By Jim Cory For the past year and a half, crews at Classic Construction and Remodeling in Charleston, S.C., have been filling out a job log every day. The log is a company-generated form that's kept in the job binder.

In addition to the job number and client's name and address, the form holds a set of checkboxes to record temperature and weather conditions. Another area provides a place to list phone calls, what was discussed, and any results. "So if I called the electrical sub," says production manager Marty Kersey, "there would be a note in there on what we talked about." Another box lists subs and employees on the site and what they accomplished. On the bottom of the form, there's a box for carpenters to leave notes for clients and another for clients to leave their answers, questions, and comments.

Aside from opening up a regular line of communication, the job log can answer a lot of client questions. The log's record of weather conditions can be particularly useful if clients demand to know why the job's off schedule. If, for example, Charleston experiences a lot of rain, and the customer calls wanting to know why the roof hasn't been opened up on schedule, "we can explain that we need a four day window of clear weather," Kersey says.

In addition, the log, properly filled out, establishes accountability. Because it records times and dates of work, Kersey says on more than one occasion he has "pulled it up and written a forceful letter" to subcontractors, "with that as documentation."