Multi-Family vs. Commercial: Unit Turnover & Acceptance
The traditional punch list process on a commercial project is simple:
1. Contractor develops an unofficial punch list and completes all items.
2. Contractor schedules a walkthrough with the architect and owner’s representative at the completion of a project.
3. Architect prepares and distributes a detailed list of the items discussed.
4. Contractor completes the work and schedules a verification walkthrough to confirm all items have been addressed.
On a typical six month commercial project, this process will take about a month to complete. While the major steps are the same, the management and execution of the punch list process in multi-family construction are different.
Multi-family projects often have multiple buildings with several turnover dates. In order to effectively control and manage unit turnover, the general contractor must be proactive. The punch list process begins three weeks before a unit is turned over. The contractor completes a pre-punch checklist to identify all remaining and deficient work to be completed within the unit. Individual lists are distributed to subcontractors and the contractor coordinates the completion of the work over the next two weeks.
Approximately ten days before the unit turnover date, the first walk of each unit is performed with the owner’s representative. The group will inspect all aspects of the construction from the perspective of the tenant and the property manager. In addition to the overall aesthetics of the unit, the functional performance of the cabinets, doors, windows, utilities and appliances are also verified. As a result of this walk through, the contractor will address a few minor items. CCG Residential has found using its own forces to do this work (as opposed to a subcontractor) allows for a more efficient and cost effective turnover.
The final step in this process involves a second acceptance walk. The owner’s representative verifies that the items from the first walk have been completed and no additional damage was done. At the conclusion of the second walk, the front door key is checked and the unit is officially turned over to the owner.
From pre-punch to final acceptance, the multi-family turnover process is both demanding and time consuming for all parties. On a typical project with 250 units, turnover will last for over six months. With the need to turn over 10 or more units a week, there are 30-40 units at some stage of the turnover process at any given time. It requires a dedicated and organized contractor that works to ensure all items are addressed in a timely manner. To date, CCG Residential has never missed a scheduled tenant move-in date.