In construction, it’s essential to document everything that goes on at the worksite, and not just at key points in the project. A construction daily report must be filed at the close of business each day in order to create an accurate, comprehensive, and consistent record of activity throughout the entire project.
If the idea of writing an entire daily progress log from scratch seems daunting, fear not — the downloadable template below and accompanying explanations will make your daily logging process a breeze.
What Is a Construction Daily Report?
A construction daily report is a document that’s filed, typically by the site manager or overseer, at the end of every day worked on a construction project. It lists all of the work performed, successes or delays, safety incidents, equipment usage, worksite visitors, and any other relevant details that occurred during the day.
The daily report process is essential because it gives the project owner, site manager, subcontractors, investors, and all other project stakeholders access to detailed information on work progress without needing to visit the site or contact another person directly.
It also makes sure that everyone involved in the job is working from the same document and has the same information, preventing miscommunications and mistakes.
Perhaps most importantly, the construction daily report protects crew members from being wrongly blamed for mistakes or delays. If a project milestone or deadline is missed, the project owner may look to blame the workers or project managers. By maintaining a complete record of daily logs, the construction manager can make sure there’s evidence when delays are caused by circumstances beyond control, such as weather conditions, delivery issues, or other obstacles.
Below we’ve broken out all of the most important information included in a comprehensive construction daily report. Once you’ve read up on all the elements of a well-prepared daily log, download our construction daily report template and get to work!
How to Write a Construction Daily Report
Some construction managers opt to purchase report software in order to streamline their daily reporting process. However, it’s just as easy to assemble a construction daily report on your own by creating or downloading a log template and filling out a new copy for each day of work.
In order to ensure proper documentation, every daily construction log must have the same pieces of important information.
Depending on preference, the construction daily report can either have a full cover page or a header section at the top of the first page that lists the project name, the date, the location of the worksite, and the name of the person preparing the report.
The first section of the document should include all relevant details about the job, including name, type, and number. For instance, simply writing “City Hall Construction Project” isn’t enough — it’s essential to also include the phase that project was in on that particular day (demolition, groundbreaking, plumbing and wiring, etc.)
The document should also include that day’s weather report, including a general description of the conditions as well as temperature, wind speed, and precipitation. If weather conditions caused work delays, this information must be entered in this section and under Potential Delaying Events.
In this section, the site manager should evaluate what progress was made on that day, including progress on individual tasks as well as the overall project. The preparer should write down each project activity and its status — starting, completing, making progress, delayed, etc.
After the weather report, the construction manager should list all crew members who were on the site on that day. This list should be organized by team (general contractors, machine operators, plumbers, electricians, etc.) and include the number of workers present from each team, as well as the total number of man-hours worked by each group.
You can calculate man-hours by adding up the number of hours worked by each crew member. For instance, if eight laborers and three machine operators are present for a standard eight-hour work day, the daily report should reflect 64 labor man-hours and 24 machine operator man-hours for that day.
If an individual is present on the work site but not clocking paid time, they still must be documented but should go under Visitors, not Crew.
Equipment in Use/Idle
Just like all crew members on a construction site must be documented, the site manager should also make a list of all equipment present on the work site and number of hours each machine was used.
Make a list of all heavy machinery present on the work site and the number of active hours each piece of equipment was used each day. If a piece of equipment is on the work site but left idle, it should be recorded on the report accordingly. It’s important to be specific and list the type of equipment you have. For example, a crawler bulldozer with an S-blade is a drastically different type of bulldozer than a wheeled one with a PAT blade.
The site manager should also document when each piece of equipment arrives and leaves a work site. For instance, a crane will not be brought to and from the work site each day — it will arrive at the beginning of its use on the project and will be dismissed when crane work is complete.
Keeping an accurate record of equipment use on a work site allows stakeholders to identify opportunities to increase efficiency. If a piece of equipment is left idle for a long period of time, a project owner will likely look to rearrange their next project to only rent that equipment for the days it will be used in order to cut back on costs.
The site manager should also perform a daily inventory of materials available and used during that day’s work. This helps measure work performed on each task in a more specific and measurable way.
For instance, a crew may spend days or weeks laying steel beams, during which time the site manager would write “in progress” for that task under the Work Accomplished section of their daily report. However, this doesn’t offer any information as to how much progress was made in a day. By recording how much material is used, the site manager can give a clearer picture of how fast or slow their crew worked that day.
After recording material quantities, the site manager should also record any material deliveries that occurred or were scheduled to occur that day, along with the type and quantity of materials delivered.
If a material delivery was scheduled for that day and did not arrive, this should be recorded in this section as well as under Potential Delaying Events, if it has the potential to slow down work progress.
Potential Delaying Events
Incidents that have the potential to delay overall work progress should be recorded at least twice on the daily report: once in the appropriate section relating to the type of task that was delayed, and once in the Potential Delaying Events section.
For instance, an equipment malfunction would be recorded under the Equipment in Use/Idle section, since that machine in question logged idle time for however long it was out of commission that day. But if that malfunction was significant enough that it may have set back overall work progress by any length of time, it should also be recorded as a Potential Delaying Event.
Significant events are similar to, but not the same as, potential delaying events and should be recorded separately. A significant event may also be a potential delaying event, but it’s possible to have a significant event that does not pose the risk of delay, in which case it would only be logged once.
Significant events are any external occurrences that impact the worksite in any way. This includes things like road closures, conflicting events, significant traffic, disturbances in the community, etc.
For instance, if there’s a parade on the street where the worksite is located, this would be logged as a significant event. If the crew needed to suspend work while the parade passed, or if the parade route prevented the arrival of a key piece of equipment, this would also be considered a potential delaying event. However, if the parade simply passed nearby and didn’t interfere with site work, it doesn’t need to be logged as potential cause for delay.
Meetings & Directions
Off-site meetings do not need to be documented on the construction daily report, but occasionally meetings do happen in the field. In this case, they should be included in the documentation for that day. Even if no significant decisions were made at the meeting in question, the event itself should be listed on the daily report along with the names and titles of those in attendance.
If any meeting attendees were not crew members, they also must be documented under the Visitors section.
If at any point new directions are issued by a project authority (either as a result of a meeting or independently), these new directions must be documented under this section as well.
The daily report process should also include a thorough evaluation of the relevant safety protocols for the site and whether or not they were followed each day. The safety section of the project report should include whether or not a job site inspection was performed as well as a record of any hazards, incidents, or otherwise potentially dangerous situations occurred.
This section should also include a daily verification that all persons present on the worksite that day held the appropriate licenses and were safety compliant.
Not all individuals present on a worksite will necessarily be crew members or project owners. Occasionally project investors, board members, off-site coordinators, local reporters, and even family members may visit the work site. All of these people must be documented on the daily report.
Signature, Name, and Date
At the bottom of every construction daily report, the report preparer must print and sign their name alongside the date in order to formalize the completion of the document.
Growing Business Opportunity and Efficiency with Daily Reports
Though the report process may sound tedious, it will quickly become a habit — and the benefits of completing one for each day of a project far outweigh the tedium of writing it.
Once you’ve written enough construction daily reports to establish a consistent record of your project’s progress, you will start to see patterns and opportunities for improvement that you likely would not have noticed otherwise. You may find that you consistently order too many materials or rent equipment for longer than necessary, in which case you can adjust your habits and thus save money and effort in the process.
If your construction report shows that your machine usage has been inefficient, you might want to consider switching to equipment rental. By cutting out maintenance costs and prorating payment for only the days you actually need a machine, you’re likely to save money and streamline your workflow.