35.5 Post Construction Peeves from Owner’s Reps

peeveAs project managers, we strive to deliver our client’s commercial interior space free of defects. But trades and vendors still have minor work prior to relocation and don’t often share our vision for perfection.

Jerry Maffia, Senior Project Manager at LPCiminelli in NYC says he sees lots of complaints about some big and some small issues and suggests if there is something specific that he wants a bidder/subcontractor to do (or not do) he writes it into the scope of work. This includes for example, “subcontractor to assure that all doors are closed at the end of the day; clean wire insulation from finished floors, etc.”.  He continues, “Assure that the things that are important to you are called out as a line item in the schedule of values. You now have a vehicle for withholding payment or back charging the offenders.” ail it in, so will the people who you are being paid to oversee.

Brian Bott, Construction Manager from the Hawaiian Islands suggests you perform “Management by Walking Around”. When a topic comes up, you don’t just have to refer to a report, you can refer to “I was there, I saw it myself an hour ago, here’s some pictures.”

Christina Flynn of the Coconino County Facilities Management Department in Flagstaff, AZ says “I instill that carpet, walls, ceiling, elevator and even the rest room facilities will look better than they found them. I put in the contract “site to be left to facility management standards”.

So I’ve asked my colleagues in the LinkedIn “Owner’s Representatives” group to share some of their peeves, along with mine, so you can take note of what to look out for.

Here’s our list of Top Post Construction Peeves

1. Scuffs caused by leaning ladders up against freshly painted walls
2. Moving ceiling tiles with filthy hands that leave marks
3. Sliding ceiling tiles on the grid which causes gouges and scratches on the tile
4. Leaving coffee cups and bags of half eaten food on window sills expecting someone else to clean up after them
5. Electricians and cable pullers who strip wire for systems furniture and wall plates and leave the casings and wire strands all over the new carpet. You just can’t get those strands up.
6. Furniture installers and movers who take furniture off of dollies and use their body against the wall as leverage causing scratches and scuffs

from Wayne Brown, CRE Project Management, Dallas/Fort Worth
7. Carpet installers that scuff the bottom of freshly painted doors and walls during installation, and claim innocence
8. Painters using custom colors that don’t leave the formula behind and/or no touch-up paint left
9. Electricians that leave troffler fixtures dusty or with fingerprints on them
10. LV techs that use desk tops and work stations in lieu of ladders or scaffolds, and disturbed insulation above the tiles
11. Millwork with sawdust in the drawers; pulls or handles poorly fastened/quickly lost.
12. Plumbers that leave sewer P-traps dry before the water is on inside.
13. Landscapers that put topsoil or mulch above weepholes at foundation (not TI, but annoying and problematic!).

from David Harrier, David Harrier – Architect LLC, Dallas/Fort Worth
14. Plumbers that leave the valve and faucets open and the water closets disconnected when they call to have the meter installed and water turned on.  Particle board cabinets can swell 2″ when completely saturated over night, and all due to a main water shut-off valve having been left open.

from Brian Bott, Construction Manager, Hawaiian Islands
15. Clients themselves coming and deciding they want to move walls around, not understanding costs involved to the HVAC zones, sprinkler piping and power/data

from Bob Mitchell, Construction & Development Consultants, LLC, South Boston, VA  
16. Appliances and/or equipment left with the water/power source turned off or disconnects left in the off position
17. Cabinet & drawer keys left inside the drawers/in the doors. Or non labeled and strung on a wire or ring
18. Door hinges being sprung during last minute due to door handles being stuck into the hinge to hold the door open
19. Inadequate mechanical piping labeling
20. HVAC filters not being changed at the end of construction
21. Areas the painter touched up which was not detected until the light hit it different way

from Johnnie C. Morgan, Owner’s Rep with M.A. Center, Hermosa Beach, CA
22. Leaving spaces that seldom get visited, like attics, crawl spaces, mechanical spaces, filthy
23. Not protecting finish surfaces and working over top of them

from Patrick McGarry, Civic Projects Manager at City of Carlsbad, CA
24. Not protecting the data outlets from getting drywall dust in them. When the IT folks go to plug in the phone and computer, the dust impedes a proper connection, making it difficult to understand why the devices do not work. I advise my IT crew to use a can of compressed air and blow out any dust prior to connecting the devices.

from Jerry Maffia, Senior Project Manager at LPCiminelli, New York, NY 
25. Project Managers who do not buy adequate cleaning and protection prior to move-in

from Shawn Tyler, Tycor, Little Rock, AK
26. Air balancing for the HVAC.  Just taking the time (before the end user moves in) to run the system for a couple of days to make sure that every office / break room / file room / etc is equally comfortable. Regarding money savings in design, be careful to understand the comfort that is sacrificed if you decide to save money by not providing returns in each room; especially if it has a door that can be shut.

from Steve Arden, Capital Projects Manager for Mount Vernon Nazarene Univ, Ohio
27.  When contractors prop doors open when the A/C or heating is running and they don’t go back and close them when they are done. The GC does not police this well since the owner usually pays the utility bills.

from David Rigsby, President at Rigsby Project Management, Inc., Roswell, GA
28. Any penetrations in a rated wall that are not sealed properly.

from Roland Wong, Project Manager at Clark Construction, Los Angeles, CA
29. Water infiltration into the building through the cladding/skin
30. Water infiltration through the roofing membrane.
31. Water infiltration through roof mounted HVAC ducts

from Todd Allen, Managing Principal, The ForeSight Partners of Culver City, CA
32. The tenant’s IT pro staring at me on moving day when he/she realized that when the phone company said there were “circuits in the building”, they meant that they’d drop and tag them within the MPOE in the basement, not on the 17th floor.
33. Not getting 100% permit card sign-off because the low voltage vendor didn’t pull a permit or didn’t get ceiling inspection
34. Having the fire marshal stop the final walk-through because the furniture systems are installed but the marshal didn’t grant permission to load the floor with combustible materials
35. Getting money calls for retention payments before I’ve received close-out packages
35.5. Received close-outs from design-build MEP & sprinkler subs with no as-built modifications

Thank you to the members of Owner’s Representatives Group on LinkedIn (moderated by Patrick McGarry Civic Projects Manager at City of Carlsbad, CA) for their contribution to this article.

2 Comments on 35.5 Post Construction Peeves from Owner’s Reps

  1. So true Richard,
    Carpets are cut larger than offices in the shop, when rolled out in the room they inevitably scrape against the bottom of the freshly painted walls always leaving scrape marks. There is no such thing as paint touch ups. Painters end up repainting the entie room. Solution? Carpet tile, Have the painter paint over the new carpet, That will increase the painter’s cost, Then, have the flooring contractor come back after paint and install the base, that will increase the flooring cost.

  2. thebrokerlist // October 9, 2013 at 9:46 am // Reply

    Love it!! Great list.

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