Fear and Loathing of the Punch List – Organization and Preparation Can Help Avoid Costly Disputes
April 4, 2005
Anyone who has undertaken the construction or renovation of his or her commercial space has encountered a document called the punch list. A punch list is simply a list of items that the contractor and the owner create toward the end of a project. It lists items which the contractor and owner agree still need to be completed. They are usually small items which are mostly “fit and finish” issues. In an ideal world the list would be prepared jointly by the parties and, as each item was completed, it would get crossed off the list.
We do not live in an ideal world. In our world the punch list has a tenacious life. By the end of the project it has multiple peoples’ scribbles on it, is illegible, and more often then not, torn and stained by coffee. Should the parties’ relationship breakdown, the owner will look to the punch list as a basis for refusing to pay the contractor the remaining balance due on the contract. Similarly, the contractor will look to the punch list as proof that he addressed the owner’s concerns and is entitled to payment. Although the punch list should clearly indicate the items that the parties agreed needed to be addressed…
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by: Adam J. Basch, Esq.