Project Management

Good practices for Commissioning Acceptance and Maintenance Plans (CAMP)?

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What is a Punchlist?

Until recently, Commissioning, Acceptance and Maintenance Plan (CAMP) deliverables on major projects were delegated to the contractor for determining format, content, level of detail and the submittal date.   Typically, the compilation of the associated deliverables was part of final acceptance of contract products by the Buyer and achieving the performance milestone by Seller for contract completion.   At contract completion, the withheld retainage by the Buyer, which can be 5% deducted from all Seller’s progress payments through 100% earned contract value, becomes part of the contract closeout.   As a result, contractors typically leave the CAMP deliverables until the end of the contract.

Contract closeout means the Buyer’s Project Manager (PM) can close the remaining administrative office, package the files for storage, and be reassigned to other projects on a full-time basis.  For the Seller’s PM, it means all financial reimbursement obligations are complete and they can close files and financial bookings, and reassign any remaining staff to other contracts.

However, there are numerous Lessons on contracts from closeout experiences that reflect poor quality and incomplete CAMP deliverables.  The situation is compounded by the urgency of the Buyer’s PM to closeout the contract and of the Seller’s PM to collect all retainage due from the already approved payments.  At this time on the contract lifecycle, CAMP deliverables can easily become secondary, as both PM’s are usually focused on closeout and moving on to new projects or contracts.

In order to mitigate the risk of poor quality and incomplete CAMP deliverables on rail transit projects, a major United States (USA) commuter railroad updated its requirements for consultant design contracts and contractor construction contracts.  The scope of work for design contracts specify that a CAMP Matrix be developed and submitted with each level of deliverables.   The Division 1 Specifications for the construction contracts specify the CAMP as a deliverable with scope, product and execution requirements that include the CAMP Matrix – developed by the design consultant.  

The CAMP Matrix includes the major systems constructed, and for deliverables, such as Training, Operation and Maintenance Manuals, Spare Parts, Software, Software Licenses, Warranty, and As-built drawings, which are itemized in the Divisions 2-16 Specifications of the construction contract.   Some Mega projects also include deliverables for BIM/GIS, Asset Management and service contract agreements.   As the Matrix progresses from the design contract and into the construction contract, more detailed descriptions of the components /systems of the constructed product are incorporated.  This creates better understanding of the CAMP deliverables. 

Since implementing in the late 2000’s, the USA commuter railroad has collected Lessons Learned on CAMP requirements, which are used during the development of new projects and contracts.   Enhancing the contracts was proven to enable Buyer’s PMs to better manage the Seller’s PMs and realize higher quality and comprehensive CAMP deliverables that met the real expectations of the Owner’s operating departments.   

The CAMP Matrix makes it clearer to both PM’s on the scope of deliverables and it provides the foundation for expanding the use into alternate delivery contracts such as Design Build (DB).   Thanks to designing CAMP into the deliverables, the Seller for DBB contract has well defined requirements and deliverables scope for CAMP.  In DB contract, the Seller will develop the CAMP scope during the design phase and compile the source documents from construction contract submittals from the DB prime and all its subcontractors and vendors/suppliers.  

Due to the size of scope and contract values on mega projects, the planned intermediate use of contract products for operational use ahead of the contract completion/final acceptance milestone is a practical necessity.   In the current rail transit environment in USA, the project leadership commitments to funding partners, stakeholders, politicians and influencers create urgency to place products in-service for Ribbon Cutting ceremonies and press conferences.   As a result, Owner’s assume responsibility for maintenance well ahead on the scheduled contract or project completion.  This requires that the usual end-of-contract CAMP activities become incremental and intermediate, and the project team needs to adjust project management staffing by Buyers and Sellers to expedite CAMP deliverables.

