The final step of managing construction projects is the final close-out and handover phase. Construction handover is like the end of a race, as everyone is excited to give the building to the client and complete the project. However, just like a race, you would want to stay calm and get comfortable near the end of the line. Unfortunately, many problems often arise in a project’s last part. It may be something that was missed during the design or construction phases. This can lead to costly delays and less client satisfaction.
In this article, let us discuss the process, benefits, difficulties, and best practices of a good construction handover process to help you finish jobs quickly and well. We will also share several tips and strategies to ensure a smooth project delivery and a stress-free, enjoyable experience for its clients.
Defining The Project Handover Phase in Construction
A project handover is when a project is finally turned over from the contractor to the client or owner. It is the last step of a construction project, which marks the end of the building project and the start of the client’s use and ownership of the building. Both the contractor and the owner agree that their contractual responsibilities have been met, from a building point of view for the contractor and a financial point of view for the owner.
It may seem easy at first, but there are a lot of items that a general contractor or a project manager needs to prepare. It means giving the client all the important project paperwork, like plans, permits, guarantees, and how-to guides since it will be their responsibility from now on. It also means ensuring clear ways to discuss any unresolved problems, a full inspection of the finished work, and ensuring that all certifications and compliance standards have been met.
Benefits of A Well-Planned Construction Handover Process
A well-done and well-thought-out construction handover plan helps the contractor and the homeowner in many ways. However, most project managers often neglect the handover process as it happens in the end, focusing more on scheduling and budgeting. This section lists a few benefits you can realize when prioritizing the handover process.
Smooth Transition From Contractor To Owner
An effective handover plan ensures that the building phase flows smoothly into the operational phase. It makes it easy to switch roles by ensuring the client or building management team gets all the necessary paperwork, keys, and project information. For example, you may need to brief them on how to use specific equipment, how to maintain it, and when to schedule any preventive maintenance needed.
Ensure Client Satisfaction
A smooth handover increases client happiness by meeting the owner’s needs, leading to more future referrals and money. The client will feel reassured that the project he is taking over is of good quality. Focusing on communication and collaboration throughout the process can ensure a smooth, stress-free, and enjoyable experience.
Reduce Any Problems Or Risks After Building
There is no perfect construction project. Since a construction project comprises a million parts, sometimes there might be a few slip-ups due to human error or unforeseen events. However, problems after building are less likely if the handover process is thorough. Inspections, written records, and good communication help find any problems that must be fixed before the project is turned over.
Ensure All Legal and Contractual Requirements Are Met
One reason the paperwork part of the handover process is so important is so all relevant approvals and documents required are kept. By getting and sharing all important information, both sides can protect themselves legally and financially, knowing they are following all laws and rules. With today’s advancements, many construction companies utilize construction software to store documents efficiently and immediately have access to them whenever needed.
The Construction Handover Process
The handover is more than just giving your clients the keys to their new homes. The handover stage is critical as it ensures that building managers and end users understand all of the features of the space and get the training they need to run and handle the space well. All key parties should be involved in making sure the work is done and ready to be used. In this section, let us look at the steps in a construction handover process.
Secure All Documents and Paperwork
As mentioned earlier, the first step is to prepare and organize all the necessary paperwork and documents for the building job. This is important to ensure all legal and compliance requirements are met when transferring the item. Some examples of the documents you will need are the as-built plans, contracts, warranties, and manuals.
Do Site Inspections For Quality and Occupations
For a new building to get a certificate of occupancy, it must be inspected by a professional. This differs from the last walkthrough and punchlisting with the owner and the builder. Usually, a professional inspector from a local government or any regulation body inspects the site, checks its compliance with the safety and code requirements, and ensures everything is delivered before issuing the permits.
Ensure Building Completion
Before the handover, all of the work on the building should be done.
This includes making sure that the finishing touches, final setups, and any other tasks that still need to be finished have been done. Usually, a general construction firm will do its final inspection and declare its completeness based on its indicated scope of work in the contracts and change orders.
Solve Any Problems
Any problems or flaws during the quality checks should be fixed before the handover. Contractors often conduct testing and commissioning to see if there are any problems, fix any work that does not meet standards, and take care of any other issues in the scope of work.
The contractor and the client or owner should have an official meeting to hand over the project. It is important to have this meeting so that the building project team and the owner can review the project together, ensure the paperwork is correct, and build a good relationship that will last until the project is done.
Common Challenges During The Construction Handover Process
During the building handover phase, a few things can go wrong that can slow things down and add costs to the project budget. Let us review some common challenges that a general contractor or a project manager may encounter during the handover process.
Getting Everyone On The Same Page
As corrections or changes are requested, subcontractors, engineers, and sellers may need to work together more to ensure everything is fixed. During this step, any misunderstanding can lead to more work and costs. Communicating and collaborating closely with every stakeholder is critical to ensure the project is completed on time, within budget, and of the best value possible.
Missing Paperwork and Document Mismanagement
It can take a lot of work to keep track of and organize all the paperwork needed for a construction job. Missing or missing paperwork can cause delays and legal problems, so having a central, easy-to-use place to track and store it is important. Using cloud-based construction software can help you store your files and have them readily available with just a few clicks.
Compliance with Rules and Regulations
There are many rules that construction projects must follow, such as building codes, safety rules, and even environmental standards. To avoid delays, fines, or punishments, contractors must pay attention to these things.
It is no secret that construction projects are often prone to delays due to their volatile nature. During the handover process, more deadlines often come up, especially if the client is eager to take charge and move in. It’s important to consider the handover phase when you plan and schedule your project to ensure that time and resources are managed well to finish the project as quickly as possible.
Miscommunication and confusion during building handover often happen because your on-site and in-office teams need more visibility and transparency with each other. It is critical to look for ways to communicate with everyone and ensure each of your crew is doing the assigned task. Construction technology, such as software or apps, can help streamline communication and encourage people to talk and work together.
Another challenge in building handovers is conflicting expectations. People may have different ideas about what is expected of them and how contracts and deliverables should be interpreted. These misunderstandings hurt everyone, from the project owner to the developer and workers.
Tips To Streamline The Construction Handover Process
Many things must be considered to ensure all partners and clients are happy and the project has the same good results. Here are some tips and tricks to help general contractors or project managers successfully hand over the project to the clients.
Make A Building Handover Checklist
A building handover checklist is a great way to ensure your processes are reliable and consistent. This ensures you hand off each job similarly, so you remember everything important.
Take A Systematic Approach
To make sure that everything gets noticed during the handover process, it is important to take a systematic method. One way to do this is to use your construction management software to keep track of the project’s process and ensure that everything is going according to plan. This lets you stay on top of things and stop potential roadblocks before becoming a bigger problem.
Do Full Checks, Walkthroughs, Testing, and Commissioning
Before giving the job to the client, ensure everything is in great shape by doing final inspections and walk-throughs. This can help you work on areas that need improvement before a client brings them up.
Do A Full Briefing Of the Project to The Client
Once the contractor is no longer in charge of a job, it is up to the homeowner to keep it in good shape. But many new buildings offer a guarantee that lasts a few months after the keys are handed over. Give your clients directions on taking care of the property, including tips on cleaning and maintaining the features and equipment.
Utilize Construction Technology
This list of tips and tricks can add a lot of extra work for a worker who is already very busy. However, utilizing construction technology to do the hard work for you can change how you handle each project and boost profitability and productivity. It can make communication easier, keep track of project plans and schedules, store documents in one place, and make project finances easier to manage.