Post-Construction Phase: How to Close a Construction Project


Projects don’t end with the final deliverable. There’s paperwork to sign off on, teams to be released and more administrative loose ends to tie up. This is doubly true with construction projects in what’s called post-construction.

What is post-construction? We’ll answer that first and then explain what activities occur during post-construction and the various types of documentation that are used. Finally, we’ll show how using project management software can help with post-construction.

What Is Post-Construction?

Post-construction is the last phase of a construction project. It spans the time between the end of the physical construction and when the project is turned over to the project owner. During this time, the job site is cleaned up, equipment is returned and the labor force is released from this project and usually reassigned to another project.

There are other activities that occur during the post-construction period, which we’ll get to in greater detail soon. But suffice to say, it’s a period when everything is handed off to the client or project owner, from the actual construction to documentation. The owner’s team will also be instructed and trained on how to operate all the systems and equipment in their newly constructed project.

Project management software will help make this process more efficient. ProjectManager is award-winning software with features that facilitate the turnover of the construction project to the project owner. For example, one construction document that we’ll define shortly is the punch list. Our task list can collect all the tasks on a punch list to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Files can be attached to those files, such as photos if needed, and progress can be tracked in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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ProjectManager has features, such as task lists, to facilitate the post-construction phase. Learn more

Post Construction Activities

As noted, post-construction is made up of all the activities that are necessary to hand over the construction project to the project owner. There are many such activities that are needed to have a successful post-construction phase. Here are some of the most important.

Final Inspections

The final inspection is done after the completion of the punch list (defined below in the post-construction documents section). The construction team, including the general contractor and the architect, make sure that all the specifications of the contract have been met and that the structure is functioning properly. If everything is deemed okay, then the architect will sign a certificate of substantial completion. Next, if the structure complies with all local permits and regulations, the local government will issue a certificate of occupancy, which means that the building is ready for occupancy.


The walkthrough is the term used to describe when the general contractor, architect and construction team inspect the structure during the final inspection. They literally walk through the job site and inspect all aspects of the structure to ensure it meets the quality standards as well as any contractual obligations.

Handoff & Turnover

While not a specific moment in time, the handoff and turnover is a process. It’s a period that allows for all the activities necessary to deliver the finished structure to the project owner. This extended phase allows the project owner to be fully aware and comfortable with the operation of all aspects of the newly constructed structure. The general contractor is present during this process to offer support to the client, such as staying in communication with the project owner and handing over blueprints and operation manuals to ensure that the project owner understands the intricacies of the structure.

The general contractor will provide any required training. Also during this phase, the general contractor and client will plan for expansion or the building of other necessary structures. A continuity plan is important to make sure all structures are operational and align with the original building design.

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Punch List Template

Use this free Punch List Template for Excel to manage your projects better.


Post-Construction Cleaning

Post-construction cleaning is just that, the removal of all the rubble and debris that’s been created in the building of the structure. But it also includes sanitizing and making sure that the property is in the right condition for occupancy. This is done not only to clean the job site but to ensure that it’s safe for employees and customers who will use it and that the site meets environmental standards.

Post-Construction Training

As noted, the general contractor will make sure that the project owner understands how the structure works. The training will also involve keeping the lines of communication open between the general contractor and the project owner to answer any questions related to the operation of the structure.

Seasonal Testing

One final test is to see how the structure performs to standards in every season of that climate. That means checking systems, such as the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), to see how they work in winter and summer conditions. Once the seasonal testing has been completed, the post-construction phase moves into its final review. This takes place a year after the building has been open to occupants. The final review will test to make sure that the building is still performing up to standards and the general contractor will respond to any concerns aired by the project owner.

Post-Construction Documents

Some consider the post-construction phase the most important of a building’s life cycle because it involves a close working relationship with the general contractor and the building owner. It’s during this phase that the owner will take responsibility for the building. To manage that transition are many post-construction documents. We list and define them below.

Punch List

The punch list is a post-construction document that shows the work that still needs to be done on the job site. It’s called this because holes were once punched in a list to indicate that they still needed fixing. Today, the punch list collects items that need immediate attention. The punch list can also indicate damage that was done during construction and requires attention. The items on the punch list must be completed before the general contractor can receive payment for the job.

As-Built Drawings

The use of as-built drawings, also known as record drawings and red-line drawings, is to compare and contrast the design to the final build. Then a detailed blueprint of the building and the land around it as actually constructed is done. This is a revised set of drawings submitted by the general contractor upon completion of the project to reflect all changes made in the specifications and working drawings during construction. Therefore, this is the exact dimensions, geometry and location of all elements of the work completed under contract.

Notice of Completion

This is a post-construction document recorded by the property owner to notify potential mechanic lien claimants that a specific construction project has been completed. This is done to reduce the time in which a subcontractor, material supplier or general contractor can record a mechanic lien against a private works construction project. This shortens the deadline for a mechanic lien.

Inspection Reports

A post-construction inspection report is a formal, written site inspection report that contains full details of what has been witnessed on site, including photographs. It will detail the state of compliance and add recommendations as needed with the relevant parties.

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Certificate of Occupancy

As noted above, the certificate of occupancy says that a building fully complies with the development plans that were submitted and approved by the local building authority. This document will say what the structure is used for, that it’s suitable for occupancy and it complies with all building codes.

Operation & Maintenance Manuals

These are detailed documents that contain all the instructions needed to properly manage and maintain the construction facility or property. It’ll include many things, such as machine operating procedures and engineering drawings, equipment placement, maintenance schedules, emergency protocols and safety guidelines.

Warranty Letters

This is where the general contractor guarantees to the project owner that all materials and equipment used in the construction project will be new unless otherwise specified, that all work will be of good quality, free from faults and defects and in conformance with the contract documents.

Release of Liens

The release of liens is a document that is filed with the public land records as the official notice that the lien has been removed. Once payment has been received, the general contractor has a duty to remove any lien that was filed against the property.

Punch List Template

This free punch list template for Excel allows you to keep track of all the work items that need to be completed during the postconstruction phase, their priority level, assignee, due dates and other important task management details.

punch list template

We offer a variety of free construction project management templates for Excel you can use to manage all aspects of your construction project.

How ProjectManager Helps With Post Construction

All phases of a construction project are complicated and benefit from the use of project management software. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that ensures that all the documentation and requirements of post construction are met to deliver a successful project. Our tool is online with unlimited file storage to make it easier to complete, deliver and archive documentation. Plus, we have multiple project views that allow you to manage the process with task lists and other project management tools so you can work how you want.

Manage Post Construction Process With Kanban Boards

Task lists aren’t the only tool to manage post-construction tasks like punch lists. You can use our kanban boards to visualize workflow and track all the various parts of turning the final delivery over to the project owner. General contractors can assign and track all the various tasks that are required to complete a project while getting an overview of how the work is progressing to ensure that it’ll be completed in a timely manner.

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Use Timesheets to Demobilize Labor

One of the responsibilities of the general contractor is demobilizing the construction crew. This frees them up for other jobs. Part of that process is making sure that they are fully paid. Our secure timesheets streamline that process. Not only can they be used throughout the life cycle of the project to autofill tasks and even monitor what percentage of their tasks are completed, but once submitted they’re locked and sent to a manager who is authorized to review and approve the timesheet to facilitate this post-construction process.

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Our software helps with construction project management, from planning to managing and tracking work in real time. Our real-time dashboards and customizable reports give general contractors the data they need to make better decisions. Robust Gantt charts help schedule tasks, link all four dependencies and even filter for the critical path.

ProjectManager is online project management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, job site or anywhere in between. Teams can share documents, comment at the task level and much more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.