Good Practices for CAMP

  • Identify detailed CAMP roles, responsibilities, personnel interfaces and scope  interdependencies in Project Management Plans, Project Quality Plans, Contract Quality Plans, Construction Monitoring Plans, Integration Plans and Contract Management/Administration Plans
  • Integrate the CAMP requirements, including processes/work flows and schedules, into the technical specifications of contracts and contractors’ subcontract agreements and purchase orders
  • Insist CAMP activities and deliverables be defined in contract performance milestones and in the contractor’s Detailed Contract Schedule.
  • Define and dedicate manpower for Points Of Contact (POC) and signature approval authorities from the Owner, Buyer’s PM and Seller’s PM
  • Create performance monitoring metrics for reporting progress on CAMP deliverables to project management leadership and to Owners
  • Provide comprehensive portfolio of samples that can be used as Models for all deliverables and other written documentation necessary for the lifecycle of CAMP.

Topics for Further Consideration at Closeout:

  • Assigning a Value for Warranty - Payable after Warranty Period Ends:   The integration of formal and enforceable contract requirements for CAMP may necessitate a change in the contract performance milestones.   While impractical – based on current Owner/Contractor transactions, withholding a percentage of payments to cover the warranty period may be needed to assure equal priority by Buyer’s PM and Seller’s PM to the Owner’s requirements.  Equally, Owner’s need to dedicate a team to extend the management for warranty from the initiate incremental acceptance products up to one year after contract final acceptance or as otherwise defined in the contract, which is more typically construction completion.
  • Defining the Owner’s Project/Operating Role and Resources for Commissioning:  CAMP is part of the Seller’s contract.  But the actual commissioning includes the Owner’s activities to take responsibility for the contract product and undertake project and operating budget reimbursed actions to ready the organization to assign manpower and budget accordingly.   The Commissioning may need to extend to the end of the contractor’s Warranty period.


TIP:   CAMP deliverables should be tailored to the Owner’s expectations and to SAMPLES of CAMP documents accepted to the Owner on previous contracts.

TIP:   CAMP deliverables should utilize as many of the documents reviewed during construction contract Submittals, which typically include detailed instructions for start-up, operation and maintenance as well as a list of recommended consumable parts, replacement spare parts, inspections, warranty and trouble shooting information. 

TIP:  Owner/Buyer should compile a set of SAMPLE documents – proven acceptable to Owner POCs, that can be used by Buyer/Seller PMs to create and distribute CAMP deliverables. 

TIP:   Buyer’s CAMP Manager should have access to information across various functional silos of the project management organization and data management system software, including design (CAMP development), construction (CAMP implementation and training records), quality (Product/system tests, inspections and various reports) and commercial (Contract changes, requests for acceptance, payment for spare parts, and requests for release of retainage). 

TIP:   Since final acceptance of products initiates the start of the Seller’s warranty period, Seller’s PM, Buyer PM’s and Owner should create a post contract completion team to monitor the warranty lifecycle, which may occur while construction is on-going and extend after contract completion is achieved.

TIP:   Since receipt of spare parts is in the CAMP scope, Buyer’s and Seller’s PMs need to establish a formal process and documentation to manage the transfer of spare parts to support the incremental final acceptance of contract products.  

TIP:   Typical projects start with a Kick-Off Meeting, the completion of CAMP including the warranty period one-year after contract final completion, should be finalized by a Closeout Meeting between the Owner, Buyer’s PM and Seller’s PM.   As may be required, Owner’s final evaluation of Seller’s performance should record and assessment for CAMP and Warranty.

TIP:    Mega projects always start with a ground breaking ceremony where top officials from the Owner, Buyer’s PM team, Seller, Funding Partners, politicians and other influencers are smiling and holding shovels.   The CAMP deliverables and the completion of warranty – one year after full contract completion should be equally ceremonial, such as a press conference with similes, hand-shakes and words of satisfaction between the Owner, Buyer’s PM and Seller’s PM.  As may be required, Owner’s final evaluation of Seller’s performance should record and assessment for CAMP and Warranty.

Posted on: December 06, 2019 10:12 PM | Permalink

Comments (2)

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Dear Henry
Interesting approach to CAMP good practice
Thanks for sharing

I read the tips carefully

Thanks Luis. I hope you can add a TIP. Henry

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