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Project Closeout Process

“According to a recent survey from Dodge Data & Analytics, 66% of general contractors experience trouble getting off the job on at least a quarter of their projects.”

There is a constant pressure of on to the next job. But if focus moves to the new priority job without closing out the current job and ensuring all information is stored appropriately; the entire process will be delayed and present risks for the owner long term.

Project Closeout is not to be taken lightly or rushed and is best managed through a structured workflow to guide construction projects to a successful closing. This process is built to gather, and store all required approvals and documentation necessary for closeout.

This article will break down the process into 3 sections: Substantial Completion, Final Completion, and Financial Closeout/Final Payment.

First, we’ll focus on Substantial Completion. Substantial Completion is the part of the process where documents and information are gathered and reviewed to make sure the project has met all the necessary requirements.

Substantial Completion:

The workflow below shows us the first steps.

Utilizing e-Builder® for this process allows steps to push from one key player’s court to the next. This streamlines the process and gathers all the needed information in e-Builder’s system making it the project closeout process that much easier.

Step 1: 

This step is initiated by an External PM (Contractor). This process is usually kicked off when the Contractor requests the certificate of occupancy stating they’ve completed all the work.

In this step, the External  PM will fill out all the required fields. Templates can even be included as links in the process to provide guidance to the process initiator. Supporting documents can be attached and a comment field is also provided to provide detailed comments on the work.

Documents to be submitted at the start step could include:

  • Certificate of Substantial Completion
  • Completed Punch List
  • Design Team Approvals
  • Inspection Certificates
  • Certificate of Occupancy
  • Lien Waivers
  • Final Pay Application

Once complete, select “Submit” to send this process to the next step.

Adding review steps is a best practice to ensure all the correct information is gathered. It is always best to make sure you have all accurate documentation sooner, rather than catching an error later. That’s why adding this step can be vital and making your closeout process very efficient!

Step 2: 

Once the process is submitted it goes to the Senior Project Manager’s (SPM) court. This is where the SPM reviews all the documents. Note this submission from the Start step will be Read‐Only. Additional comments can be added in the notes field provided. Once complete, “Approve” is selected to send this process to the next step or “Revise” to return to the previous workflow step for correction. You may save your progress at any time by selecting “Save Draft”.

Step 3: 

If  a revision is needed, it goes to the PM revise step, changes are made and the request is resubmitted.

This is the final step for Substantial Completion. Marking the project as complete means assuring all the information is completed and requirements are met. It will then advance to the Construction Closeout step.

Step 4: 

At this step, the system will evaluate whether this project was marked as {Complete} or {Cancelled}.
If {Complete} was selected at Start, the process will advance to Construction Closeout step (shown in future posts)
If {Cancelled} was selected at Start, the process will advance to the Budget Approved conditional (shown in future posts)

Final Completion:

During the project closeout phase, Final Completion – also referred to as as final acceptance – is defined by the date when the owner determines the construction project to be 100% complete including the punch list work. Utilizing a process within e-Builder® guides this phase and ensures the contractor has satisfied the remaining contract terms and requirements. The documents submitted are then reviewed by the Owner’s team.

Why is final completion important?

  • It is date when a construction contractor stops being fully liable for minor incomplete details or construction delays
  • It is the date where the owner is once again responsible for the state of the property
  • Building product warranties periods are based on this date
  • Limitation periods for some construction claims begin on this date
  • It is the date which the contractor is entitled to the final payment in the contract agreement

Utilizing a process in e-Builder® helps organize, store, and record all the necessary information, dates, and documents.

Step 5: 

Once Closeout Sync is completed and the project is complete the process goes to Construction Closeout. Typically the contractor is the actor in this step and is required to upload the complete punch list and add any final notes.

The below image shows an example of documents, and data fields that must be populated before the process can move on to the Owner’s court for review.

Step 6:

After the contractor completes that step, the process is pushed back to the Owner for review.

The information sent over will be in “read only” format, if a revision is needed it will need to be sent back to the Construction Closeout Step.

There is a space for the Construction Director/Manager to add any additional comments.

Financial Completion:

Accurate and timely construction financial completion can help monitor your team’s performance, control costs, improve profitability and manage cash flow. In an industry with so much uncertainty, timely financial closure can have major long-term benefits to your construction process. Utilizing a PMIS system helps streamline the final steps with the necessary parties and work to help your team close out a project efficiently. Below, we’ll list the final steps in our project closeout process.

Step 7:

As you can see below, this step prompts for information related to final payment and reconciliation. This helps the owner see where the project is in the financial process. It indicates whether the Contactor has submitted the final invoice or if it is still in process.

Step 8:

At this step the Business Director from the Owner will review all the information submitted. You’ll see below that all the notes are carried through to this step, so all details are accounted for.

You will also notice that this actor reviews the information submitted, if anything seems to be incorrect, they send the process instance back to the previous step for review and editing.

Step 9:

Lessons learned is a very important step! Sometimes called a “hot wash”, this is where best practices and future improvements are noted to ensure that all future projects run smoothly.

Participants in this step can include PM, Sr. PM, Director, and/or Sr. Director. In some instances, a client could require one, or majority to take action to move it forward depending on their business practice.

You’ll notice a spot below for a log to be uploaded. A log is used to document all the lessons learned throughout the project (A report from another process, or an excel file).

  • Executive summary – background, scope, major milestone completion dates compared to planned completion dates, final costs compared to original estimates.
  • Funding – list of sources and amounts including any funding concerns constraints, impacts that occurred due to funding considerations.
  • Design – summary of process, design team, development process, overall features
  • Bid Process – process used, summary of bid dates, addenda issued, significant issues that arose during bid period. Bids received compared to Engineer’s Estimate.
  • Construction – summarize progress; identify primes and subs and their progress. Discuss construction schedule, planned and actual and significant variances.  Discuss significant change orders over life of project.
  • Safety – describe safety program and concerns
  • Third Party Coordination – discuss any dealings with outside agencies and any impacts to budget and schedule. Describe major difficulties encountered.
  • Cost summary – provide a detailed summary of final project costs in major categories from PM Sheets. Discuss major trends, change orders, and other major cost impacts.
  • Agreements – identify and summarize agreements established and initiate closeout
  • Recommendations – provide a list of recommendations to be used on future work of a similar nature. Include proposed modifications, amendments, new criteria or standards.
  • Photographs – references to document progress and completed work

Step 10:

As appropriate, the e-B admin can remove all unnecessary users and they may Archive the Project from the Project Visibility menu in Setup.

Step 11: 

As you can see, Project Closeout is a very important step to the construction process. After dedicating time and resources to a project, closing it out on a positive note with all the documentation you need can make a good project come out great. Thanks for exploring this process with us! We hope you received some valuable information and reach out to the Avicado team with any questions or inquiries.