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4 Key Questions to Ask About Construction Record-Keeping

Blog: August 17, 2020

A quote from the Executive Insights section in the June 2020 issue of "Construction Executive" magazine caught our eyes. One question posed was, “What new technology do you think has been the most effective in preventing litigation in the construction industry?”.

Sonny Shields, MANAGING PARTNER, Shields Mott LLP stated: “Great record-keeping may not prevent litigation but can cause the other side to think twice about taking that route; and if litigation comes, the odds of winning are enhanced.”

This had us thinking about the different types of record-keeping options on the market. Many general contractors use the add-on punch list or inspection module in their construction management system for record-keeping during regular walkthroughs. Project owners often go along with whichever punch list app or inspection management system their GC is running. Regardless of the record-keeping system you use, it is worth reviewing the system's capabilities.

Assess your current record-keeping strategy

Taking a passive approach to record keeping may have consequences down the line. Be proactive and ask these 4 questions :

1) Is it easy to input information during inspections?

Connect with project managers, superintendents, safety managers, and whoever else inspects and uses your current record keeping system. Find out how easy (or difficult) it is enter and save punch list and inspection information. Ask for a rough estimate about the time it takes to input a single punch list item or issue. Additionally, find out how much time is spent entering or correcting information in the job-trailer or back at the office.

2) Can we track updates based on users or groups?

The ability to view who created the punch list issue, which subcontractor it was assigned to, and who re-inspected the problem can be very useful information. Determine if your inspection system has user-based settings which make it easy to track who made changes to the issue and when those changes occurred. Construction records are often like a rabbit hole, so the ability to track changes can be helpful down the line.

3) Is data searchable by various options?

It is one thing to have records, but it is another to be able to access and search those records with ease. For example, say there are a handful of electrical issues during a particular date range that you need to review in greater detail. If all of your records are lumped together and you are unable to search based on date, it could be difficult to pinpoint the records you need. Find out how the various ways you can search and filter the different types of inspection data in your current system.

4) What are the options for extracting and displaying data?

Being able to pinpoint the specific punch list data needed is important, but you also need to have various methods of exporting or displaying data properly. Identify the different ways you can extract your construction data. Some systems will display punch list information in various widgets to make it easier to visualize numbers. Additionally, flexible reporting options will make it easier to extract data.

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Be proactive and assess your construction record-keeping methods.

NOTE: It is important to reemphasize that detailed construction records with FinishLine Software or other systems DO NOT guarantee avioiding any type of litigation, but it certainly can help improve the situation.

Want to learn more keeping punch list and inspection records with FinishLine Software? Request a demo and see FinishLine solutions in action.

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Earlier this summer, a quote from the Executive Insights section in the June 2020 issue of Construction Executive magazine caught our eyes.