How To Make An Effective Construction Punch List The Easy Way

By Tiffany Mastropasqua - May 21, 2019

Optimize your sales, development and operations.

Synuma can help open your unit locations faster!

How To Make An Effective Construction Punch List The Easy Way
May 21, 2019 By Tiffany Mastropasqua

How To Make An Effective Construction Punch List The Easy Way

Are you looking for a punch list template online? What features do you need? Are you an architect, designer, or project developer? If you're searching for a standardized punch list format that you can customize, you've come to the right place.

If your current processes aren’t working for you, you might be using outdated methods to track your teams’ progress. Perhaps you aren’t using punch lists at all. None of these is ideal, but clients are counting on you to deliver high-standard work. Synuma can help with that.


What Are Punch Lists And Why Do They Matter?

At the end of any construction project, it’s common to find a list of work that doesn’t meet the contract specifications. Known as the punch list, this checklist of snags details what needs to be done before the local government issues a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). The CO is the authorization that certifies the building as inhabitable.

A punch list comes in handy when the CO is granted but there are a few things to rectify. At this point, the franchise training team is ready to start the franchise operation, but is held back by unfinished tasks on the list. This could include a pipe leakage, faulty paint, cracked driveway, electrical defects, incorrect flooring, and so forth.

Punch list items might seem insignificant, but they must be completed to reach a successful project closeout. The last thing anyone wants is to hire another construction crew when the building opens. The idea is to have everything accomplished before the real business starts. This should be your greatest commitment as the project manager.

What Makes An Effective Punch List?

Every punch list has two goals in common: 1) highlighting areas that need fixing, and  2) time-stamping the items as soon as they are addressed. An effective punch list has the following features:

  1. A mobile app

  2. Templates

  3. Messaging function

  4. A history of actions taken

  5. Notifications and reminders

  6. Editing functionality for documents and photos

  7. File sharing

  8. Integration with other project management software

What Are The Common Items On A Punch List?

In essence, a good punch list is well-defined and detailed. It should also have photos to support claims, as you’ll need these to track the completion of the project. There are different types of flaws involved. Unreasonable flaws may be left out because they could cause unnecessary delays. These are minor issues that do not compromise the obligations of a contract.

The contractor and the property owner determine the items that populate the list. The punch list of a residential project will be very different when compared to a restaurant. For one thing, the latter will have more items on the list due to the many variables involved. Examples include:

  • A cracked tile

  • Wrong color on one of the ceiling tiles

  • Defective appliances

  • A dysfunctional thermostat

  • A cracked countertop laminate

Some punch items must follow a sequence — they can’t be accomplished until another task is finished. If they don't happen in sequence, they are left behind. Examples of such items include:

Punchlists prevent mistakes
  • Wrong color in the grout lines: Maybe it wasn’t changed because the tile installer never Returned.

  • Wrong bathroom mirrors: They could be functioning but are simply not the right ones. They have to be replaced.

Imagine if the contractor leaves before these items are rectified. Without proper documentation, these faults will never be corrected.

There are also certain trends common to construction work that you need to watch out for. For instance, rubberized floors crack easily, so you can expect them to be part of the punch list as they’ll need sealing. Be prepared by keeping track of these trends.

Why You Need Brand-Specific Punch Lists

One thing that companies tend to neglect is whether a structure reflects the brand standards. Punch lists should be brand-specific. A punch list for a signage post company should be different from that of a carpet company. It’s important to view everything from the standpoint of your brand. Is it coherent with the company standards? Does it match the services offered? It’s about looking at the big picture rather than simply meeting a specific requirement.

Brand standards can make various aspects of a concept cohesive. Keeping your Franchise Branding from the very beginning is critical. Your client may have different branches of their company scattered all over the US, but have each office look and feel the same. Whether a restaurant is in Orlando or California, customers should feel the same energy when they walk in. Your goal is to create an atmosphere specific to the client’s brand.

