How to use a Punch List App for Easy Snagging [+ Checklist]

Published on:
January 1, 2024
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With complex projects ranging from construction and renovations to event preparation, managers need tools to inspect the quality and consistency of the work before signing off on completion.

Punch lists ensure that, once work is close to completion, the team has walked through and inspected everything they need to complete to safely sign off on the project. It’s a necessary step that helps identify further improvements and ensure quality and safety. 

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In this article we’ll further discuss what punch lists and snagging are and why they’re so important. We’ll also discuss how to create and conduct a thorough punch list walkthrough, as well as the benefits of employing a punch list app or snagging app such as Xenia

What is a punch list?

A punch list is a checklist of work that needs to be completed or corrected in order for a project to be finalized and payment to be issued. Punch lists are used for construction sites, remodeling projects, and installation services as well as in service businesses to ensure brand consistency and quality control. These lists document contract specifications and areas that vary from the original construction plan. They give construction teams a clear checklist of final tasks to complete so that a project can be officially signed off on. 

What is snagging?

The concept of snagging comes from the idea of hitting a small snag in a project that needs to be fixed. In the construction space, the idea of a “snag list” started as a slang term and developed into an explanation for the act of rounding up the last minute details or “snags” construction teams needed to fix before moving on to the next site. 

A snag list is often interchangeable with a punch list. These lists indicate a need to work through any snags that need to be taken care of before the project can officially close. Snagging points to the process of using a punch list or snag list to finalize work. When a construction team is snagging, they’re completing punch list items in order to wrap up work. 

Why are punch lists important?

Punch lists support overall safety and quality control across construction projects and build outs. They also help teams to stay within budgetary requirements and meet commitments made to clients and customers. Utilizing a punch list checklist ensures that teams: 

  • Clarify project details for technical specialists, architects, and project managers
  • Maintain safety requirements according to local ordinances or zoning
  • Follow quality control measures to meet brand standards or client expectations 
  • Keep a clear log of outstanding work and track minor construction details 
  • Log additional budgetary needs and better understand future budgetary requirements 
  • Track checklist task completion to better understand and estimate process times 
  • Prioritize tasks to complete dangerous or high priority items faster 

Who is responsible for making a punch list?

Generally, a project manager or general contractor at the head of a project is responsible for putting together a punch list and distributing it to the necessary team members. Typically, these lists will be created during an inspection walkthrough closer to the end of a project. But a punch list can be created at any point during key inspections or walkthroughs depending on the needs identified by the project manager. 

The whole process of creating a punch list may look a little something like this: 

  1. The project manager will conduct a thorough walkthrough or inspection with any necessary team members such as the project’s architect, designer, or specific project owners in order to compile a list of things that need to be taken care of. 
  2. Next, the project manager or general contractor in charge of compiling this list will delegate tasks to the appropriate team members or subcontractors. 
  3. As each punch list item is completed, assigned team members will notify the project manager or general contractor until the punch list has been finalized. 

Because the punch list process can be done toward the end of a project or as a rolling document throughout the lifespan of a project, this process may take place several times before every snag or need is identified and completed. But once a punch list is created during a final inspection or walkthrough, the remaining tasks can be evaluated and signed off on, and the project can be officially finalized with clear documentation on how the team got there. 

How to conduct a thorough punch list walkthrough

A punch list is created first by conducting a walkthrough or inspection to check for areas of a project that still need to be addressed. Before walking through to create a punch list, first make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with existing project details, requirements, and goals that might help you better identify any shortcomings. You can create a general walkthrough or inspection checklist to pass or fail areas of inspection that can help you identify outstanding needs. 

During your punch list or snagging walkthrough, you should be on the lookout for tasks to add to your punch list. These tasks might include: 

  • Small, forgotten aspects of the project 
  • Unexpected issues that have popped up during construction 
  • Poor or shoddy craftsmanship 
  • Design problems or issues with materials
  • Defects in project assets, design, or construction 
  • Safety concerns or red flags around quality control 
  • Property damage or installation problems 

Make a note of anything and everything you think needs to be addressed to appropriately tie up any loose ends on the project, no matter how small. From there, you’ll be able to create a snag list or punch list that your team can start working through to take care of these issues. 

How to create a punch list

A punch list or snag list includes a variety of information beyond the initial task itself. It’s important to include as many details as possible so you can empower your team to take care of each task as autonomously as possible without the need for micromanaging or continuous back-and-forth that can considerably slow down a project. Providing the right information up front makes handoffs easier and reduces miscommunication, too. 

