12. Project Closeout

  1. Physical Completion of work
  2. Testing & Training
  3. Handover of project documents/warranties
  4. Financial closeout of contracts
  5. Inspection & Signoff


Completing the project starts by finishing the physical work of the project scope. Several milestones mark the path to completion, including:

  • Substantial completion: the point at which the owner is able to use the project for the purpose for which it was intended. Remaining activity will not interfere with that use.
  • Cleanup
  • Punchlist
  • Demobilization
  • Final completion: the last stage of completion where the architect signs off on the work as acceptable and fully performed according to the Contract Documents (per AIA).

Beneficial Use / Partial Utilization Prior to Total Project Completion: occurs when part of the project is turned over to the owner for use before the owner takes control of the whole project

  • High risk, many unknowns
  • Puts equipment warranty dates in question
  • Equipment defects come into question
  • Maintenance responsibility comes into question
  • Site security in question
  • Omission of critical tasks


This process promotes the successful operation and use of the new equipment and facilities. It may include:

  • Material or Equipment Testing
  • Owner Training
  • Submission of Training Reports
  • Testing and balancing (HVAC)

Testing: the use of calibrated instruments to measure temperatures, pressures, rotational speeds, electrical characteristics, velocities and air and water quantities for an evaluation of equipment and system performance

Adjusting: the final setting of balancing devices such as dampers and valves, adjusting fan speeds and pump impeller sizes, in addition to automatic control devices such as thermostats and pressure controllers to achieve maximum specified system performance and efficiency during normal operation.

Balancing: the methodical regulation of system fluid flows (air or water) through the use of acceptable procedures to achieve the desired or specified airflow or water flow


The handover of project documents/warranties, includes turning over to the owner the following:

  • As-built documentation
  • As-built specifications / equipment manuals
  • Project guarantees
  • Material warrantees
  • Final testing reports
  • Final lien waivers
  • Attic stock or spare parts

What is a warranty?

Warranties, guarantees and certifications are basically attestations of fact. You are promising that something will be done right, and if it isn’t, even if your performance met the standard of care, you can be held contractually liable.

It is important to remember that the law does not require you to be perfect. You are only required to perform to what is known as “The Standard of Care.”  Simply put, you are only required to perform your services “consistent with the professional skill and care ordinarily provided by firms practicing in the same locality under similar circumstances. Via Cavignac, 2014.

Read more about this topic:
Cavignac – October 16, 2014 – ENR – Learn to Recognize Bad Warranties


Financial closeout of contracts, may include:

  • Final review and approval/rejection of change orders
  • Final review of project costs
  • Submission of final requisition
  • Reduction in retainage to 0% (or as governed by the contract)
  • Final payments (as governed by the contract)


Inspection and Signoff (the administrative and physical finalization) may include:

  • Warrantee inspections (if required)
  • Architect’s punchlist inspection
  • Special Inspections
  • Structural Steel Welding, Erection and Bolting; Masonry; Soil Site Preparation, Fill Placement and In-Place Density; Pile Foundations; Site Storm Drainage; Concrete Design Mix, Cylinders and Technical Reports
  • DOB inspections
  • Construction, Plumbing and Electrical
  • Closure of violations / response to Letters of Defect
  • FDNY inspection & Letter of Approval
  • Letter of Completion (LOC) & Sign Off from DOB


  • A Certificate of Occupancy is the key document used to certify the legal use and occupancy of a building.
  • The Certificate of Occupancy are issued after all paperwork is completed, all necessary approvals have been obtained from other appropriate City agencies, all fees owed to the Department are paid, and all relevant violations are resolved.
  • Owners must obtain a new or amended Certificate of Occupancy for:
  • new buildings
  • where construction changes the use, egress, or occupancy to an existing building before the building may be legally occupied.
  • The Certificate describes how a building may be occupied, for example, a two-family home, a parking lot, a 40-unit multiple dwelling, or a store.
  • A Certificate of Occupancy is often required when selling a home or refinancing a mortgage.

Projects that don’t involve changes to a building’s C of O, can usually obtain an LOC via a straightforward inspection of the property by a licensed architect or engineer

Projects involving changes to a building’s sprinkler or fire alarm system are the most important to resolve, since those systems are responsible for the health and safety of a building’s occupants

Self Certification Or “Professional Certification”: an application filing option that means:

Plans and applications by a registered architect or professional engineer are submitted to the NYC DOB for approval without review.

The issuance of a work permit is associated with a specific scope of work.

The submission should include a statement of personal verification by the professional applicant and property owner attesting that such plans and applications do not contain any false information and that the submitted plans and applications comply with all applicable provisions of law.

If found to be not in compliance by the DOB, both professional and owner agree to correct the non-compliant conditions to DOB satisfaction.

Projects are likely to be audited and more than 75% of audited applications fail the audit review. The more serious failures result in stop work orders, violations, or disciplinary/legal actions against the design professional, or owner, or both – via Milrose Consultants