Is the project on schedule and within budget? These are two very important questions associated with all construction projects. Another essential criteria for the Engineer/Architect is that the work is in compliance with the design drawings and specifications. Since progress meetings and field reporting are commonplace in construction administration, meeting minutes and field reports are important communication tools that can make a drastic difference in the success of a project.
Communication is a vital requirement to help keep construction projects organized and running well. Open lines between the Contractor, designer of record and owner/client are essential to preserve good will while maintaining accountability. When there are signs of delays or other unforeseen issues, finger pointing may ensue and relationships can be frayed. Proactive project organization has a way of empowering a project team to navigate all the typical challenges associated with construction. There are many elements to track in a project, including: a schedule, potential budget overruns, requests for information, notices, weather forecast, logistics, field conditions, noise mitigation, permits, man power, verbal agreements between the Contractor and Engineer/Architect, instructions during site inspections, on-and-on.
When field reports are well crafted, they can serve to effectively memorialize ongoing inspections and help ensure compliance with the design documents. The key to efficacy in reporting is both in the frequency of the reports, along with the accuracy, simplicity, thoroughness and the speed of delivery after each site inspection. If a field report is balanced, it may include highlights of the work in progress, specific statements of work in compliance and a detailed description of corrections to be performed in sequence. Relevant and quality photos also add value to a good report. A field report that is delivered to all parties beyond a couple of business days after a site inspection, begins to lose its inherent value as a communication tool, since this report will lag behind the work in progress.
Weekly meetings during a restoration project may cover a large number of recurring items. How those items are tracked and followed up can significantly impact the project schedule. Progress meetings for most restoration projects are typically held on a weekly or bimonthly basis. A pre-construction meeting before the project starts, is one that can set the stage for the schedule, organization and expectations for the duration. This meeting should outline everything in the project, including: the contractor’s anticipated project timeline, the chosen project manager and on-site foreman, and the number of workmen that will be on-site daily. Where the field reports are typically capturing site work progress, meeting minutes can capture: an attendance and distribution list, schedule milestones, site work hours, any required notifications for the building occupants regarding active and future work, and any required project documentation, such as material submittals, contracts, and work permits, etc. Items in progress meetings are broken down to track project needs including what is presently happening, a look ahead and who is responsible for each item to keep the project running on time.
The lionshare of essential project information during construction administration can be recorded and managed within these two documents types; all parties held accountable, help prevent project delays. When these communication tools are employed correctly, they can provide significant value and help ensure a successful project.