Thursday, January 17, 2019

What's a punch list in construction?


This post is provided by Tom Carter.

How do you ensure finesse in a construction project? How do you know it is the right time to declare a project complete?

Well, it is through a punch list. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Making an accurate punch list is extremely important to deliver a successful construction project. Mostly, this step is taken just close to the completion so as to review and double check the project before declaring it complete. Different individual/stakeholder has a different role to play in the process.

Here is a guide to help you in understanding the list.

So, what is a punch list exactly?

The term ‘Punch’ comes from the technique used in the old days to punch holes just next to an item before fixing the particular thing. But, what is a punch list in construction?

A punch list is basically a document composed when a construction project is nearing its end listing the work not complying with the contract specifications. The contractor must look into it and fix it before the project ends. It is an integral part of the construction process in the form of an official document.

For a long construction project which might take several months or years to complete (think skyscraper), there is a risk of missing some minor details such as individual electrical figures. A punch list thus serves as a means of ensuring nothing is left out. The general method of preparing a punch list is by creating a list of items checked off after a detailed review when a construction process is nearing its end. This answers question, “what is a punch list in construction?”

When is the punch list implemented?

Strictly speaking, punch lists are not mandatory, but these form a part of the traditional process and thus take place towards the end of a construction project. It is accomplished only when a project is considered to be nearly finished. However, it should not be taken as a major task, but a list of minor tweaks. The major points have already been addressed. When a construction project reaches this point, a punch list is usually prepared by the general contractor. It is his sole responsibility to take a walk through the entire construction.

While accomplishing the construction project, the client or owner can pinpoint to any issue they come across. The general contractor is present during the visits to clarify the changes from the initial specification and to note the issues that need fixing before the project is declared complete. It is a general practice for the designers and the architects to be a part of the walkthrough. This is to ascertain that the building constructed matches the original specification. The architect must also explain if there is anything that does not conform to the original specifications.

What are punch list items in construction?

The punch list items in construction include:

·         Appliances are functioning properly.
·         No hardware item is missing.
·         Cabinet doors and drawers open and close without any issues.
·         Hardware is working smoothly.
·         No leaks found.
·         Outlets and lights are functioning.
·         AC, Ventilation and heating systems work as they should.
·         Paint and texture problems. Uniformity.
·         Plumbing issues.
·         Cracks in the ceilings, at the corner of the skylights.
·         Working of smoke detectors.
·         Nail heads peeping out of the wood framing.
·         Wall tiles – cracked or fine.
·         Windows locking properly.
·         Hinges with all the screws.
·         Gaps between wall and door frame, base and flooring.
·         Carpet seams visible or not. Consistent direction. Frayed ends.

And so on…

These are just to give you an idea of the punch list items. These and more are part of the construction punch list procedure to be asked in the form of questions by the stakeholders.

The punch list includes the appropriate construction items and the correct installation for proper functioning. When considering construction punch list vs. construction items, it is only wise to say that the punch list is formed to check the functioning of the items used in the construction.   

Who makes construction punch list?

Albeit, there are a number of parties involved in the management and implementation of a construction punch list. There are two main phases involved: Making it and addressing it. All the stakeholders have a role to play in both the phases; however, some of them are more involved in the process than the others. Check the list of who makes construction punch list and his role in it. However, this can vary from project to project and the stakeholders involved.

Owner: His primary job is to inspect the work, and ask relevant questions about anything he finds difficult to understand. He should also point out to work left incomplete or if there is some irregularity in the work completed. The punch list is given to the general contractor who is accustomed to the additional responsibility of performing a walk through when some added requests pop up.

General Contractor: The role of the general contractor is vivid. He must look into the details, get in touch with the owner’s punch list and construct his own list for the subcontractor for the latter to address meticulously.

Subcontractor: It is the prime responsibility of the subcontractor to take up the list handed over to them. Furthermore, he must address the request and ascertain that each item is completed on time. He must be ready to explain each fix and if need be the reason it is not made as per the specifications.

Designer/Architect: The role of the designers and architects is to ensure what was designed and what was constructed.

Summing up

A punch list may vary from project to project. There is a multitude of items that can add up to the punch list. After a punch list has been prepared, it must be agreed by all the parties involved. A walk through is important before assigning the responsibilities. 

This article should provide you an insight into what is a punch list in construction, what items are included in the punch list, who makes a list and the correct manner to follow construction punch list procedure.

1 comment:

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