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10 Things to Include in a Construction Daily Report

The CrewCost Team
Published Jan 19, 2024

 

The construction daily report can be a relatively simple document, but the respect it commands and the importance it holds for project documentation is without rival.

I like to think of the daily report or daily log as the living, breathing story of how the project actually went down. While the schedule shows the project from a clean, logical perspective, the daily log gets into the nitty gritty of how the work was actually performed and what challenges were faced and overcome in the process.

The daily log, aside from being a valuable learning tool for your construction company to improve processes and glean lessons learned from projects, is valuable in that it is often used as a legal document if any claims, lawsuits, or disputes arise from the project. Thus, making sure you complete the daily log fully, during each working day of the project, is crucial to making sure the story of the project is accurately told and to protect yourself if any legal ramifications stem from the project.

Key Takeaways


  • The construction daily report provides a detailed account of what happened each day on a construction project.
  • The daily report serves as a legal document and source of truth if any disputes or claims arise from the project. Having thorough reports is important to accurately tell the full story of the project.
  • Daily reports provide valuable insights into lessons learned and areas for improvement in construction processes. Reviewing reports holistically reveals patterns and provides a complete narrative of how the project progressed over time.

What is a Construction Daily Report?

The daily report, as it is commonly referred to, is a document that captures what went on during the construction for that day on site, what factors helped or hurt productivity, what the weather was like, what materials were delivered, who was on the site, and what was accomplished. If there were any quality concerns or safety incidents, they would be recorded in the daily report as well.

A daily report or daily log can be tailored to any construction project and the information on it can be different depending on the needs of that project. However, there is certain information that one can expect to find on every daily report:

  • Project Information – This includes the general project information, like the project name, the project number, and the location of the job site. You also may include the GCs name, as well as the name of the project owner.
  • Date – The date and day of the week are very important and should always be included on the daily report. This allows you to cross-reference other documentation, such as timesheets, emails, delivery tickets, invoices, etc. with the daily log and confirm accuracy or to rebuild the story later on down the line, if a discrepancy comes up or the daily report is being relied upon in a legal nature.
  • Weather – A weather report is always important to include on the daily log, because it can have a big impact on your ability to perform work and, if a major weather event occurs that affects your ability to work, sometimes called a force majeure (act of God) event, noting the weather conditions in the daily log can be the difference between whether or not the contract allows for you to gain schedule days back.
  • Manpower – Knowing what workers were on-site every day is important for a number of reasons. In disputes with individual workers and time theft, daily reports can provide you with a documented backup if disputes arise in regards to hours worked. You can also refer back to this if there are any safety incidents, you can know who was on-site and can provide more details about the incident.

💥 Download our free construction daily report template.

10 Things to Include in Your Report

In addition to the items previously listed (project info, date, weather, and manpower), these are the 10 specific pieces of information you should include on your construction daily report to make sure that you are documenting the most important aspects of the workday for each project:

1. Work Description – Describing what work was performed on the project every day is a vital piece of information. The pieces of scope that were completed by each party, whether one of your own self-performed crews or a subcontractor crew, are crucial pieces of information. If you are self-performing work, describing the areas that the work was performed in and the quantity of work completed is critically important to understanding what your production rate is and the quantities you should claim completed to bill the owner for at the end of the month.

2. Equipment Used – If you are using heavy equipment on your project, the daily log is a good place to track information associated with who operated each piece of equipment, if any maintenance occurred on the equipment, and what activities the equipment was used for. This can help at the end of the month if you are trying to accurately allocate equipment costs to different activities; looking at the daily reports and seeing how much the equipment was used for certain pieces of work helps in making sure the costs are tracked appropriately.

3. Materials Delivered – Logging what materials were delivered, when they were delivered, and noting the condition they arrived in, as well as confirming that the material and quantity are correct, is another crucial function of the daily report. Construction sites can become chaotic quickly and with a lot of different materials showing up all of the time, it can be hard to manage what materials are on-site. Tracking this information in the daily report allows you to accurately know at any given time what has shown up, what still needs to be delivered, and what material has been used.

4. Site Visitors – Making sure you know who is visiting the site is very important, especially on construction sites where special safety training is required. On any jobs next to trains, for example, visitors are required to get a special safety training called RWIC (Roadway Worker in Charge) and there is a sign-in log that accompanies the daily report of who visited the site and verification of their RWIC training. This information can be important if someone is not authorized to visit the site and a safety incident occurs as a result; the daily report can be verification that they had no business being on-site.

5. Meetings or Communication Held – Important meetings, such as a weekly site safety walk, should be recorded in the daily report. Likewise, if there are important conversations held between members of the project management team, owner, inspectors, or subcontractors, the daily report is a great place to memorialize those conversations for future reference. Sometimes, due to the fast pace of the environment on a project, key meetings or conversations get lost in the flow of all of the moving pieces and having the details recorded in the daily log can serve as legal backup if a dispute arises from such communications.

6. Inspections – Inspections and their results should absol;utely be recorded in the daily report. If whatever work is being inspected passes, recording it in the construction daily report can memorialize the results, if for some reason the inspection results are questioned in the future. If the work is deficient, it is good to note where the inspection failed and show that the deficiencies were recorded and appropriately addressed.

7. Safety Accidents – It is always important to record any safety accident. Not only is it a valuable tool to be able to learn from, often if the safety incident falls under the scrutiny of OSHA, they will require the construction daily reports as part of their investigation into the incident.

8. Quality Issues – Documententing quality issues on projects in the daily report is a good idea because it shows that you understood the issue and took corrective actions to remedy it. If there any litigation or claims arise in the future due to quality issues, having them documented in the daily report and describing how they were addressed can provide you with important legal backup.

9. Subcontractors On-site – Knowing which subs were on-site and what work they performed on a daily basis is very important because it gives you a way to manage the subs and understand if they are billing you correctly for the work they performed. If you understand what quantities they have performed and recorded that information in the daily report, you can quickly see if they are billing you more than they should for the work they have completed.

10. Notes – In general it is a great practice to include a general notes section of your construction daily report and describe what happened around the site that day. Maybe the dumpster got emptied and the portable toilets got serviced. Perhaps there was an event nearby that affected your workers ability to park and get to the job site on-time. Any specific information you can provide on a daily basis that affects the project is important to be able to fully and accurately describe the story of the project later on.

The Construction Daily Report Serves as a Source of Truth

The construction daily report fills in the fine details of the daily activities on-site and truly tells the story of the factors that affected the project on any given day. Taken individually, you are able to pinpoint specific details about the project. Looking at the reports holistically, however, provides you with a complete story of how the project progressed, who participated in it, what obstacles and challenges were faced and overcome, and what can be improved in the future.

All in all, the construction daily report is a simple, effective document that you should be completing every day, for every project.

Further Reading: How to Build Construction Management Plans That Don’t Leave You Penniless

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Author
The CrewCost Team

The CrewCost Team consists of men and women who have worked in the construction industry as project managers, general contractors, sub contractors and more. They share their decades of experience on our blog as a way to help other contractors grow healthier and more profitable businesses.

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