There are several stages that a construction project undergoes and one part of the final stage is the completion of a punch list. This list refers to the tasks or items that you need to before you can consider the project finished.

Punch List Templates

What is a builder punch list?

A building punch list is a document that you prepare during key milestones or near the end of your construction project. It usually contains a list of works that don’t conform to the specifications of your contract.

For this, it will be your responsibility as the general contractor to finish the items on the list before you receive the final payment. The tasks here may include:

  • incorrect or incomplete installations
  • incidental damages to existing materials, structures or finishes
  • … and more

You can prepare your own punch list forms but these can also come from the architect, designer or the owner while they inspect your project visually.

Punch List Items

What to include?

The creation of a punch list is not a mandatory requirement but it’s still a traditional part of most construction projects. In general practice, you create this list before the completion of your project, specifically when your project reaches substantial completion.

Substantial completion refers to the point at which the owner becomes responsible for the project instead of you (the general contractor). You can determine substantial completion at the moment the owner occupies the building or when you decide that the building already serves its intended purpose.

A punch list example starts its creation when you, the owner, or other stakeholders take a tour of the project and write down all remaining work. Architects or designers can come along too, to make sure that the building matches the plans they have made. Contractors and subcontractors can also help determine the reasonability of any issues.

The owner must define and explain reasonable deficiencies as these may include minor issues that still meet all of the initial specifications. But any unreasonable issues are the mistakes that you must fix. You can consider this document as a to-do list for your project’s completion.

Who provides the items on a punch list?

Although there can be many parties who can get involved in the execution and oversight of a punch list, it just all comes down to two primary phases – creating the document and addressing the contents. All of the stakeholders play a role in both these phases, though some are more involved than others.

Who then should take responsibility for ticking off the punch list items? There is some degree of variation by relevant stockholders and project descriptions. But here is a basic breakdown of the individuals who may contribute to the list:

  • Owner
    The owner inspects work, asks questions about the things they don’t understand, and lists incomplete work or work that has been improperly completed. Then the owner gives you the list as the general contractor.
  • General Contractor
    It is your responsibility to examine the details, check the list the owner gave you, and make your own list for your subcontractors.
  • Subcontractors
    From the list you give them, the subcontractors will address the items then complete all of the items. They should also explain each item and fix any issues.
  • Architect or Designer
    The main role of architects or designers is to verify that you built that they designed.

After completing and distributing your list, you need time to fix the items contained in it. You have to schedule another walkthrough with the owner. Ideally, there should no longer be any items to add to the list as you should have addressed them all. But you still need the owner’s signature the list for the work to be fully considered completed.

Punch List Forms

How do you write a punch list?

A punch list is a tool used to make sure that a job gets quickly finished in a manner that honors the terms of the contract. For this to happen, it must clearly specify who needs to do what, by when, and where.

To make an effective construction punch list, you must understand how to create it depending on the role you play in the project. Here are some tips for creating punch list templates:

  • General Contractor
    In most cases, it is standard practice for customers to hold retainage on you as the general contractor. In the same way, you can also hold retainage on your subcontractors.
    Propose this retainage in a punch list checklist with your subcontractors so that they know that they’re to complete their contracts efficiently. You should also communicate with them any pending tasks together with the corresponding deadlines. Doing this prevents subcontractors from leaving while you still have contractual obligations to fulfill.
  • Subcontractors
    If given the responsibility to complete a task, they should know the scope as specified in the contract. Subcontractors will Only execute items within the scope and in a timely manner. Should there be any items outside the scope, subcontractors may ask for an extra payment.
    Always keep in mind that good communication is crucial for project success. It is also a good move to do a separate walkthrough with your subcontractors before the final walkthrough with your customer.
  • Customer or Customer Representative
    The best way for a customer to make sure that they have a complete list is by visiting the site before meeting with you. The owner may spend quality time when inspecting the building so they can identify any incomplete items.
    Discovering flaws during a walkthrough with you can happen after. Of course, it is always a good idea for you and the owner to take the contract with you or familiarize yourself with the contents to understand what you had contractually agreed upon.
  • Architect or Designer
    Make it a point to include these people in your walkthrough. Their presence and approval will confirm that everything you did was as per the specifications and designs of their drawings.
    It can also help during the construction phase that they show up to regularly inspect your project. In addition, make sure to follow up with regular field reports communicated to stakeholders. This makes your list shorter and it can even prevent any unwelcome surprises as you reach the end of your project.