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Nancy Powaga
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November 05, 2019

Five Must-Have Features of a Digital Punch List

If you’re looking to create a construction punch list, it means that you’re close to the end of your construction project. That’s the good news. The bad news? Punch lists, for all their importance and potential, are too often stuck in the 20th century. In an age when people carry around compact computers, aka smartphones, capable of snapping pictures, mapping directions, and communicating with others around the world, many in the construction industry still maintain punch lists using paper, pen, and clipboard.

The continued use of old-fashioned punch lists sheds light on a broader problem in the construction industry. While digital transformation, or the use of dynamic technology often based in the cloud, gains traction in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and hospitality, the construction industry remains stubborn to the change.

Paper and pen punch listIt doesn’t have to be this way. Digital transformation will inevitably tip the scales towards innovation in the construction industry — it’s just a matter of when these changes will occur and who will help implement them. This point brings us back to the punch list. Digital transformation in a construction company will not necessarily happen all at once. The effort will be a matter of small, but important, efforts to digitize the business. Digital punch lists provide the perfect place to start inspiring digital change in your construction business.

So which features should you look for in a punch list app or punch list software? Check out our list of five essential punch list features below to learn more.

1. Works on mobile

A central function of any punch list is to ensure communication and collaboration between team members on a construction project, regardless of their role, position, or location. You may manage multiple offices or work sites, all employing various, interconnected team members. Look for mobile-compatible apps or software so that your workers can reference the punch lists on-the-go using personal or company smartphones and tablets.  And even though a user will view the punch list on their own mobile device, the software or app should sync via the cloud. This way, administrators can assign ownership and tasks to people distributed far and wide, while keeping the cloud-based punch list as the single point of reference. Meanwhile, workers can update progress in real-time.

Construction workers with mobile punch list2. Ability to flag tasks by priority

A punch list app serves as the point of reference for everyone involved in the completion of a construction project. However, if the tasks are not classified by priority, your team will have little guidance on the importance of any given punch list item. Further, some tasks need to be completed in sequential order, one after the next. The ability to classify, filter, and group tasks by priority or sequence is a must-have for any digital punch list. Your team will thank you for the clear instructions and speedy project completions.

3. Interactive maps

Similar to our first requirement of mobile compatibility, our third must-have punch list feature is interactive mapping. Built-in maps clearly demonstrate the dispersed locations of work sites and projects. A map feature enables users to efficiently plan travel and visits around prioritized tasks. These interactive online maps are no-brainer alternatives to static addresses printed on paper.  

4. Automation

The glory of technology is that it provides the average person capabilities that would be otherwise impossible through low-tech counterparts. Paper- or spreadsheet-based punch lists are standalone, static things. And by now, you’ve probably gotten the sense that a good digital punch list is dynamic in many ways. One such dynamism is the ability to automate emails, reports, text messages, and other forms of digital communication to be sent to your users. For example, your punch list app could have a feature that sends a notification to the owner of a task when the status or priority changes. Or, send a PDF project report to investors and stakeholders.

5. Permissions and user settings

Another main objective of a punch list is to keep a construction project moving towards deadlines and contractual obligations. However, not every person on the team should have the ability to define these milestones. Therefore, last but not least, a digital punch list should always include multiple levels of permissions which allow select users specific functionality. 

One employee (or a class of employees) should have the unique rights to determine when a task has been completed. A digital punch list should always include various levels of permission settings which grant specific functionality to certain users.

Inspire digital transformation in construction

Once your team learns how to use and scale digital punch lists, the experience can be used as a proof of concept for incremental digital transformation across your construction company. Want to get started today using digital punch lists? Copy and customize the AppSheet Punch List app. Check out a preview below for a sneak peek at what you can build:

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