Make sure that you’ve included all the necessary details as to which project the punch list applies to and who is responsible for varying tasks. Initial details that should be included to ensure project clarity: 

  • Assigned project managers, owners, architects, or designers
  • Project details: names, addresses, and/or phone numbers
  • Any specialists involved in project progress or tasks 
  • Client or customer information if applicable 

Beyond the basic details, it’s important to include a general description of the fix. Meaning that a punch list task should not be listed as merely “fix sink” with no further explanation—the team won’t know which sink to fix or what needs fixing! 

Instead, tasks should include as much description as possible. For example: “the sink in the upstairs guest bath has an ongoing leak that seems to be coming from improper installation.” 

The more details, the better. In addition to general descriptions and details, punch list items should include the following whenever possible: 

Snag Photo 📸

For clear communication, inspectors should attach photos and notes to each snag that clearly designates the location and details of the area to be corrected. This helps the team responsible for correction to have a transparent understanding of the task to be completed to fix the snag.

Task Location 📍

The specific location of punch list tasks should be provided for subcontractors so they know exactly where tasks need to be addressed. For example, if you’ve created a punch list for a home renovation and one of the task items includes fixing a sink, but there are five sinks in the house, the team will need to know exactly which sink to address so they don’t have to spend time trying to clarify details. 

So you might add a specific location such as: “The sink in the left-hand corner of the master bathroom has an ongoing leak that needs to be addressed.” 

Task Priority  🚀

Listing the priority of punch list tasks helps contractors to sequence work to complete high priority tasks first. Safety issues, for example, will likely be higher priority than final design details, and making that clear from the beginning will help reduce back and forth and improve overall process times. 

Task Due Dates  📅

Along the same lines as priority, including a specific due date on time sensitive punch list tasks can help teams prioritize work and stay in line with project goals. Assigning a clear due date keeps teams on task and aligned toward overall deadline requirements. 

Task Assignee 🙋

For tasks that require particular team members to be involved, it’s important to assign those team members or list necessary involvement to keep things flowing smoothly and reduce additional back and forth. For example, if there’s a design task listed on your punch list that requires the input of project designers, clearly list that on the item so that all parties involved know they will have to complete that task with the designer’s assistance. 

How to follow up on punch list entries

To track the progress of your punch list tasks, you can also include a category on your checklist where team members can mark completion status. This allows you to see how far along each snagging task has come and where work still needs to be followed up on. You can also schedule regular follow-up walkthroughs or inspections to visually inspect progress and update any rolling or continuous punch lists as you go. 

Tracking punch list entries and individual progress is made even easier if your team utilizes a punch list app. Punch list apps, like Xenia, allow you and your team to create and complete punch lists directly from your mobile device, and progress on tasks is automatically logged and easy to track in real time. So project managers and general contractors can easily stay notified and up-to-date on snagging and jump in quickly when necessary to keep work flowing.

Xenia: a flexible, user-friendly punch list app for every team! 

If you’re looking for a snag list app to streamline your punch list processes and keep your construction projects on track—look no further. Xenia is an incredibly flexible, user-friendly work management solution that makes punch lists easy to create, access, assign, track, and complete. With Xenia’s snag list features, you can easily follow up on punch list assignments on the go with instant, real-time updates and assignment notifications. 

You’ll be able to include all the punch list task details necessary to empower your entire team, increase accountability, and improve process times. Xenia allows you to: 

  • Assign punch list tasks to specific team members
  • Attach notes, photos, and documents to individual checklist items for enhanced clarity 
  • Add due dates, priority, and any other necessary information 
  • Instantly message team members for additional information or further explanation 
  • Automatically track progress in real time and clearly visualize workflow 
  • Analyze process times, assignment details, and asset health via a robust analytics suite 
  • Stay connected with your team across locations, sites, and projects 

And with automatic digital logs of all these processes, you’ll always have a clear audit trail of activities without ever having to track down paperwork, sort through binders, or call team members to clarify information. Our solution provides everything you need to manage your punch list operations and more. From work order management, to safety inspections and quality control, Xenia provides a seamless experience on both desktop and mobile

Check out our website to learn more about what Xenia can do for construction teams! And schedule a free demo any time. We’d be happy to show you how our application can empower your frontline and enhance facility and operations management. 

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