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On-Site Technology: Bluebeam Punch List

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For decades, the contractor punch list process was long and dreaded. Beginning in 2013, punch list software programs became increasingly popular on construction sites due to their ability to save time and enhance quality. At Hourigan, punch list documentation is managed with Bluebeam Studio, allowing for real-time, PDF-based collaboration by all project team members in a digital environment. Bluebeam Studio significantly reduces the time and resources necessary by allowing punch list markups and descriptions to be placed on project plans in the exact location of the items that need attention. This streamlined process not only benefits the contractor, but ultimately the owner as well.

Deficiency Organization

During the punch list process, Bluebeam Studio is mainly utilized to electronically place markups directly on project floor plans, representing the location of deficient items. For each markup, Bluebeam automatically tracks the creator and the time placed. Other characteristics are easily added to create a clearly-defined deficiency item. Each mark can contain up to 30 attributes, including indication of responsible party, required completion date, completion status as well as embedded photos and videos of issues. This allows for punch list items to be filtered by responsible party, providing each subcontractor with a detailed set of visual and written instructions of items needing attention.

Punchlist Example-edit

An example Bluebeam punch list export with descriptions

Cloud-Based Collaboration

Housing all of this data in an updated master file on a web-based cloud server allows the project team and owner to access the most up-to-date punch documentation from a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, iPad, or mobile device anywhere across the globe. Everyone on the project team can be sure they have an accurate file in order to easily determine open items and completed areas. This live documentation ensures that all punch items are completed to the owner’s satisfaction and nothing is overlooked. In the end, quality is enhanced by identifying parties responsible for unsatisfactory work and confirming that all deficiencies are completed before project closeout.

Ease of Use

The simplicity of Bluebeam Studio allows multiple users, including design partners, owners and stakeholders, to simply generate a comprehensive list of items to be addressed. With multiple tablets, the files can be synchronized so that a master file is created to capture items from each person. This requires no redundant paperwork or data entry from the project team.

Punch list items can be organized by specific specialty, area or room number, expected completion date, or a combination of qualifications. These organized lists of punch list items can also be exported from the program to Microsoft Excel and PDF platforms to allow even greater flexibility in form and email correspondence.

Once the items are communicated, subcontractors and trades with varying levels of technical skill can properly access and update punch list items based on their completion. Once an item is checked complete, the Hourigan team receives a notification, and is then able to verify the completed work before closing the issue. All of this can be done without internet connectivity on the site, and all notifications are sent once the tablet or PC is able to obtain WiFi connectivity.

Speed to Completion

The speed to completion is one of the greatest benefits to both owners and contractors achieved by using this software-based punch list. The streamlined processes offered by Bluebeam Studio simplifies the paper trail, and up-to-the-minute updates allow for the efficient tracking of all items. A voice recorder and hours of post-punch work are no longer required to identify necessary information on large-scale construction projects. The minimal downtime between O/A/C (Owner/Architect/Contractor) communications (related to punch list date, distribution, and completion) results in substantial savings in time, ultimately resulting in cost-savings for both owners and the contractor.

Utilizing technology to improve standard construction processes is key to remaining ahead of the curve in the commercial construction industry. Regarding technology, the true measure of success in this industry is its ease-of-use for all parties. Bluebeam Studio has removed the headaches related to the punch process, serving as an invaluable tool for the organization by tracking punch-related systems on a single platform.

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