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Construction Punch List versus Quality Management Checklists

At the end of each construction project, the project needs to be checked for project compliance before it can be declared as complete, but, at the same time, the project needs to follow a set of procedures to ensure that everything is built with quality. And, to be able to do this, the construction industry turns to construction punch list, and quality management checklists to do this. Both of these are essential components of a good quality management program, and ideally should be used together to achieve an excellent first-time quality check. But, if both of them are used to check the quality of a construction project, what is the difference between the two, and can you get away with just using one of them? Let’s find out.

1 Construction Punch List:

  • A Definition: A new construction punch list is a document prepared when the construction project is nearly over. This document lists all the work that doesn’t conform to contract specifications. The general contractor and his team must fix these items that are found on the list before the construction project can be deemed complete and the final payment can be released.

  • How Does A Punch List Work

    Construction punch list, whether it be a new home construction punch list or a commercial punch list is something that’s used by every contractor to identify the following: incomplete work deficiencies, and compliance issues. Construction punch list consists of crucial team members usually composed of the contractor, architect, and sometimes the designer doing a walk-thru in the construction site. During this walk through the construction site, the responsible parties identify defects, takes photos and identifies the responsible parties for fixing these mistakes, as well as deadlines for when these mistakes need to be corrected.  However, a punch list doesn’t provide a record of what was inspected and repaired or if the building aspects comply because the punch list focuses only on recording mistakes.

  • How is A Punch List Created?

    What is inside the punch list differs on what kind of construction is being done. What’s inside a commercial punch list is going to be different from a new home construction punch list. But regardless of what’s included inside a punch list, you can either enter the punch list items manually. In this method,  the things that are needed to be fixed are written manually into paper or a spreadsheet. The details are then assigned and individually emailed to the responsible parties with deadlines for completion. When tasks are completed, they are then checked off from the list. If you are doing to make punch list manually, assign a point person who will be diligent in following up on the list. It can be a challenging task especially if there is no proper communication from people on the field or if the list is very long.

    Fortunately, nowadays, the punch list process can be made more efficient thru the use of a punch list software. A punch list software is usually a module of a construction management software. Usually, punch list software sends items to the responsible parties automatically as well as notifications and reminders about task progress. Communication is also better because people in the field can communicate with each other in real time as well as communicate whatever problems there are regarding closing a specific punch list.

 2 Quality Management Checklist: 

  • A Definition: A construction checklist is a guide of the items that you need to have for construction. It’s a list of procedures and processes that are needed to be done so that construction can be done smoothly.  A construction checklist can be used for all types of construction  – from commercial down to residential construction. Unlike punch lists which are usually only created when the project nears completion, construction checklists are used during a plan to develop a record of compliance.  In contrast to punch lists which only track deficiencies, checklists allow you to document which work was evaluated and found to comply. It can also be used when you hire new sub-contractors in the middle of the project to that you can be sure that everyone is on the same page.

  • How Do You Make a Quality Management Checklist

    When making a quality management checklist, you can either go the manual route or use an inspection checklist software. If you choose to do it manually, the paper checklist usually involves marking a list of items as “yes/No” or “Pass/Fail” as well as taking notes or adding additional things to a list found in a separate area at the bottom of the page. A signature area is included for investors. Sometimes, a paper inspection will get passed around or copies so that all the parties involved can sign the same check when their work has been completed. Unlike the manual based checklist, an inspection checklist software makes the process easier by providing real-time updates as well as a checklist that can be accessed by multiple stakeholders. Pictures, notes, and signatures can be easily added. This kind of software allows inspectors to add notes and photos of the items and provides a separate field for others to respond with their comments, and mark a task as complete. Some software also allows you to integrate a punch list directly into the inspection and enable you to add new items to the checklist.


 3 Punch list Versus Quality Management Checklist

Construction punch lists can be considered as fundamentally reactive while checklists are reactive. Punch lists are usually created towards the end of any construction project while checklists are used throughout the project. Both of these processes are equally important components of a good quality management program and using these processes together, and side by side can ensure the success of your construction project.

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