This is the fourth and final column on preparation and completing specific consulting engineering tasks that are traditionally covered in the design engineering firm’s consulting fee. 

With the construction phase coming to a close, it is the design team’s responsibility to visit the construction site and complete a walk-through of the installation, taking note of completeness of work and producing a final punch list of remaining things to do and/or listing deficiencies in the contract document. It is also the time when the designers (architect and consulting engineers) sign off on requirements found in the contract documents (and more specifically, the contract specification Division 1 and its Supplementary General Conditions).

Here are my suggestions for preparing to complete a project closeout punch list that covers both the requirements specified in the contract document specification and a tour of the construction site reviewing the HVAC installation. Starting with the specification, there will be the following contractor requirements to provide the building owner and her operation and maintenance staff.

  • Training requirements for equipment and systems;
  • Delivery of O&M manuals that include information on parts, trouble shooting, preventive maintenance, etc.;
  • Delivery of record drawings showing the as-built installation, including all changes made during the construction;
  • Delivery of all equipment and system warranties.

As always, the designer should prepare himself for the site visit by uploading specific documents to his laptop, tablet, or iPad. Before he does this, he should confirm that the HVAC contractor and his subcontractors have completed their own punch list and have corrected any items they came up with when doing this list. From my point of view, I would expect the contractor’s mechanical-electrical coordinator to forward me these trade initiated punch lists to help me get a sense of whether the HVAC installation is complete. I would qualify this request by noting to the coordinator that if I find myself compiling multiple pages (two pages is my limit) of deficiencies, then I would stop the tour and notify the contractor that I would be back after the trades had truly completed their own quality-controlled punch list of their contract-required work.

Assuming there is a third-party commissioning engineer assigned to this project, the designer should also expect to see prior to his own punch list the following commissioning documents.

  • Pending Issue Log with all items completed and signed off by the trades;
  • Field visit reports and completed “prefunctional performance test” sheets;
  • Corrective Action Log with all current deficiencies completed and signed off by the trade contractors;
  • Collection of building automation trending data/graphs.

An integral part of the design engineer’s punch list, as well as the commissioning engineer’s responsibility, is to sign off on the training of personnel, including receiving copies of the various training course handouts. The same can be said for the O&M documents and instructions.  While completing the punch list tour, the designer should have the facility personnel in attendance to discuss what is being done relative to the on-site documentation. If not then, the design engineer should meet at a later date (but before the building owner takes occupancy) with the O&M personnel to make sure they have all the documents and training per Division 1 and the Supplementary General Conditions.

It is also important to note the status of the owner having her maintenance management software system up and running and the asset library and PM work orders in place, so that planned maintenance will be assured during the warranty phase.