Construction teams should always examine whether an item reflects the brand standard. However, many people forget this crucial step. People tend to be a little hazy about this since there’s so much on the punch list. It’s easy to lose sight of the company image when you’re looking at a single aspect of the company. This is why punch lists need to be fully customizable. Synuma's assessment tool makes this possible.

Creating A Tailor-Made Punch List

Synuma's franchise management software is an intuitive program that solves many construction problems. You don’t need to keep hiring someone to create a punch list for your project. Instead, Synuma empowers you to build a format on your own using cloud-based software.

With Synuma, you can take advantage of a more personalized approach to the punch list instead of using standardized templates. This technology is evolving and your business should evolve with it. The construction industry lags behind when it comes to technological implementation. But don’t let technology leave you behind — it’s really hard to catch up.

Increased Accountability

keep your punchlist up to date

Project managers ensure that each punch list item is completed to satisfaction and align with the client’s needs. But you’re bound to run into some friction points within a punch list. Some activities may be completed but not meet the requirements of the brand. A contractor or designer might compromise quality to get the list done as soon as possible. In fact, some contractors tell downright lies to "finish" the project and get their payout. They can claim that most of the tasks on the list are complete when in truth, nothing has been done. Synuma can help deal with any contractor incompetence.

When you create a punch list within Synuma, you can keep track of items with pictures. Let’s say that a punch list item says that 50 faulty tiles need replacement, but the contractor only replaced 18 tiles. To make matters worse, he installed them incorrectly. When the contractor uploads pictures to the Synuma software, the record will tell the true story. This is the level of accountability a cloud-based project management tool brings.

Without the tool, the contractor can say that a certain activity is done then move on to the next without providing evidence. Synuma's punch list gives a record of what’s been installed. If it is correct, the franchisor can check it out immediately. And you don't even need to visit the construction site to verify anything, so this saves both time and money.

Sticking to the Construction Schedule

It’s essential that your construction company follows the construction schedule. Concrete dates must be set and good communication is critical. The contractor relies on the supervisor of a site. The supervisor has to make regular reports, usually on a weekly basis. It is important that they answer to the host company, the architect, and the operational team.

Schedule the punchlist. Very important.

Make sure that there’s a particular milestone set every week. This depends on the initial schedule and price quote the general contractor offers your company. When dealing with a franchise, the milestone depends on the franchise agreement.

With a properly-defined construction plan, it’s easier to track progress.  Each week, the general contractor and other stakeholders give a report on how the site is doing. As the final phase approaches, the project manager gets ready for the grand opening. In a restaurant construction timeline, the grand opening happens after a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. This document allows any company to hire trainers, employees, and so on. Until there is a CO, the owner of the building cannot send in these stakeholders and start operations.

Should Contractors Handle Punch Lists?

Many times, contractors generate punch lists. But they never get done, even though it can be handled in just a few weeks. Remember that the operational crew is only available for a limited period of time. If the punch list isn’t done before they leave, it will be up to the restaurant manager to handle it. And it’s highly unlikely that the manager will know much about punch list management.

This poses another problem when the contractor demands payment but the punch list is still incomplete. They only get paid when the entire job is complete, so they can choose to do it haphazardly if they're so inclined. Of course, the contractor won’t send back the construction crew. They know that hiring a plumber or electrician again would cost you more money, and will give them a bigger cut. This is why having contractors handle punch lists creates a conflict of interest.

Why Operational Teams Shouldn’t Manage The Punch List

A punch list is a critical document because it dictates whether a project is finished or not. In many cases, the people counter-checking the list are part of the operational team with a mandate to train. But this setup is far from ideal. Let’s see what often happens when you leave the punch list in the hands of the operational team.

The operational team is mandated to train staff. They know little or nothing about construction, much less the construction punch list software. They're just not construction-oriented. To them, this responsibility is a secondary task, never a priority. This can become a major problem between the operation and construction team. In conflicting situations, the emails and phone calls never go smoothly.

