Last edited 19 Mar 2018

Handover and close out

The process for completing the design and construction of a building is often divided into notional ‘stages’. This can be helpful in establishing milestones for the submission of progress reports, the preparation of information for approval, client gateways, and for making payments. However there is a great deal of ambiguity between the naming of stages by different organisations and the definition of what individual stages include (see comparison of work stages). As a result, it is important that appointment documents make it clear explicitly what activities fall within which stage, and what level of detail is required, rather than relying on rather vague stage names.

Handover and Close Out’ is a new phrase coined by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the 2013 Plan of Work. This plan comprises eight work stages, and its new terminology, stage referencing system and lack of detail have generated some criticism.

The RIBA states that Stage 6, Handover and Close Out maps broadly to the former Stage L: Post Practical Completion.

They describe the activities carried out during the stage as, ‘handover of building and conclusion of building contract’ including updating ‘as constructed’ information, commissioning, training and perhaps post-occupancy evaluation following the ‘soft landings’ process. Presumably the stage also includes tasks associated with the defects liability period and issuing the final certificate, although these are not described.

Previously, this stage might have been described as the ‘defects liability period’, the period which begins on certification of practical completion at the end of the construction stage and typically lasts six to twelve months, during which the client takes possession of the site, defects are rectified and then the final certificate issued. This is perhaps a better description of the stage and in the Designing Buildings Wiki project plans, we describe this stage as the ‘occupation and defects liability period

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