Punch List

What is a Punch List?

A punch list is a list of corrections, alterations, or repairs that must take place before a project can be closed out. Typically, it’s the GC’s responsibility to ensure that all these line items are taken care of before a final completion certificate can be issued on the project.

Who needs to use a Punch List?

Everyone has a role to play in the execution of a punch list. Generally, the GC will do a walkthrough with the owner to identify any incomplete or non-conforming work and create the initial punch list. Depending on what issues remain, certain subcontractors may be called back to the project to correct outstanding issues. For many projects, that’s as far as the punch list goes.

However, if an architect is present on the job, the GC’s punch list will be sent to the architect for approval. Typically, the architect will then conduct their own walkthrough to determine what has been completed to their design specifications and what hasn’t.

The architect will then update the punch list and send it back down to the owner and GC. The GC is then in charge of sending out the punch list to the subcontractors and ensure they complete all the work.

In what circumstances is a Punch List normally used?

A punch list is typically used at the end of the project, and it serves as one of the last obstacles to obtaining final payment. Generally, retainage won’t be released until the punch list is complete.

How is a Punch List created?

How a punch list is created will vary from project to project. Generally, an initial punch list will be created by the GC and/or their subcontractors. That list is then submitted to the project owner, and then the owner and their GC might perform a walk-through to assess the work and determine whether additional items should be added to the punch list. Then, if there’s an architect or project manager on the job, that list might be submitted for their approval. Ultimately, the buck will stop with the highest tiered party on the project – and they’ll typically have the most control over the punch list since they’ll control the funds.

Does a Punch List change according to the project location?

Not really. There are no statutory or any other legal requirements for the completion of a punch list. Punch lists are required by customers so they can verify that all the work is completed according to the project specifications so they can effectively close out the project. Customers in any project location will want to make sure the work is free from errors. Granted, different locations may have their own approach to the practice of using punch lists. There are some best practices for punch lists you can follow too. 

Does a Punch List change according to the project type?

Punch lists are used on both private and public projects. They will change only according to the project’s size and complexity.

What happens if I make a mistake with a Punch List? What if I don’t send a Punch List?

Mistakes in a punch list can lead to missing, defective, or incomplete work. That will subsequently add more punch work, more labor hours to pay for, and eventually, a longer project closeout. If certain items are missed in a walkthrough and don’t make it onto the punch list, issues could pop up after final completion, and an owner might call back their contractor or subs to correct their work.

If required by contract, failure to send a punch list or to perform punch list work could postpone the receipt of a certificate of substantial completion, the continued withholding of retainage, and push back final payment.

Is a Punch List usually paired with anything else?

A punch list is regularly paired with both the notice and certificate of substantial completion.

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