16 Things You Need To Document On Your Construction Daily Reports
Over time, we have developed a list of 16 items that should be documented consistently on every daily report. We are going to discuss each, but a good tip is to pull out your company’s daily report template and compare it to our list. Every company should have a daily report template and it should be used consistently across all of your projects.
Furthermore, to get all the information you want on your daily report, make sure your report asks for it. If necessary, modify your report template to include a section of all 16 areas that we are about to discuss.
Even before we get to our first item, and although this is obvious, the report must be dated and we also recommend including the day of the week as well. We see many reports that are incorrectly dated. Having the day of the week identified can help sort out which date the report was truly recorded on.
Item 1: Weather
Our first item that should be included is the weather. You want a complete weather report for the day. Was it sunny, cloudy, rainy, or snowing? What were the temperatures morning, noon, and at the end of the day? How did the weather change throughout the day?
Item 2: The Location of Work On Site
Who was working and where were they working? Location can be defined by sectors on the plans, column lines, or using north, south, east, or west directions.
Item 3: Work Accomplished
Who is performing what scope? In this section, it is important to tie the daily report to the activities on the schedule. Note which activities are starting, completing, making progress, and which work activities should be progressing but are not. For your project manager or superintendent to do this, they must have access to and be familiar with the schedule.
Item 4: Quantities
How many pieces of steel were set today? This is essential data to evaluate productivity. We know there are 500 pieces of steel in the building, and the steel erection activity was 20 days. We can calculate the contractor’s planned progress for the steel erection as 25 pieces per day. In the event of a dispute, you may need to note whether or not the steel erection subcontractor was meeting its production rate. On the flip side, if you’re in construction and that subcontractor was on the site two days, but has only set 15 pieces…you already know it is behind. The contractor needs to step it up and you may ask him to accelerate.
Item 5: Workforce
Document each subcontractor on the site that day, as well as the number of workers provided.
Item 6: Hours Worked
Document the hours the crew worked. Also, record the hours the crew did not work and why the crew did not work. Again, this will be important when evaluating productivity.
Item 7: Equipment In Use and/or Idle
You want to document what equipment is being used by each subcontractor and what equipment is sitting idle. Also, identify when major pieces of equipment are mobilized and demobilized from the project site. Again, this information is essential for a productivity evaluation, or to support a change order.
For example, if the site work subcontractor submits a change order for unforeseen field conditions, such as rock, and if the change was not preapproved, it is important that both the site work subcontractor and the general contractor have daily reports documenting the conditions and the equipment that were used to excavate that rock.
Item 8: Potential Delaying Events
Is the job being impacted by weather? Who was scheduled to work, but couldn’t? Are there access problems? Was an underground tank found that was not indicated on the plans to be there and did that stop the excavation operation? Did the carpenter not show up to complete his work and delay the start of paint? Any potential delay should be documented.
Item 9: Significant Events
A road closure that prohibited material deliveries, or a graduation ceremony are examples of significant events. If you are working on a school project, and school authorities request that no loud work be performed during the graduation ceremony, that request needs to be noted.
Item 10: Third Party Activity
Any type of third party activity that impacts the project should also be documented in this section of your daily report.
Item 11: Safety Issues and Toolbox Talks
All injuries should be thoroughly documented, not just on a daily report. Most insurance policies will have their own forms to fill out as well. As the writer of the daily report, you want to document the time and location of the incident, as well as what actions took place.
Item 12: Meetings
Decisions are still occasionally made in the field. These meetings and decisions should not only be documented in the daily report, but should also be followed up with an email at the end of the day.
Even if no decisions were made at the meeting, the meeting itself should still be documented. If it was a brief coordination meeting between the mechanical and plumbing subcontractors, it is still important to document the meeting and any plans that were discussed.
Item 13: Directions
Direction from authorities having jurisdiction needs to be documented, as well as inspections passed or inspections failed.
Item 14: Deliveries
Deliveries need to be documented, such as what and how much material was delivered. Even as the general contractor, and you are not signing for it, you should document the delivery, who signed for it, and where it was placed.
Item 15: Record of Visitors
Keep track of when the inspector, owner, designer, or insurance representative visited the site.
Item 16: Signature
Every daily report should have a signature.
As the manager, it is important to understand that creating daily reports is a skill, and one that needs to be learned. Do not assume that it is easy or comes naturally. Do not assume that your employees know how to report just the facts. It is rare in the claims business when we come across daily reports that address all sixteen areas we’ve discussed.
It is just as rare to find daily reports that only stick to the facts and leave out editorial and personal commentary.
Let your staff know that in the event of a dispute, they may be called upon to be a fact witness and what they say in a deposition may be contrasted with what they wrote in a daily report. Again, it is so important just to stick to the facts.
Scott Lowe is a Principal of TRAUNER and is an expert in the areas of critical path method scheduling, construction claims preparation and evaluation, and specification writing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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