The never-ending, final list — the list that drives us all crazy because it's the little things. How do we get carpenters to care?
Include the punch list in job descriptions. Specify who is responsible, and reinforce your expectations with each job. Be consistent, and you'll have less confusion.
Set a time frame. Your staff will take the punch list more seriously if it has a deadline.
Don't pay bonuses until the client has signed off. I generally recommend paying out bonuses quickly, to link good behavior with the reward. But people might be demotivated if they receive their bonus before the punch list is done.
Help your staff see the list as a customer service function. I used to think that clients were OK with little things as long as they still had some of my money. I now know that those things drive clients crazy. Include “punch list” on the customer service questionnaire, track results by carpenter, and motivate and train as needed.
Above all, enforce your punch list rules. By holding lead carpenters to a specific date and withholding bonuses, you'll reinforce the importance of effective job endings and will soon put all jobs on schedule. —Tim Faller, Field Training Services, www.leadcarpenter.com.