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Finishing your Dayton, OH, outdoor living project: Love 'em or hate 'em, a punch list gets the job done!

Wooden deck

Do you consider a punch list to be a good thing or a bad thing? It may stir up positive feelings of progress, signaling that we’re on track and almost finished with an outdoor living project at your home. Just a few loose ends to tidy up and we’ll be done and “out of your hair.” Or, it may instill dread if you see it as a list of problems that stand between you and the time when you can begin to enjoy your new deck, porch or patio.

Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio sees a punch list as a positive thing, but we can understand if you don’t, perhaps based on your experience with other contractors. With that possibility in mind, we’ll look at what makes a good punch list, the client’s responsibilities with regard to a punch list, and the contractor’s responsibilities.

A good punch list specifies all items that need to be addressed before the project is deemed complete and usable by the homeowner, and it will include a plan for completion. Examples of items to be addressed on a punch list include minor repairs to finishes, cleanup and any outstanding installations specified in the contract. With a complete and accurate punch list, the entire construction team and the homeowner will have a clear understanding of the work to be completed. When that work is done, everyone will leave happy.

Composite Deck

When we near completion of your outdoor living project, your Archadeck contractor will set up a meeting with you for a punch list walk-through. We literally walk through the final project together and compile the punch list from there.

In some cases, a punch list may also include final additions to the scope of the project with new last-minute details. Ideally, this will not happen when you work with us. We believe strongly that the complete scope of the project should be detailed in the contract that we both sign at the beginning of the job. That’s why we go over all details of the project at the pre-construction meeting and when we sign the contract just as we outlined in our blog story When is a contract not like a steak?

  • Be present near the end of the project
  • Inspect the work
  • Ask questions

As the client, you can prepare for the walk-through by inspecting the project the site before our meeting. It helps if you come to the meeting with a good understanding of what work has taken place and what is left to be done. This approach is more productive than if you use the walk-through with the contractor as your discovery session. With some prior preparation, you can ask better questions of the contractor (and in some cases of the tradesmen who will be completing the work).

At this time, it is critical that your expectations are clearly communicated and that everyone knows what you want to see done. Construction is a long process, and by the time we get to the “punch out,” it’s almost complete!

•Have an eye for detail
•Be prepared and helpful

Your Archadeck contractor should be prepared to walk through the site with you during our meeting and point out any remaining items on our to-do-list. At this time we truly enjoy the chance to show off our work and point out details you might not notice. We should be able to show you most of the items that need to go on the punch list, if not all.

It is our practice to keep a good eye on quality control during the construction process as a way to minimize the number of items that need to be included on the punch list. Meanwhile, if you see something that doesn’t look right during your project’s construction, please point it out to us as soon as you notice — don’t wait. If the crew is on site when you see something you’re concerned about, you can point it out to them before they leave that day. In a case like that, we may be able to take care of your concerns prior to the creation of the “official” punch list.

Addendums happen. If you need to make changes or additions to the scope of the work detailed in the contract, it’s best to bring these up as early as possible in the process — ideally prior to the beginning of construction. You definitely don’t want to wait until the walk-through. Additions add time to the schedule and change your completion date, even more so if they require additional permitting or materials.

Patio seating area

The term “punch list” probably dates back to a time when a contractor physically punched holes in a piece of paper listing items to be completed. As a way of marking off items on the list, the contractor held up his copy and the client’s copy together and punched a hole through both copies, line by line, until every last bit of work was done. While we may not use a hole-puncher any more, we still work through the final list of tasks to be completed until everyone is satisfied. Our goal is to create the outdoor living environment you want, and the punch list is one of the ways we get the job done.

If you are ready to talk about creating the outdoor living environment you’ve been dreaming of, contact Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio today at (937) 563-4847, or via email at

Tim Stephens of Archadeck
Roger Miller, owner, Archadeck of West Central & Southwest Ohio.