At this year’s The Buildings Show, HH Angus’ VP Operations & Director, Commercial Division, Kevin O’Neill, joined a panel with Kris Landon, Senior Director Construction, Enwave Energy Corporation, and Sean Smithson, Executive Vice President, Modern Niagara Group to share insights and strategies to improve the construction closeout process. The panel was moderated by Tom Coyle, Director, BTY Group. Here are some of Kevin’s key takeaways on construction closeout from the consulting engineering perspective:

Why construction closeout can be stressful

Closing out of a construction project is the culmination of all the hard work of the team to transfer a project to an end user. If the closeout is not completed properly, deadlines are missed, owners are upset, and costs spiral out of control. Closeout starts as soon as you begin working on a project, and it is important that you get ahead and stay ahead to avoid stress and lost profits for all involved. It is an essential component of the construction process – and can make or break an otherwise successful construction project.

How specifications help the closeout process

Specifications are as critical as constructability, schedule, and budget. It is essential that the specifications are edited and modified for each project and are read and understood by the builder and trade contractors. The specifications are written to define the scope of work, the owner’s requirements, the quality and performance of equipment, items pertaining to process and, in some instances, references to construction phasing. When it comes to construction closeout, specifications must be updated to capture the specific requirements for the project and for equipment, methods, and procedures that are to be generally followed. All of this helps to ensure a smooth closeout process. The specifications should outline:

  • Shop drawing submission protocol
  • Procedure for clarifications
  • Specific manufacturers and specialty equipment
  • Minimum testing requirements or 3rd party inspection
  • Site review by the engineer including milestone reviews

Specifically for closeout, the specifications should also provide:

  • A list of attic stock/spare parts to be turned over to the owner
  • Outline of the general and specific training requirements for owner’s personnel
  • A checklist of requirements for application for both substantial and total performance
  • General and specific warranty requirements

Energy performance or measurement and verification as a closeout deliverable

The expected or even guaranteed energy performance for new or renovated buildings is becoming more common, especially for P3 projects and projects that have received government funding. In this case, the specifications will outline target or maximum energy use or green house gas emissions and will refer to measurement and verification requirements post construction.

Obligations of the consultant or engineer in closeout

Engineers are required by local building codes to review the work performed when our drawings and specification are the basis upon which a building permit was issued. We conduct periodic reviews to ensure that the work generally conforms to the permit documentation; however, these can be augmented depending on the requirements of our service agreement with the client; for example, they may include:

  • Recording any deficiencies found
  • Reviewing reports of independent testing agencies, other 3rd parties, and installing contractors, such as fire alarm verification and sprinkler systems reports
  • Interpreting plans and specifications when requested by the client or contractor and responding to RFIs
  • Reviewing shop drawings and samples

When reviews should take place

Deficiency reviews are conducted when the work has been declared complete and are carried out on a sampling basis. The review by the engineer does not replace or supersede the reviews, deficiency lists, or punch lists developed by the contractor and sub-trades.

The engineer’s reviews can be milestone reviews, performed when areas are finished and in advance of services being concealed. We also provide reviews for occupancy as required by local codes and local inspectors, as well as providing certification for both substantial and total performance following complete application by the Contractors.

Requests for Interpretation (RFIs)

Engineers provide written clarifications when an RFI is submitted by the builder. The RFI process ensures that the intent of the specifications is clear. In the case of site issues that inevitably arise, the RFI process documents the exchange of information, and may trigger an adjustment to the contract in the form of a change order or site instruction.

The best RFIs are those that provide a possible solution to the issue at hand. These can even be submitted after the issue has been reviewed on site or discussed offline. However, RFIs for the sake of creating paperwork only distract and bog down the team.

It is important to include language defining the RFI process in your specifications. When HH Angus is acting in a sub-consultant role and providing Division 00 and 01 specifications, we must review what the prime consultant has prepared in this regard to mitigate and avoid nuisance RFIs described above.  

Role of the engineer during trade contractor execution of specifications

The obligations for the consulting engineer vary from project to project during the trade contractor execution of the specification requirements during closeout. In addition to a general review, the consultant may be asked to:

  • Participate in planning for commissioning activities and to attend commissioning meetings
  • Attend factory witness testing for major equipment
  • Attend, on a sample basis, start-up testing of equipment
  • Review test results for systems that may be turned over ahead of occupancy or substantial completion (plumbing, for example); and
  • Monitor that as-built or record drawing information is being updated.

The consulting engineer also typically reviews the following documentation:

  • O&M Manuals
  • Shop drawings and 3rd party certificates, testing or otherwise
  • Training records
  • As-built documentation
  • Warranty information and contact details
  • Commissioning reports
  • Final testing, adjusting, and balancing reports required for substantial performance
  • BIM and Modeling turnover requirements

Closing thoughts about closeout stress reduction

Planning for construction closeout starts at the beginning of the project. The basis of the processes required to ensure a smooth transition from construction to closeout are outlined in our Engineering documents. However, this is just one part of a larger operation. Effective closeout will also highly depend on the experience of the owner and the trade partner. Regular communication of our expectations throughout the project assists with ensuring that we achieve the desired outcome; however, reducing stress is only possible when all parties are aligned to this common goal.


