The idea of a “punch list” may not sound very appealing at first, but it’s really an invaluable tool for making sure our homes meet the standards and expectations of our homebuyers. A punch list — industry slang for a short checklist of items that need to be completed, repaired, or replaced — is also an effective communication tool with our trade partners and our clients. It acts as a quick and easy reference to the status of the project and its state of readiness.
Most commonly, punch lists are used as the house nears completion. One is created and addressed internally (by our staff, without the homebuyer present), and a second one is developed as a homeowner and one of our associates walk through a new house. In either case, the punch list typically contains minor items that can be addressed quickly and easily. Conducting an internal inspection and addressing punch list items before the final client walk-through has proven to boost our homebuyers overall satisfaction.
Lesser known (but common among the most professional builders) are the punch lists that are produced at almost every phase of the building process. This enables us to communicate and collaborate with our product suppliers and subcontractors regarding the quality and status of their work in progress. Like those created during a final walk-through with a homebuyer, punch lists during construction ensure that each stage of work is complete and ready for the next phase. We can then call for an inspection by the local building department or schedule the next wave of trade partners and material deliveries to start the next stage of work. This formal process is key to managing the thousands of details in building a new home, helping us stay on schedule and on budget.
Still, no matter how many times we conduct inspections and develop punch lists, no house is perfect. There are bound to be some things that homebuyers notice and identify to the builder during a final walk-through. In addition, there may be items a builder will point out as already on the punch list, and explain the policies and procedures in place for taking care of everything in a timely manner.
Builders differ in their approach to satisfying the punch list. Most of them work to cross every item off the list prior to the close of escrow so that the closing process is hassle-free. Depending on the punch list, a builder may schedule the necessary labor to address every item on the same day, rather than over several days, out of respect for a new homeowner’s busy schedule. With a reliable and consistent punch list system in place, we are able to deliver a truly completed house that regularly meets or exceeds the expectations of our homebuyers.
When we communicate effectively with our clients, subcontractors, and materials suppliers throughout the process, punch lists are typically short and easy to complete. This helps us deliver the most positive overall experience and best possible new homeowner experience possible.