Closing Time

Not to worry, I’m not closing the blog. But this does remind of a song from 1998 by Semisonic - Closing Time. It is hard to believe this song is 20 years old and who would think that the late 90’s would now be nostalgic. To steal a quote “Nostalgia: its delicate, but potent. In Greek, ‘nostalgia’ literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone; a feeling of a place where we ache to go again.” -Don Draper, Mad Men. However, this is about the handover of the project to the client. Depending if you have a really good contractor or someone who has made the construction challenge to the very end, it is always a satisfying experience to close out a project.

There are several steps to closing out a project. Most of the heavy lifting is by the contractor. After all he is the one doing the construction and handing over the project to the owner. I know this seems like some basic stuff. But I wanted to dig into what is typically expected. 

At the high level there is the expectation of the ‘punch list’ this is the process of checking the final fit and finish. This allows for the owner and architect one last observation and ad to the contractors to do list. But there is more to wrapping things up at the end of project. I’ve listed several items, in no particular order. I do intend to dig into each of these deeper over the course of my blog.

  • Punch List (Substantial Completion List)
  • O&M Manuals (Operations & Maintenance)
  • Over Stock Items (useful for patching when the manufacturer no longer makes that tile)
  • As-Built Drawings (or Record Documents)
  • Substantial Complete Date
  • Commissioning

I’ve used some classic terms that over the past decade having proven not to be accurate. I suspect they were changed to reflect what is actually being done. Take As-Built Drawings, for the first 20 years of my career, this was the term used for the mark up set in the job trailer during construction. If an existing plumbing line was at a different location, the contractor marked it on the set and turned it over to the owner at the end of the project. But something has changed, the term is now record documents. Which does make sense, not every existing instance may have been discovered. Or the Construction Documents were ‘close’ enough showing where the cable tray is located, it only moved 2 inches to miss the sprinkler line. 

All of these items at the end of a project are important to the owner. For the simple reason, when the contractor is gone. The owner needs to be able to use the facility as intended. This includes the day to day operations. The contractor is no longer on site and has moved on to another project. This goes for the Designer of Record (Architects and Engineers), we didn’t build it, so our knowledge is only limited to the design and our site observations. A key reason we only do observations and not inspections.

At the close of a successful project, the owner is please the craftsmanship. Flow of the design and a fully operational building. In closing thoughts (no pun intended) the image is a quote from the same song by Semisonic “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” This is so true in construction; the construction is done, and the owner can begin using the building.

…and now for something completely different.
Earth has traveled more than 5,000 miles in the past 5 minutes.


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Saturday, 13 July 2024