How to Write a Construction Daily Report and Why Daily Reporting Is So Important

How to Write a Construction Daily Report

The construction daily report is a crucial documentation process. Daily reports in construction helps stakeholders understand what happened on the site and the project’s health. Many in construction agree that the contract is the most important document in a project, and to kick off a project it is. However, a contract is the bare-bones of a project and doesn’t explain the nuances of a site. The construction daily report explains the details of the site and job, while providing important documentation to help subcontractors and stakeholders.

construction daily report
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A Short History of Construction Daily Reports

Up until recently, daily reports was a tedious and sometimes long job for the project superintendent. However, with the increasing capabilities of mobile construction daily report software, daily reports is incredibly faster and easier. Originally a superintendent carried around a notebook and hand took notes about site conditions, weather, date and time, the work performed or not performed, and other important factors for a daily report. They would have to write down any incidents, questions, comments, notes, and inventory while it was happening, and sometimes people forgot. This made daily reports harder in the evening when a superintendent would have to write everything up.

Now there are many field note and reporting softwares and mobile apps to help with daily reports. Superintendents can quickly input weather, date, time, photos from the site and any notes as they happen. The best apps can push the field notes superintendents take throughout the day into a daily report since a daily report is a clearer field note. With daily report software, superintendents can send daily reports to all necessary parties with just a few clicks. Daily report software reduces the number of places information is stored and places where information gets lost. The construction daily report process is easier now.

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Why Daily Reports in Construction are So Important

When the superintendent files daily reports, they tell the story of the project. They list the shortcomings and triumphs, acting as a historian for the project essentially. The construction daily report, while tedious, shows the transformation of the project from start to finish. Daily reports in construction might seem like it is just for stakeholders since they are typically used to update them. The daily report was supposed to be a way to connect stakeholders who don’t see the site every day and might not be familiar with the construction process to the project. While the contract contains important information about how a project should progress, the timeline, material use, budget, and more, the construction daily report is a way to verify that progress.

The daily report can be contradictory to the contract. The contract might outline a timeline that the construction daily reports show isn’t working. Daily reports in construction are a data intense process. Every piece of information in the daily report is a piece of data. And that data can be analyzed by stakeholders to better understand the project. They can take any delays and look at the circumstances that resulted in the delay. They can see the cost estimate and compare it to actuals. While the information might not help with this project, it can be used for better estimates in the future. The construction daily report helps everyone involved understand the performance, progress, and productivity on a project.

construction daily report
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Subcontractors Benefit from Daily Reports in Construction

Sometimes jobs aren’t as straightforward as they would appear in the contract. There could be a delay because of weather, more people might be needed, the materials might not be correct, or any number of events that would change the work done compared to the contract. Daily reports in construction are an easy way to explain these shifts in a timeline and other contractual plans.

The construction daily report is a record of performance. It can answer questions about why there are delays. But it also is a record of how many workers were on a site, what they did, what materials were used and more. This benefits subcontractors as well as stakeholders. Because daily reports leave a record of what happened, it’s easier for subcontractors to assure payment. In court, a construction daily report is a record of the job day by day. Daily reports help subcontractors prove billing to general contractors and construction managers. If more people were on the site than expected, a daily report can help subcontractors prove it.

Construction daily reports also act as a guide explaining what’s been done on the project so far. For subcontractors who usually work on one specific portion of the project, daily reports help get them up-to-date on the project. These daily reports might point out areas that the project struggled with, or explain a delay. And for experienced subcontractors, they might have solutions to help get the project back on track.

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How to Write a Construction Daily Report

For construction project managers, field notes and daily reports are an essential tool for the job. Nowadays there is a plethora of software and mobile application options for every business. These options make it easier and faster for superintendents or project managers to create a construction daily report. But there are always specific elements that need to be added to the daily report in order for it to be useful.

Time, Date, and Weather

The first thing to include in a construction daily report is the date and weather. The date distinguishes the report since the reports are daily. The date tells readers which day the report is for. It also helps superintendents or project managers find the exact report they’re looking for if they have to go through the project history. The date and time is the first thing that stakeholder sees on the daily report, it’s how they can judge progress on the project. The next important thing for a daily report is the weather. The weather and temperature help to explain any delays or issues with construction. Crews can’t complete certain tasks if it is raining or the temperature’s bad. Noting the weather and temperature is the first step of the daily report.

Crew, Work Location, and Work Completed

Some construction daily report software can capture the work location, others use a preset picklist in order to streamline the daily report process. Once a location is selected, the daily report preparer must select crew and hours. Selecting crew is crucial since this is the only way to help prove who was on the site that day, and it helps back up billing hours. The next step to a construction daily report is to fill out the work completed. This explains what the crew was doing when they were on the site. Another important item for this section can be the current inventory. Stakeholders can verify inventory and work hours.

Comments, Notes, Occurrences

The next important section in the daily report is the comments, notes, and occurrences. This section is where superintendents or project managers put anything of note. They can copy items from the field note into the comment. Though some construction daily report softwares will help push field notes directly into a daily report. Superintendents don’t have to write any noted incidents, photos, disruptions, delays and other notes and comments twice.

Daily reports are one of the only ways to keep track of a construction site and the only way to track the trajectory of a project. While the contract is what should happen with the project, the construction daily report is what exactly happened on the site.