What’s the secret to a successful project closeout?

Activity in the construction sector has definitely picked up, and currently we do not see an end in sight. However, the pickup has been an increase in work, not an increase in project profits.
March 2, 2018

Jason Albu
Albu & Associates, Inc.
Winter Park, Fla.

Activity in the construction sector has definitely picked up, and currently we do not see an end in sight. However, the pickup has been an increase in work, not an increase in project profits. Contractors continue to work on very thin margins that leave very little room for mistakes and require diligence during project closeout.

During construction, the project team will work countless hours to ensure schedule, quality and budget are being met. However, at the time of certificate of occupancy, the team needs to provide a “kick finish” to the project. They have to stay motivated and work as quickly with all hands on deck to minimize the punch list.

As for the project documentation, that work starts at the time of submittals. The contractor needs to start collecting and requesting everything it can from the subcontractors to make sure the items are all in hand at project completion. In essence, project closeout can make or break the profitability of a project, and much care and attention needs to be applied to this process.

Matt Maynard
Vice President
Therrien Waddell, Inc.
Gaithersburg, Md.

One factor that can make or break a successful closeout is timeliness in providing the documentation needed to operate the new facility. During the final 10 percent of any project, we make sure the entire management team works together to identify and aggressively pursue the documents that need to be provided to the owner.

Letters are sent to each subcontractor and supplier confirming any operations and maintenance manuals related to their respective scopes of work. Then our project manager gets on the phone and explains the importance of turning over that information as quickly as possible. To ensure subcontractor and supplier buy-in, we tie final payment to delivery of closeout documents.

One of our recent closeout success stories involved a demanding data center client. Over one year, we delivered 12 phases of highly technical construction work with zero punch list items, and we were able to put tens of thousands of pages of documentation in the owner’s hands within one week.

Larry Rooney
Manhattan Construction Group
Tulsa, Okla.

Providing a positive closeout experience is the path to repeat business. It is one of the not-so-secret reasons behind our family business’s 122-year longevity.

We electronically track communications, contracts, product data, submittals, RFIs, schedules and drawings. Between mobile devices gathering real-time construction data, custom dashboards for client reporting preferences and electronic databases for project files, we can gather the traditional closeout data earlier in the construction process and with greater accuracy and efficiency.

By the time you get to the final days of a project, our teams focus on making sure the client and end users have every resource available to operate their new facilities.

The ultimate factor for determining the success of a closeout is how well our team members have serviced our clients throughout the project. We manage project goals from the very beginning and follow up well after project completion to ensure that every client is satisfied with their building experience.

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