Why Project Turnover is Not
One Size Fits All
February 04, 2022
When a construction project comes to an end, there’s anticipation, excitement and new job assignments to worry about. No one wants to linger around hounding subcontractors for their completed installation checklists. And yet, even as advanced as our technology has become, some projects can still take up to two years to get through project turnover.
The construction project turnover phase is one of those butterfly effect moments in a project. For contractors, this phase can also be a launching point for securing repeat work while building reputation. Because when closeout goes well for the owner, they gain a trusted partner who can help drive standards across that owner’s portfolio or campus.
However, if the project turnover phase starts with a scramble, productivity rates can drop, schedules can go bust, and budgets end up off the rails, leading to soured relationships, legal cases, and delayed occupancy. That’s a lot of weight to carry. What can be done to prevent this from happening?
What was once a weak link in the construction life cycle has become a ripe area for growth and optimization. Getting construction project turnover planning right is now an effective way to keep costs under control while reducing risk well ahead of crunch time.
Don’t get stuck in the mud
Project turnover has come a long way from where we were 50 years ago, or even 10 years ago. We now live in an era where cheap USB drives, cloud storage and other interactive ways to access project closeout data are freely available.
Yet, as of 2016, construction still ranked second from the bottom on the Mckinsey Global Institute Industry Digitization Index. Considering this, it may not surprise you that turnover is still occasionally done with physical boxes of paperwork.
So, if you’re an owner or a facilities manager who’s stuck receiving inspection records, installation checklists, O&Ms and other deliverables in boxes, or even in folder structures on USB drives, you can —and should — ask for more. And if you’re a contractor worried about how to accommodate the trend in new owner turnover requirements, fear not. You can enhance what you offer without breaking the bank.
The methodology that works for your teams and/or portfolio will vary but getting a centralized framework in place will help defend you from litigation and training inefficiencies. In the end, it can help you avoid an unexpected curve in an otherwise straight trend line, also known as the dreaded “hockey stick” effect.
Creating your construction project turnover plan
While some components of your turnover packages might always look similar (warranties, O&Ms, affidavits, etc.), the devil is, as usual, in the details when it comes to owner project requirements for record drawings, models, commissioning plans, and asset libraries. Here are some things to keep in mind as you assess your construction project turnover plan.
Construction project turnover for owners
- Select a means for delivery
While this might seem obvious, there are new options appearing all the time. For example, do you need closeout data directly transferred to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)? Do you expect to browse raw data uploaded to a cloud storage location? Or maybe you’d rather spin through a 3D representation of your facility finding additional BIM data as you navigate? The point of these questions is to think about who will use the data and how. Don’t forget to consider how often the data will be updated and if future renovations may be likely, when, and how will this data be kept up to date after a renovation.
- Determine useful data
Consult your operations team before the project starts. Walk around with your facilities managers and document the information that they use throughout the day and you’ll see references to common data (location, make, model, etc.). You’re also bound to learn why it’s important to collect things like preservation history over the life cycle of a water chiller or heat pump.
Construction project turnover for contractors
- Leverage digital solutions
A digital turnover package management system will carry you a long way. A solution that provides custom scope management can make it easy to track turnover status, visualize risks and coordinate across teams. Digital turnover systems also give you the ability to provide the owner with direct access to a preview of their facilities.
- Start early, review often
You’ve likely heard it at least once, and you’ll hear it again and again. Start building your turnover plan at the very start of your project, ideally in the design phase. There’s no better way to combat a project turnover frenzy than by setting out your framework, building your plan and sticking with it. Weekly or bi-weekly reviews of the turnover plan are also necessary to ensure any changes have been incorporated. Scope changes and coordination nightmares do pop-up, so be prepared to revisit sections of your turnover plan multiple times throughout the project.
Your next steps will look different depending on where you are in your construction project turnover journey. InEight’s integrated platform can help get your projects where they need to go and help you create a solution that matches your needs and leverages your teams’ existing strengths. Let us show you how.