By Steve Rizer
There is a certain best practice concerning weekly meetings in construction projects that Trauner Consulting Services Inc. Director Bill Milliken has “often” seen ignored. It is a best practice that, during a WPL Publishing webinar last week, he characterized as “important” to implement after such meetings take place -- meetings ideally attended by “all of the project stakeholders,” including the owner, contractor, design team, “and maybe even the subcontractors.”
The best practice is to “always read meeting minutes immediately upon receipt,” Milliken told professionals attending the webinar, entitled “Effective Construction Project Documentation.” In stressing the importance of this activity, he urged attendees to “not rely on the other party, your peer, or anyone else to review the meeting minutes. Everyone who attended the meeting should review” the written account of what happened at the meeting, even certain professionals involved in the project who did not attend, he said.
Minutes must be distributed to the entire team, not merely those members who attended the meeting, Milliken emphasized. “Typically, at the very first meeting, the keeper of the minutes will request a distribution list from all of the attending parties, and that list should be kept current throughout the duration of the project. Meeting minutes should be updated and distributed timely. Oftentimes, the minutes are distributed with a clause that states the minutes are considered accurate unless revisions are requested within two, three, or maybe five days. Thus, the keeper of the minutes must get them out in time to be reviewed, commented on, and possibly revised prior to the next meeting.”
And what happens when meeting minutes are inaccurate or omit information?
“Well, generally, if left unchallenged, the inaccuracies and omissions in the meeting minutes become the permanent record,” Milliken explained. “And even though an issue may be documented elsewhere, … the inaccuracy or the omission from the meeting minutes … can serve to discount what that other record says.”
Also during the webinar, Milliken and fellow co-presenter Scott Lowe, a Trauner principal, additionally discussed other facets of standard project documentation, including daily reports, notes to file, email, requests for information and submittal logs, digital photos, and video. They also dedicated portions of their presentation to pre-construction/bid phase documentation, communications, and other areas of construction project documentation.
To purchase a recording of the webinar, visit http://constructionpronet.com/Products/Effective-Construction-Project.aspx.