End of Construction

Towards the end of construction, a number of processes are undertaken to prepare the project for turnover from the contractor to the owner.  Punchlisting and Commissioning make sure the project is delivered as designed and all systems are operating correctly.  At project Turnover, you get the keys!

Punchlisting happens as construction draws to a close

This occurs around the time when the GC believes the project has reached substantial completion and is ready for a pre-final inspection. The punchlist is a list of items that need correcting by the GC before the project can be considered complete.  These items can range from paint touchups to installation problems to systems commissioning issues; usually any big errors in construction have already been dealt with prior to the punchlisting stage.

Though the architect usually leads punchlisting, the client’s project manager, along with other representatives from the client organization should take part in the process as well, to ensure satisfaction with the project before handoff.

Commissioning (Cx) optimizes building systems

Commissioning is the process by which each of the building’s systems (HVAC, lighting, etc.) are tested and programmed to ensure they meet the performance requirements set out during design.  The results of properly executed commissioning are more efficient, reliable systems, and better training and information for the personnel who will operate the building after the project is finished.  Projects that aspire to high levels of energy efficiency and minimized operating costs will likely want to engage a Commissioning Agent, someone outside the design team who leads system review.

Turnover & Warranties


  • The punchlist has been completely addressed
  • Client and design team inspections are complete
  • The site has been thoroughly cleaned
  • All systems have been activated, programmed, and balanced . . .

…the project team will relinquish control of the building and site to the client – known as Turnover.

Usually there is a short period during which the Contractor will be required to set right any deficiencies, but it’s a lot easier to correct any problems while everyone is still on-site.  Before you accept the project, be sure that any issues you have with it are resolved, and be sure you have detailed information on warranties for building elements as well as plans and documentation of the building from the design and construction team.  The ‘as-built’ plans, owner’s manuals, and other building information will be essential to its operation over time – the project manager should ensure that this information is received and stored for future use.

This post is also available in: French