Construction Punch List Definition and Meaning

A punch list is a common term used in the construction industry. From buyer to the contractor, you will hear this term a number of times. It has other names too such as ‘Snag List’, ‘Defect List’ but is more commonly known as ‘Punch List’. There are numerous construction punch list definitions. One of them comes from Wikipedia. It defines punch list as, “a document prepared near the end of a construction project listing work not conforming to contract specifications that the general contractor must complete prior to final payment. The work may include incomplete or incorrect installations or incidental damage to existing finishes, material, and structures.”

In common words, a punch list is nothing but a written record of the things fixed by the contractor or the seller before the buyer can take possession of the property. This is the construction punch list definition we can relate with.

Let’s understand it more deeply…

Construction
Punch lists are also known as snag lists. These are used with new construction projects and also with the repairing or remodeling of the old properties. Some of the items are extremely major including new wall installations. However, some are small such as scratch repairs on wood finishes or replacement of the doorknobs.

The punch list definition construction states that anyone can start the punch list, the owner, or the architect. It purely depends on the situation at hand. A punch list can either be a small list of items. This can happen if the project was carried out in a well-organized manner or a long list of items if the opposite went by.

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In other words, a punch list is a written contract. It is the seller or the contractor who is responsible for the fulfillment of the requirements of the list. All the items on the list should be completed successfully prior to the final payment from the buyer’s side. In the case of bigger construction projects, there would be a number of subcontractors to take care of the punch list items. Everyone from the seller to the buyer and from the subcontractor to the contractor receives a copy of the punch list.

With no proper coordination on the completion of the punch list, this can lead to further delays in the form of payments and the involvement of the bonding company. This can make completing the project difficult. In most instances, the general contractor submits a punch list to an appropriate subcontractor for finishing. There is a set time limit added to every punch list item. If there is a lapse in meeting the specified time limit, the general contractor can finish the punch list with some third party and can back charge the party responsible. The whole process can result in delayed payments and a bad relationship between the contractors. Henceforth, managing a punch list is extremely important to ensure the project is complete.

The Origin

The Origin
One theory states that the term ‘punch list may have originated from the time when the items were punched into the paper punch when completed. This should help in understanding punch list definition construction.

Punch lists have gone digital today. There are applications available for both tablets and smartphones for small punch lists that do not involve many people. Additionally, there is cloud-enabled construction punch list software with some inbuilt punch list features for big construction jobs such as remodeling of shopping malls or remodeling of factories or new construction. These digital tools have photos and audio descriptions whenever needed.Computerization has been a boon as well. It has made the punch list process faster and also improved its accuracy. All the stakeholders involved can download the same app and get started.

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Summing up

Hopefully, the article has helped you in understanding the definition punch list construction. This information should assist you in preparing a better punch list in future for the construction projects.