Wise Up Wednesday – Gold Dust On Site
Gold Dust On Site
If you found Gold Dust on site you wouldn’t ignore it or throw it away. So why ignore the Gold Dust that is your Site Records?
This week’s Wise Up Wednesday is about the absolutely essential topic of keeping proper records. DO NOT SWITCH OFF at this point!
If the Contractor is blaming you for delay, or getting you to accelerate for free, or telling you you should have included it, or anyone of a 100 other reasons he will conjure up for not paying you, then you MUST HAVE good records.
Records, Records, Records
Records, Records, Records, is what the late Max Abrahamson (29 October 1932 – 7 October 2018 internationally recognised as an expert in construction law), had to say about winning your case when problems arose!
You may need to be able to prove to a third party that your version of events is correct and your assessment is fair and reasonable.
And, please trust me on this, you will need those records!
Keeping good written and photographic records is a fundamental issue, the importance of which cannot be overstated.
Regardless of the size and value of the work, good records are essential in order to protect yourself. The scale and complexity of the work may dictate how much time and effort you need to put in, but even the most basic records can offer you protection.
Almost all construction disputes deal with events that occurred weeks, months or even years in the past. Your works may even be covered up, so cannot easily to be inspected at a later date.
Any records that you make at the time will be far more valuable as evidence than your memory of what happened, particularly if you can show that they have been issued to the other party at the time the events took place.
Check what the contract says about records and make sure you comply. It is not uncommon for a failure to submit records to be used as an excuse to reduce or withhold payment or blame you for delays that are not of your making.
In addition to the records that you are required to keep contractually, it is a good idea to maintain good records for your own purposes. Good records will assist you in preparing claims for delays or additional work and also in rejecting any claims made against you for delays or damage.
Take careful note of the date and time, the name of individual, and the matters discussed for every telephone conversation you have regarding your works.
Site meetings, formal or informal are a great way for the Contractor to stitch you up. Keep your own record of what is discussed and dispute any minutes with which you disagree and ensure that the minute is changed or your objection noted. In fact make sure you definitely get minutes!
Top Tips For Collecting That Gold Dust
Here are my top tips about records;
- Verbal instructions – don’t act on verbal instructions and always confirm them back in writing to the Contractor.
- Access dates – make sure you can actually get at the various parts of the job when you are supposed to and tell the Contractor when and why if you can’t.
- Delays – notify the Contractor about everything that holds you up or interrupts the regular process of your works.
- Sequence – you will have priced and programmed the works to proceed in a logical sequence. If you are expected to go backwards and forwards to and from different areas you will be less efficient and your costs will definitely increase.
- When you have completed the various sections of the works make sure you notify the Contractor and get them signed off if possible.
- Make sure you get someone to sign to acknowledge the date and time that you handed the works over.
- Photographs/video can be invaluable. You can record exactly what was done, and when. Use a camera that records the date and time, but it is still a good idea to use the old fashioned idea of taking a picture of the headline from the Sun or Mirror for each day you are taking photographs.
- Make sure you keep records of what all the other trades are doing, when they start and finish various areas if these are impacting on your works.
Do You Need To Train Your Team?
In a perfect world, our site or project team should be given some training, or at least some guidance, as to what the company wish to see in the site records.
However, it is a fact of life that for some reason, we assume that our team automatically know what to record and how to record it. This is a potentially costly misconception, when you consider that the money is made or lost at the work face.
Need Help, Advice or Training?
Our Consultants can help you to ensure you put proper training and record keeping systems in place as well as acting on your behalf when things go wrong.
You can call us for initial no cost advice on 01773 712116, and our Gold and Platinum Buddies can use their commercial and contractual consultancy towards putting appropriate systems in place.
Whatever level your business is at, and whatever your specialisation I want to encourage you to experience and enjoy a better more profitable, less stressful way.
I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday email and that it gave you some food for thought, and please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call if you need any help with any of your business problems on 01773 712116.
And don’t forget, most business owners just assume jobs will go well. Be one of the smart ones that take effective action to ensure they do.