So Easy to Say Goodbye: Tips for Closing Your Building Project

Seems like it was only a few weeks ago you were strangers. All you knew about your new companion was what you had read on a set of plans. Now, it’s become a part of your life. You’ve grown accustomed to its shape, acclimated to its colors. You know every piece of trim, every bolt and screw, every inch of conduit.

That steel beauty you erected has become a part of you. But now, it’s time to say goodbye.

Maybe you’ve never waxed poetic over a building you constructed, but there’s little doubt the person taking charge of that building once you leave is eager to start a new life with it. And since you never know if that individual might be in need of another steel building again, it’s imperative you make the final hand off as smooth as possible.

Having a standardized plan for closing out buildings will make sure customers are pleased enough to come back and ask you to build another one. Here are a few pointers for making a building closeout run smoothly:

  • Take Notes! From the day you start construction, take notes on anything issues or changes from the original plans. Document what happened, why, and what was done differently so your customer will have all the answers in hand.
  • Make a Document List. Have a list of every document needed to closeout and handover the building to your client. You can include the document covering of changes and issues on this list as well as engineering drawings, plans, and anything required by law. Many companies now hand over a thumb drive of these documents in addition to hard copies.
  • Begin the process before the building is done. When the building is more than three quarters of the way done, the closeout procedures should already be underway. Your happy, eager client wants to be in the moment you are out!
  • Make a Check List to share with your client. Include every step that must take place before you and your crew can hand over the building.  Be as transparent as possible when checking off each item, handing over the documentation, and asking for that final series of signatures.
  • Have a “Just in Case” Plan. If there’s a dispute or an issue after the building is closed out, have a written policy and plan in place for how you will handle such things. Share that plan with the customer as soon as they contact you, review the situation, and work together to find a resolution. Hopefully, you will not need this plan very often, but you’ll feel better knowing it’s ready to go, just in case.

The bottom line here? Plan ahead, get your ducks in a row, and be ready to hand over the building at the earliest possible moment. It was never yours to keep anyway. Let it go, and let it begin its new life in the best way possible.   

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