Often you will hear superintendents saying that finishing the project is the most difficult part of the job. It can be, and certainly will be, depending on the management processes that have been implemented leading up to the project completion. Specifically, I want to cover punch list management and in-process quality control.
A largely common mistake amongst general contractors is to await the owner’s or the architect’s punch list to begin punch work. With a qualified construction management team, which includes daily field representation like myself, every day is opportunity to influence the quality and hopefully eliminate punch work. When our clients select our team to manage the construction of their new building, they should expect one that will be completed by the specifications, approved submittals, and well within industry tolerances on any quality measure.
One way to ensure this is to make early in-process inspections of installed material. When a new trade mobilizes and brings material to the project site, a site manager should immediately ensure the material is meeting the specification and is the correct material approved by the design team. Checking the material when it arrives will save from larger scale problems when the installed material is being reviewed. Secondly, the early review of installed work will prevent from any repetitive installation mistakes. A single room in a building with a mis-installed tile orientation, is an easy repair. However, if this mistake is not recognized early, the next 20 rooms will have been installed with the same mistake. It’s never too early to review and punch the work of the on-boarding trades.
As soon as a trade is nearing the completion of their scope, it is the best time to do a full punch review. Mostly because the crew is still at the project site and can address these issues promptly. Inspect their work and inspect the condition of the area they worked in. Make sure they understand and have documentation of anything they need to complete or repair. This, by the way, is not their punch list. Once ALL trades have been through the same area and have completed each contractor’s scope, our project management team will identify any additional flaws or non-conformances, document these items in the punch list with a defined completion deadline, and send out to the respective contractors to perform.
Once these steps have been completed, we will gladly invite our client and design team to visit and review the substantially complete building. We never rely on the owner or design team to point out mistakes or punch our work, and they should never have to. Butler-Cohen’s goal is to provide a level of service and management that will ensure an exceptional product will be delivered to our clientele at every opportunity. As a site manager, this is part of my mission every day. Therefore, with Butler-Cohen, finishing and selling our work is not going to be the most difficult part, it’s simply going to be the BEST part.