The Daily Progress Report

"If it isn't written down, it didn't happen"

The Daily Progress Report discussed and demonstrated below is a paper form that is completed and added to the Job Binder.  An advanced alternative is the Daily Progress section of the ASANA project template.  To see that alternative, go to Asana information.

What the Daily Progress Report is...

The Daily Progress Report is a written or digital record of the daily activity on each of your jobsites.

It will contain a record of the daily progress made, the problems handled, the milestones accomplished, and the goals met on each of your projects.

Read on to discover why it is absolutely imperative that you document the daily activity on each project you have in progress.

How to Use the Daily Progress Report...

There are two ways to use the accompanying downloadable template.  I have provided a page which you can simply print and copy.  I have also provided a page which can be used on a laptop or a tablet with Excel capability.

Print and copy

First, you can make hard copies of the report.  These copies would be kept in a binder, with tabs representing the various projects you have in progress.  

At least one entry will be made for each job per day.  If no one from your firm was at the jobsite that day, the entry would reflect that.  More likely, you would use the form to document the work done on the site that day.  Use a separate line for each trade involved, and be certain to comment on what took place.

Digital format

Second, you can use the template on a laptop or tablet with Excel capability.  Copy the Daily Progress Report template into the specific job file on the device.  

Several of the data entry points have drop-down menus you can use to speed up the entry process.  The information for the drop-down menus is added on the "Enter Your Data Here" tab.

The form is set up with 300 entry lines, but if more are needed, you can simply add them.

Enter the important information each day for each trade on the job and keep a record of the job activity in digital format.  You can periodically upload the information to a common file at the office or hold the information in your device for printing and/or upload at the end of the job.

Added recently: Get In the Cloud has recently tested and strongly recommends a third alternative.  We have developed a template based on ASANA, which is a cloud-based Project Management tool.  There is nothing wrong with using the paper-based Daily Progress Report, but many additional benefits are offered by using an electronic format like Asana.  When you are finished reading this page, go here to see if this free application is a fit for your company.

Download the free worksheet

Either way...

Comments that should be documented include:

  • Meetings with the client at the site;
  • Any changes directed by the client;
  • Any comments or commendations by the client;
  • Which subcontractors were on site;
  • How long the subcontractor was on the site;
  • What work was accomplished by the subcontractors;
  • How many subcontractor employees were on site;
  • Subcontractor safety issues;
  • Any injuries to anyone on the jobsite;
  • What materials were used;
  • How the materials were used;
  • Any communication between the job superintendent and the subcontractor;
  • Any conflicts between trades and how the conflicts were resolved;
  • Anything else of importance.

When the job is completed, the Daily Progress Report sheets (and there should be several of them) are transferred to the Job Binder.  

If you are using the digitized format, you have a choice.  The Daily Progress Report should already be in the appropriate electronic file on the laptop or pad.  That file should be transferred to the master job file, where it will be stored permanently.  You can also print the entire file and place that copy in the Job Binder.

Why to Use the Daily Progress Report...

Go back and read the sub-headline.  Better yet, I'll say it again.  

"If it isn't written down, it didn't happen."

You may think that, since you only have one job going, you will remember what happened on that job.

You won't.

You may think that, since you have fifteen jobs going, you don't have time to document what is happening on each job.

Make time.

If you are relying on job superintendents to oversee your projects, make the timely, concurrent completion of the Daily Progress Report a job requirement.

Enforce it.

Risk Management

As a manager of a business, one of your major responsibilities is to manage the risks that the business faces.  

Risk comes in many forms.  There is the risk of the automobile accident...the fire...the employee injury. The competent manager is aware of all these risks and takes appropriate steps to transfer the consequences of these risks, at least to some extent, to others via insurance policies.

A major source of risk in the construction industry is production risk, or product liability.  You are creating a risk each time you start, build and complete a project.  And as much as you try to mitigate risk by using best practices for construction design, by installing products backed by manufacturer's warranties, by hiring only the most competent subcontractors, that risk still exists.

Any builder who has been in business for a period of time has experienced unhappy customers or unhappy subcontractors, or both.  Often, these episodes wind up in arbitration or in court for resolution.  Without the support of written documentation, the legal exercise becomes just a battle of "I said ... he said", and the arbitrator or judge has little to go on other than the testimony of the parties.  And though each party is supposedly telling the truth, each is telling their version of the truth.

In cases like these, a written document can literally be worth its weight in gold.  A simple notation that the customer agreed to the light oak finish on the cabinets, or that you warned a roofing subcontractor that a rung on his ladder was broken, or that the flooring delivery was a week late in arriving, or that it snowed for a week during the time you were framing the house can make the difference in the result.

Use the Daily Progress Report as a risk management tool.  Take the time to document what happened on the job and why.  You will find that being in possession of the documented facts relating to your projects is a very powerful position to assume. 

Download the free worksheet

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