At some point, no matter how many accomplishments and struggles are happening simultaneously, every project should come to an end. Closing out a building project is one of the most challenging parts of the process. And when they do, it isn’t enough to watch it fade away instantly. Whether you are the project manager, part of the project team, a contractor, or a subcontractor, you must ensure every detail is handled accordingly.
Creating a punch list is one great way to manage all of these details. Without a solid punch list, you’re leaving these details open to interpretation. So invest time and effort to create a functional punch list to avoid wasting time focusing on other unnecessary matters.
In this article, we’ve compiled and breakdown all there is to know about punch lists in construction. We’ve prepared some helpful tips and best practices for you to apply when you create your punch list.
What is Punch List in Construction?
A punch list, also called a snag list, is a vital part of the project closeout part of the construction processes wherein a contractor prepares a document that lists all uncompleted work or tasks that aren’t completed correctly. This deficiency list is created before the last inspection to outline all remaining work. Whether you’re the contractor or any other key stakeholders, you can add anything to it.
A construction punch list often includes the following items:
- Incorrect installations
- Interior or exterior issues
- Mechanical issues typically related to construction equipment
- Any unaddressed items delineated from the original contract
- Anything additional that has been damaged during the project.
Any stakeholders can add many other things to the punch list. But essentially, punch lists in construction are limited to small and minor fixes that should be completed even before the construction project is officially closed out.
Who’s Responsible for Punch List Items?
Here’s another question – what is your role in the project? While many parties are involved in the execution and oversight of the punch list, there are two major phases – addressing and making it. If you’re one of the stakeholders, you have a role in both phases.
So who’s accountable for ticking off every item on your punch list? Although this usually varies by project descriptions and other factors, here’s a basic breakdown of who does this and that:
- Contractor – If you’re the contractor, you’ll examine the details and consult with the owner’s punch lists. You will also create your own list for your subs to address.
- Owner – The owner’s job is to do work inspections, ask all sorts of questions, and list work that is either completed or unfinished. If you’re the project owner, you will hand off the punch list to your contractor and perform another walkthrough.
- Subcontractor – The role of subs is to address the requests, take the list and ensure each line item is already completed. If you’re a sub, you should be prepared to explain every fix. When necessary, giving further explanations why items weren’t made to specifications may be done as well.
- Architects and designers – These professionals are more in charge of ensuring that all projects are designed and completed accordingly. They are the ones who will confirm and check that what was designed was built.
Once the punch list is already complete and delivered to all parties, time is allowed for further fixing. Also, another walkthrough is being scheduled as well, with both the owner and contractor present. As a project manager, you will have more experience with much better management with inventory management software. You can also make much-informed decisions in areas of inventory, punch list, project and crew management. It only goes to show how beneficial using cutting-edge software is these days.
Best Practices to Help You Improve Your Punch List Process
As you create your punch list, keep the following best practices tips in mind. The following tips will help you make the process more seamless and efficient:
1. Maintain a rolling checklist
Add potential tasks while the project progresses instead of waiting when the project starts. Use this rolling checklist to set project standards and create workflows. Having this list improves accountability across your team.
2. Document and Photograph Everything
While your project is ongoing, be sure to document every aspect of the project. Take pictures when necessary. In this way, you can avoid redoing any work and justifying why things are done the way they were. To further improve how to manage construction documentation, use project scheduling software. This modern software solution makes it easier for you to plan, track and manage all your documents. Everything is accessible anytime and anywhere!
3. Perform regular inspections
Throughout the life span of your project, perform routine inspections to make sure you’re delivering the highest quality of work. You can use a punch list forward for your inspections so you can check in on all quality and safety measures during job visits.
4. Assign people particular items to manage
To ensure that all work gets done, make sure to assign all tasks in your running list to a particular crew member. Make notes about the deadlines as well to keep everybody accountable. One person has to be responsible for assigning items and detailing exactly what needs to get done.
Make use of subcontractor scheduling software to experience a seamless tracking of your crew members, their work performance, and labor hours. It’s a lifesaver!
5. Set a Budget
Construction projects are usually known to run over budget. Hence, make sure you set a specific budget and stick to it. Staying on the budget and the track benefits you, including reducing conflicts, fewer cut corners, unnecessary scrambling, and faster and easier project completion.
6. Get Transparent with Quality
When you finish up a task or a project and appreciate the results, someone may point out some flaws. Or, whenever you do a quality inspection, another party may be surprised by the mistakes being pointed out. So how does the difference of opinion in quality happen? Is there anything you can do about it? In fact, the answer for this one isn’t very easy.
The quality expectations and specifications change if somebody intends to establish a super-insulated structure. It complicates everything. And the following disagreements may crop up through construction. You need to be precise and thorough with specifications. Be honest beforehand on what constitutes a decent quality based on your opinion.
7. Be Open to Suggestions and Feedback
Before you do checking on your punch list, everybody should agree that it’s ready to go and complete. If you’re not satisfied, everyone is free to provide feedback until such time you’re okay already with the final deliverables. If you’re the project manager, you shouldn’t take things personally.
8. Aiming for a Near-Zero Item Punch List
A zero punch list program can be part of your quality control platform. By diminishing all punch list items made from mistakes, you’re both reducing the initial size of the closeout and the reworks throughout the project. Everyone needs to deeply understand the expected quality and specifications before doing all the work. They must commit to meet the specific criteria upon completion.
If everything went well, you could stand a good chance of preventing some problems down the road. As a result, it’ll move you close and closer to a near-zero item punch list by the end of the project.
Pitfalls to Avoid When Making and Finalizing a Construction Punch List
As you work on your construction punch list, be wary of the possible pitfalls you might encounter, including the following listed below:
1. Lack of Documentation – Keep photographic proof of your work just in case if any unexpected hiccups and damages occur that may cause pushbacks.
2. Lack of Open Communication – Communication is essential to all parties involved throughout the project’s entire development. Be alert, especially when there are roadblocks and issues. Thru that way, you can address issues as they arise.
3. Compilation with Lien Rights – You might hit your lien right deadlines earlier than expected. Hence, keep an eye on the date. Keep your punch list doable and manageable within a specific timeframe. Implement project task management to make things more manageable and controllable while the projects are ongoing.
4. Lack of Understanding – Familiarize yourself with each outlined detail in the contract so that you’ll be prepared for what’s coming down the line. Make sure to understand fully and be more aware of the agreement from front to back.
5. An Unclear Budget – As part of this industry, you already know construction projects are notorious for going over budget. To prevent going over the budget, set a clear budget from the beginning and stock to it as closely as possible.
Improve Your Punch List Tracking using Construction Scheduling Software
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Your punch list is part of the vital final steps to having satisfied customers sign off on a particular project. However, they’re also more than that. In reality, a strong punch list is an investment towards the success of your projects.