What Is a Punch List? (Definition, Tips and How It Works)

When you’re in charge of a construction project, the tasks may seem to never end. Along with the new ones, some of the older ones might also need to be revisited. Perhaps a stakeholder decided to change the color of a wall, or perhaps an inspector found that your insulation is not up to code.

What is PUNCH LIST? What does PUNCH LIST mean? PUNCH LIST meaning, definition & explanation

How do professionals use a punch list in construction?

Punch lists typically only include minor alterations because larger requests or reparations are frequently made earlier in the process. Many businesses strive to do away with and minimize the need for punch lists. Before an owner can comment, contractors might work to resolve potential problems so that by the time they reach the substantial completion phase, the project satisfies all of the client’s requirements.

What is a punch list?

A construction site’s punch list is a list of fixes that are required. Owners, general contractors, and other stakeholders conduct a walkthrough after a project has reached the substantial completion stage to request any last-minute changes. They record any damages, incomplete or subpar work, and modifications that might need to be improved. The project’s desired changes must be made by the contractors before they can be paid in full for completing the project.

Although punch lists used to be paper lists with holes punched in them, this method is no longer commonly used. Professionals can now digitally log the punch list items thanks to software programs and digital punch lists. General contractors, project managers, and owners frequently depend on contractors to confirm the completion of all outstanding tasks and communicate deadlines.

Punch list template

The following punch list template lists some project components that an owner or client might raise during a walkthrough:

Who handles a punch list?

Each project participant has a different relationship with the punch list. Following are a few typical key stakeholders and the roles they play when handling punch lists:


Typically, owners and clients are in charge of creating the punch list during the substantial completion phase to make sure the project is completed to their standards. The final completion phase, which signifies that the contractors have fulfilled all contract requirements, comes before substantial completion. Owners can request small, reasonable changes as needed before taking ownership of completed projects.

General contractors

Owners and other interested parties typically participate in a walkthrough with the general contractors and project managers in charge of the building job to learn about any necessary changes. There are times when a request may be challenging to fulfill or a reason why a task could not be finished to the designer’s or owner’s specifications by subcontractors. Communication between the owner and the subcontractors can be facilitated by general contractors. They may include their own list items on the punch list they deliver to their subcontractors, along with requests from designers and owners.

Additional people who might assume duties to guarantee project completion include:

6 tips for eliminating punch lists

Many construction firms and contractors have the noble objective of completely doing away with punch lists. Professionals may also call this a “zero punch list goal. You can lessen the requirement for punch lists for a variety of construction projects by using the following advice:

1. Begin with clear contracts

Detailed contracts can help remove room for error within projects. Contractors can make sure they are meeting the agreed-upon requirements by outlining expectations at the beginning of a job. A clear contract can direct the project early on and give legal standing in the event of a disagreement close to the project’s completion.

2. Improve quality control procedures

Implementing efficient quality control procedures can help reduce the need for punch lists. Setting up routine inspections where a construction site supervisor walks through each project phase to address potential concerns is one way to achieve this. Before moving on to the following phase of the project, think about performing quality control inspections after the conclusion of each phase and resolving any issues. This strategy can assist you in managing obstacles early on, concentrating on specific project phases, and minimizing the overall volume of project-end requirements.

3. Use a rolling punch list

A construction site manager creates a rolling punch list as the project progresses. This enables them to identify potential issues as they occur and immediately assign team members to these tasks. By addressing these minor issues as they arise, a construction team may be able to reach its goal of having no punch list because it will be less likely for a client to spot problems after substantial completion.

4. Try cloud-based technology

There are cloud-based tools available that can help with communication between members of the construction team in addition to software that can digitize punch lists. This can be especially helpful for large build sites. The project manager or site supervisor can track overall project goals and the completion of rolling punch list items by having team members enter task status updates on their smartphones or tablets.

5. Establish effective communication

Effective client, designer, and subcontractor communication can help set clear expectations for all parties involved. In order for everyone to be aware of the project expectations, it is crucial for owners to communicate their project desires to the designers and contractors. Furthermore, it’s critical that subcontractors communicate any issues they encounter so that contractors can explain building components to owners prior to the final walkthrough.

6. Organize records


What does punch list mean?

A contractor creates a document called a “punch list” as part of the project closeout phase of the building process to list any work that has not been finished or that has not been done properly.

What is a punch list example?

The items are typically minor ones like construction-related floor and wall scratches and stains, but they can also be things that were done improperly and need to be redone. Even brand-new items that were not specified in the original project specifications could be found on punch lists.

What should be on a punch list?

The tasks on a punch list must be finished before the project can be considered complete. Tasks consist of ongoing work, completed work, and notes about project delays. Task deadlines and big-picture project deadlines are also saved here.

Who creates a punch list?

According to the General Conditions (AIA A201 Section 9. 8. 2) The Contractor compiles and sends the architect a thorough list of everything that needs to be finished or fixed. The contractor created this snag list, which is referred to as the punch list.

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