Daily Reports, records or logs are critically important to construction projects so it’s amazing to think that Project Managers often leave them for other staff to prepare and submit. Or, even worse, let staff remove the “daily” status and have the reports slip into a periodic status when more time is available to provide them to management. Such as the weekly chaotic management dash to report and invoice clients. Why the heightened level of concern? Daily reports contain field notes and documented activities that are crucial in the event of a contractual and legal dispute. They also maintain a productive communication link in the form of transparency with the management team.
Daily Reports must be accurate and the only way to ensure this is by collecting jobsite activities as they occur. At the end of the day is when Foreman or Supervisors need to be in editing mode versus writing mode – clarifying and confirming notes taken so these are easily included the Project Manager’s report and signed-off from the client. If dailies are not a project requirement, I would highly recommend every contractor makes it a standard practice. With today’s mobile technology connecting the field to the back office, Daily Reports do not require much effort (e.g., written on paper and driven back to the office).
So, what are the ten must haves and types of information that should go on the construction daily report:
1. The date the report is written and being submitted
2. Weather conditions (rain, temperature, wind speed, etc.) and hours worked or couldn’t due to adverse conditions
3. Jobsite physical conditions – simple status of good, fair, poor and reasons for your observation
4. Available or not available resources – staff, personnel, equipment
5. Work performed and status (complete, in-progress, deferred)
6. Disruptions and delays that impede that day’s activity progress
7. Inventory Checklist – Major material received on time or late and quantities
8. Potential risks, concerns of future delays – hurdles your management team can help avoid
9. Incidents that occurred – Safety and environmental, name of employee and specific details (take photos)
10. Notes and Comments – Any other relevant information related to project
Every project and client is unique in many aspects, but if the client requires a daily report to be submitted in a format that is missing the above critical data, it is your responsibility to recommend changes and point out that their format is insufficient for proper documentation. If the client is unwilling to alter their report template, then include an addendum with the missing fields. Think of the legal and profit recovery implications if materials are delivered late and work is delayed yet there is no section for disruptions and delays.
Getting Paid for the Work You Do
The numbers of workers working on a jobsite are important when the client or general contractor is adjudicating any claim for acceleration or delays. It’s also important when work is performed on a cost recovery basis that the number of staff recorded in the daily report ties-up with the cost recovery records. If they don’t agree and lacking documentation, the client or general contractor may only reimburse the subcontractor for the lesser number. Does this scenario sound familiar? Research indicates fifty cents on the dollar or less is paid without proper documentation of work performed. This where mobile technology can make documenting all activities and work performed on a jobsite.
A continued delay on a project
Often a contractor experiences a delay, and records it on the daily report then it gets filed away. The junior employee thinks he or she made the Project Manager aware of the issue. However, when the delay continues, they neglect to record its continuation, which can cause a problem later, because the delay has been recorded as if it only affected one day. It’s important to note every delay on every day that it affects progress.
Daily reports play a critical part in project delay and variation claims. Yet, they are often poorly executed and neglected by Project Managers who often delegate the task of completing the report to juniors who don’t understand the big picture and business implications.