A Post Construction Cleaning Checklist for Project Closeout!

by Alexander Fraser

When you buy any new product, what are some of the things you expect? 

You want the product to come clean and pristine, right? 

Well, the same goes for any construction project. When you’re ready to turnover the construction site to the owner, you must thoroughly clean it. 

I suggest using a post construction cleaning checklist to avoid missing anything.  

I use checklists all the time as a construction project manager. It’s the easiest way to make sure I have everything covered. 

What if you don’t know what to include in the checklist? 

Well, I have you covered. You can use the post-construction cleanup checklist included below in the article. 

Note that this should be used as a baseline to give you an idea of what to include. It won’t cover everything. 

Work with your team to determine the full cleaning scope

The Post Construction Cleaning Checklist

Post construction cleaning checklist, google sheets template, post construction cleaning checklist template

If you want access to the checklist to use on google sheets, you can click here.

This blog post will cover the post construction cleaning checklist and how you can fill it out. 

It’s easy to forget something when you don’t have it written down somewhere. Using a checklist helps to prevent this. 

What’s in the Post Construction Cleaning Checklist

With this checklist, we’re working our way from the outside in to the building. 

The first thing is the exterior features. We will focus on any items that were affected during construction. 

  1. Sidewalks, driveways, or patios: Carry a lot of dirt and construction dust if heavy equipment is driven over them. Consider using a power washing tool for any stains from the dirt.
  2. Walls & Trim: Wash any build-up of dirt or dust particles on the walls. Consider using a power washer to remove this. If there’s fresh paint on the walls, take caution when spraying it. 
  3. Gutters & Downspouts: Debris or droppings from a tree may fall into your gutters during construction. Clean out the blockage before turnover. Don’t let the new gutters overflow due to the blockage. 
  4. Exterior Light Fixtures: Light fixtures will accumulate fine dust over the construction phase. Especially if it’s an existing fixture, ensure that it is dust-free and no damage has occurred during the work. 
  5. Roof: Remove any construction debris from the roof. I wouldn’t worry about items such as small leaves. By the time turnover happens, they’ll come right back. 

Now let’s cover the building’s interior!

  1. Walls, baseboards, and trim: Remove any protection you put up for construction. Repair any damage to the wall or paint. Remove any dirt, smudges, or scuff marks that occurred from the construction as well.
  2. Floors: The construction process will change slightly depending on whether you have a hard floor vs. a carpet. You need to clean and prepare either so it’s spotless. These activities include using a vacuum cleaner, mopping, polishing, sweeping, and removing stains. 
  3. Windows & Frames: These items can collect a large amount of dust during construction. You need to pay special attention on a renovation project. Remove dust, stains, or repair damage that occurred to the windows. 
  4. Doors & Frames: Door frames commonly get damaged when moving large items through. They also will have high foot traffic, making them vulnerable to construction dust and debris. Wipe down the doors with a damp cloth, and ensure you catch the frames, hinges, and locks. 
  5. Cabinets & Shelves: Remove dust, debris, and packaging materials. Clean the cabinets and shelves inside and out before project turnover.
  6. Countertops & Sinks: Clean all dust on the countertops during construction. Check for any residue or protective film that still needs to be removed. 
  7. Appliances: Clean all small appliances, including stovetops, ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers. You will typically install these at the end of the project, but clean them once before turnover. Look for any protective films or labels that need to remove. 
  8. Bathrooms: Clean thoroughly, and don’t forget to include any toilets, sinks, and showers. Remove packaging materials or protective films as needed. 
  9. Light Fixtures: Whether existing or new, check the fixtures for dust build-up during construction. Wipe down thoroughly and check for any damage as well. Repair or replace damaged parts as needed from construction.
  10. HVAC System: Once the HVAC system goes in, you must start the equipment. As a result, all the dust will enter the air ducts of the equipment, which should have an air filter. Replace the filter, wipe down dust from air vents and grilles, and remove vent covers. 

Next is a general list of things you should address during post-construction cleaning. 

  1. Remove all construction-generated waste from the job site, including any trash cans. 
  2. Dispose of all hazardous materials properly if any remain. Hazmat should be disposed of safely immediately after removal. 
  3. Apply touch-up paint to any walls, doors, and windows affected during construction. 

It’s important to note that this checklist may not include everything you need for your project. You should work closely with your team to determine what activities must be completed for the construction job. 

If you’re working on a large-scale project, consider using a checklist for different areas of the project.  

Example Photos of Cleaning Items Required on a Project

post construction cleaning checklist
During cleaning, move furniture back to its original location, remove any tape, and wall protection.
Post construction cleaning checklist
Any damages that occur to walls must be repaired. We had to apply touch up paint here.
Post construction cleaning checklist
Remove any protective covering used during construction.
Post Construction Cleaning Checklist
When your project is complete is should be restored to better than found condition.

The Importance of a Post Construction Cleaning Checklist

Using a checklist or to-do list to track your daily tasks is a good idea. Organizing my duties this way makes me the most effective in getting work done. 

Here are some reasons why a checklist is essential:

  • Help you to stay organized and on track
  • Avoid missing any important steps in the post-construction cleaning process
  • Ensure that the new building is cleaned thoroughly 

Overall, checklists are available as a means to help you. I find that it’s best to keep everything written down and noted somewhere. 

You’ll need a method of storing the checklist as you complete them. I suggest using cloud storage so the files are accessible by your team. 

At the end of the project, you can consider including the checklist with your closeout documents. Use the checklist as your backup to show the building is clean. 

The last step of the project is to hold a final walkthrough. The owner will be looking for the cleanliness of their new building. It’s necessary for closing out the project. 

Should you Hire a Professional Cleaning Company? 

I think hiring a professional cleaning company is ideal for larger-scale projects. 

You will likely need to dedicate all your manpower to construction. Hiring a cleaning contractor will provide you with additional labor to turn over the project within a reasonable amount of time. 

You will need to make a decision if you’re the project manager. If you think you’re behind and need to begin cleaning concurrently with the construction work, hire someone. 

Likewise, a smaller job might not require construction cleaning services. You can dedicate your laborers to complete this task. 

So, the question here might be, “What is considered a large vs. small-scale project?” 

The only time I saw a general contractor hire a professional post-construction cleaning service was for a high-rise project. We’re talking about a $100+ million contract. The job was so close to the deadline that they had no choice but to hire out. 

While working for a general contractor, our laborers worked on the thorough cleaning. The projects were small enough (less than $3 million), and hiring out was pointless. We were still able to meet the deadline without risk. 

Tips for Hiring a Cleaning Contractor

If you decide to hire a cleaning company here are my suggestions. 

  1. Send out pricing requests from multiple companies. You’ll find the most competitive price and save some money doing this. 
  2. If they have a website, check out some of the previous projects they worked on. Get a feel for their experience to determine their qualifications for the job. 
  3. Confirm the company is insured and bonded. Accidents happen, and insured companies can cover the cost should something occur. 

Conclusion

To recap, consider using a post construction cleaning checklist when you’re about to finish a job. It will help to eliminate any loose ends when it comes to the final step; project turnover.

It will make your job easier to track the progress of the cleaning requirements by using a checklist. If you’re working on a larger-scale project, create separate forms for the main areas. 

Whether you have a subcontractor or your team handles the cleaning, make sure they fill out the form. Since you won’t be onsite all the time, this will be your resource for ensuring the work is complete. 

Remember that you’re providing a product to the customer, and quality control matters. Cleaning is a quality control item that is important before moving into a new space. 

Before you go, consider reading my article on the post construction phase. You will learn about what else goes into the closeout of a project. 

Thank you for reading.  

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