Issue #45: Your Daily Reports & Critical Activities

It’s been some time since I have written here; it seems like if I don’t write each month it becomes easier to postpone the task. I’m sure you can relate to that.

Years ago I wrote a piece titled “The Daily Report: More Important Than You Think!” (see Issue #25 on my website). I thought it was appropriate to give you more on this subject now. But first, let me recap the main points made in that issue:

  1. Daily Reports (DRs) are required by contract and are the only document that records the history of the project.
  2. DRs are useful to substantiate extra work requests, T&M backups, and for time extension requests.
  3. DRs are the main source of as-built data for schedule analysis work after the job is complete.
  4. Some subcontracts require DRs to record events that may be the cause of a claim, or you may waive the right to make a claim for those causes.

Most subcontractors I speak with don’t like the idea of turning their field supervisors into “scribes”; requiring them to write detailed daily commentaries about the work, when they could be directing traffic in the field. I understand their point.

However, preparing good, consistent Daily Reports does not have to be difficult, or time-consuming. It simply requires one to be disciplined and organized. It also helps to use a form that will simplify the task. With some foresight and pre–planning, you should be able to come up with a report that will provide for the collection of required information as well as critical data that may not be assembled otherwise.

What do I mean by “critical data?” Let me answer that by asking you another question. If you’re a subcontractor, when you complete a project, can you easily provide the true actual start and finish dates for your critical activities from your own records, not from the GC’s schedule update? If you’re able to answer that question affirmatively, then you are the first subcontractor that I have known who can do that!

Subcontractors typically say they can provide that information, however, when pressed, they scramble to come up with only a portion of the data at best and cannot guarantee its accuracy. If you are looking to prepare an analysis of the impact of events on your work, it is essential that you collect this type of information routinely as you perform your work.

To facilitate this effort, I’ve come up with a simple form that will allow you to collect what is needed without much work. I call it the “Critical Activities Status Report” (use the link below for a pdf version). You can download this form from my website for your use.

Critical Activities Status Report

The form should be set up for your project before work begins by entering the pertinent schedule data from your key (critical) work activities. Your field supervisors can then track the progress of those activities as the project evolves (logging the start and finish dates for each). In addition, potential start delays and events that impact the completion of activities once they are under way should be recorded.

This form can also be submitted as an attachment to your Daily Report or periodic correspondence, to provide a summary of the status of your work and any problems that may impact your performance.

When submitted properly, it can serve as a very effective notice in accordance with your contract. If the form is used proactively to report on potential problems that may impact your work, it could be of great value to the general contractor, CM, or owner who is responsible for overall coordination of the work.

The events that impact your critical activities and the additional information that is entered in this form should be communicated as soon as they are known through your Daily Reports. The form is simply a good way to capture all the data efficiently in one place so that it will be available when needed during the job, or after completion.

“The more disciplined I become, the easier life gets.” –

If you would like to learn more about ways to reduce your risk in construction projects, order my book Document to Reduce Risk. It explains how to apply the “rules” from the contract to the job of project management. You’ll also find numerous examples to help you prepare sound construction documentation to address typical project conditions. You can obtain a print or e-book copy through my website or the following link: order book.

Perhaps you might be ready to host an in-house training seminar on risk reduction for your management team? Call or write me to schedule a session. For more information on these programs please check my website.

[Please note that as of August 1st I will only be available through my main phone number 954.579.5058. All other numbers used in the past will not be valid.]

With my best regards to all of you, until my next issue (next month I hope), Paco.

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