Understanding your project's completion process

To mark the end of a project, a certain process and good practices need to be followed to ensure that the end results have been achieved according to the terms set out by your construction contract. This process also determines at what moment site ownership is transferred from the general contractor to the homeowner.

There are different stages to a project’s completion process:

  • Partial completion: Completion of a distinct phase of your project or the achievement of a critical milestone
  • Sectional completion: Completion of one area of your project (e.g. one floor)
  • Substantial completion: When your project is nearly finished and ready for occupancy (i.e. everything is functional, but touch-ups may still be pending)
  • Final completion: Once you are completely satisfied with your project and all final deficiencies have been addressed
  • Certificate of occupancy: For new construction, this occurs when occupancy of the dwelling is legally permissible
  • Contract’s completion date: Once all contract requirements have been met and final payment is done

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What is a substantial completion?

"Substantial completion is the stage when a construction project is deemed sufficiently completed to the point where the owner can use it for its intended purpose." (via Vertex) In other words, you can officially move in at the substantial completion date. Any repairs that are required with your move is deemed as a change order for which the general contractor can charge.

What is a deficiency list and why do I need it?

Usually, a final walkthrough is done on the substantial completion date to identify any project task that remains to be done. This list of tasks is called a final deficiency or punch list. The goal of this visit is to get you and the general contractor on the same page when it comes to the work that still needs to be completed. Only the items outlined on this deficiency list will be completed by the general contractor. Any other tasks that might come up beyond this list will be considered as out of scope and therefore will be treated as change orders. 

A common misconception is that the items on this list may be viewed as being mistakes. However, deficiencies are a normal occurrence, which happen during any construction project. A long deficiency list is not necessarily a sign of poor workmanship. On the contrary, since this is the final step before successfully completing your project, a thorough inspection to uncover any hidden defects demonstrates the willingness of a general contractor to deliver quality results — which is highly encouraged.

What is a final completion?

"During the project closeout phase, final completion — also known as final acceptance — is defined by the date when the owner determines the construction project to be 100% completed, punch list work included. This is usually the point where the contractor satisfied any remaining contract terms and requirements."  (via Vertex)

What kind of payment schedule can I expect?

Once your project is completed, you will have to pay out the remaining balance on your project to your general contractor, as delineated by the terms of payment in your contract. It is recommended to set aside 5-10% of the total balance for your final payment, which is only released to the contractor once all deficiencies have been addressed and corrected.

What do I need to do at the final completion date?

Both general contractors and homeowners should follow these guidelines to ensure that their renovations are longlasting.

Final documentation

Make sure to retrieve all the instruction and maintenance manuals from your project’s stakeholders, such as your contractor, designer, or engineer. These manuals are essential in making your renovations last as they detail the functioning of your new belongings. Appliances, furniture, cabinetry, and built-ins all usually come with such documentation.

Project post-mortem

Organize a post-mortem meeting where you, the general contractor, and construction professionals (architect, designer, engineer, if applicable) come together to provide each other with proactive feedback. This feedback should be delivered in a constructive way. The objective is to help everyone improve for the next project!

Photoshoot

Documenting a project is very important for legal and training reasons. If no pictures were taken during the construction phase, it’s important to photograph your renovations at the end of the project. General contractors will often hire professional photographers to do the final photoshoot. These pictures will serve for promotional purposes, but can also come in handy for warranties and future disputes, if required.

Interviews

Billdr might ask you to participate in 1-on-1 interviews with our Product team. These interviews will help us deep-dive into your renovation experience from start to finish to understand what we could improve upon.

Reviews

Leave us a review about your general contractor or overall Billdr experience on our social media platforms, such as Google reviews or Facebook. Sharing your feedback will guide homeowners who are also preparing for their own renovations and currently weighing their options.