• Why construction documentation matters more than ever during COVID-19?

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    August 20, 2020
    AUTHOR Matt Daly
    PUBLISHED Aug. 19, 2020
    Construction Dive
    Editor's note: The following is a guest post from Matt Daly, CEO and co-founder of construction technology firm StructionSite.

    At more than $1 trillion in annual spending, the construction industry accounts for a significant portion of national GDP and is a major driver of the U.S. economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked incredibly complex challenges, from nervous lenders to on-site safety measures to liability. Documentation has become an absolutely vital tool for protection and preservation of resources in this uncertain environment.
    Construction firms have long been expected to hand over a documentation package to site owners at the completion of a project, including specific information like certificates of occupancy, city and state inspection reports, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing reports, structural testing reports, and architectural drawings. 
     
    But these are not normal circumstances. Owners today are jittery. They want more data to reduce the risk they are taking on projects, and they feel especially grateful for the builders they partner with that give them visual access and a well documented jobsite.

    Owners demand insights
    To ensure projects are going according to plan, owners require visual evidence that jobs are moving forward. This means general contractors are expected to share pictures throughout the project in a manner that demonstrates a structure’s clear development. And because they are likely unable to walk the jobsite in person due to pandemic restrictions, owners also want virtual access to job sites so that they can see for themselves exactly how a project is shaping up. 

    Additionally, they want more insight about the cause of delays. Whether it’s material shipments not arriving according to schedule or sick workers, owners want to know how a contractor will rectify these issues to keep projects on schedule. On top of this, they want all of this documentation housed in one centrally located, easy-to-access location rather than in piecemeal documents, forms and emails.

    This means that contractors have found themselves in a precarious position. In addition to protecting themselves against the typical things like warranty issues, incorrect charges, trade damage and broken materials, they are also dealing with an increase in site vandalism, theft and squatting thanks to fewer workers on the premises or temporary suspensions of projects due to COVID-19.  

    All of these issues impact their ability to get a job completed on time and on budget, yet many of their contracts specify they are legally responsible for delays or cost overruns, pandemic or not. As a result, contractors are now relying extensively on documentation at every stage of a project to protect themselves in the event of future litigation and to ensure they are charged and paid out accordingly.
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