In this article, they outline 7 steps to project closeout of construction projects. It seemed like a standard check-list to me. We were more intrigued by their 3 closeout mistakes and how to avoid them. If project closeout is too complicated, with many steps to navigate over an extended period of time, it’s common for documentation discrepancies to surface. According to the author, here are three common project closeout mistakes that we can avoid with diligent project management:
- Too Much Internal Process Friction. Process friction was the number one snag that delayed closeout according to contractors surveyed by Emerson. If our employees don’t have sufficient mastery of the tools they use, or if redundant processes are slowing down business, it could be time to reassess daily functions.
Solution: Audit your project operations. Interview your employees to see if they identify any process snags worth addressing. Work together with your team to streamline project flow and to avoid treating closeout as an afterthought.
- Project Variable Overload. As much as 30% of original data from design and construction was lost by project completion in the same Emerson survey. This means there is too much information to manage or the information is disorganized, and neither is ideal for smooth project closeout.
Solution: Get organized at the outset of a project. Have defined plans for the start and close of each phase and document project changes in organized files.
- Staff Shortages Driving Workload Upward. The construction industry continues to suffer from a labor shortage. Fewer employees means fewer people to do the jobs demanded by a proper project closeout. It also means fewer people to oversee organization during the process, so assets may end up misplaced or discarded. This is especially common for change orders or scope changes that come late during a project.
Solution: Recruiting skilled workers is a challenge but not an impossible task. While we look to bring on new team members, emphasize organization as a priority and enact steps to achieve it, like monthly file audits until all projects are organized.
We appreciate their point that labor shortage leads to variable overload and internal friction. Given that is not likely to change any time soon, it may be wise to see how we can streamline our project close-outs, so we can ensure that they actually get done properly.