Project Closeout Role Of Architects Or Engineers On Civil Projects

Project closeout involves all parties, including subcontractors and material suppliers. It should be addressed early in the construction phase so that the closeout can be expedited and documented in an organized and meaningful manner.

At this point in the construction process, the attention of the contractor and architect is focused on accomplishing the necessary paperwork and administrative functions required for final acceptance of the work and issuance of the contractor’s final consolidated application for payment and final waiver of lien.

The normal project closeout proceeds as follows:

1. The contractor formally notifies the architect and the client that the contracted work is substantially complete.

2. From on-site observations and representations made by the contractor, the architect documents substantial completion with the client and the contractor. In some cases, this may trigger the start of certain guarantees or warranties, depending on the provisions of the general and supplementary conditions of the contract.

3. For some projects that are phased, some but not all the building systems may be recognized by the architect and the client as being substantially complete. This should be well-documented, since start dates for warranty and guarantee periods for various building systems or equipment may vary.

4. On-site visits are made by the architect and representatives of the client, sometimes called a walk-through, and a final punchlist is developed by the architect to document items requiring remedial work or replacement to meet the requirement of the construction documents.

5. A complete keying schedule, with master, submaster, room, and specialty keys, is documented by the contractor and delivered to the client.

6. The contractor submits all record drawings, as-builts, testing and balancing reports, and other administrative paperwork required by the contract documents.

7. The contractor should submit all required guarantees, warranties, certificates, and bonds required by the general and supplementary conditions of the contract or technical specifications for each work item or trade outlined in the breakdown of the contractor’s consolidated final payment request.

8. The contractor corrects all work noted on the punchlist. A final observation of the corrected work may then be made by the architect and client.

9. If the client accepts the work, the architect sends a certificate of completion to the contractor with a copy to the client. The certificate documents that final completion of the work has occurred. All required operating manuals and maintenance instructions are given to the architect for document control and forwarding to the client.

10. The contractor submits final waivers of lien from each subcontractor or material supplier. Also provided is an affidavit stating that all invoices have been paid, with the exception of those amounts shown on the final waiver of lien. With these documents, the contractor submits the final consolidated payment request, including all change orders.

11. The architect sends a final certificate of payment to the client, with a copy to the contractor.

12. The contractor provides any required certificate of occupancy, indicating that the building authorities have jurisdiction over the project approve occupancy of the space for the intended use.

13. The client makes final payment to the contractor and notifies the architect of this.

This process is important inasmuch as it can trigger the transfer of risk from the contractor’s insurance program during construction to the client’s insurance program for the completed project.

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