Stephanie has taught studio art and art history classes to audiences of all ages. She holds a master's degree in Art History.
What is a Punch List?
What comes to your mind when you hear the term punch list? No, it isn't a list of people whom you would like to hit! But that was a good guess! A punch list is a written inventory of details and tasks that must be completed before a construction project is considered done. It is part of a specific process and is often an official document. During a long construction project that might take months or several years (think of building a skyscraper), small details can sometimes be missed, like individual electrical figures or the fine finish on a door handle. These might seem like trivial things, but when someone is paying for a new building, they want everything to be corrected and finished completely. A punch list is a means of ensuring nothing is left undone. The term is often used in the building and construction trades, although it can also be used in more general project management. It is created in the form of an itemized list that is checked off after a thorough review near the end of a construction project.
Basic Method of Creating a Punch List
Compiling a punch list almost always involves a walk-around of the building or site under construction by all parties involved. Such meetings can include a number of people, from the architect to the builder, contractor, subcontractors and property owners. As they examine every inch of the site, they discuss all details that need to be done, and their list may include everything from paint finishes, hardware details, redoing edges and siding, etc., to clearing and removing debris from the property. Nothing is too small, as this is the final part of a process before everyone gets paid and the project is considered completed.
While creating an itemized list is the most common form builders use to compile a punch list, there are other ways of organizing the process and documenting required tasks. Sometimes builders use a floor plan, carefully numbering items in each room that must be done and organizing those tasks on a copy of the plan. A punch list can also be done using a room plan, where each room is printed on its own page, along with specific numbered elements to be addressed, corrected or completed. Whatever method is used, the goal is the same: the careful, methodical completion of any last minute errors and unfinished details.
Some companies use the idea of a rolling punch list, meaning they have a list of things constantly under review while the project is underway. They have periodic inspections during all phases of construction, with the goal of avoiding any last minute issues, errors or corrections. The goal is a zero punch list, with nothing on the list, meaning no problems to be addressed at the end of construction.
A final inspection is required for a punch list to be considered completed, and it involves signatures of the parties involved. Sometimes a final percentage of payment is withheld until this last step of the process is done.
A punch list is a written inventory of tasks to be completed before a building project is considered finished. While it is typically in the form of an itemized list, punch lists can also be found directly on a copy of the floor plans or even on a room-by-room basis. Punch lists are a tool often used in construction and building trades and can be very helpful in focusing work at the end of a project. In fact, a project is not considered complete, and final payment will not be made, until all of the items on the punch list are completed.
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