Smart Owners Invest in Closeout and Turnover
February 9, 2021
As an owner, receiving the turnover package from your GC after a lengthy build and closeout process is one of those milestones where the building starts to seem real. Maybe you’re planning to occupy the building, or maybe you’re going to rent or sell it, but you can almost feel that comprehensive binder of finality in your hands as you head to your turnover meeting.
Then the bubble bursts—you see the GC team with several bankers boxes full of folders, binders, CDs, and thumbdrives, which are all unceremoniously dumped out onto the table. Then they walk out, leaving you to sift through their mess of a turnover package to determine their contract compliance.
You’ve spent a lot of money on this building, so wouldn’t it be smart to invest just a little bit more to make sure that doesn’t happen? To make sure your building is able to be properly maintained over its lifetime? That’s what your turnover package is supposed to be—all of the manuals, warranties, contact information, attic stock inventory, and every other piece of information you or the building’s new owners will need, kept neatly, securely, and in an accessible way.
There are a number of steps that owners and developers can take to protect themselves from messy, incomplete, fragmented turnover packages:
- Work with architects to understand what’s supposed to be in your turnover package. Start this process with them early, clearly going through the specs they created and the original contract to determine requirements for the GC’s closeout log.
- Request a copy of the closeout log from the GC and use that as a checklist as you go through your turnover package. You can even be extra cautious and go over that closeout log with the architect to make sure the GC team didn’t miss any requirements that you’ll have to pay for in the future.
- Leverage final payment and retention monies during the closeout process. While it’s vitally important to maintain a good relationship with your GC, it’s equally important that your operations team has everything they need to be successful in your building. Make sure that you have understood what should be in the turnover package you’re requiring and that it matches up with what the GC delivers. If it isn’t, work collaboratively with your GC to resolve issues in the turnover package so you receive the documents you need and can release the retention monies they need.
It’s important to maintain clear communication with your GC. Ask the right questions about their approval process, their closeout log generation process, and the turn-in rate of their subcontractor documentation; these and similar topics can help you identify potential issues early on and fix them well before substantial completion. Combined with fore-knowledge about what tools and software are available, you could use these conversations to recommend a closeout and turnover package solution like Pype Closeout, or even require them in the contract. Software platforms have the ability to speed up the closeout process and generate a polished turnover package consisting of a single PDF file, saving the GC time and providing you with an all-inclusive, easy-to-use turnover package. You won’t have to work hard to convince them, since a digital turnover package means you can review it faster and thus release their retainers faster.
After spending so much time, energy, and money on seeing their building created, owners often feel burnt out by the end of the process. While understandable, taking a hands-off approach to closeout and turnover package creation can lead to mistakes which result in damages, lost money, or even injuries. Don’t sit on the sidelines; remain invested in your multi-million dollar investment until the end.