The post-construction phase of a landscape architectural design project is a process in itself, consisting of contract administration processes and the completion of any remaining work. This stage is often referred to as the closeout process, and has its own set of milestones.
In this article, we are going to focus on the three key steps to a successful closeout and the importance of paying close attention to detail in this final stretch as to avoid problems in the future.
When you hear the term "Close-out" you might expect or entertain thoughts that this is a simply process of simply signing off on the fact that the contractor has finished all of the construction activity. While in a certain sense that is correct, there are far more things that happen before the landscape project is considered completely done and ready to turn over to the owner. One the most important things is inspecting the project to verify that everything is acceptable to be considered complete.
The most time-consuming aspect of this is inspecting everything for nicks, dings or errors. In addition to the time it takes to inspect for these issues, is the process of having them corrected and determining who was at fault and who is paying for the corrective measures.
This is the single most important part to the well-being of your development project and your brand. Cover your butt; make sure that the implementation of the landscape architectural design succeeded before anything else. It is much easier to take an issue up with a contractor before they have finalized their contracts - and it is definitely easier to catch aspects that slipped passed review with a thorough examination rather than to face issues of safety or handicap accessibility in court. This step should be tacked on to your product delivery plan and underlined - whoever is involved with product delivery management should be able to cover this aspect as well.
Effective operation and ongoing maintenance are critical to the long-term viability of any landscape architecture project, so your landscape architect will assemble the whole product into one comprehensive book detailing the process and plans. This book, known as Operation and Maintenance Manual, includes all relevant specifications and guidelines to ensure that both softscape and hardscape elements of the final landscape design are efficiently operated and well maintained long into the future.
The manual describes key components and systems, and explains how they should be operated and maintained to ensure that the project fulfills its promise to its occupants and to its community. This maintenance manual will not only further your understanding of the basics of an irrigation system, lighting, lawn care, planting beds, trees and shrubs, drainage, hardscapes, and woodwork, but will also assist you with the identification and solution of any possible problems that may arise. Make sure that all of this gets to the right hands, be it the new owner or manager of your building.
Once these steps have been check off the list, you are ready to hand over the keys of your development project.
- A Walk Through the Landscape Architecture Process: What Developers Can Expect
- Developers: Know the 4 Design Phases of a Successful Landscape Project in Utah
- Why a Landscape Architecture Pre-Design Strategy Should Matter to Developers
- Getting to Know Your Site for a Remarkable Landscape Architectural Design