Those involved in a green building often overlook an essential conceptual tool to minimize environmental problems, reduce costs, and keep everyone on track with the project. This overlooked tool is a punch list. A punch list can be used in many phases of the project. It can be included in the contract, used during site planning, and implemented toward the end of the project to guarantee satisfactory completion before a final building inspection.
What is a Punch List?
Essentially, a punch list is a task list that keeps track of all the work in a construction project.
It can be generated at many stages of the project.
- It can be used in the beginning of the project. A punch list in the contract will ensure that the project will satisfy all the terms of the agreement outlined in the construction contract.
- It can be used during a project. A punch list during the course of the project ensures that everything gets done when it is supposed to get done.
- It can be used after the project. A punch list after the project will ensure that all the promised work has been done. As people walk around the construction site, they can review the punch list to note any problems that need to be fixed or work that was missed.
Punch lists can be static or dynamic. Usually, they are static when used in the contract phase, but they can also be changed during the construction phase or during the final walk through the property.
A punch list is a highly practical and useful tool for everyone involved in a project to make sure that small construction details are not missed out and problems are resolved quickly and efficiently.
Evolution of the Punch List
When the punch list was first invented, project managers or contractors would punch a hole on an item in a task list to mark its completion.
Today, this punch list can still be a simple list on paper, but it is much more likely to be used as an app on a mobile device. Paper-based punch lists are not as convenient as the digital version because an electronic punch list can be used by many people using multiple mobile devices.
Not only can a punch list for construction projects be distributed instantly, but when any changes are made–a task is completed or a new one added–everyone will immediately see the updates and keep track of the progress of the project.
The value of an electronic punch list is especially apparent if there are multiple people involved in the project—perhaps, a property owner, a lender, a project manager, and several contractors working on different phases of the green site.
What’s on a Punch List
Punch lists are simple, straightforward tasks lists ranging in importance, with some critically important and others that may even seem trivial.
A construction manager can review it to make sure that everything is getting done.
A financier can review it to find out if everything is within budget.
A property owner can review it to see that the contractor cleaned up the scraps on the construction site after the work was completed. If it’s listed in the contract, but not done, he can point this out to the contractor. The contractor will not feel the property owner is being petty, because everything had been spelled out in advance. Moreover, a property owner can refuse to pay for work if the contractor has not done what he promised when the punch list was created.
A contractor can review it to remember to finish the trim in the master bedroom.
A worker can review it to make sure he or she does the work that they were assigned to do.
A building inspector can create one to inform the property owner of deficiencies in work that need to be corrected before the property will pass inspection.
In many ways, a punch list can seem trite, redundant, and unnecessary.
However, constructions sites are busy places with a variety of people involved in it. It’s only too easy to overlook small things, forget to do things, or get distracted by urgent things.
Moreover, with green construction, there may also be many unfamiliar details that have to be done to ensure a green site.
A punch list, then, is a simple way of making sure that everything gets done; and when it doesn’t get done, it is noticed by everyone involved in the project.
At times, the items on a checklist may appear obvious, but often it is the most obvious things that never get done. After all, it’s fairly obvious that a contractor should clean up a site before getting paid, but it’s not uncommon for messes to accidentally be left behind.
The use of punch lists in a construction process serves everyone involved in the project. Over the course of a project it can cut operating costs, reduce maintenance expenses, keep workers productive, and even shorten the time it takes for a green construction. Moreover, all this happens while ensuring that only green design, materials and resources are used to protect the environment.
Article Submitted By Derrick Manning (Community Writer).