How to Use a Project Management Tool to Streamline Construction Punch List Process?

When a project is nearing completion in construction, there is one last hurdle that needs to be accomplished before the construction can be considered one hundred percent – the punch list where owners and contractor perform the arduous task of inspecting the building for things that are not up to specifications.

The punch list construction process seems very straightforward – check the construction project, and make a list. Unfortunately, this process can drag out longer than it was first anticipated. Not to mention a very stressful and grueling experience. But, there are things that you can do to ensure that the construction punch list process goes smoother for you, and your client. The suggestions below apply whether you are doing a commercial punch list or a residential construction punch list.

Tips on How to Improve The Punch List Process

The list below are suggestions that you take into mind before, during and after the punch list process.

1. Use Technology

The modern term punch list originated from the practice of punching holes on a list of things that needed to be fixed. This practice started what is punch list in construction. The old construction punch list method is long considered obsolete, not to mention inefficient. There are now a number of available punch list software on the market that will help you accomplish your punch list and more.

There’s a lot of software out there that can help you, but you want to get one that is simple to use, has mobile features with the offline capability (just in case you lose signal), and has cloud storage. And, even if the software is simple, it still should have the following capabilities:

  • Add an issue with text, photos, assigns and due date
  • Generate pdf reports and observation lists
  • Has the ability to draw on photos and PDF plans
  • Can export/import from other programs
  • Sign off the punch list
  • Has voice to text capability
  • Can auto number items and reports


Software like Procore allows you to create defect list items directly from the field – or even offline and allows you to filter the tasks by status (unresolved, resolved, open or closed). This can help you streamline your punch list status to make it easier and faster.

2. Aim for ZERO Punch List

The best punch list is no punch list at all. Getting to the goal of having a zero punch list requires a team effort from the entire team, from planning, communication and integrating a zero punch list goal from the start of the project to completion. It can be done by doing the following:

a . Implement a rolling punch list

There should be constant tracking and checking of what needs to be fixed throughout the construction process with a due date to when these items need to be fixed. This will assure that by the end of the project, you will be left with a very minimum number or zero items in your punch list.

b . Assign a Point Person for List Management

Assign a point person to manage the list. The person should be competent and experienced enough to manage the list items.

c . Update the Client Regularly

The client’s satisfaction is the main goal, and so this should be taken into consideration through the entire construction process. Clients, if possible should be given a walk-through of the project status at each construction stage so that they are aware of the project progress. It’s also a good opportunity to spot whatever things need fixing so it doesn’t all lump up in the end.

3. Check the Scene Beforehand

A punch list meeting is like going on an important date. And like every date, you want it to be successful, and you can do this by checking the site beforehand. Go to the site, with a potential list in hand, read over the construction specifications, find ( and repair) any deficiencies.

By doing this, you can get a mental overview of what’s completely finished and what things might be subject to discussion. You’ll also be able to anticipate problems and questions which can all contribute to making you feel confident for the punch list meeting.

4. Arrive Early and Bring an Assistant

On the day of the punch list meeting, arrive early. Never underestimate the power of arriving early and being there before everybody else. Not only will it give you the mental edge that you need to feel in control of the situation, but you’ll also be calm, confident and prepared when everyone arrives. ‘

Don’t forget to bring an assistant who should also arrive early with you on the day of the punch list meeting. This is especially helpful when you are punching very big projects. Why do you ask?

Punch list meetings are already stressful from the get-go, and even if you did all the preparations correctly prior to the big event, there will be stressful issues that you might encounter. And with stress, there could be a poor reason which will lead you to make promises that you will later regret making.

Your assistant’s job is to take tasks like taking photos, notes and holding documents while listening and observing so that you can take the lead role and focus all your energy interacting with the client.

If you and your assistant know and do your roles well, you can both come out of the punch list meeting in one piece with solid notes and with the feeling that the meeting went extremely well.

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