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Using Punch Lists to close out a Construction Project

In the construction industry a contractor has to deal with many stresses such as time and budget when trying to close out a construction project. Punch lists are great tools that can make the closing procedures of a project go smoother. A punch list is a record that is comprised of all of the minor activities that need to be completed when closing out a construction project.  Usually, these activities are minor, but it is very common for unresolved punch list items to cause huge problems. Here are a few ways a contractor can use a punch list ensure the successful close out of a project:

Read the Contract
Understand everything that is expected in a project. Never assume what needs to be done will be. If there is nothing stated about project close out procedure responsibilities in the contract, make sure this is addressed with the owner. Close out procedures should be addressed prior to signing a contract.

Communicate Deadlines
Understand the project deadline and when the building is going to be occupied. Communicate this vital information to all project members so everyone knows it. This will make sure everyone understands when their punch lists have to be completed and the job closed out.

Don’t Procrastinate
Problems should be addressed immediately. Do not wait until close out to correct things. The sooner problems are handled, the less likely they are to cause additional concerns or impact the project. The punch list should be a compilation of minor problems that are to be remedied prior to the project being completed. It is important to realize that the punch list is not meant to provide a list of everything the contractor did wrong during the project.

Empower People
Encourage subcontractors to perform their own preliminary walk through and generate a punch list to start the process. The owner should then follow up with an inspection of the premises and communicate their concerns. When the contractors complete their punch list and everything is finished, they should indicate in writing that they are done.  
As with all aspects of the project, the closeout requires coordination and communication. It is important to review all documentation, specifications and your punch list to make sure that all open or pending issues are included and resolved.

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