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Construction reporting 101

There are several items that a project team needs to be aware of continuously. Though people can share this information through other communication channels such as word of mouth and email, there is an easier and better way to have consistent data, and this is through construction reporting. 

The best construction companies have different reports that have the necessary information to keep projects within scope and budget. These reports are further shared in paper form or email to the relevant project stakeholders. Everyone can easily refer to construction reports to ensure they are working with the latest and most pertinent information. Digital construction reporting is sometimes burdensome to the parties involved, such as foremen, project managers, and architects. This article gives a detailed guide on construction reporting and its importance in the construction field.

What is construction reporting?

Construction reporting is preparing formal documents that give information on critical events, project stages, and processes to the relevant stakeholders. These reports are generally written documents with data. They can also describe the state of individual components in a project or the budget state. 

Construction reports should be concise and written in a language that is easy to understand. They should also be easy to navigate and have only the necessary information. They should also not be duplicated on other reports. Construction reporting gives the project crew good visibility and understanding of what should be done. Misreporting can have severe impacts on project budgets and schedules.

What is the purpose of a construction report? 

Construction reports are a means to understand the activities taking place in project sites. Construction reporting employs various tools to gather and integrate project information to paint the right picture of the project status.

Creating reports gives a better understanding of the activities at hand and reduces the risks of project delays and cost overruns. The information flow from construction reporting keeps the stakeholders informed and gives them psychological comfort in enjoying the smooth workflow of a project. Construction reports also minimize safety concerns as issues are spotted and documented early enough before worsening.

Types of construction reports

There are various kinds of construction reports covering different project activities. Most construction reports can be grouped into multiple categories, as shown below.

types of construction reports

Materials report

Advancements in technology have brought about new technologies that contractors can adopt in construction. Therefore, material reports give construction companies insights into materials that offer better cost savings and provide a longer lifespan. Various organizations provide information on these construction material reports, and construction firms need to enroll in them to get these services.

Trend report

Trend reports are standard in the construction industry, and they give information on different construction types and whether their adoption is increasing or decreasing in the market. Various websites update construction trend reports, and if contractors want to be privy to such information, they need to subscribe to the websites.  Most of these reports are produced on an annual basis, and they give good overviews of the latest trends and market dynamics.

Cost report

These are construction reports that inform a client and other concerned parties on the magnitude of a project's predicted and actual costs. Cost consultants such as quantity surveyors or contractors generally prepare cost reports. The project is then built according to the cost report presented to the client. These reports are updated regularly to keep project costs in check. Cost reports constantly evolve throughout a project's lifecycle. Therefore, the level of detail and accuracy improves as the availability of information increases in the project's life.

The daily report (or progress report)

Daily reports are some of the essential aspects of project management. Just as it sounds, a daily report outlines activities in a project daily. Daily reports supplement a contract by documenting and verifying the progress of a project. 

These reports explain the details of the site and keep the stakeholders informed. In case of any delays, daily reports document the circumstances that caused it, thus eliminating the time spent arguing back and forth over the surrounding details. Typically, the construction manager or foreman prepares the daily report.

What to include in a daily report

The daily report is critical in construction as it documents the project's overall success. The field notes and list of activities accomplished each day make people aware of activities' progress. Below are some of the things you need to include in your daily report:

  • Job Details: This section should include project specifics such as the date, job name, job type, and job number. Usually, it also has a brief description of the job.
  • Material, labor, and equipment log: It is best to record the members present on site. This makes it easy to solve any arising problems with attendance or payroll. The construction report also documents the materials on-site and the amounts used. Knowing these quantities helps the stakeholders understand the progress of the project. The information also accounts for all machinery on-site and the number of hours used.
  • Material deliveries: The construction manager should record any new material deliveries to the site. The information here should include the type of material, and the quantities delivered. If a material was scheduled for delivery but not delivered, it should be recorded as a potential delay event.
  • Meetings: Sometimes, construction meetings occur off-site. However, when they occur on-site, the session should be recorded, and the decisions arrived at on the panel. Even if there were no critical deliberations, the construction manager should note that the meeting happened and include the names of the people in attendance.
  • Site conditions: The construction report should log the site conditions and outline the weather aspects such as wind speeds, precipitation, and temperature.
  • Potential risks: The daily report needs to outline risks and causes for possible delays.
  • Accidents: The priority for all contractors is safety. However, it is essential to report it in an incident. This will help when averting similar incidents in the future.
  • The work accomplished is the most critical aspect of the construction report as it outlines work progress. It should include individual tasks as well as the overall project progress.

