The Hidden Value of Daily Construction Reports
This simple task has direct ties to your profitability.
You’ve probably known a manager or two who gave daily construction reports short shrift. Perhaps you’ve even been that manager.
In an industry where nothing can move fast enough, it’s not uncommon for paperwork to be rushed through, or worse, skipped. But daily construction reports, aka daily job reports or construction logs, have value beyond what you or your employees might realize. Understanding why they’re important to the business can inspire managers to give the reports the attention they’re due.
Ties to profitability
Daily construction reports can affect the bottom line in some surprising ways. Most important, they create a detailed record of a job. And any contractor who has been in a courtroom can attest to the value of written reports that detail what occurred on a jobsite. Reports are often entered as evidence when there’s a claim and can provide strong backup to plaintiff, defendant or witness testimony.
Looking at the report data in aggregate, especially when the reports are integrated with other records in a construction management software program, can yield useful clues about schedule delays, cost overruns, worker absences and potential safety or compliance issues. Contractors who take the time to study these reports can also use to them to create more accurate bids and more realistic contract terms in the future.
Leveraging their full value
First and foremost, daily construction reports should live up to their name — in other words, they should be completed every day. Assign the task to the right leader, someone who has the time, ability and commitment to follow through on the daily requirement.
Second, reports should be not only be created but also read. The full benefits will be realized only if the company’s decision makers take advantage of the data and insights they provide.
Third, consider having the client review and sign off on the reports. That signature can add significant value to the reports should disputes arise.
Fourth, look at updating the data fields in your daily construction report annually. This will allow you to easily compare the data you’re tracking with the data your colleagues and competitors may be tracking. Check out templates available online for fields you might consider adding.
What should you include?
Some of the basics to cover are:
- Name of person writing the report
- Start and finish times
- Site conditions
- Names, titles and companies of employees and subcontractors or the total number of employees and subcontractors by title and company
- Significant deliveries
- Current state of schedule and reason for any delays
- Accidents or safety incidents
- Anything out of the ordinary impacting the project
The more thorough a report, the better. You may want to avoid using industry jargon, which makes the reports harder for a legal team to decipher.
There’s an app for that
According to Raken, which makes a daily reporting app, the average jobsite superintendent or foreman spends more than an hour each day filling out reports. Reporting apps or project management software that includes a daily reporting function can reduce the time devoted to reporting. Some apps offer features such as automatic capture of weather data and talk to text.
Using an app vs. pen and paper makes the report easier to share among employees and makes it look more professional (important if you’re sending to the client). Apps also offer automatic archiving and cloud-based storage and eliminate the need for paper files.
No matter how daily reports are captured, once construction company owners understand their value, they can communicate that value and strive to empower and support managers in creating more regular — and more useful — reports.
Kelly Moore has written about trends and topics for the construction industry since 2000.