Mike Weiss, CGR, came to residential remodeling from the commercial sector, where the projects are huge and the job logs are proportionate in size. Weiss liked the idea of a form but found that a full page devoted to each day was too much, with the log doubling as a sketch pad or shopping list. This version, with a full week fitting on two sides of a single page, is the fourth iteration of the form he's used at Weiss & Company in Carmel, Ind., and he's happy with the results. "We've had great success getting our project managers to fill it out every day," he says.
Weiss says that if kept regularly, job logs like this one hold up in court. In 15 or so years of using such a form, he's come out victorious in three or four "significant" legal battles -- "enough to make me keep using it." He advises remodelers to insist the form be filled out every day at each job, and that they keep a copy in the job file.
Rain and snow may make some of the work difficult or impossible to do. Tracking the weather may help in determining why a project is off schedule or why some aspects of it have been completed before others.
Why keep a job log if you aren't going to use it to track the progress made to date? It's useful after completion, too: You can easily see if and where your crews fell behind schedule.
Unaccounted-for change orders cost remodelers bales of money each year and can lead to disputes with owners. Tracking them in the job log is convenient and gives you something to show your clients if a question arises.
Accidents happen, and it's good to have a record of them, mainly for legal reasons. But a little analysis of these incidents may also uncover a recurring problem that can be easily fixed.
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