What is a Punch List or Snag List

In most countries a punch list is part of the construction contract or otherwise used as a way to meet the quality terms stated. If the tasks on the punch list have not been completed satisfyingly the large final payment can be withheld until the punch list is completed.

The term “punch list” takes its name from the old process of actually punching holes on a list with items in need of fixing. If you are located in Ireland or the United Kingdom you might know it under the term “snag list”. Today the punch list is primarily done electronically and ever so often supported by digital photo documentation.

Go Digital – Save Time

A digital paperless punch list can quickly be shared with numerous people. Issue management can be time-consuming, but if you have the right software or app, such as IssMan, you can quickly create documentation, and even delegate tasks digitally to team members. This means less time in the office and more time on site.

There are huge advantages to the digital punch list app; not only if you are a contractor or site manager, but also as a property owner the punch list is a great tool to systemize issues. Furthermore the opportunity to follow the progress on any issue on the snag list is priceless.


Punch List when Proposing “Substantial Completion”

Clearly stated contract documents and efficient issue management is the key to satisfied owners, clients, teamworkers, managers and contractors.

When the contractor proposes that the work is substantially completed they will also have to submit a snag list. The definition of substantial completion is clearly defined by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in their General Conditions of the Contract for Construction:

§ 9.8.1 “Substantial Completion is the stage in the progress of the Work when the Work or designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use.”  [1]

In the next section in AIA’s conditions the term punch list is defined as a prerequisite for proposing that the work is substantially complete:

§ 9.8.2 “… the contractor shall prepare and submit to the Architect a comprehensive list of items to be completed or corrected prior to final payment…”    [1]

When reaching the deadline for substantial completion the punch listis of great importance. The owner will again be responsible, but the contractor still has to complete every item on the punch list. Hence a clear digital punch list can be an extremely helpful tool. Both the owner and the contractor will be able to see the progress of each item until the work is finally complete.

[1] General Conditions of the Contract for Construction (AIA)