Anatomy of Design: The Punch List



A Punch List is a construction document that contractors and designers use to keep track of outstanding items that need to be completed, or a "to-do" list of sorts. As a designer I am bound to complete the Punch List because it is an addendum to the Specifications for Design and Installation documents received at contract signing.

As a client or buyer, I would also be obligated to read the Punch List and respond to any discrepancies or incorrect items - as it states on the Punch List itself. This brings us to today's story.

I have worked with a client on a small extra-small condominium kitchen since the beginning of the year. Okay, I'll freely admit that I mis-ordered a size of 1 cabinets 6" too tall. To top it off, I mis-ordered the replacement door I put on a rush and didn't catch it until the day after the order was released to the factory. Then, icing on the cake, I was missing 1 hardware knob... and it was going to be 8 weeks before it came in from Deutschland. I totally fack-waggel-ended this one up. Learned my lesson.

The issue arose when the client responded to an email I sent earlier in the day. You see, I had ordered and received an extra 2 knobs, they're rolling around in a small box in my hatch for 4 weeks now. Every week I send another email "Hey! How's it going? BTW, still have your 2 knobs. I live down the street..." blah blah blah. So, after 12 weeks I finally have a response that says "It's actually 3 knobs."

I almost blew my top, except I stopped short and landed on confusion. How was it that there were 20 knobs needed for an 18 knob job? I know I had ordered 1 knob extra as a courtesy, but that brought me to 19 knobs. I counted the plan, I walked around in my mind (because it's been 12 weeks since I've been on-site, knob-less), check my notes, emails... I was seriously loosing my mind because I should already have 1 left-over knob with the 2 extra I ordered. Then I looked at the Punch List...

"Order 2 Emo, Br. Nickel, Knobs (Assigned to Corey)"

Yup, 2 knobs. I did count and order correctly. You might be thinking, "Hey Corey, what's the big deal, order 1 more knob and call it done." Right? Not so simple... That would a process that looks like the following for one 25mm x 25mm knob:

  • 3 days for order confirmation
  • Up-charge of 15% for an emergency order
  • $45 for delivery of a single knob
  • 8 weeks for delivery (out-of-towner knobs)
  • And now, another 4 weeks of re-connected , re-emailing, re-telephoning
  • Shrink to the project costs
  • Labour to send and receive one knob

Is it worth it? I drew the line.

By the way, the hottest new App for list making in Wunderlist. Get it. Totally keeps me on track when on-site.