Suppose your company doesn’t have a system that formally delegates the punch list to the operational team. Chances are, they’ll report to the general contractor only when their schedule allows it. But because they’re busy training staff, they’ll hardly have the time to check in with the electricians, plumbers, or the general contractor. Communication becomes a nightmare. If only the operational team had formal responsibility for the punch list! Luckily, technology is here to help with that.

Punchlist Helps Both Operations Team And The Construction Team Get Along

Bridging The Gap Between The Operations Team And The Construction Team

Operational and construction teams often clash due to poor communication and unaligned goals. Often, some items get neglected and are left unfinished even after the contractor leaves the project because no one is tasked to manage them.

Synuma is a convenient go-beteen. It helps bring together different teams so they can work in harmony. No other tool operates like it. Let’s say five items on the construction punch list haven’t been taken care of. These are delegated to the operational punch list to ensure that everything is finished. Simply put, Synuma creates a punch list that ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Synuma’s Important Role In Punch List Assessment

A successful construction project needs to be assessed in case there are a few things that need fixing. This assessment is then followed up to ensure that any remaining work is completed. Only then are final payments made. The assessment of the punch list entails a bunch of activities to finalize. You can send these activities to the operations manager and the general contractor at the same time. This requires the two stakeholders to work hand in hand.

Synuma allows users to send and receive photos, videos, and other files. This is a tremendous help when it comes to resolving issues, as some disputes require visual evidence. With Synuma, the involved parties can examine the same punch list item remotely. Moreover, they can easily answer questions from the design team during the assessment.

When using construction scheduling software, the details are more specific than typical lists. For instance, you may ask a subcontractor exactly what they are doing to correct a defect. And to mark an item complete, there must be some sort of evidence. This is done by uploading a photo of the complete job. Afterward, you can verify if it is actually done and send the information to the property owner. This makes everything a lot easier and more systematic. It also helps those who are not construction-oriented to see things clearly.

How Synuma Simplifies A Project Closeout

As the construction process comes to an end, you need to list the objectives that have been met. Project leaders need to ask a few questions, such as:

  • Did the construction plan review and markup help to meet your standards?

  • What hasn’t been fulfilled?

  • Has the initial construction plan brought everything to the final touches?

  • Are the expectations concordant with what has actually happened?

Organized Punchlist - all in one centralized spot

Using Synuma’s Assessment tool, you simply input the punch items into the program. You can even deploy this kind assessment to your internal teams. You will have two different punch lists working together. For instance, have a construction punch list and an operations punch list integrated.

Disagreements are inevitable as a construction unit nears completion. The operations team and the construction crew are usually in dispute, and the Certificate of Occupancy is at stake during this stage.  There are several items the construction team must get done before the project manager hands over the unit to the owner.

Besides, there could be some pending work for the operations team. The unit must be ready for occupancy from an operational point of view as well. Suppose you are managing both the operations and the development teams. The effective tool within Synuma enables you to bring the two together. Then you can communicate departmentally, even from a remote location.

Don’t Get Left Behind

You’ll need to address many issues before declaring a project complete. This is especially important where there’s a huge construction budget. Many construction companies are using dedicated software to manage punch lists and delegate work. This is one of the best ways to improve efficiency.

Synuma allows tracking of punch list items in real time. You simply need a mobile device to give out directives remotely. Then you can close out a project knowing that final touches have been fulfilled. With unparalleled efficiency, contractors and owners can collaborate throughout a construction project life-cycle. They can share information from any smart device or desktop computer.

Are you still using traditional construction strategies? Don’t wait until it’s too late to switch to digital. Never write off a punch list as not needed. If you’ve been using outdated methods, you need to redefine your next project.

Start prioritizing punch lists with Synuma. A streamlined project management software can bring a project to the end in record time. With Synuma, you’ll start moving with construction technology. The more you use it, the more you will be able to customize your business.

Embrace the latest technology to remain up-to-date and achieve quick closeouts. Contact Synuma today to learn more about our project management software.