By Nina Patel SawHorse, a design/build remodeling company in Atlanta, doesn't want to finish up their punch lists. In fact, the company's goal is to eliminate them altogether. To that end, they have restructured how they run projects and now complete 75% of projects without a punch list. "It's not easy, but it's worth the effort in productivity, profitability, morale, and customer satisfaction," says partner Jerome Quinn.

Another plus is they don't have to wait until after the punch list items are complete to collect the final 10% of the payment. "With Zero Punch, we walk away with an account that is paid in full," Quinn says.

For those jobs that do end up with a punch list, that list has been shortened. On those jobs, says vice president of operations Norman Joss, they average 4.6 items per closing.

SawHorse sets the stage by asking clients to identify problems as the project progresses. "We do a series of punch lists, even as early as pre-Sheetrock" Joss says. The project manager spot checks items from an on-site notebook and compiles a master list during a walk-through three weeks before the project's scheduled end. Project managers are authorized to make decisions to help meet Zero Punch. For example, they might choose a $15 courier service to deliver a plumbing part necessary to complete the job on closing day.