Regarding construction quality control, it’s best to use a list to track issues on the job site. In the construction industry, we use something called a punch list.
The list allows the construction management team to track problems with the work. Include rework, damaged work, or deficiencies on the punch list.
You can manage the punch list items with the appropriate template to resolve them effectively.
In this article, I will provide you with the punch list template I’ve found most effective in my career. I will then walk you through utilizing the template for your construction projects.
Who Prepares the Punch List?
The general contractor is required to create and maintain the construction punch list. It will be on the company’s project manager or project engineer to perform this duty.
As the PM or PE, you should perform the occasional construction site walk and inspect the work. Look for any discrepancies from the project plans or specifications.
Document the issues found and include them on the punch list. Then prepare the list for distribution to the team.
You would provide this to your superintendents or subcontractor’s project managers. Also, make sure to set a correction due date.
Lingering punch list items will prevent you from closing out the job. Meaning you won’t receive the retention for the job. That’s 5-10% of your contract amount, depending on the agreed terms.
The Construction Punch List Template
I’ve recreated a construction punch list template in Google Sheets for your use. The template is one I have used in the past and found effective.
Note that when you access this template, it will only allow you to view it. To begin making modifications, you’ll need to copy it to your own Google Drive.
Here’s another link for an excel template if you don’t have a Google account.
How to Use the Construction Punch List Template
The template consists of six columns for simplicity. I will list these columns below and dive into what you may include in each one.
- Item Number
- Date Identified
- Trade Responsible/Subcontractor
- Punch Item Description and Location
- Corrective Action Taken By Contractor
- Date Corrected
You can click on any topic to refer to the section if you need a quick refresher.
The column here is straightforward. As you add items to the list, you must number each. It will allow you to refer to the item number in emails or when talking to a subcontractor.
Also, know that an item will stay on the punch list once it goes on. You will only note when it has become completed work.
So you don’t need to worry about getting confused with the numbering. Continue adding to the list and increasing the number sequentially (i.e., 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.).
You should include the date in this column when you discover the punch list item.
It would help if you gave your crew or subcontractors a deadline to complete the punch list work. Having the date noted will tell you if they are meeting their deadlines.
Have someone check the area identified in the punch list to confirm the correction of the work. The construction project manager or project engineer should check this periodically as well.
Remember, the longer these items go untouched, the more it delays the final walkthrough. Waiting for the walkthrough means you can’t closeout the job.
The longer the project closeout, the longer your final payment is withheld.
Here is where you will list the required trade to correct the punch list work.
You can list the trade or specialty if the work is under your company. Then, hand the punch list off to the project superintendent. They will be responsible for correcting the work after you’ve identified it.
But if the work applies to a subcontractor, you should include their trade and company name. Doing this will provide you with a list of subcontractors you must email when distributing the punch list.
Punch Item Description and Location
The description is the most critical part of the punch list. It will identify the work correction required, and the area where it was found.
It’s OK to give a general area when noting the issue location.
For example, in the image above, I state that “Building A” contains the work discrepancy. Whereas you could note the floor and room if you were working a high-rise job.
It would be best to give the team members an idea of where the problem lies for future reference. Regardless, they will likely ask you to point it out on the job site.
Corrective Action Taken by Contractor
The next column is where you will describe how your crew or subcontractor will correct the work.
It’s good to keep it simple. It shows the project owner or construction management that there’s a plan for correction.
You can follow a template if you want a quick way to write down the corrective action.
It should go something like this.
“Contractor or Subcontractor” is required to “method of correction description” as shown on sheet “sheet number,” detail “enter detail number.”
The final column in the punch list is the issue correction date.
You should document when the work completed was done correctly.
The project owner or construction manager will look for a date filled for each item. You can begin the turnover process when all the dates have been filled.
7 Best Practices When Using a Construction Punch List
When managing a punch list on a construction project, consider following these seven best practices.
- Start Early: You can gradually correct the work by starting the punch list early. This approach is much better than trying to get everything done at once. It’s much easier to track this way as well.
- Be Specific: Clearly define the discrepancy on the job site and the corrective action. You need to remove any possible confusion from the equation. Doing this will lead to a more effective correction process.
- Prioritize Items: As you add items to the punch list, it’s good to identify which holds higher priority. If some rework would hold up the construction schedule, complete the task immediately. The last thing you want is for the work done to get buried, because correction will cost more money.
- Assign Responsibilities: Managing the punch list should be the responsibility of a single person. Of course, it’s not their sole responsible for finding all the issues. This person will need to make sure the problems are corrected, though.
- Track Progress: Once you issue the punch list, you’ll need to periodically check the job site. You’ll be looking at these items, ensuring the work is corrected. You must send reminders if the workers have not completed the corrections within the deadline.
- Use Technology: Using tech has allowed the construction industry to evolve significantly. Having a tablet with the punch list stored on the cloud has many benefits. The main advantage is the ability to have the file accessible from anywhere and by the entire team.
- Communicate Regularly: Notify your team regularly when you find issues with the work. This applies to both your crew and subcontractors. Communicating frequently allows you to correct work before it becomes a bigger problem.
Using a construction punch list template can help you in this industry. It also shows that you are implementing quality control on your projects.
A project owner will be happy to see you document the problems and correcting them as they arise.
Remember that documentation is the most critical thing in project management. Having the tools and the ability to use them will allow you to succeed.
Before you go, I have an in-depth article on the construction punch list. Consider checking that out if you want more information about the punch list.
Thank you for reading.
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