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Zero Punch List: It's Not a Pipe Dream


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Imagine a project that completes without the need for a punch list. At project completion, the owner gets a truly “finished” building with every lovely detail in its place. And what does the builder get? Paid. On time. Is that even possible? 

An idea that has taken hold in the construction sector is that of a zero punch list. In a zero punch list scenario, at the conclusion of a project no items remain to be addressed, or "punched", because the items will have been addressed during the course of the project, and not at the project’s end. What an idea.

With the right software solution, a zero punch list is no longer just a dream.

Historically, the punch list has been comprised of a spreadsheet whose rows are populated with the listed items that require attention. This list would then be shared with the relevant parties, handed around from one to the next, and each recipient would see to the items over which they had responsibility. The inefficiencies are obvious. The shopping around of the spread sheet and awaiting responses from the recipients – not to mention the awkwardness of gathering all those comments into an actionable whole – these standard practices add time to the project. What you are after is time saving. The next generation of punch list tools are collaborative, cloud-based applications that will save you  time, money, and heartache; and make a zero punch list that much more possible.

Zero punch list requires, like most construction projects, a tool.  

The key to avoiding the pain points of a traditional punch list is using software that facilitates an as-you-go, real time knocking down of those  punch list items as they are revealed in the course of the project. And in this pursuit, mobility is key. Mobility and collaboration. Why move a punch list from person to person when you can bring the people to the list? Transparency and collaboration make a beautiful combination. When your punch list is in the cloud, you can gather your teams for a synchronous view of the items at hand. An internet-connected device becomes a collaborative tool. Take your punch list to the site, where the "punch-listing" happens and take a walk around, adding to your list. And you decide who sees the cloud-based list, through a standard digital permissions process. You are the gatekeeper

No double-entries, no redundancy, no guesswork. 

The power to build and manage your punch list in the field means the punch list items will be identified, entered, assigned, and scheduled right where and when they’re found; no double entries, no redundant assignments, no waste or guesswork. With a collaborative punch list tool, integration with your email program sends out automated reminders connected to each scheduled punch list item––so no one drops the ball through forgetfulness.  The list itself can be sorted by category: unresolved, open, or closed. 

Punch list versus the finish line.

The essence of a punch list is that it is a collection of tasks that need doing. Procore’s Punch List Tool can produce that list in a number of different formats. The punch list can be generated as a simple line-item printable PDF, or as a much more thorough cloud-based document that leaves no stone unturned in describing exactly what needs doing, line by line. This version can include attached photos and thumbnails and supporting docs and links to drawings––all sorts of detailed visual support that means there won’t be any question as to what the punch item is and how to do it. 

Procore’s Punch List Tool even includes a large text area where you can digitally scribble your own added comments about the punch list item in question––the better to completely inform the recipient of the fix request. For the hasty field workers among us (and that's everyone, right?), this comment feature even has a spell-check. Yeah, it’s that smart.

Lastly, you’ll want to see the schedule-and-cost impacts for each and every punch list line item on the dashboard, allowing you to determine whether the item will impact the project schedule, and if it does, how many days it will take to address the item. Using a collaborative, cloud-based Punch List Tool, you have that ability. That is, your whole team has that ability. Day or night, 24/7. 

By backing into all those scheduled line-items and keeping your eye on the calendar, your team will have effectively taken care of the punch list during the construction phase itself. On the day the project completes….the project completes! How would that feel?  With the right software solution, a zero punch list is no longer just wishful thinking. It's an achievable goal; the best kind.