Finishing a construction project can be hectic and, sometimes, even chaotic. The project team is often focused on finishing the obvious work, while sometimes also being distracted by moving onto their next project. Unfortunately, in the rush to complete the project many small, but sometimes important, items are overlooked which could ultimately delay completing the project. In some cases, they could prove costly when items aren’t executed properly.
To make matters worse contractors often start removing staff from a project before it’s finished so that project costs are reduced, or, so they can start a new project. Sometimes these are key team employees who often have project knowledge that could be essential to close out the project correctly.
To avoid problems, it’s worth preparing a completion list several weeks before the project is due to be completed, and then allocate ‘action items’, with their completion dates, to those responsible for completing the items. It’s important to ensure that subcontractors and suppliers are aware of items they must attend to – particularly when it comes to supplying documentation such as operations manuals and warranties. Many project handovers have been derailed by a subcontractor who didn’t fulfill all their obligations.
In some cases, it may even be prudent to prepare a completion schedule so that progress of the items can be monitored.
Here’s a construction project checklist of items to consider:
Some of the items which should be considered at the end of the project include:
- Tying in services and utilities (such as power, water, gas and in some cases roads and other infrastructure) to the permanent supplies and existing facilities. These connections often require additional planning since they may require shutting down of existing services which might impact the client’s operations and even neighbors.
- Completing all outstanding items. I’ve been called backed to a completed project when our client discovered we had omitted a concrete base for a piece of equipment they were installing. Not only was this embarrassing but it cost us a great deal of money since the project was a couple of hundred miles from our nearest other projects. So much simpler and cheaper if we had completed it while we were working on the project!
- Completing all commissioning and testing. Again, this can take several weeks and often can’t take place until the facility is complete and there is sufficient water, power, and other products.
- Completing all snag lists or punch lists, including those prepared by the client or their representative.
- Obtaining the certificate of practical completion from the client.
- Obtaining the required operations or occupation permits where required.
- Handing over quality documentation, commissioning data, operations manuals and warranties to the client.
- Handing over ‘as-built’ drawings.
- Where necessary, instructing the client on the operation of installed equipment.
- For buildings, handing over all the keys (which are clearly marked) to the client.
- Handing over all spare parts (as specified in the contract document) and client-purchased materials to the client.
- Getting the release of sureties or bonds from the client and returning them to the institution which issued them.
- Requesting the release of the retention money or retention bonds.
- Putting construction equipment off-hire and transferring them off the project.
- Checking with suppliers of hired equipment if there are outstanding items. If items can’t be found it may be necessary to do a ‘sale by loss’ transaction – pay for the missing item. Sometimes we have thought we’ve returned everything only to receive rental invoices for items several months after the project had been finished. By then it’s difficult to find the missing item or even to prove it was returned.
- Repair any damages to the local roads and sidewalks that have been caused by the project and, where applicable, get the return of bonds and deposits from the local authorities.
- Clearing unused materials.
- Sorting, filing and archiving project documentation.
- Agreeing with the final accounts with the client.
- Settling accounts with subcontractors and suppliers.
- Submitting the final project invoice to the client.
- Demobilising all the construction offices and facilities.
- Removing all temporary hoardings, fencing, and signage.
- Reinstating laydown areas and access roads, including obtaining signed acceptance from the client.
- Handing back all accommodation.
- Disconnecting services and utilities to the contractor’s temporary offices and site establishment.
- Transferring personnel to other projects, or terminating their contracts.
- Disposing of project-purchased assets.
- Completing the final cost report.
- Holding a ‘project lessons learned’ workshop so that future projects can learn from the mistakes as well as from what was done well on the project.
How you finish the project is often how the client will remember your company. Failure to plan the project completion properly may result in people remaining on the project long after the scheduled completion date. Even projects which have generally been going well and according to schedule can quickly unravel at the end leading to delays and additional costs.
Will your project be completed on time?
Does your team understand what’s required to finish your project?
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