ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 4 - Issue: 30 - 08/07/2015

The Daily Report: Key to Project Success - Part 1

The daily report, a document summarizing job conditions and work performed each day, is the single most important document concerning a construction project. It not only serves as a record of work, the daily report helps the author think about the day's work and aids in planning for the next day. It also serves as a communications device between the field and the office. Finally, it provides supporting data for settling changes orders, claims and disputes. If kept in a complete, detailed and trustworthy fashion, for the purpose of running a business and not for the purpose of litigation, it will become evidence, sometimes without testimony (more on this below).


A project's daily report may be kept by the contractor, the owner's representative (inspector), or signed off by both. This article covers the essentials of a good daily report, keying in on areas where many reports can use improvement. Ultimately, it becomes a tool for identification of problems and sometimes can serve as formal notice if given to the owner on a regular basis.


Proper Use of the Report

Daily reports need to be consistent, legible and taken seriously by the persons who fill them out. These six points should satisfy the admissibility requirements of many jurisdictions and provides a good guideline to follow:

  1. Must be prepared and kept in the regular course of business.
  2. The author who prepares the report must do so as part of that person's business function.
  3. Should be handwritten, and the original should be kept as the official record. [This is certainly changing with electronic documentation systems.]
  4. The report must be made from the personal knowledge of the person writing it.
  5. The report must be written at the time the events occur, which should be daily.
  6. Must not omit items normally included.     


Daily reports should have the company name, project name and number, date, weather and site conditions, and if possible, a report number. The report should record the contractor's own forces, including supervisory personnel, hours worked, activity and descriptions. Equipment should be listed with hours worked, idle and when brought on/off the job. Subcontractors’ hours, including supervisory, skilled and labor, should be listed. Overtime hours should be itemized separately. Depending upon type of work, production and material installed quantities, by location is highly useful.


Supplemental Information

Listed here are additional items that benefit from having dedicated locations on the form, but can also be recorded in additional notes sections. Dedicated sections serve as a reminder, force people to think and encourage consistency. Some of these items suggest separate forms and/or logs should also be kept. In some cases, these items can be better documented on a separate occurrence report form designed to show all the details, (possible) work affected, possible solutions, etc.


  • New work started, work completed. It's always good to show when activities start and stop; even better if they can be related back to a CPM schedule. Show location and type of work, including subcontractors.
  • Special problems encountered. Indicate if an RFI or change order was initiated. Show potential delays.
  • Delays encountered. Show actual delays encountered.
  • Immediate requirements for upcoming work. Material, equipment, subcontractor, other.
  • Material and equipment received on the job. Include description, quantity, carrier, condition, timeliness and comments.
  • Documents received. Drawings, RFI/responses, change orders, sketches, submittals, etc. Indicate source, distribution if any, significance, response, comment and any action taken.
  • Instructions received. From, to, verbal, written, response, comment and any action taken.
  • Commitments made. From, to, response, comment and any action taken.
  • Requests for inspections and tests. Also requests for results of previous tests conducted.
  • Accidents. Note any occurrences and reference separate accident reports that may have been prepared or submitted.
  • Inspectors on job. Note where and when inspectors appeared on the job, including owner representatives and third-party inspectors such as utility companies or building departments.  It's helpful to note any tests performed.
  • Visitors on job Identify who they are, purpose, time and duration of visit and what they did. Separate visitor sign-in log book should be maintained as well.
  • Photos Taken Yes. No. Describe. Attach.
  • Attachments One or more of the above items may include attachments. If so, indicate it on the reports.


In part 2 of this article, we’ll continue with a discussion of typical report deficiencies, electronic capture and storage of daily reports, and examples and pertinent features of actual report forms used by several public agencies.




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