The Value of
Digitalizing Subcontractor Construction Checklists
April 29, 2022
Commercial construction projects require the involvement of many subtrades with many hands from various entities contributing to the work. Often, the work of one group of subcontractors in their respective subtrade has a direct impact on the next subtrade. Therefore, subcontractors must ensure that all inspections are properly tracked and reliably documented.
We do this kind of verification to make sure that the work is done, that it has been looked at by the construction management team, so we can bring the next subtrades into the area to execute their scope of work. As the subtrades finish their work, these inspections also help actualize the project schedule, which is important for all groups involved, including the client.
But why do we approach this vital verification of tasks in such a way? Why do we rely on a simple sheet of paper as a checklist that is taped within a room? Why do we update a schedule from manual notes where issues may or may not actually be resolved?
Considering the advancements in construction project technology, why don’t we do it digitally and if we did, what would that look like?
The Power of Digital Subcontractor Construction Checklists
Let’s start with what exactly a checklist is supposed to be. A checklist should be an artifact of completed work that demonstrates multiple tests and checks verified by someone other than the installer. If we are making a simple checklist to track whether a subtrade has completed in their scope, the checklist could have a spot for the subtrade to declare they are complete in a given area, along with a spot to verify that a specific task is complete.
Each area (which could be anything from a structure, a level, a zone or even a room), would have a checklist for each subtrade that executes work in that area.
For example, a digital checklist inventory for a drywall subtrade might look something like this:
- A building has ten levels.
- Each level has nine rooms and a common area.
- The subtrade has an individual checklist for each room and common area.
- There are one hundred construction checklists in total.
As these digital checklists are executed, we can report on how complete the drywall subcontractor is in that building.
If a defect is identified during an inspection, the defect can be noted on the checklist. By digitally linking the defect to the checklist, adding photos or videos, and having that checklist associated to a specific location, we can track and report on all outstanding scope by location in real time.
For the subtrade, this means they have a complete way of identifying and determining the status of their work on an official record for the project. For instance, if the subtrade wants to invoice for completing 30% of their work, they can prove it through the completed and easily shared digital construction checklists. If the work is complete but is showing a lot of defects, it will be clear to both parties when the invoice is presented. When the subtrade has completed their scope for the whole project, through reporting we can now see if that drywalling subtrade has completed all of their items, has had all of their work inspected, and if all of their defects have been resolved.
By executing projects with digital checklists and deficiencies, key stakeholders can use on-demand reporting to view subcontractor completeness at a glance.
Aligning Digitalized Construction Checklists to the Project Schedule
Now let’s think about the checklist inventory, not for a single subtrade but for multiple subtrades and let’s focus on a single area, a level of a building, as an example. If every subtrade had a simple digital checklist for that level, using basic Power BI reporting, we could see which subtrades have completed their work and also what work is outstanding on that level. We could also organize subtrade checklists into specific groupings.
Maybe there are some subtrades that can work in parallel to one another, whereas there are some that are in series, requiring a specific subtrade(s) to have their work completed before they can start working on that level of the project. By grouping these digital construction checklists according to that logic, we can see in real time when specific subtrades are completing their work and determine an appropriate time to open the area to the next group.
Following this logic further, we could also link the specific subtrade completion checklists to the project schedule. Now the project team can actualize the schedule from real time reports of the checklists, where each checklist is completed by both the subtrade and the contractor representative for a specific area that lines up to the project execution. In this way, keeping a digital checklist inventory can automate parts of updating the project schedule.
Digital Subcontractor Construction Checklists — Key Takeaways
- Subtrades will have a clear idea of what areas need to be reviewed with the project team based on the checklist inventory.
- The project team will know at a glance what work they have reviewed with a subtrade.
- Both subtrade and general contractor will be aware of the digitally recorded deficiencies.
- By executing projects with digital checklists and deficiencies, we can view subcontractor completeness using at-a-glance reports.
- These reports can help show when an area is available for the next subtrade to come in and execute work.
- Completion of digital checklists can automate pieces of updating the project schedule.
Ready to take a deeper dive? InEight can help get your projects where they need to go and help you create a solution or view that matches your needs while leveraging your teams’ existing strengths. Let us show you how.