The Problems with Paper Punch Lists
Paper forms are used today as a quick way to collect information on a project site but don’t give much flexibility in the types of information that can be collected.
A Punch List is often meant to be a run through of outstanding items to be completed on a project, but these forms can be found in different formats depending on the size and scope of the particular project.
The issue with paper Punch Lists is that they offer ZERO flexibility in the way they are filled out and completed. You’re restricted to staying between the lines on the piece of paper and aren’t able to deviate or add anything outside of that paper rectangle. This runs in complete conflict with the Construction industry where data is constantly changing and personnel is in need of real-time information. This is why mobile forms, especially mobile Punch Lists, make sense.
3 Ways to Create the Perfect Punch List App
Creating the perfect mobile form or app is about incorporating the right features that fit your data collection goals.
When filling out a Punch List the primary goal is to inspect a list of outstanding construction items, update their current status and add current or estimated completion dates. But for companies looking to dive even deeper into their data, solutions like GoCanvas allow them to enhance their Punch Lists with three important features.
Check out the three features below that you can incorporate into your GoCanvas mobile Punch Lists to increase your data quality and efficiency!
Attach Site Photos with Image Capture – Punch Lists are useful for the person who is physically filling them out onsite, but what about the employees in the back-office? The ability to collect and attach site photos allow Punch Lists to become instantly more valuable and give supervisors real-time insight into the progress of project sites. The annotation feature of GoCanvas also allows users who capture photos to highlight and draw on top of the images that they capture with their mobile device. This makes it possible for them to point out aspects of each line item and ensure that nothing is mistakenly forgotten during the follow-up tasks.
We suggest using the Image Capture feature along with Conditional Logic. This allows you to have an Image Capture field show up only if a particular value is selected. For example, if a line item in the Punch List is marked “Finished”, an Image Capture field would then appear for the user to snap a photo of the completed item for verification. This is an easy way of ensuring you collect the data you need without making the form dramatically longer or more complicated to complete.
Auto-populating Items with Reference Data – One of the most time-consuming parts of filling out a paper Punch List is having to manually write in each item you are reviewing. Not only are you trying to rush to inspect each item in a timely fashion, but you’re also attempting to be thorough in your inspection as well. Usually, this type of pace leads to horrible handwriting and less than thorough note-taking.
With GoCanvas and the Reference Data functionality, you can pre-load into your Punch List rows of items that are in need of review. It’s simple as creating an Excel spreadsheet, uploading that into your GoCanvas account, and connecting it to your mobile Punch List form. Now you’ll have every item you need to inspect right in front of you and can even add items on the spot if need be. Each item you load with Reference Data can also be loaded with corresponding “Due Dates”, so that when the user is filling out the Punch List app they will know if the item they are inspecting in on track or past due for completion. This auto-filling of data in the mobile form will easily save you 10 – 20 minutes per report completed.
Automating Reviews & Approvals with Workflow – The biggest complaint with using paper, across the board, is the time it takes to receive the reports from the field. This delay often makes the data out-dated by the time it finally reaches the back office for analysis. With Punch Lists, in particular, it’s important that the data be collected and REVIEWED in a timely manner so that real-time decisions can be made to keep the project on track.
The Workflow feature of GoCanvas is perfect for Punch Lists because it allows for the user filling out the report to instantly send the data to his or her supervisor’s device for immediate review. The supervisor can review all of the data and photos that the employee captured previously with GoCanvas and then even add notes to the report before submitting the record to the cloud for final review. If the supervisor were to find something that didn’t look right, he or she would have the ability to reject the Punch List and send it back to the original submitter with the reason why it was rejected. The great thing is that this Workflow process can be customized to fit your organization’s process. So if you want the Punch List to not go to a supervisor but instead go to a general contractor who will review and complete any outstanding items, you can!