What you need to know about Project Closeout Procedures

PRE-CLOSEOUT
0.) About when the project is 3/4 complete, the Architect makes a site visit to determine if the contractor is on track to complete the project on time, and within budget. This site visit allows the architect to determine if the retainage witheld from certificates of payment is going to be needed to complete the project. Making this determination is difficult for rookie architects. It’s best for a seasoned veteran to do this.

SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION
1.) Contractor prepares the punch-list, and notifies architect that project is substantially completed.
2.) Architect reviews the contractor’s punch list, and makes inspection #1 to determine if/when project is/will be substantially completed. Any additional outstanding items are added to the punch list.
3.) Architect confirms with owner on acceptance of non-conforming work.
4.) If the architect determines that the project is substantially completed, he then prepares and issues the certificate of substantial completion (G704), with specified date, and attached updated punch list, with notes of any owner accepted non-conforming work.
5.) Owner & Contractor sign the Certificate of Substantial Completion.

PUNCH LIST
6.) Owner signs agreement with contractor to accept responsibility for security, maintenance, heat, utilities, damage to the work, and insurance.
7.) Contractor completes punch list items as stipulated in the Certificate of Substantial Completion.
8.) Contractor submits required close-out documents, materials, and maintenance manuals.
9.) Architect reviews closeout materials to determine contract compliance for submittals.

FINAL COMPLETION
10.) Contractor submits Notice of Final Completion
11.) Architect makes inspection #2 to determine project Final Completion

FINAL PAYMENT PREPARATION
12.) Architect advises contractor to submit final application for payment.
13.) Architect prepares a final change order (G701) to resolve any outstanding Construction Change Directives, and to also release the retainage withheld back to the contractor.
14.) Architect issues the final change order to contractor for signature.
15.) Contractor submits final application for payment (G702) and signs the final change order.
16.) Architect processes final application for payment (G702), and Certifies (G702)

THE FINAL EXCHANGE
17.) Owner signs the final change order and makes final payment within 30 days.
18.) Contractor submits to owner a Release of Mechanic’s Lien Rights upon final payment.

**Sometimes Final Payment (#17) and Mechanic’s Liens (#18) are handled by escrow companies such as “Chicago Title” – especially when trust is an issue between the owner and contractor. The person with the gun pointing under the table during the exchange is usually the one that wins (humor). The idea is for both parties to protect themselves. This method prevents the GC from running off with final payment, and then issuing an abusive mechanic’s lien on the building stating that he never received final payment. Or on the other end, preventing the owner from running off with the Mechanic’s Lien and abusively witholding the final payment due to the GC. The escrow company acts as middle-man handling the exchange, and making sure each party get’s its leverage against each other delivered.

END OF PROJECT
19.) Contractor warrants to the owner and architect that the work is new, free from defects and in accordance with contract documents.

[source: http://www.areforum.org/forums/member.php?118010-DaveW]

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