Adequate records must be kept during construction. This final section of a three-part article describes construction diaries, project daily reports, coordination of information and change-orders. A system for filing records is outlined.


A standard disputes file should be maintained. Correspondence that could bear on an issue of contention should be tagged to be copied to the disputes file. Correspondence fixing key project events, such as notices to proceed, strikes, release of retention, approval of major submittals, or other items, should also be included here.


All of the subcontractor's key people on a construction project should keep diaries to record important happenings, agreements, decisions, and project milestones. The goal is to record enough information so that an as-built schedule exists at project's end.


Someone, preferably an engineer, should be assigned the task of recording a project daily report. He may make up his own format, but it should contain space for items such as manpower information, weather conditions and equipment movements.


There are a number of ways for the subcontractor to develop a documented information flow. The best method is to establish a request for further information (RFI) system. In conjunction with the RFI file, coordination meetings with the prime contractor and the owner and other subcontractors on the job should be held on a weekly basis.


There are two kinds of change-orders: directed changes resulting from the owner's or the prime contractor's written or verbal directions, and constructive changes resulting from his inaction. There are, however, three elements of protection that a subcontractor must establish for all changes: that the change is caused by someone with the authority to change the subcontract or the prime contract; that the action or inaction is considered a change; and that if there is an unresolved disagreement as to scope, schedule, or cost, the work does not proceed or proceeds under protest.