This is the second in a three-part series about using a Job Close Out system to enhance your construction contracting business. If you missed the first part, you can go here. You’ll find the third part here.
Start at the finish line
Rather than getting close to the end of your project and finding you have an Easter egg hunt for what’s incomplete or unacceptable (including the dreaded punch list) working from the beginning of the project through the completion with Job Close Out in mind makes better sense for both you and your customer.
Speaking of punch lists: There has been a lot of talk lately about striving for a zero item punch list. When I first heard of the idea, my reaction was “that’s impossible.” Then I began researching the ideas and thoughts associated with the concept and discovered it is not only possible, but actually the industry as a whole is moving toward that reality rather rapidly.
So, whether your particular segment of the construction industry typically relies on a punch list or not, there is still that moment in time when you reach the finish line at each of your jobs and you close out with your customer.
Who benefits from a well-planned, systematic Job Close Out process?
Your bottom line
Whether or not your particular customer has ever heard of the language found in the American Institute of Architects’ AIA A201-2007 document is beside the point.
“Substantial Completion is the stage in the progress of the Work when the Work or designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use (2007).”
Think like your customer
The fact that your customer can “move in” isn’t enough. No matter how much they’ve enjoyed your company for the past few hours, months or years they wish to fully occupy and fully use whatever you’ve built, installed, or repaired for them.
No matter where you are in the contractor, subcontractor chain you still answer to your particular “customer.” Your ability to scale your contracting business is greatly enhanced when your reputation is for closing out your job without repeat call backs, for monitoring even the “little things,” and for finishing your project with no loose ends.
A well designed Job Close Out system will keep your team from missing vital yet routine tasks which can sometimes slip through the cracks because you or someone else on the team assumes they’ve already been carried out. Another important benefit of using a good system is that by assigning close out tasks to a specific person and having the tasks verified by different team members sets up a communication path which often leads to more information, therefore better close out.
Your Job Close Out system is an internal checklist which in reality is a customer service tool.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, makes an excellent point when he says, “We’re not competitor-obsessed, we’re customer-obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.” Making your Job Close Out system customer-centric is a wise investment of your time and is important to scaling your construction contracting business.
The next article in this series will discuss how to create a useful Job Close Out system which will serve you, your customers, and the members of your team.