I’m not exaggerating when I say that daily reports are most likely the most important set of documents in the commercial construction industry. Most think this claim does not hold much validity. A majority of contractors overlook daily reports, so I can see why you may think this way. After surveying the top construction veterans, most will tell you the contract is the most important document. But believe it or not, the daily report often ties directly into the overall profitability of a construction company, when utilized in a correct manner.
The author of a daily report is essentially the historian of a job site. While most find this to be a tedious and unnecessary task, they actually serve a very important purpose in the industry. Their main purpose is to collectively recreate the detailed history of a particular job. Each day holds similar documentation, that when pieced together an image is formed. When a contract is created you are essentially telling a planned story. The job will be finished on (x) day, costing (x), with (x) materials needed. The daily report does the opposite. Rather than the planned story, the daily reports tell the actual story. These documents are designed with the stakeholder’s best interests in mind, because as history would tell us, things don’t usually go to plan. Additionally, the daily reports are loaded with all the data necessary to allow various stakeholders to analyze the planned versus actual cost, schedule, productivity, etc… These reports are valuable at the start of a project (when preparing the plan), throughout the projects lifespan (to gauge performance, progress, and productivity), and at the projects end (for possible claims). All very important aspects when it comes to profitability, and reliability.
In this day and age, 75% of commercial construction projects exceed the budget, while 90% of projects see delays. To maximize profits your firm must minimize these delays and expenses. For this to happen, you must accurately understand the history of the project. Understanding the history allows you to pinpoint the causes and who or what is responsible for delays and additional expenses. With this information, you can hopefully fix the problem before it gets worse throughout the projects lifespan. Without this information you may complete the entirety of a project with no idea what went wrong. Leaving you with costly delays and expenses.
Simply put, construction is organized chaos. For this reason, it’s necessary to track what is taking place, every day, with the best possible detail. Daily Reports are the only real way to keep track of a construction job site, and are the only way to track the “whole story” of a project. By using these reports intelligently, PM’s will be better prepared to control the chaos of a job site.