3 important reasons to keep daily reports on your construction site
If you have just started reading this post chances are, that like me, you work in construction. I have been doing this for the past seven years which is not such a long experience in this industry. From the beginning, I was lucky to work at the largest energy from waste facility in Europe – Riverside plant in Kent, England. This power plant fuelled by waste consisted of three enormous incineration lines and thousands tons of steel and concrete.
From day one I was tasked with writing daily reports. Each day I had to provide our customer with information regarding manpower, work done in specific areas, deliveries, near misses, any hindrances or any quality non-compliance. During these days I did not appreciate how significant the task it was. I considered it mostly as a nasty tool for being controlled by our customer and as a miserable routine imposed upon a construction rookie.
My attitude suddenly changed after first programme meeting with the client during which we had to explain why we were delayed with installation of our mechanical components. Answer was quite simple: How could you install a massive 70 tonne waste chute when the concrete slab where it supposed to sit on was not completed? This was just one out of many arguments that gave us a chance to use daily reports to our benefit. We presented a serious of documents that showed our daily progress of work and hindrances that were holding us from continuing. We were able to provide specific dates when specific issues happened and were communicated to the customer. This is when
I started to appreciate daily reports as a great tool of proving what work was done and which task and problems were outstanding on particular days.
Daily reports are also of paramount importance due to simple record keeping.
It is a good practice in every profession to keep records of your performance. Maybe your project runs without any delays (if yes, let me know where it is and I’ll work there) and you don’t have to protect yourselves from potential arguments and claims. Maybe your relation with the customer is great and everyone does their job on time and you all trust each other’s. But what happens when you change a key person in your team, half the way through the job, or worst, when the customer changes their management? All the verbal agreements and deals will be gone. New people will only see what is on the paper or any other written form. New team that steps in in the middle of the job will not be able to find out what was agreed and discussed during meetings or site visits if these issues are not properly recorded in daily reports or minutes of meetings.
Last but not least, even though we feel young and we consider our minds as our best weapons, we have to admit, we also have flaws and we tend to forget things. That is why daily reports come to the rescue. You noticed that joints between concrete panels were not grouted and you need to remind your men or subbies to fix it, just add this to the daily report. Another time you see that the access route given in the contract has been blocked for another day casing longer delivery and logistic times. Again, record this in a daily report. I guess these will be a few out of plenty issues you find out during a single site walk.
This way you can track the progress of tasks instead of just relying on your memory.
Daily reports can really benefit any contractor on site. They should not be treated as an instrument against another organisation or against your customer. At the end, you have to work with each other and complete the project as per the signed contract. If you focus only on reporting every task formally, in a written form and without verbal, open and honest communication, from my experience, you will not be able to work with that customer for long time.