Mastering Construction Closeout: Five Best Practices for an Effective Project Handover
Closeout, in many ways, is the unsung hero of construction. As Gary Ryan said, “Many will start fast, few will finish strong”, which is sadly sometimes true for construction projects.
We as builders and contractors are driven by a relentless passion for creation. We thrive on the excitement of tran sforming architectural blueprints and client's dreams into tangible structures and shaping the world around us. From moving dirt to topping out to installing the final finishes, there's an undeniable thrill in each phase of construction.
But here lies the paradox. While the construction phase brims with enthusiasm, creativity, and a sense of accomplishment, there's another essential phase in the building process that often takes a backseat—the closeout phase.
Closeout, in many ways, is the unsung hero of construction. As Gary Ryan said, “Many will start fast, few will finish strong”, which is sadly sometimes true for construction projects. Closeout information is essential for the smooth operation and maintenance of the building throughout its lifecycle. How you hand over the project leaves a lasting impression on the owner and helps build a lasting relationship.
Here are the five best practices each project team should follow for a smooth and impressive project handover.
Closeout begins on day one
This is not something that we have heard for the first time from the project teams but one would rarely see this being implemented religiously on the projects. Early planning and a well-defined closeout plan that outlines all necessary steps, timelines, and responsibilities are essential for a successful implementation of the early closeout strategy.
2. Client First
The closeout process is pivotal for the building owner as this is what drives the smooth building operation and maintenance throughout the lifecycle of the project. So when it comes to closeout, owners typically have a clear vision of what they need to manage and maintain their property effectively. These requirements from the owner can be
What type of information do they desire in the handover package? This can range from the more commonly included Maintenance information like Warranty certificates, As-builts, O&M, etc to contractual data like Lein forms, pay apps, etc.
How do they prefer the organization of the information and documents? As an example, some prefer project directory to be organized by trade or by division or by company.
How do they want the informed method? Some of the building owners would request only the hard copy of all these documents organized.
3. Communication is the Key
Maintaining open and transparent communication with all the stakeholders throughout the closeout process is important for smooth and effective results. By fostering strong communication, you build trust and demonstrate your commitment to delivering a successful project. Engaging with your project team, subcontractors, and suppliers, and clearly communicating your closeout plan to ensure everyone understands their roles and contributions along with the benefits of your plan of early closeouts.
4. Leverage technology
Collecting and organizing closeout documents is one of the most crucial and yet least exciting parts of the closeout process as many would like to say. Right from creating the closeout register, to requesting and verifying documents from the trades to indexing or creating a closeout manual, all the steps in this process can be cumbersome and laborious. But with the correct tools and proper strategies, these steps can be streamlined and automated to achieve the goal of effective and impressive project handover. Some of the benefits and efficiencies the closeout platform can add to your current process are
Track your closeout items more effectively without Sending follow-ups to the trade partners to collect the closeout documents
Automating the document and data organization of the closeout data
Generate a closeout manual that is automatically compiled & hyperlinked saving hours of manual labor to get this information organized for project handover
Make it intuitive and easy for the building owner to access the information digitally anywhere with mobile and web applications.
5. Deliver not just to satisfy
Meeting and exceeding the expectations of the building owner is at the heart of this exercise. The goal is to deliver a closeout package that not only meets these specifications but also anticipates the future needs of the building. Consider providing an interactive, digital handover package that includes user-friendly software or apps for presenting the handover package to the client. This accessibility is especially valuable for building owners and facility managers who need to access critical information about the building remotely or on the go.
Mastering construction closeout is a crucial aspect of delivering a successful project and leaving a lasting impression on clients. By following these best practices, the general contractors can ensure a smooth handover and achieve the goal of client satisfaction.
Emphasize the importance of attention to detail and collaboration with the project team to achieve a seamless transition from construction to occupancy. A well-executed closeout process reflects the commitment to delivering excellence, ultimately strengthening your reputation in the industry and fostering long-term client relationships.