Effective Project Close-Out For HVAC/Sheet Metal Contractors: Sucessful Practices Guide


Dr. Jason Lucas, Associate Professor
Dr. Dhaval Gajjar, Assistant Professor
Clemson University



Construction project close-out has long been a challenge within the industry – especially for HVAC, sheet metal and mechanical contractors – leading to the closeout process lingering way past the project completion. 

Two core players within the construction industry are the Mechanical Contractors, responsible for heating, cooling & plumbing, and HVAC/Sheet Metal Contractors, responsible for fabricating and installing sheet metal ductwork and HVAC systems. 
This study investigates how these types of construction companies close out projects and identifies how to successfully close out projects within the industry. 

Construction Project Close Out Research Methodology

The research was conducted through an in-depth interview process with individuals with various  responsibilities within HVAC/Sheet Metal and Mechanical companies, from Project Coordinators to Owners for a wide range of results. The data collection and study findings were overseen by a New Horizon Foundation task force comprised of industry professionals, and the report was prepared by Dr. Jason Lucas and Dr. Dhaval Gajjar at Clemson University. The findings were analyzed separately for the two different types of companies due to their difference in project scope leading to different project close-out strategies.

The overall objective of the research was to generate successful best practices and a list of industry-specific recommendations for effective close-out processes. The findings can be found in the sections listed below.

This construction closeout best practices report includes: 

  • A Step by Step Guide for evaluating and benchmarking the closeout process.
    • This includes a detailed 9 step process for how to improve YOUR closeout process. 
  • Guidelines for project closeouts 
    • A visual phase-based overview of the steps involved in closing out an HVAC/ Sheet metal or Mechanical project.
  • Effective closeout strategies
    • This section highlights the key strategies for success, such as checklists and accountability.
  • Key success measure
    • Specific measures are identified that can be implemented to improve the closeout process. 
  • Common delay factors 
    • An overview of the most common project closeout delay factors. 
  • Communication Strategies
    • Strategies for internal and external stakeholder communication. 

By reviewing your company’s closeout processes, and benchmarking against the best practices listed, you will be able to identify areas of opportunity. Once identified, proactive measures for improvement can be made by implementing the tools and strategies found in this report, enabling you to set up your project and project team for success.