Construction projects of every size need to follow some sort of plan to ensure that they’re on time and executed as designed. When a project approaches the finish line, it’s easy for smaller tasks to fall through the cracks. Details might slip and work may become hurried, leading to projects that don’t always match the original plan.
So what can you do to stay on top of projects and ensure everything gets completed correctly?
Enter the construction punch list.
Read on to learn more about how a construction punch list can save your project and ensure optimal success.
What Is A Construction Punch List?
A construction punch list (also known as a snag list outside of the U.S.) is a checklist of all the tasks to complete on a project. The goal of the punch list for the contractor is to highlight and eliminate remaining issues or items left on the list before responsibility shifts over to the client.
It’s usually created in the final stages of a construction project and before the final walkthrough with the client. Used in everything from large commercial construction projects to smaller residential projects, these lists can help outline unreasonable flaws or errors that need to be corrected before the deadline.
How to Make and Use a Punch List
From there, the contractor and the team address the issues.The process starts with the contractor running through the project with the client and identifying any unreasonable flaws. An architect or designer may also join the walk-through to note any changes that need to happen.
Note that a punch list will usually only have smaller tasks that need to be finished before the project can be marked “complete,” though this isn’t always the case.
Download a Free Construction Punch List Template
There are two options for download. The first is a free template to be used with Microsoft Excel and has the example styling included in the list.
Or download a blank version of a PDF.
Here’s a breakdown of the sections that make a successful construction punch list.
Section 1: Task Location and Description
This is where an item or task that needs attention is written down. It’s important to be as detailed as possible and include the location and description of the task:
- Location: This outlines where the task is located, such as “Master Bedroom,” “Floor” or “Kitchen.”
- Description: This is where the specific action is described, such as a “paint touch up” or “broken tile to replace.”
Section 2: Priority
Some tasks require immediate attention, while others can wait. The priority range should be:
- Low: The task could be done last, like a pile of bricks that needs to be cleaned up.
- Medium: A noticeable issue, like a wall needing a touch-up due to noticeable scratches.
- High: A task that needs to be tackled immediately, such as exposed wiring or a cracked mirror.
Labeling what is an immediate priority and what can wait will help streamline the work to meet the required deadlines.
Section 3: Assigned or Point of Contact
Part of creating a punch list is knowing who will tackle what. For tasks that are of a high priority, it’s important to assign specialists. For example, an electrician should work on any electrical issues.
Section 4: Due Date
Noting the due date of a task will help keep things on track. It’s important to note that it will be different than the proposed completion date of the project. Aim for due dates to be at least a week before the proposed project end date so you have plenty of time to wrap things up.
Section 5: Status
This is essentially what’s used to mark the task as done. Whether a task is complete or still in progress, then the status should reflect this.
Who Is Responsible for the Punch List?
Owner/Client: The project owner is responsible for inspecting any of the completed work. They decide if something needs to be addressed, comparing what was outlined in the contract to the work that’s been done.There is no single person instructed to create and manage the punch list. It’s a collaborative process that includes everyone in charge of the project. Each has an important role to play when it comes to the punch list:
- General Contractor: The general contractor is in charge of examining everything on the punch list, including understanding the details and tasks needed. The contractor should be the one to assign the tasks as they’ll be with the client during the walkthrough.
- Subcontractor: The subcontractor is responsible for the particular items on the list as assigned by the general contractor. Their job is to focus on the task(s) they are assigned and to regularly provide updates and concerns regarding the tasks at hand.
- Designer/Architect: The designer/architect is responsible for making sure that the designs are in place and completed correctly. If the designs are not consistent with the original contract, the client and contractor need to be informed.
Each person on the project has a hand in the creation of the punch list. Communication is key; if the general contractor communicates a change too late to a subcontractor, then the entire project can be pushed back.
Punch List Best Practices
Here are some simple tips to make sure your punch list is executed efficiently and effectively.
- Start creating it during the job. One popular tip is to create a rolling punch list; a punch list created as the project progresses.Although a punch list may seem simple to create, it can cause confusion if not done properly. Here are the best practices when creating a punch list:
- Make it as clear as possible. The rule of thumb is that if it needs to be clarified, it’s not clear. Everyone should know who, what, where and when the task should be completed.
- Assign one employee to be in charge of the list. This isn’t a random checklist that can be tossed around from person to person. Keep one person in charge of the list and give them full responsibility.
- Stay flexible. Stuff happens. If more issues arise, add them to the list and adjust. That is what the punch list is all about.
A construction project is never as easy as it seems. Unexpected problems arise, and extra work will have to be done; it’s the industry’s nature. A construction punch list will make that job easier by clarifying any small details and the last things needed to finish. Along with punch lists, RFIs help to keep projects on track.
To make the job even easier, use the punch list template below. It will make other aspects of the job easier, including a construction daily report. It will help save your clients time and money, plus it could improve your overall standing.
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