Joseph Irons, a remodeler in Shoreline, Wash., uses forms to document all the systems at Irons Brothers Construction, including this daily log for jobsite crews. One copy of the carbon form is placed in a master binder arranged by date. Office staff enter information from the second copy into the company’s computer system. Since the company operates on a cost-plus basis, it requires accurate information for billing. The office staff fill out hours and charges in the office portion of the form and use that data to create invoices.

Irons created the form in 2004 after reviewing other remodelers’ forms and adding specific items he wanted to track. He chose a one-page form so staff could quickly and consistently fill it out. The form has a place for invoice number, but most staff use the client name. The company reviews and updates this and its other forms each year.

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.

A. Safety & Other Incidents

Irons wants to know of any incidents that affect production, including injuries or mistakes such as a nail hitting a plumbing pipe. For accidents, the crew fills out a separate incident report form that provides detailed information. Irons uses the information to prevent future accidents and as a learning tool.

B. Weather

Remodeler Joseph Irons wants to know if weather affected the work schedule. “If I budgeted eight hours for something, but it took 16, I want to know why,” he says.

C. Photos

Irons considers digital jobsite photos essential for company protection and client communication. He especially wants images of inside wall cavities before they are covered. The crew turn in memory sticks at weekly production meetings.

D. On Site

Crews log their time, as well as the schedule/names of trade employees. “Since we bill cost-plus, we need checks and balances,” Irons says. On-site work (OSW) tracks subs on-site when Irons Brothers staff aren’t present. Staff may want to request the same sub employee for follow-up work due to his familiarity with the house.

E. Visitors

This includes childcare personnel, cleaning staff, dog walkers, solicitors, curious neighbors, and inspectors. It helps office staff present accurate information in their weekly communication with clients.

F. Equipment

This section generates income. Based on form data, company trucks began stocking fasteners, property protection items, tape, garbage bags, shims, patching compounds, and gloves. “These items were hard to charge for prior to this, due to poor tracking. We can now invoice for them. Even if it’s just $2 per job per day — that’s $10 per week or $520 per job per year,” Irons notes.

G. Change Orders

This is a key section, as change orders can affect the bottom line. Minor changes are added to the invoice, but larger changes require a discussion with the client.

H. Problems

This includes such items as weather delays, city service issues, condominium elevator wait time, and client requests to finish early. “If there is a problem, I want a solution for it,” Irons says.

I. Tomorrow

Irons wants his staff to be prepared for the next day’s schedule, so this section helps them plan ahead and think about getting any missing tools or materials to the site.