Although construction sites can seem a little chaotic to an outsider, a viable system of organization at the core is critical to keeping everything running smoothly and on time. One of the ways to ensure that a project is progressing as it should be is to maintain great records, which can help a project manager avoid costly headaches and delays down the road. While project sites aren’t likely to turn into a regular office anytime soon, here are a few reasons to make sure that your site remains organized with a few tips for recordkeeping.

Keep a detailed daily diary.

Even though keeping a daily diary may not seem all that rewarding while actually filling it out, it can be a very easy way to set a tone of an organization while also providing a terrific reference point for future projects. In addition to standard information like a contact agreement number and date of commencement, a project manager might want to jot down details like the weather at the site and the size of the work crew if there is any day-to-day variance.

Additionally, making dated notes of the types of machinery, materials being used, and any commentary from visitors to the site can give you a very thorough overview of the project from start to finish. Not only will you be able to answer any questions that come up towards the end of the project but you also won’t have to rely upon memory to recall key details while working on similar projects later on. While there is nothing wrong with jotting everything down by hand, making notes digitally so they can be saved in the cloud can give you an extra layer of assurance that you’ll have the records for the future.

Have the contract agreement handy.

While it may seem like common sense to have any contract agreement – particularly with a municipality or government agency – on hand throughout a project, it’s not always a guarantee at a construction site. When possible, laminating and posting the crucial components of a contract right at the site will provide some peace of mind that you won’t have to go fumbling for paperwork if any questions are asked. Other related documents you’ll want to have readily available would be any amendments to the project or drawings, as having these on hand every day is an easy way to keep everything above-board and compliant as a project matures.

Record all test results.

Proving construction quality is a critical part of modern construction, which is why it is absolutely essential to maintain clear records for any tests that you run at the site. A simple chart documenting the dates and results of materials that were tested can not only assure compliance but give you an important reference point if there are any questions of legality after completion. Even if something feels extremely routine, taking the few seconds to jot down results is a simple and effective way to make sure you have all crucial data points available. If recording by hand, it’s also advisable to make a digital copy afterward.

If you think it’s important, write it down.

Construction is certainly an industry that relies on gut instinct and experience, which are tools that any good project manager will use to keep a site on schedule. The downside of relying solely on instinct, however, is that there can be a tendency to minimize the importance of recordkeeping, which can be a crucial mistake. Any time a client makes a change approves/disapproves a material, or simply makes a noteworthy comment on the project, taking the time to write it down can give you a huge leg up when it comes to remaining on the same page as a client. Additionally, stressing the importance of basics like time/progress charts and works passing records will set in motion a basic infrastructure that will help maintain a professional atmosphere at your site.

Wrapping up.

Even though no one gets into construction to become masters of paperwork, taking the necessary steps at the beginning of a project can get most of the tedium of record keeping out of the way so you can focus on the main task at hand. While many downplay the role of keeping accurate records, a savvy project manager can stay organized with just a few proactive steps that can ward off future issues. It may be tempting to cut corners on paperwork, but the digital world also makes it easier than ever to stay on top of records without having to commit much time or mental energy to the process.