A ‘Punch List’ is a quality control document used in the overall project and commissioning management process to note, track and manage any issues, observations, and defective/incomplete works. The list is crucial in ensuring a project’s successful completion and turnover/handover to the Owner and Building Operator.
Depending on where you are from, they can also be known as:
- Commissioning Punch List,
- Commissioning Issues Log,
- Issues Log,
- Issues Register,
- Snag List,
- To-Do List,
🚀 The term “punch” in this context refers to marking off or “punching out” items on the list as they are completed or corrected.
Table of Contents
🟩 Why are they Important?
Punch lists are critical to any construction project to ensure high quality and satisfactory results during the construction and turnover/handover phase. Conducting regular inspections and maintaining an up-to-date list aids by:
✅ – Ensuring Quality Control: A good process allows for consistent inspections throughout the project so that any deficiencies, no matter how small, can be identified and corrected before project completion,
✅ – Early Identification: Identifies issues early on in the construction and commissioning process,
✅ – Decision Making: Aid in effective project management and decision-making,
✅ – Tracking & Reporting: Keeping track of progress, aiding the overall reporting,
✅ – Trends: Identify trends in issues, allowing the captured data to be analyzed to understand any recurring or common problems, their root causes, and proposed solutions,
✅ – Programme Management: Helps reduce delays and costs by capturing and closing out issues and observations early,
✅ – Documentation: Provides a written record of all observations and any outstanding issues that need resolution by the contractor.
✅ – Claims & Disputes: Helps aid and support any potential claims or disputes,
✅ – Allows Systematic Completion: With all the issues captured in one master list, the contractor can methodically work through and fix each item in an organized fashion.
✅ – Improves Handover Efficiency: Taking the time to resolve all deficiencies upfront makes the final owner acceptance and move-in process quicker and smoother.
✅ – Lessons Learned: Aids in the overall development of the project lessons learned document,
✅ – Gives Assurance to the Owner: Knowing that the project will purposefully address every last detail before turning over the building.
To read more on the members of the commissioning/project team see our article: THE COMMISSIONING TEAM | Example Organigram for each stage
🟩 When would they be developed and updated?
Created: The punch list should be created at the start of a project during the pre-design phase, with the format agreed with the Owner.
Updated: After creating, the list should be regularly updated and maintained throughout the project until substantial completion, turnover/handover as and when the information changes, such as adding new items or updating and closing out existing ones.
🟩 What should be included in the log?
A comprehensive punch list/commissioning issues log should contain adequate information to help the project and commissioning teams effectively track and resolve issues and observations.
Information that would usually be contained would be:
✅ – Issue ID/Reference: to help to track and cross-reference,
✅ – Date of Issue: include when the issue was noted and observed,
✅ – Due Date: note the date when the issue should be resolved by,
✅ – Date Resolved: note the date when the issue was resolved to track progress,
✅ – Status: to allow understanding of the overall status of the problems [Open, Ongoing, Closed],
✅ – Equipment or System ID: to help trace onsite and understand common issues,
✅ – System Type: useful in case we need to filter for this, later on, to understand all issues across a particular system [builders, bms, electrical, fire, mechanical, plumbing, etc],
✅ – Description of the issue: used to describe, understand and identify the problem,
✅ – Location of the issue: used to help guide the site teams to where the issue is [building, floor, room],
✅ – Task Priority: Assigning a priority level to each issue can help project teams prioritize their efforts and ensure that the most critical issues are addressed first [high, medium, and low or P1, P2, and P3].
✅ – Responsible party: Identifying the person or team responsible for resolving each issue can help ensure clear accountability for addressing the problem.
✅ – Notes and comments: Including notes and comments in the list can help provide additional context and detail about the issue and its resolution.
🟩 Examples of Punch List Items
We have included 20 common Punch List items to provide some context of what would generally be included:
- Touch-up painting around doors,
- Repair cracked floor tiles in the toilet,
- Wrong door handles installed, not to specification,
- Door opening direction not inline with specification,
- Fire damper jammed when drop testing,
- Air Handling Unit Pressure Differential Sensor not reporting to the BMS,
- Clean all external windows as dirty,
- Remove al construction waste from corridors,
- Replace all damaged ceiling tiles,
- Lighting Lux levels do not meet specifications,
- All temperature sensors need to be calibrated across projects,
- Internal sections of the electrical switchboards are dirty,
- Condensate drainage flowing the wrong way,
- Fire stopping missing around duct penetrations,
- The sequence of operation of hot water boilers is not in line with the approved logic,
- The Condenser Water Pumps create vibration,
- Labels missing from all toilet fans,
- The electrical breakers are not installed in line with the design as shown on the construction drawings, replace,
🟩 Common Formats Used
Depending on the project’s requirements, we generally find a mix of formats are used across projects.
