Daily progress reports in construction: Cutting down on the admin work

daily progress report in construction
Construction management

What is a daily progress report in construction?

Each day on a construction job site is different from the last and those who are involved need to be kept in the loop of what has occurred. One of the easiest ways to do that is by filing a daily progress report.

These reports can include basic information of what was completed that day and they can also be filled with little tidbits that include issues that occurred or accidents that happened.

With the advent of digital tools, the creation of a daily progress report can be done automatically saving everyone involved precious time and effort 🏗️ #reporting #construction #digitaltransformationClick To Tweet

Daily progress reports must be filled out completely and accurately each day so that there is a line of communication that can be referred back to in case of liability issues or legal disputes in the future.

What should a daily progress report include?

While there are many disputes over what should and should not be included in a daily progress report, we have created a list of items that we think should be on each one. Like that, you facilitate the connection between the boardroom and the field and help everyone involved stay on the same page.

In a nutshell, these are the 10 items that should be included on each and every daily progress report:

1. Date

The date of when the daily progress report is being written and submitted. This is extremely important, as it shows that a new one was created, and it will allow for those items to be documented for future issues.

Furthermore, it is essential that you introduce a standardised date writing format in order to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that there is a continuity in the way you store the reports.

With the advent of digital tools, the creation of a daily progress report can be done automatically saving everyone involved precious time and effort. More importantly, it allows project agents to choose a specific time period to report rather than the entire timeline.

2. Weather conditions

The weather conditions of the day can show why work wasn’t completed as scheduled or why workers left earlier than planned. In that sense, an overview of the weather phenomena on the site is always necessary.

The good news is that as construction software is gaining more popularity, a foreman or a project leader can easily generate in real time customised daily weather reports just with the click of a button. This great feature will allow for smarter planning and efficient weather logging.

Here is how a weather report could look like on LetsBuild’s GenieBelt tool:

3. Jobsite conditions

The conditions of the job site must also be noted because they can affect the results of the work of the day. Obviously, not much needs to be said about excellent job site conditions, but a reason should be given if a person is rating the conditions as poor or fair.

In that sense, daily reporting can be of paramount importance as it unfolds any potential sources of risk for the project before they even emerge. What’s more, it can help in improving the conditions on the site while turning it to a safer working space for the people on the ground.

4. Resource availability

The availability of necessary resources should be also included in the report together with information about the workers, other employees, equipment, and even the materials that were needed that day.

This is a good time to note who didn’t report for work that day, if anyone showed up in their place, or if a piece of equipment or materials were missing.

In other words, it’s an excellent way to keep close track of everything that happens on the field and gain unique visibility of the work that needs to be done.

Digital tools can again provide great service through the use of an audit trail report. Project teams can easily retrieve all the data they need without having to wonder what actually happened and who was responsible for which task.

Below you can get a taste of how an audit trail report would like on LetsBuild’s GenieBelt platform:

5. Status on the performed work

The work that was performed and the status of that work should be included each day, as it shows the progress of the job and allows another person to see if the work is being completed on schedule.

Daily progress reports allow the automatic capturing of crucial information and improve communication with superintendents and site managers on the field. The digitalisation of this process could make all critical information accessible to everyone on the project and remove the admin work for project managers and leaders.

Here is an example of a daily log in GenieBelt:

construction reports6. Work disruptions or delays

Any disruptions or delays that may have affected the work that was completed that day should be noted. In that way, everyone can have a full overview of the problems that should be resolved.

Read also: Escaping the labyrinth – How to stay in control of the supply chain

In addition, the detailed description of a projects’ bottlenecks can save the team from costly disputes and legal conflicts. Being able to keep an exhaustive record of anything that happened on site can help you establish an objective source of information for your project and increase accountability.

This is another reason why construction software could revolutionise the reporting process, as it would be easy for anyone involved to go back, find the tasks in discussion and retrieve the data that matters.

7. Inventory checklist

An inventory checklist should be included, and we recommend noting any materials that showed up on time, late, or in quantities different than what was requested.

Consistent daily reporting will help you control your inventory in a more efficient way and ideally reduce its size so that you can introduce a lean way of working and put an end to cash burn.

8. Risk overview

Any potential risks that may affect future workdays should be included within a daily report, as this will give everyone a chance to weigh in with solutions quickly. It doesn’t take much to understand how important this is for the progress of a construction project.

What’s more, keeping a detailed record of all the risks that appear in the course of a project brings process standardisation one step closer and allows your team to be prepared for similar situations in the future.

That can save your current and future projects a fortune, while also helping you to replicate certain techniques and best practices again and again.