Kevin O’Neill
VP Operations | Division Director, Commercial

Infrastructure Ontario and Niagara Health have announced the selection of EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare as the preferred proponent to design, build, finance and maintain the new South Niagara Health Hospital project. The EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare team includes:

  • Applicant Leads: EllisDon Capital Inc. & Plenary Americas LP
  • Design Team: Parkin Architects Ltd. & Adamson Associates Architects
  • Construction Team: EllisDon Corporation
  • Financial Advisor: EllisDon Capital Inc.

HH Angus is providing consulting services for mechanical engineering and conveyance systems (automated guided vehicles, autonomous mobile robots, and vertical transportation) as part of the design team. Congratulations to our Healthcare bid team on this significant win.

Located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the new hospital will be a full acute care hospital that will include a 24/7 Emergency department, diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services. The latter will include medical, surgical, and intensive care inpatient beds. The facility will also include ambulatory services; post-acute Complex Continuing Care (CCC) Inpatient services; and Centres of Excellence specializing in stroke, complex care, geriatric/psychogeriatrics, and wellness in aging. The new facility will integrate technology that supports innovation in and delivery of high-quality healthcare. It will also be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification and is working toward being the first WELL™-certified healthcare facility in Canada.

To read more about the project, click on the link below:

South Niagara Hospital (

The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships has announced the winners of its 2022 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships. Three of our clients have been honoured and we congratulate them on receiving this prestigious award - Grandview Children’s Treatment Centre Redevelopment in Durham Region, Ontario Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops BC; and Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in Oakville ON.

Project Development – Award of Merit: Grandview Children’s Treatment Centre Redevelopment Project, Ontario
This project, currently in development, will specialize in the care and support of children and youth with physical, communication and developmental needs, and their families. The new four-storey Treatment Centre, with a gross area of 94,733 ft2, will increase the centre’s ability to offer more services to a greater number of children and youth in the region. Construction is underway.
 Infrastructure Ontario, Grandview Children’s Centre, and Children First Consortium (Amico Design Build Inc. and Sacyr Construction S.A)

Service Delivery – Award of Merit: Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Ontario
In operation since 2015, this $2-billion DBFM hospital project is still one of the largest infrastructure projects in Ontario. The LEED®Gold facility, with 457 beds and shelled-in space to facilitate 602 beds by 2023, features multiple smart technology enhancements.
Partners: Infrastructure Ontario, Halton Healthcare Services Corp., and Hospital Infrastructure Partners (Carillion Canada Inc., EllisDon Corp. and Fengate Capital Management Ltd.)

Infrastructure – Award of Merit: Royal Inland Hospital - Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Tower, British Columbia
Opened in February 2022, this new $417-million, 300,000 ft2 patient care tower in Kamloops houses clinical, administrative and support spaces, including a surgical suite and neonatal ICU serving 220,000 residents in the region. The project used a DBFM model with a construction management agreement, resulting in an estimated savings of $64 million compared with traditional procurement.
Partners: Infrastructure BC, Interior Health Authority, and EllisDon Infrastructure Healthcare

HH Angus’ P3 experience includes both Proponent and PDC (Planning, Design and Compliance) work. Our portfolio includes Thunder Bay Correctional Facility in Ontario; Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Bayers Lake NS; Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment in BC; the largest P3 healthcare project in North America, the $2+ billion CHUM hospital in Montreal; as well as the $5.3 billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto.

To see more examples of our experience on P3/DBFM and IPD procurement methods for project delivery, click here.


To see the full slate of CCPPP winners, click here.

About the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships
Established in 1993, CCPPP is a national not-for-profit organization. Its mission is to collaborate with all levels of government and Indigenous communities to enable smart, innovative approaches to infrastructure development and service delivery.

Last evening, the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction recognized UHN’s Toronto Western Hospital Stack project, a vital part of the hospital’s Powerhouse Redevelopment. Congratulations to our client, UHN - the University Health Network, Milman & Associates, the structural engineering team, PCL Construction and Ellesmere Fabricators. HH Angus served as prime consultant and M&E engineers. The generator exhaust stack won in the category of Steel Works – Sculptures – Outdoor Pavillions.

Megan Angus
Principal, VP Strategy, & Digital Services
HH Angus

Jeannie Gandham
Program Director, IT
New St. Paul’s Hospital

On Nov 9th, Megan Angus, VP Strategy and Digital Services at HH Angus, will be speaking at at The Canadian Institute’s Forum on Healthcare Infrastructure, Eastern Canada. The theme of this year’s Forum is ‘Accelerating Innovative Approaches to Project Design & Delivery’. Megan will be co-presenting with Jeannie Gandham, Program Director, IT at New St. Paul’s Hospital. Their session will cover:

  1. How to develop a digital roadmap with standardized processes that achieves purpose-built space
    • Gain insights on the development of CSA standards and guidance on where to start, when evaluating and integrating technology
  2. How to foster collaboration between clinical and industry specialists to transform patient care based on current, and anticipated health needs
  3. Identifying opportunities for data-driven decision making
    • Where clinical staff can be supported in day-to-day operations by digital tools?

To learn more about the two-day forum agenda and to register, click here.