Digital Punch List: The most common type, where a 3rd party web-based software is used to create, input, and manage the complete process.
Typically, this method has a monthly cost, but it is the most effective way to oversee, manage, and close out the process providing many unseen cost savings.
Spreadsheet List: Some projects will utilize a manual method of managing the process, this would usually be done by creating a punch list spreadsheet, then coordinating all requirements via email, telephone, and the sheet.
Whist this method is not ideal, it can work well on smaller projects.
⬜ Commissioning Issues Log Example
Below is a Punch List Excel Template that shows one could utilize the above information.
We have made this available in our shop for download/purchase; if you would like a copy click the below button to be taken there.
🟩 Roles & Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities for creating and maintaining a log are pretty straightforward, with the following people usually being involved:
- Building Operator,
- Project Manager,
- Commissioning Provider,
- General Contractor,
- Sub Contractors,
🟧 Using the RASCI Matrix
For the roles and responsibilities, we will utilize the RASCI format, which helps with defining and communicating the required roles and responsibilities within the process and will dictate, via a structured framework, who is Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted, and Informed for each task, activity, or decision.
Using the matrix will enhance management and teamwork, promoting clarity, reducing confusion, and fostering effective communication.
|Responsible||[R]||This is the person that is responsible for doing the work ensuring the activities are completed by the relevant team members, they can also provide comments as well.|
|Approve||[A]||This person comments, approves and signs off and owns the activity.|
|Supportive||[S]||Persons who will provide support to the Responsible party, aiding in completion of the task.|
|Consulted||[C]||Opinion sought, where required.|
|Informed||[I]||This person is informed when a decision is made, or an activity is performed. They may be required to act because of the outcome.|
🟧 Roles of Team Members
The following participants will be involved in the management of the Punch List items:
|Owner||[O]||The owner is the person who will own/occupy or run the facility once it is complete; they have the final say in the overall expectations of the project and finance it.|
|Building Operator||[BO]||The company and people responsible for operating the facility once handed over.|
|Project Manager||[PM]||The project manager, employed to represent the owner, running and managing the overall project and programme.
[where owner is not fully involved in the day to day running of the project].
|Commissioning Provider||[CxP]||The consultant employed by the Owner to ensure that the project is verified to meet their expectations,|
|Designer||[DES]||Responsible for taking the Owner's expectations/requirements and creating a design that works in line with them,|
|General Contractor||[GC]||The company employed to construct, build and commission the project,|
|Sub-Contractor||[SC]||Works for the General Contractor delivering specialist services|
|Vendor/Supplier||[VEN]||Supplies goods, materials and equipment for the project.|
🟧 Roles & Responsibilities
|Create Punch List||C||A||I||R||I||I||I|
|Manage Punch List||S||R||I||S||S||S||I|
|Closing out of Punch List Items||I||A||S||S||S||R||S||There will be multiple parties responsible for closing out the observations.|
|Report on Progress||I||A||S||S||S||R||S|
🟩 Construction Punch List Process
Below is a typical workflow for inspecting, issuing, and managing a Project Punch List:
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🟩 6 Tips for Using a Punch List
Here are some tips and best practices for effectively using a commissioning issues log:
🚀 Tip 1: Create early in the process
It is important to create the commissioning issues log as early as possible in the project process, this helps with identifying, logging and managing at the start of the process.
🚀 Tip 2: Be detailed and specific
When documenting issues, it is important to be as detailed and specific as possible. This will help project teams understand the nature of the problem and identify the most appropriate solution.
🚀 Tip 3: Assign clear responsibilities
Assigning clear responsibility for resolving issues will help ensure that there is clear accountability for addressing problems and preventing them from occurring again in the future.
🚀 Tip 4: Maintain and update the log
Regularly updating the log is important reflect the current status of each issue and any progress that has been made.
🚀 Tip 5: Analyze for trends and patterns
By analyzing the issues and information within the log project teams can identify trends and patterns that may indicate systemic problems that need to be addressed.
🚀 Tip 6: Reference for future works and projects
The commissioning issues log is a very valuable reference for future projects, especially if used in conjunction with Tip 5.