Examples of turnkey projects include houses, factories, storefronts, churches, aviation hangars and chemical production and other facilities. Turnkey projects denote contracted construction endeavors that, when completed, are ready for occupation, use or sale. New housing construction is a prevalent example of a turnkey project because builders normally finish the project before it is sold.
The advantage of a turnkey project is that a single contractor oversees all aspects of construction from beginning to end. The main contractor determines designs and plans for the structure, fills out legal permits for construction, follows local building codes to ensure safety, hires relevant subcontractors for framing, electrical, plumbing and concrete work and furnishes office buildings with proper equipment, such as desks, shelves and chairs. Main contractors, ideally, know exactly what goes into a project and exactly how much it costs from beginning to end, including labor.
In terms of government or public funding, turnkey projects are often given to the lowest bidder on a project. When the project is completed, the contractor turns over the keys to the entity that authorized the contract. The word turnkey connotes that when the project is done, the contractor locks up afterward by turning a key. The insinuation is that the new owner turns a key in the front door and the building is ready for use.