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What is Punch List in Construction and How Do Contractors Use One?

A punch list in construction ( or also called a snag list) is simply a list of small tasks and items that need to be fixed before a construction project can be considered finished as per the specifications of the contract. The word ‘small tasks’ is highlighted here because major changes would have been already addressed before via a change order. This step (the punch list) is usually performed when the construction is almost finished.

Usually, the contractor will schedule a walkthrough with the client or client representative together with the architect and the designer to find out if there are things that need to be addressed. The construction project is considered done when the owner has signed off on the completed punch list.

It’s not exactly known when the term punch list has become part of the construction vocabulary, but it’s believed that the term punch list dates back to a time when construction workers used to punch holes at the side of a list when it was done, and the name stuck ever since.

What Is Inside a Punch List?

Putting together and inspecting a punch list can be a long laborious process. That’s why contractors nowadays are turning into technology like a punch list software to help them streamline the process. But what exactly do they list in a construction project punch list? We’ll list some of the typical items that contractors usually put in a punch list. The list is not all-inclusive, but it will certainly give you a good idea on how the list looks like.


  • Are there any visible drywall tape joints?
  • Are there cracks in the ceiling?
  • Are there any cracks at the corner of the skylight?
  • Are smoke detectors installed and working?


  • Is wall covering secure?
  • Are trim pieces tight to the wall with no gaps?
  • Is there adequate paint coverage or do you see thin spots?

Doors and Windows

  • Doors should open and close smoothly without catching.
  • Self-closing doors should latch on closing
  • Do doors close tightly and lock properly?
  • Are there any gaps between the door frame and the wall?

Cabinets and Counters

  • Are there any exposed nail or screw ends inside the cabinet?
  • Are your joints in a granite, marble or stone countertop uniform and sealed properly?
  • Is your molding glued or nailed properly?


  • Is your dryer vent connected to the outside?
  • Are your plumbing fixtures caulked and sealed?
  • Does hot and cold water come out of their designated faucets?
  • Do Toilets Flush Properly?1

Who is Involved in The Punch List Process

Construction is a team effort from the finish to the start, and that includes the Punch List Process.  Here is the list of the people who are needed in the punch list process.

1) .Client or Client Representative

Clients or client representative is the main player in the punch list process and will determine the success or failure of the punch list. Clients or owners have the responsibility to be fully aware of the progress of the construction project as well as the issues that need to be addressed. So it’s best to update them as the project progresses to avoid any misunderstandings later on.

Clients or their representatives are required to be present during the pre-final project walkthrough in order for them to see the issues that need to be addressed prior to project completion. Owners who are well-informed also save themselves from unnecessary costs incurred by project reworks and revisions that can be addressed through a thorough punch list.

2) .Contractors

The contractor while being in charge of the actual construction is also in charge of setting up the punch list walkthrough. Before the final completion of a construction project, most clients would require the contractor to send a notification stating that the project is nearing completion. The client is then, invited to a pre-final walk-through. It is at this stage that the contractor presents a list of items known as the punch list, that are pending completion or need to be revised and fixed.

3) .Subcontractors

The subcontractors are the heavy lifters and are the people who get the list done. It is the role of the subcontractor to make sure that the punch list is accomplished and that all the tasks listed are addressed in a timely manner. The subcontractor has to work within a specific time frame to accomplish the jobs listed and in all these, they should have an open communication with the contractor about updates and issues (if any) in accomplishing the punch list. Having good subcontractors is key to a successful completion of any punch list.

4) .Architects/ Designers

Architects also play a big part in a successful punch list. As the designer of the construction project, an architect should be able to see out which minor parts of the project do not coincide with that of the drawings. Also, an architect should be able to adjust to ever-changing project needs such as client preferences and address these issues through a well-written punch list.



Ann Castro
Ann Castro
Ann Castro is a lead author at Techicy who writes on Technology, Home Improvement, and Businesses around the world. With a background in Journalism, Ann has a professional experience of more than seven years working with some of the big media companies. She is also an avid traveler, a singer, and a guitarist.


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