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Last edited 08 Mar 2020
A punch list (also known as a snagging list) is a document that is prepared close to the end of a construction project and issued by the appropriate certifying authority (typically, the architect, contract administrator or employer’s agent). It lists any faults that are identified or works that do not conform to the specifications, which should be rectified prior to a certificate of practical completion being issued.
Generally, snagging refers to a process that takes place a fortnight or so prior to practical completion when an area is considered complete by a contractor and is offered ready for inspection. It is a slang expression widely used in the construction industry to define the process of inspection necessary to compile a list of minor defects or omissions (snages) in building works for the contractor to rectify.
This differs from a work-to-complete list which is compiled by a contractor and issued to each subcontractor and their crews at, or near, completion - a list of the remaining items and any defective work that subcontractors are required to complete before leaving the site.
The process of inspection and going through a punch list is usually performed close to the end, if not right at the end, of construction so that the work as a whole can be reviewed and checked. The list of items to be completed or corrected is compiled by the contractor and submitted to the employer’s agent or designer (usually the architect or engineer). Lists tend to be organised either by room or by trade.
Following this, the work is inspected by the agent (sometimes along with the contractor, subcontractor, owner, and any other relevant stakeholders) to determine whether the items on the list have been resolved. Traditionally, the list would be worked through and a hole punched in the margin to indicate that the particular item of work had been completed, hence the term ‘punch list’. Today, digital software is capable of producing virtual punch lists with applications that can be operated via mobile devices as well as more complex web and desktop varieties.
Once the list of items has been completed according to the specifications in the contract, or a mutually agreed resolution has been decided upon for certain items, practical completion can be certified.
Following practical completion, there is generally a defects liability period, during which the contractor may be recalled to rectify defects which appear. This is not a chance to correct snagging items apparent at practical completion, If there are defects apparent before practical completion, then these should be rectified before a certificate of practical completion is issued.
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