Closing Out a Construction Project, by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM
It is sometimes said that the last 5% of any project requires the same effort as the first 95% - this
can be true of construction. The construction closeout period, if not done properly, can be the
undoing of the efforts and good work of the first 95% of the project. Proper project closeout
ensures the orderly and timely completion of the project, including development and completion
of punchlists, commissioning and training, warranty periods, assembly of project documents,
resolution of outstanding issues, and analysis and settlement of claims or disputed issues.
Punchlist completion usually requires multiple surveys to confirm completion status.
Commissioning includes startup, calibration, systems integration, system database and software
development, operation and maintenance training, and certification of the facility, equipment and
systems. Assembly of final project documents should include "as-built" drawings, shop drawings
(from subcontractors and vendors), manufacturers' literature, operating and maintenance
manuals, and warranties, as well as all project contacts, records, contracts, meeting minutes and
correspondence. For major projects, the requirements for this phase should be spelled out in
great detail in the construction specifications and contract.
It is generally not easy to complete the closeout. Consultant and contractor team members
become reassigned to other projects and few have the time or tenacity to struggle with
subcontractors to finish the last items. The most common and most effective method to
successfully closeout any project is to withhold the final construction payment until all items are
received and all issues are resolved to the owner's satisfaction.