The importance of a construction report

Construction reports go beyond giving a record of the progress of works on a construction site. Omitting important information from a construction report can cause havoc on a project. One importance of construction reports is that they increase the efficiency of operations in a project by analyzing. By consistent reporting, one can monitor a project's progress.

Companies prefer to reduce costs without using shortcuts. Daily reports provide data on expenditure for labor, equipment, and materials. Analyzing this data reveals spending patterns and shows how to restructure budgets and save on time and costs. The best way to monitor the expenditure is through digital applications that ensure you collect the appropriate data and efficiently perform various analytics on the data.

Construction reports also streamline workflows. By logging every detail on site, one can see what they are doing well and what they can improve on. It will make it possible to find better, safer, and faster ways to complete projects.

If any disputes arise, it is easy to go back to the construction report and check the cause of the conflicts. If there are claims and the client or the contractor wants to go to court, the construction report can give a lot of value and prove whether everything was conducted according to the contract.

How to make reporting easier

Construction reporting sometimes seems like a daunting task, but it is easy to compile quality construction reports properly. Projects differ from one another, and this, by extension, leaves some wiggle room in construction reporting. Below are some techniques you can apply to make your construction reporting easier.

How to make reporting easier

1. Make them digital

Daily reports are standard practice in construction. Having a way to fill them quickly can save you a lot of time and money. You can leverage technology using construction software like Proest that streamlines the process. Logging daily events reduce the wastes from paper

2. Make them data-driven

 It is vital to generate reports in a fast and straightforward manner. You can do this using simple, reliable tools. For instance, it should be possible to create a PDF report and share it with the project stakeholders in real-time. Using a data-driven approach also makes it easy to share photos and videos in real-time, giving a better understanding of what occurred on site. It also makes it possible to filter data based on specific periods and generate project reports. Such information also makes it easy to ensure all stakeholders are duly informed and on the same page.

3. Keep a clear audit trail

It would help if you had a digital solution that automatically stores your data and changes. This makes it easy to retrieve data when it is necessary. The project team will not constantly worry about who did what and when it occurred, as they will have a clear log of photos, comments, videos, and progress reports. The audit trail also forms the foundation of an investigation if something goes amiss. In future budget planning and safety compliance measures, we can refer to the audit trails.

Examples of audit trails include weather reports and daily logs. Having reliable weather information helps us in construction planning and assessing the decisions made during a project. Daily logs record updated project information and save time.

4. Use a template

You need a template with all the necessary information to collect for your project. Here you have all the vital data outlined, and you need to fill in the individual details. Different projects have custom requirements, and you can modify your template to meet your project requirements. You can also use the templates to track changes and eliminate the paperwork on site.

5. Be thorough

When creating construction reports, you should be thorough in your work. It would help to include all the necessary details and not make the construction report too broad to the extent it becomes unusable. The person responsible for the construction reports should fill them out on time. Waiting to fill a construction report the following day leads to a lot of data loss. As the construction reports are a form of communication, they should be concise and straightforward. They should also be transparent to deliver all the necessary information to various team members. This makes it easy to identify and rectify problems and record the progress.

6. Record safety concerns

One significant advantage of construction reports is that they save the stakeholders from litigation in a construction dispute. Therefore, the construction report should have a brief account of on-site safety conditions. If the day was quiet, the report should record no incidents. However, if safety incidents occur, they should register them immediately and the safety measures used to rectify the problem.

7. Data security

Big projects store data in different forms, and electronic systems and the various formats have unique privacy and security requirements. A sound reporting system needs proper protocols and data integrity to save the data from corruption or loss. The data storage systems should also meet regulatory requirements and provide prompt reporting on time.

8. Minimize data variances

Sometimes project reports have a lot of data variances. A good example can be a significant discrepancy between the construction report and the client's accounting system. You should evaluate your data reporting system and uncover the causes for this. One cause of data discrepancies is redundant input. Having duplicate entries in your report and misreporting crucial data causes confusion and inaccurate information.

Summary

Construction reporting is foundational to all construction projects. However, builders battle various problems during the construction reporting process. It is easy to relieve yourself of these burdens by shifting from manual to digital reporting methods. Excellent and progressive reports help you plan your tasks, see what is overdue, assess your crew and workload. Cleaner and accurate reports help you manage the information on your project efficiently.