Documentation of the construction process can sometimes be very important, especially when many trades are involved in the construction. Why a construction site diary is useful, what details are recorded in it and how a construction diary template makes your work easier – this and more you will learn in this article.
Definition – What is a construction diary?
Basically, a construction diary is used to document in detail the process of creating a building in all its details. It is primarily intended to record the status of the construction project and, if necessary, identified defects and structural damage in an evidential manner.
Normally, the site manager or the appointed architect keeps the site diary. At the end of the construction process, the construction diary is an important part of the construction file: It can be used to trace what happened, when, who carried out what work and what impact special incidents had on the overall construction process. For example, a breakdown of a construction equipment or a subsequent change request may have led to a delay.
Good to know: The term construction diary is also used for the personal documentation of private builders during the construction of a home. In this form, it serves as an individual memento and often has little or no evidentiary value in legal disputes.
Beware of the risk of confusion – difference from the daily construction report
The construction diary – also called construction site diary – is often equated with the daily construction report or used synonymously. But the difference is serious:
- A construction diary is an ongoing, written document that records daily activities, progress, and problems on a construction project. It serves as proof of the work and is often an important element for later settlements and claims for damages.
- A daily construction report, on the other hand, is a daily written report of the work performed on a construction project. It contains information about the progress of the project, the tasks completed and any problems or delays. The construction daily report is usually shorter and more concise than the construction diary and is often used to determine costs and as a timesheet.
Is a construction diary mandatory?
The maintenance of a construction diary is obligatory for site managers and for architects who have been commissioned with the eighth service phase according to the HOAI.
Failure to maintain proper records may result in fee components being reduced or even eliminated. Prior to this, however, the client must grant the architect or the construction manager a statutory period of grace for subsequent performance.
If the client can prove that damage was caused to the object due to the lack of construction supervision, the client may sue for damages.
If the keeping of a construction site diary is not explicitly part of a contract, it is otherwise not obligatory for anyone, neither for builders nor for craftsmen and other executing companies.
Why is a construction diary so important?
The detailed documentation in the construction site diary is often seen as an annoying evil. But at the latest, when it comes to disputes, or in the worst case even to a legal dispute, a complete record is worth its weight in gold. This is because the construction diary has the potential to be considered as evidence in court.
Mit einer digitalen Zeiterfassung dokumentierst du alles korrekt.
It is also important to be able to reconstruct the course of the construction process if construction defects occur later. The construction diary can help to solve the case and find the person responsible. The precise records not only help you keep track of the progress of the construction, but you can also clearly document and track your progress step by step even weeks later.
If, on the other hand, important information is missing, this can lead in the event of a dispute to the construction manager being liable for warranty or the client reducing his fee.
How do I write a construction site diary?
Unlike the term diary suggests, only facts and data go into a construction diary. Dreams experienced during the construction phase therefore have no place in it.
While it is mandatory for architects and construction managers to create and maintain a construction site diary, nothing more definitive is specified about the form. Basically, it should contain all the information that may be of importance for the execution and billing of the order.
For this, you have both the option to keep it in writing in paper form or through special construction diary apps.
Important: The construction diary must be kept regularly – at best daily, but at least during each site visit. There are no legal requirements for this. The shorter the intervals between entries, the sooner construction defects and distortions can be identified and proactively remedied.
This information should be included in your construction diary
Following a decision by the Federal Court of Justice, a construction diary must explicitly document the respective status and progress of essential details in order to have reliable evidential value.
In order to successfully defend against possible claims for damages, the following aspects should generally be included in a construction site diary:
- Details of the construction object incl. Project number, name and time period
- Information about the client and date of entry
- Data about subcontractors, executing companies and trades
- Staff present: engineers, construction managers, owner, construction inspectors, etc.
- Used materials and building materials incl. quantities and installation conditions
- Used equipment and construction machinery incl. operating times and downtimes or malfunctions
- Information on the progress of construction
- Special incidents: Defects, construction damage, accidents, delays as well as malfunctions.
- Weather conditions
- Photo documentation of all construction stages as well as visible defects
- Agreed additional services, acceptance protocols and instructions
- Tests and measurements, documentation of cable and pipeline installations
- Data sheets, such as installation and operating instructions
- Protocols of meetings
To make sure you don’t forget anything, use our paper-based construction diary template or reach for our construction diary app.
In which form do I have to keep a construction diary?
Generally, it is only obligatory according to HOAI to keep a construction diary. However, there is no legal framework in which form the construction diary must be available. So you have the choice whether you prefer to keep your construction diary by hand or as a construction diary app.
In the past, construction diaries were mostly kept with pen and paper, but nowadays digital solutions offer many advantages, as you can read below.
Paper based construction diary templates
Many construction companies still keep their site diary by hand on paper. To make sure you don’t forget any important information, samples like our Word template will help you.
Digital construction diary templates
It’s even more helpful if you use templates that are provided to you through a construction diary app. Unlike analog documentation, these types of construction manager apps have a few more advantages:
- Location-independence: All data is available everywhere in real time. Synchronization happens as soon as network is available.
- Standardized input: Due to the standardized input, all employees record identically, thus there are no misunderstandings and fewer queries.
- Voice input: Data can be conveniently entered by voice – no more tedious typing.
- Clarity: A clear layout reflects the construction project day by day. The company logo can be easily added – also for the print version. Individual adjustments are possible. The printout is valid without signature.
- Auto-complete function: Previously entered texts can be copied and also reused as often as desired using the auto-complete function.
Get started now with our construction diary template
Whether analog with pen and paper or digital, a construction diary is mandatory for site managers and architects in charge of construction. To ensure that no information is lost, we recommend that you download our paper-based construction diary template as a Word file below. Or you can go straight to our construction diary app.