Best Practices in Producing Daily Journals From a Disputes Perspective
November 07, 2023
This article from Journal de l'entrepreneur general was first published in November 2023. The entire article is available at: https://www.cegq.com/fr/details-article-2/les-bonnes-pratiques-quant-aux-rapports-journaliers-du-point-de-vue-des-differends.
From time to time, the production of daily journals may seem like a laborious and administrative task, but these reports present a goldmine of useful and detailed information on the progress of work on site. Of all the documents produced during a construction project, the daily journal is unrivalled in terms of the accuracy and timeliness of the information it contains. When you're faced with the task of recalling events that have occurred during construction, as in the case of a dispute, it's sometimes necessary to resort to using daily journals to extract vital project information.
Whether it's a dispute over impacts causing delays, lost productivity or additional costs, the information contained in daily journals can support, explain, and quantify the real, concrete effects. However, there are situations where the daily journals either don't contain the information you're looking for, or the information isn't sufficient to demonstrate the real impacts. The remainder of this article will provide some tips and best practices to put you in a better position in the event of a project dispute.
Use numbers: Quantifying damages obviously involves assessing quantities. When these are included in daily journals, it becomes possible to calculate the duration of delays and the percentage of lost productivity caused by concrete impacts. Specific fields for this purpose could be integrated into the daily journals template to promote the collection of this important data. The following fields could be used for this purpose:
- Number of workers on site;
- The quantity of production for the day (e.g. lengths of conduit installed, volume of soil excavated, number of concrete columns poured, number of rooms painted, etc.);
- Duration of work stoppages and cause (if identifiable and known); and
- The number of worker and equipment hours spent on additional work, if not captured in a purchase order.
Where possible, it may be relevant to provide this information by trade present on site, and sometimes by project segment.
Be descriptive: Descriptions of work in progress sometimes lack clarity and precision (for example, if the specific location of the work is not indicated). Over time, it can become difficult to identify which work took place. It is therefore recommended to train superintendents to produce work descriptions that include details relevant to the project.
Identify obstacles: It is often difficult to predict the extent of an impact at the time it is identified. For this reason, it's best to note the occurrence of any obstacles to the work, even if they may seem minor or of no direct consequence. A field for the description of problems encountered and another for the description of delays will serve this purpose.
Include photos: As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Incorporating photos could give more weight to a claim in the event of a dispute. What's more, an overall photo can capture a fact that may have been missed when producing the daily journal.
Use digital applications: Integrating a digital solution for the preparation of daily journals offers many advantages, including:
- Avoids loss of information due to illegible handwriting or soiled, damaged or lost physical papers;
- Allows information to be centralized and shared more easily; and
- Reduces the time it takes to process the data contained in reports for the production of a claim.
There are a number of interesting digital daily journal solutions on the market. But to benefit from the advantages mentioned above, a report template in an Excel file may suffice.
It's important to remember that every job site is unique. For this reason, the application of these tips needs to be adapted to the particular context of a contractor and its team. The complexity of the project, the associated risks, the level of collaboration project owner and subcontractors, among other factors, could all play a role in the development of an effective daily journal template. Ultimately, the goal is to lighten the burden of proof that falls on the contractor in the event of a dispute.
November 07, 2023
Most Popular Insights
- 10 Global Cybersecurity Predictions for 2024
- Global CFO Survey 2024
- Bridging the Gap Between Artificial Intelligence Implementation, Governance, and Democracy: An Operational and Regulatory Perspective
- The Power of Positive Paranoia: A Key Trait for Every CEO and General Counsel in 2024
- A Targeted Approach is Key to Implementing AI