9. Accident report

daily progress report in construction

While accidents are not always part of a workday, they do happen in larger numbers on construction sites. Therefore, it is important to make note of them when they appear and explain what happened in great detail. It is an excellent idea to include photographs to back up the statements.

10. Additional comments and notes

The last item that should be included in every daily progress report is any comments or notes that seem to be relevant to the project. Construction projects are always quite complex so project agents will typically experience problems and situations that they weren’t anticipating.

Being able to report on these incidents and include them in their reports paves the way for better project management in the future with fewer reworks and higher margins.

Steps in writing a progress report

Once the daily progress report is finalised and signed by the person creating it, it can be sent out to those who are involved in the project. There are a couple of different ways to do that but having it on a Common Data Environment (CDE) looks like the smartest choice.

In traditional construction, the most common way to submit a progress report was by printing it out and making copies to either send to everyone or hand out. This used to be a popular method when the paper trail included filing everything in massive file cabinets and keeping it for eternity. Today, that’s a highly inefficient approach which could harm the development of your project.

As technology progressed, email came into the picture as a way to submit reports. However, sharing your daily progress report through email can create even more problems for your internal communication. Many people might not check their emails that regularly and as a result, there is always the danger that people won’t receive the latest report. Plus, it can be extremely time-consuming to send the report out to everyone.

The perks of using the cloud

Having the daily progress report uploaded to the cloud seems at the moment as the most efficient way to go about it. Your report will automatically be available to everyone who has access to it and they can refer back to it as often as they want from wherever they are. This means that your report cannot get accidentally deleted or misfiled.

On top of that, it can function as a Single Source of Truth and provide great help in resolving disputes and avoiding conflicts that will cost your project both time and resources. Comments, daily weather updates and photos can be submitted in real time offering an in-depth understanding of when a task took place and what were the conditions on the field at that point.

Find also: Construction progress tracking – Turning data into real-time insight

Without a doubt, storing your daily progress report on the cloud comes with a plethora of perks for your construction project. It is also an excellent starting point in your effort to standardise the building process and invest in replicability.

Going through all this captured knowledge can make it much easier for your team to learn from its past mistakes and create a more effective and timely framework of action.

Last but not least, while there is nothing wrong with printing out all these daily progress reports, they do add up over the course of the project. Searching for a specific report in multiple binders can take much longer than performing a search for a specific date in a software programme.

What is the importance of daily progress reports?

By now it is clear that daily progress reports are a vital component of a successful project. Unfortunately, there are still many stakeholders in construction who fail to report on a daily basis.

In that aspect, as long as a construction company has daily progress reports, they are already much further ahead of those companies that don’t. Nevertheless, this is not good enough.

RFP in construction

Project agents need to understand why daily reporting matters. In that way, they will eventually be able to improve their systems and introduce a more accountable and transparent way of working.

Simply put, daily progress reports can boost the visibility around the execution and the status of a project in construction, while bringing the site and the office closer together in order to improve the existing processes.

This is also where digital technologies can drive enormous value with regard to reporting. A foreman can now effortlessly generate reports without having to deal with an excessive amount of admin and mental burden.

Moreover, by uploading everything to the cloud project leaders can be sure that all team members have access to the latest updates and have taken the right actions for the development of their tasks.

Daily reporting can also play a decisive role in the effort to monitor and measure the performance on site. That’s very important considering that if a project team isn’t able to measure what happens on the field that means they can’t control the construction process by extension they can’t improve.

That being said, a top-performing digital app could be seen as a timesaver, as it could accelerate the reporting process, protect the collected data and make life easier for both people on the field and the office through the automatic creation of customisable reports.

Only 35% of the industry report progress from the field in real-time or daily

This number is the best proof that the discussion around progress reporting in construction is still at a very early stage. Based on findings from the Construction Digital Maturity Ladder (CDML), it is shown that only35% of stakeholders in construction report progress in real time (13%) or daily (22%).

Construction Digital Maturity Ladder - CDML

It doesn’t take much to understand why construction is one of the least digitised industries and is hit by 80% project delays and an efficiency rate of 30%. Every construction project is a chain of tasks, responsibilities, and stakeholders. In that aspect, the slightest delay in a single task may lead to devastating delays for the entire project.

“Collaboration, communication and a much more open approach to sharing of best practice are fundamental for our €10tn per year industry to take the leap ahead that it deserves,” says Ulrik Branner, Executive and Board at LetsBuild.

That is why daily progress reporting needs to become data-driven and start relying more on digital technologies. Like that, the sector will be able to turn digital gaps into functional demands and unravel a whole new era for construction.

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