Whenever you complete a project, there's going to be a number of items, usually known as a punch list, that need to be accounted for before everyone can sign off on the project. On metal roofing projects, these items could range from replacing a missing screw or fixing bent flashing to replacing full roof panels that have become damaged or oil canned. These items need to be completed by the roofing contractor before a construction project can be truly finished, while also saving everyone the trouble of having to come back and complete them at a later date.
The job isn’t done until the punch list is complete. The shorter the punch list, the better
Ethan D. Buche, project coordinator at the Erie, Kan., office of A-Lert Roof Systems, a division of Centurion Industries Inc., says punch lists are important because they ensure that at the end of a project, everything is going to be complete and there’s not going to be any future issues. “It also saves us money in the long run,” he explains. “If we missed a stripped screw or something, a lot of our jobs are an hour or two away from our home base, so we’re out whatever our cost is to drive out there and perform the labor.”
Not only do they ensure everything on a project has been completed, according to Tom Pritscher, LEED AP, FMP, president of TEPCON Construction Inc., Tempe, Ariz., the punch list can be a way for a company to showcase its professionalism. “It’s the lasting impression that you leave a project with,” he says. “It’s what people remember. If you’re looking for continued business and to build a relationship, a punch list is an incredible tool for an owner.”
“The worst-case scenario is when a punch list is identified and the contractor does not finish the list in a timely manner, or at all,” Pritscher explains. While there may be extenuating circumstances in some cases, he says, “The punch list should be completed in a relatively short period of time and good communication between the [owner] and the contractor should remain ongoing.”
Punch List Items
Depending on the type of job-roof retrofit or new construction-the types of punch list items may vary slightly. According to Joe LaFave, president of LaFave’s Construction Co. Inc., Landis, N.C., here are some items that may show up on a metal roofing punch list:
- Was the right type of sealants specified and used?
- Were the correct fasteners installed in accordance to the manufacturer’s warranty department specifications?
- Were metal shavings cleaned daily to prevent premature surface rusting to the finished product?
- Are proper deck types used and installed properly?
- Are roof curbs installed correctly allowing for thermal movement of the roof?
- Are flashings installed with all necessary sealants, also allowing for thermal movement?
- If it’s a mechanically seamed panel, was the roof seamed correctly?
- Are excess caulks and sealants cleaned from the roof?
- Were minor scratches addressed, i.e., touched up correctly with the correct paint?
Managing the Punch List
One way to ensure a shorter punch list at the end of the project is to monitor the progress on the project throughout. George Hedley, licensed professional business coach and certified speaking professional at Hardhat BIZCOACH & Hardhat Presentations, Newport Beach, Calif., suggests having both an interim and a final punch list. The interim punch list is used during the different phases of the job, making sure that everything looks good before the crew leaves for another job, while the final punch list is to make sure the customer is satisfied with how everything looks. The key, Hedley says, is to have a standard checklist of items you’re looking for when doing the walkthroughs.
At A-Lert, Buche says project managers act as the quality control person, and constantly monitor the progress of a project, limiting the amount of items on a final punch list from an architect or customer.
In his August 2015 Metal Construction News Profit Building column, Hedley discusses ways to complete projects on time without a punch list. He recommends holding weekly supervisor meetings, requiring weekly quality and safety reports for each project, and requiring the project foreman to walk every project with the customer or project superintendent before leaving the project. By having the foremen and job superintendents attend the final project punch list walkthrough with the owner, customer or architect, Hedley says will allow them to see what concerns and expectations the customer has before signing off on the project.
Completing the Punch List
At the end of a project, Buche says he goes over each section of the roof, developing his own punch list and having his crew work on any problems before receiving the punch list generated by the architect or customer.
If a project requires him to go back once the crew has moved on, Buche says a lot of times he will take care of the problem himself. However, if it’s more extensive, he’ll schedule a crew, order materials and have them delivered, and get the problem fixed as quickly as possible.
“The reality of the situation is there will always be some punch list items left to do,” Pritscher says. “The nature of construction is that it brings together many different materials, combined with many different types of workers, creating situations in which a few corrections may be necessary. When the final punch list is compiled, it’s an opportunity to view the project through different sets of eyes. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate that no detail is too small or too large.”