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,