What is A Construction Project Closure?
Closing out a construction project is not easy as one might think. The aim of a project closeout is, and this should be done in a way that makes your team members look good. You need to be sure you have all of your boxes checked & that your site is ready for your owner/client. It’s also important to note what worked & what didn’t during the construction project itself & apply it to future projects.
The project manager plays an important role in the project closeout process. The project manager needs to make sure that all activities are appropriately finished. Further, project closeout checklist is important to close the project properly.
1. Ensure Project Deliverable Meet Project Specifications
One of the project manager responsibilities is to ensure that the final project deliverable meets the project specifications outlined in the project plan. Some might say that the project closing phase is a little too late in the project for such a task, and they would be right if they are assuming that no previous detailed inspections have been performed. This step shows the need for detailed & consistent inspections throughout the life of the project to ensure that you are producing what is described in the project plan.
During this step, the site manager or project manager will confirm that all project requirements have been satisfied, all work has been finished. This is the time to review any change requests in a project, view all work & go over your initial documentation to ensure that you have fulfilled your obligations to your owner/client.
You’ll need to:
- A document that all work has been done as outlined in the original contract or change order; if something is missing, incomplete or not done correctly, document & take steps to correct.
- Review all legal requirements & ensure that all terms have been met.
- Meet with any code or inspection authorities & obtain TOC and other documentation
- Review any change orders to ensure that these have been finished prior to client closing.
- Review owner’s notes to ensure that any requests have been attended to & that the site is truly ready for handing over.
2. Receive Client Approval
The second goal of construction project closeout phase is to receive the client’s approval of the final project deliverable. To finish this step, begin during the planning phase of the project. During the planning phase, the project manager should have made certain that the owner/client understood the project team’s interpretation of the project specifications. If there is any question as to what the exact specifications are, it is incumbent upon the project manager to remove those questions. Doing this as early as possible during the project helps to ensure that no major conflicts arise.
Client closing is your chance to not only ensure that the client is satisfied with the deliverable but also to verify their acceptance & even solidify your relationship. If everything has been done correctly & you’ve finished the work, this part should be a positive experience for you both. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to really improve client satisfaction by getting your project closeout clean, organized, and swiftly in the hands of the client.
This is your last chance to impress your clients by listening to their feedback & addressing any concerns immediately before they become blown out of proportion or too far gone to fix.
This part can be as formal as you’d like; in-person interviews, a client satisfaction survey & even follow up emails can yield valuable feedback from key stakeholders. This feedback allows you to not only serve this particular customer better but improve your performance for other clients as well.
3. Close All Open Contracts
Third, the project manager must ensure that all contractual obligations related to the project have been met & closed. In large projects, a part of the project team will be responsible for contract management. This team will have been responsible for both entering into & managing the contracts. As part of managing the construction contracts, the team member ensures that all parties have fulfilled their contractual obligations. Your team should be able to provide you with a report relating to all contracts.
Detailed reports will show the status of all contracts related to your project. If contracts are still open, then steps must be taken to close these contracts. Sometimes contracts have not been closed due to a claim that has arisen, which could possibly take some time to resolve, but, in the meantime, the project deliverable are complete & the project needs to be closed.
Any subcontracts for work done on the site need to be properly closed out. Verify that all work has been done and that it meets company quality standards. You’ll also need to confirm that any change orders have been done before you release your subcontracts.
Once you verify the work was done, you can reconcile payment amounts & invoices and submit to your finance department as needed.
4. Perform Final Lessons Learned
This step is one of the most important steps, not only to make certain that the project is closed successfully, but also to help ensure future project success. There are two major questions to ask when preparing to perform “lessons learned” which would ideally be asked when you are beginning to outline the closing phase during your project planning phase. First, who needs to be interviewed? Second, what information do I need to obtain? Obviously, there are more questions that could be asked, but these are the two most basic questions.
After the interviews have been done and the questionnaires have been returned, you are ready to create a “lessons learned” document. This document summarizes the findings of the lessons learned phase & provides action items to improve future project performance. Merely inserting this document into the project documentation & filing it away would be a grave mistake. This document should be placed in an accessible location in your company where it can easily be retrieved for future reference. It should also be circulated throughout the company in an effort to educate other project managers & team members so that they can learn from the project’s successes and failures.
5. Archive Project Plan
The best key to successfully archiving your construction project is to make it accessible for future reference. One of the best ways to do this is to provide an executive summary of the project as a cover sheet to the project file. The executive summary should include a brief summary of your project, a list of primary team members, a list of key tasks and lessons learned, a list of any unique circumstances and a table of contents for the documentation of the project. This will ensure that the archived project is helpful to future project teams.
Project closeout is no less important than any other portion of the project. Doing it correctly helps ensure that future projects repeat the successes & avoid the failures of past projects. Project closure checklist is the best way to close your construction project.
Project Closure Checklist
A completed project deserves a well-executed closeout. That is because formally project closure leaves everyone with a clear promise: the next project will be as good or better than the last.
When project closing is part of the process, you have the perfect channel for the team to let out a sigh of relief, convey top-notch diligence, reinforce lessons learned, and celebrate success.
Considering the project closure process well before the last day of the project ensures that everything runs smoothly & that you wrap things up in a positive way.
Download project closeout Checklist Template