and review procedures
  • Operation and maintenance manual format and content
  • Extra stock materials, tools list and turnover procedures.

Many of these items are detailed in different sections of the project manual, but are often overlooked, or forgotten, later in the project. Extracting these requirements, consolidating them into checklists and discuss­ing them at construction meetings will ease the transition from construction phase to occupancy phase and leave parties with the satisfaction of a job well done.

For more information on how you can benefit from a seamless project closeout process, contact Bob Sells, PE at or (717) 845-7654.

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