Scott Heron

Owner, Creative Tile, West Columbia, S.C.

We have kept job records since the beginning — over 10 years. We have them in paper and also electronic media. We have had very happy customers who needed information from prior projects and we were able to get it to them.

At some point, we will run out of storage space and will have to discard the oldest paper files, but I would like to keep the electronic files as long as possible.

Marc Black

Production manager, Kaufman Construction,Cumming, Iowa

Our company is about 11 years old, so we don’t have a ton of info to store, but we have both paper files (sorted by year and job) on shelving in a detached storage unit, and digital files on our server dating back to 2003. It comes in handy when clients call back several years down the road with any questions or problems. As for the paper files, we rent space in a storage facility across the street from our office. It’s nice because those documents are stored separately from our office databases in case something were to happen, but can be accessed very easily.

We still generate quite a bit of printed materials. We keep the three-ring job binders of more recent projects on the shelf. The binders contain contract information, bids from subcontractors and suppliers, change orders and/or allowance information, pre-construction checklists to be signed by our subs, time sheets and daily job logs, breakdown of the bid, job schedules, punch list checklists, and lien waivers.

Rebecca B. Compton

Co-owner, Gallery 406 Interiors, Sumter, S.C.

I am a professional interior designer and do a variety of work including custom window treatments, kitchen and bath design, custom cabinetry, and several types of finish materials. I have file folders on each client and sometimes separate folders for different jobs for the same client.

As a client becomes inactive, their file is moved to storage, which I can get to fairly quickly if needed. Over the years, I’ve had clients call me to re-order blinds or shades. I already had all of the notes and measurements, so I just had to make the new product selection. I’ve also had clients sell their home and was able to use the measurements from the original client to create a design for the new owner.

Other details such as looking up the name and number of the paint selected for their project has saved a lot of time.

Keeping detailed records is also beneficial when warranty issues crop up.

Bill Simone

President, Custom Design & Construction,Los Angeles

Our company keeps job files in their original paper format for 11 years after the job completion date. At that time, the entire original file is scanned and kept indefinitely in an electronic format, and the paper file is destroyed.

In California, we have up to a 10-year statute of limitations for latent/patent defects. We keep the file in its original format for one additional year. Our job files are kept in a three-ring binder separated by a number of internal tabs. Depending on the size and scope, a typical project will have three to four binders. Tab headings include: design agreement receivable; construction agreement receivable; change orders; subcontractor payable (by each subcontractor); subcontractor bids; internal estimates; permits; job specifications; and client selections.

LEAD PAINT RULE NOTE: The Environmental Protection Agency requires that certified renovators keep records on lead paint projects for three years, including verification of owner receipt of the “Renovate Right” pamphlet, test kit details, and worker training. Click here for an EPA sample recordkeeping checklist [PDF version].