Closing Out the Job

Norb Slowikowski

June 2009

The foreman, project manager and superintendent all play a part in carrying out the following key job closeout activities:

Punch List. As the project winds down, the foreman should develop a plan for removing the equipment, tools and excess material from the job site.

The foreman also needs to develop a punch list while the job is still mobilized, and he should coordinate this punch list preparation with the superintendent and the project manager. The foreman could also invite the general contractor’s superintendent to walk the job together to develop the punch list. If this is not an option, the foreman should develop the punch list and then review it with the GC’s superintendent.

The GC’s superintendent may have items to include on the punch list, or he will have prepared his own punch list. Compare your list with his and agree on a final punch list. He should also give a copy to the project manager and his superintendent.

The punch list items should be completed in one week, or within a time frame agreed to with the GC’s superintendent. Have the GC’s superintendent sign off on the completed punch list to verify that all items were completed. Send a copy of the completed punch list to the project manager.

Notification of Job Completion. When the job is completed, the foreman should notify his superintendent, who will notify the project manager so that he can finalize the contract amount, clearly document a list of extras on the job, and complete the necessary paperwork so that appropriate parties can be notified to carry out specific responsibilities which are as follows:

• Warehouse manager/coordinator provides notification when to pick up the material and equipment on the job site.

• Superintendent provides information about availability of manpower for future jobs.

• Construction manager notifies accounting that the job is completed and that there will not be any other labor costs charged to the job.

• The construction manager and owner have final approval for contract amount and verify that all material and other costs have been charged to the job.

• Accounting ensures that final billing can be generated and that your company can collect its money before your lien rights run out.

Customer Post Job Review. When job is completed, the project manager should conduct a post job review with the customer (their project manager and superintendent).

This is an opportunity to get feedback about the "positive” and "needs improvement” areas. The things that were done well should be shared with other foremen. You want to find out where you need to improve so that you can ensure the GC that all problems reported will not be repeated on future jobs.

Here are some questions for the customer: • Were the contract and submittals executed and returned in a timely fashion?

• How did our foremen interact with the GC’s superintendent?

• How did we (foreman, superintendent, project manager) expedite changes? Solve problems? Coordinate with other trades? Maintain the project schedule? How did we do in terms of quality workmanship? How was our safety performance? How would you assess our housekeeping on the job? How would you rate our crew’s daily production? What specific areas do you feel we need to improve on? Would you want us back on future jobs?

Internal Post Job Review: Lessons Learned. The construction manager shall determine if an internal post job review should be done. Once the decision is made to conduct the post job review, the project manager will schedule the meeting and invite the following people to attend: construction manager, foreman, superintendent, safety manager, warehouse coordinator and your estimator/salesman.

The project manager will use a post job review checklist to conduct the meeting.

Demobilize Effectively. The Foreman should conduct a final job walk-around to ensure that all of the equipment is ready to be returned to the shop or warehouse. A final inventory of tools, equipment and materials should be taken and reviewed with the superintendent, who will determine what will be returned to the warehouse and what items will be disposed of on the job site.

The final inventory should be compared to the initial tool and equipment inventory. Explain all discrepancies; it is important that accountability exists for tools and equipment so that sound cost controls can be maintained for all jobs.

Also, make sure the project manager conducts the following activities to effectively close out the job:

• Finalize contract amount with customer completely so that a final billing can be submitted and the money owed can be collected before the lien rights run out.

• Pursue any and all change orders diligently with the GC.

• Get prepared for any back charge negotiations.

Remember, closing out the job is a critical activity that must be carried out effectively so that you can maximize productivity on the job.

Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill.