Basics of a Construction Log
A construction log or daily construction log is a necessary tool that compiles information from each day that there is work done at every job site. Many people do not think that these construction logs are necessary, but those who have needed to go back and refer to them weeks afterwards have claimed that they are a life changer when proving information on whether or not something happened and when. These construction logs are also helpful when companies end up in court or arbitration, as the documentation can be helpful in scenarios of he said, she said.
Any and all facts should be documented within these construction logs, because anything being left out can make it look like the person was trying to cover something up at the time. There is no steadfast rule as to how the logs need to be filled out, as both typing and handwritten notes are acceptable. However, it should be noted that if handwritten notes are being done, they should be legible by everyone and not just the person who did the writing.
Construction logs can be filled out by the foreman of the job, the superintendent, and even the project managers. After all, the more notes collected, the better the documentation will be. The notes from each day should be collected regularly, at least once a week, and then placed in a three-ring binder in the office. These construction logs can also be completed on a computer and saved online, but a back up copy should be saved in the cloud or on a flash drive to ensure that it is available if something happens to the original.
Here are many of the sections of a construction log and what information is included in each one:
The site conditions section normally includes what the weather was like on that day. This is important for documentation, because if something like grading needs to be done but it has been pouring rain for three days straight and very muddy, it will show that everyone was ready but unable to do the job during the scheduled time frame.
This area is where the number of subcontractors, laborers, architects, engineers, and other personnel that were at the job site can be written down. Names do not always need to be listed but can be helpful in certain situations.
Activities by the Prime Contractor
This is a general description of what the main contractor did during the day. This is normally written in brief unabbreviated short sentences due to space constraints.
Activities by Subcontractors
This is the same as above, but for the subcontractors.
This section will include any visitors, accidents, changed or unsafe conditions, issues for scheduling or delays, major deliveries, sequencing, and unsuccessful attempts to contact people. This is also where any extras can be documented, as not every extra has a written contract and documentation needs to be found somewhere.
Tests and Inspections
Any tests and inspections that have been done during the day should be documented, so that everyone knows when each one was completed.
Memos of Meetings and Discussions
Meetings and discussions are a major part of every day on construction job sites and what is discussed in each one needs to be documented.
Delays and Problems Created by the Owner or Representative
Owners and representatives can cause problems with jobs, because they are continuously changing their mind with what they want or need. Any changes, sequencing changes, necessary ambiguous plans, and anything else must be documented, so that it can be proven at the end if the owner or representative complains when the work is not completed on time as scheduled.
Material and Equipment Delivered
Documenting when materials and equipment has been delivered will allow everyone to keep track of what is on hand. This is also crucial if equipment is only supposed to be on the job site for a few days, as it allows people to know when it needs to be returned.
Little sketches or drawings may be necessary to document changes in plans.
A photograph is worth a thousand words, which means that sometimes photos are better off with telling the story than writing everything down.
Material and Equipment that is Being Ordered
Just like noting when materials and equipment arrives, everyone needs to know when those two things are being ordered. This will let everyone know that these items will be arriving sooner than later.
Maintenance and Repair Logs
Keeping track of when maintenance on equipment has been completed and when the equipment is being repaired can help keep companies on track at the job sites.
As everyone can see, the construction log has numerous sections that need to be filled out. However, by filling them out, everyone will remember the events of every specific day, which is much better than trying to refer back to a person’s memory a week, a month, or even a year later.
Reasons Everyone Needs to Keep Construction Daily Logs
Construction job sites are very busy places and the person in charge cannot always be where they are always needed. Plus, the project managers, superintendents, and other people in charge are trying to keep track of hundreds, if not thousands, of little details every day. And, all that information can get lost or forgotten very easily.
The best way to keep track of everything that is being completed on a construction job site is to write it all down in a construction daily log. This ensures that nothing will be forgotten and that everyone will remember what was completed on a snowy, cold day back in February 2012. Especially, since most people cannot remember what they ate for breakfast for the current day.
A construction daily log can either be handwritten or typed into a computer, but everyone must remember that it needs to be legible to each person that wants or needs to read it and not just the person that wrote it. That means that the handwriting must be neat, the abbreviations that were used must be common and well-known, and things cannot be too vague where people need to guess what the meaning was.
Here are 3 reasons why everyone needs to keep construction daily logs:
- Legal Reasons
There are so many people being taken to court nowadays, and many of those battles are he said, and she said situations. There is never a true winner in those situations, simply because nothing was ever put in writing. Since construction daily reports include information like what was said during staff meetings, who was present on the job site each day, what arrived at the job site, what accidents may have occurred, and what the weather was like, it gives everyone an idea of what took place each and every day. As long as they are filled out properly, these reports can be used for legal matters, as it will give specific details of everything that happened for the duration of the construction project.
- Lessons for the Future
Every construction project is different, but that doesn’t mean that a new scenario that is seen now will not show up in the future as well. Once the information about the scenario is documented within the construction daily log, everyone will be able to go back and review that information at any time in the future. This will save workers time, and since time is money, quite a bit of money can be saved as well.
There are always employees leaving or being promoted on construction job sites, and the information that is included within the daily logs can be a wealth of information to those who are just coming into the process. These daily logs are a great place for a person to start as they are learning about the project, determining what has been done already, and finding out what needs to be done in the future to keep everything on track and on schedule.
As everyone can probably imagine, these construction daily logs can take quite a bit of time to fill out and complete each day. After all, there is a lot of information to be jotted down each day and no one ever wants to leave out any of the pertinent details, since one of them might be important in the future.
If anyone has a really busy day and is finding that they just simply do not have the time to completely fill out the entire form, they will want to include at least three things. The three basic areas that should always be filled out include what was done on the job site that day, the highlights of the day, and any concerns that arose.
Of course, it may also be necessary to include a weather report, especially if the weather prevented anyone from doing their job that day. Pictures are also a great alternative to writing down notes, as they often show the results of the day better than any words could.
While the rest of the information within a construction daily log might be considered fluff and not always needed, most companies feel that they are important in case of lawsuits in the future. After all, if anything is left out of these daily logs, it may be construed as something is being hidden. That can open up numerous issues that could simply be avoided by taking the time to fill everything out completely.
Therefore, it is necessary for those who are in charge of filling out the construction daily logs to determine whether or not it is worth gaining a half hour or less of personal time. While the time looks great short-term, that half hour could eventually lead up to hours or days of extra work in the future.
It’s easy to keep your daily logs with GenieBelt – all changes in the fields are automatically stored in cloud, you can access them at my time, create reports.
Our audit trail allows you to see all conversations, updates, mentions, attached to a specific task.