By Nathan | Posted on
As any construction superintendent knows, paperwork is an enormous part of any construction project. In addition to bid proposals and the all-important contracts, there are reams of daily reports, covering everything from safety meetings, to inventory, to subcontractor hours worked, to suppliers, and beyond. As tedious as all of this daily reporting and construction project documentation can be, all of this paperwork is very important. It helps to keep projects on schedule, ensures uninterrupted supply and labor streams, and can act as important legal documents in case of disputes.
And while legal disputes are not as common as paperwork in the construction industry, unfortunately, litigation is all too common a part of it. Construction lawsuits often cast contractors in the role of both plaintiff and defendant. In both cases, the best way to prevail or defend a firm in court cases is to have an over-abundance of documentation. But while it's better to be safe rather than sorry in acquiring project-related paperwork, there is some documentation that is absolutely vital to take to court.
Construction Project Documentation Must-Haves
Bid Proposals And Related Documents
While not binding as in the sense of a contract, bid documents are an important indicator of party intentions and expectations. Bid proposals submitted by contractors should be complete and include guidance as to how everything from weather to subcontractors can potentially impact on a project and a bid submittal.
Probably the single most important document in construction litigation, especially when the contractor is the plaintiff. As a result, contractors should sign no contracts until they have been thoroughly read and understood, with contractor-friendly provisions in place for weather, suppliers, etc.
Whether they're called reports, or logs, or notes, there's no dismissing the importance of daily reporting, as this report information is a daily chronicle of work at a construction site. Because of all of the important information that these reports contain, it's essential that these reports:
- be submitted in a timely fashion, meeting all deadlines
- be legibly documented, and documented on approved industry forms
- are retained from the beginning of the project to at least 3-5 years following its completion
Your construction documentation needs to include a safety checklist. A safety checklist should be collected every day and aggregated into a weekly or monthly safety report that's shared widely with the team. This ensures site compliance, saves time, and makes sure you and your workers are safe.
A Solution to Your Construction Project Documentation Needs
Until fairly recently, all of this report documentation meant transcribing handwritten notes into a typewritten form and transporting and storing these reports between offices. This often resulted in lost and damaged paperwork. Fortunately, with software like Raken for daily reporting, report filers can submit reports in real time directly to industry-standard fields, using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Raken's fields also allow for editing, collaborative additions to the report, and the insertion of any relevant photographs or graphics. Raken's cloud technology also allows for the safe and secure storing of these daily reports for up to ten years.
Whether as a plaintiff or as a defendant, a contractor's best ally in court is carefully documented and curated paperwork, especially reports. With the assistance of tools like Raken's construction document management software, construction firms can increase the odds of being winners regardless of the litigation case.