7 Tips for Better Construction Daily Reports & Daily Logs

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Documentation is required in any project, but even more so when it comes to construction project management. Construction projects demand regular and detailed reporting during execution so you can review and analyze your progress. This data is delivered in the form of a construction daily report.

The construction daily report is usually handled by the site manager and will be repeatedly created and delivered over the course of a project. It’s an important aspect of construction project management so you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it correctly!

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What Is a Construction Daily Report?

A construction daily report is a log that lists the events that occurred during a work day on a construction site. This includes the weather conditions, material inventories and work performed, among other details. There are several reasons why a general contractor, construction project manager or even a project owner would need a construction daily report.

This construction report must collect pertinent information about the job site—from the weather conditions to a list of visitors that day at the site. It’s a complete record of the day’s work that provides a log of everything that has transpired.

What Is the Purpose of a Construction Daily Report?

As you can imagine, the construction daily report is essential to getting work started quickly and accurately for the next day. It lets subcontractors know where their tasks left off and if they have the equipment and supplies necessary to continue the next day. This is critical for keeping your construction project on schedule.

Additionally, a construction daily log protects workers and managers on the site. If there’s a delay, for example, that is captured in the report and explained. That paper trail prevents blame from falling on an undeserving party. This is important if there are any legal issues, as you have a record to support your defense.

Better Reporting for Practical Results

Keeping a record of the day’s events offers insight into what’s going on in the project and allows you to tweak resources to get things done more effectively. Construction sites are complex with many activities taking place at once. Reporting keeps everyone aware of what’s going on so workers and subcontractors can do their jobs without getting in the way of others.

Finally, the daily report also communicates the status of the project, so it updates those with a vested interest in the construction and keeps them informed.

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How to Create a Construction Daily Report

Creating a construction daily log can seem intimidating. There is so much to cover and you don’t want to overlook anything that might be crucial to proper documentation. But daily reports have been a normal staple of construction sites for almost as long as there have been construction sites so there’s a roadmap you can follow.

1. Log General Information About Your Project

The first step is to create a cover page or include general information about the project at the top of your construction daily report.

2. Log in the Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can greatly affect construction projects. This means that your daily log must have a place where you can log the weather conditions for the day.

3. Create a Crew List

An important step when making a construction daily log is to list the crew members that were at the job site and log their hours worked.

4. Document Work Accomplished

The work accomplished by the crew must be documented in the daily construction report. It’s important to include a status for each task such as to-do, doing and done. This will help you better track the progress of your team.

5. Track Your Equipment on Site

Just as with your crew, you need to keep track of your equipment. Your construction daily report should list the equipment that was used on the job site and the hours for which it was employed. This is important for resource management purposes as well as maintenance and security.

6. Track Your Construction Materials

Keeping track of construction materials such as wood, paint, concrete or glass is very important. As a construction site manager, you’ll need to do two things to track materials with a construction daily report. First, you must check your inventories and list the material type and quantity that are available.

Secondly, you need to document any delivery of materials that occurred during the day. If a scheduled delivery of materials doesn’t occur, you’ll need to document that in your daily log.

7. Document Delaying Events

There are several events that can cause a construction project to be delayed. Some common delaying events are poor weather conditions, equipment malfunctions or a failed delivery of materials.

8. Document Accidents, Incidents & Other Events

Unfortunately, construction projects are prone to incidents, accidents and other unplanned events. It’s important that you document everything that occurs on your job site and take any necessary actions promptly.

9. Track Your Meetings

As a site manager, it’s important to keep track of any meetings that occur on the job site. Any meetings that occur outside shouldn’t be included in your daily construction daily report.

10. Keep Track of Site Visitors

Every daily construction report should document any visitors who were at the construction site. This is important for compliance reasons, as it’s a safety requirement for all construction projects.

11. Signatures

Whoever is in charge of preparing the daily construction report must sign the document. This is the last step that formalizes the document and holds the preparer accountable for any mistakes or omissions.

Construction Daily Report Template

Since the report is daily, it’s good to have a template with all the information you need to capture already built-in. This way all the vital data is already laid out and you just have to fill in the details. ProjectManager has dozens of free project management templates, including a construction daily report that you can download and customize as needed.

Construction Daily Report Excel TemplateConstruction Daily Report Excel Template

Best Practices When Keeping a Construction Daily Log

As useful as a construction daily report is, creating one is not without its challenges. The first thing is to be consistent. Don’t complete a daily report every other day as it loses its purpose. These daily reports are named for a reason and need to be filled out at the end of every workday.

Keep good records, too, because taking the time and effort to fill out a daily report is wasted if you can’t find it when you need it. Make it part of the process to file away the work. Keeping good records is critical for any project, especially in construction, which is another reason to look into project management software that can store your digital files.

7 Tips to Make Better Construction Daily Reports

To make the best construction daily log possible, here are some tips to apply when going through the process.

  1. Be detailed: Find the right balance. It shouldn’t be too broad to make the daily report unusable, but you should also know when to go into detail such as when there’s a stoppage or incident.
  2. Be timely: The reports need to be filed as early as possible. If you wait until the next morning to fill out the daily report for the previous day, much of the detail will be lost.
  3. Be simple: While you need to be detailed in your reporting, it should also be clear and concise. Many people will read this and you don’t want to lose them in jargon.
  4. Be open to input: As the site manager (a position not privy to everything that has occurred on the worksite) usually fills these out, it’s good to be open to participation from the crew. Even a brief chat before they leave can help you fill in the report more accurately.
  5. Be transparent: The daily report is a communication tool and should deliver information to a wide variety of project team members to identify any problems and to keep a record of progress.
  6. Be compliant: The daily report is a good way to make sure you’re meeting the standards outlined in the construction contract. Take the necessary steps each day to make sure you’re in compliance with your contract, code and other regulations.
  7. Be efficient: The best way to save time and money is by incorporating your daily reports into a larger construction project management software. With this tool, you’ll file reports faster and be able to use that data when managing your plan and schedule.

Construction Project Management Templates

Managing construction projects can be very complex. That’s why we’ve created free construction project management templates you can use to help you plan, schedule and track your construction projects. Here are some of them.

Work Order Template

Our free work order template helps project owners and contractors reach an agreement on the construction work to be performed and the amount that will be paid for it.

Construction Schedule Template

Having a well-planned schedule is key to success in the construction industry. Our construction schedule template allows you to set due dates, assign tasks to team members, set task dependencies and much more.

Punch List Template

Our free punch list template is ideal to track tasks that are left uncompleted as teams get close to project completion. It’s a great tool for construction project managers, site managers and anyone who wants to make sure no work is left behind at the final stages of the construction project.

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How ProjectManager Creates Construction Daily Reports

ProjectManager is an award-winning project management software that reports in real time and organizes your tasks to keep you on track. If you’re looking to get rid of the paper construction daily report and move to a dynamic software tool that can let you better manage and report on your construction project, then you need project management software.

Create Reports in Seconds

Much of what you have to track on the construction daily log can be generated with one click of your keyboard with our reporting feature. The project status report gives you an overview of the health of your whole project and tasks. You can see which tasks are overdue. Other reports include the project plan, tasks, timesheets, availability of your crew, their workload and the project variance to see if your actual progress is aligned with your schedule.

filter a status report to get the information you wantfilter a status report to get the information you want

Maintain a High-Level View

You can get an instant status report by using our real-time dashboard. The dashboard collects data from your team’s status updates and automatically calculates that information and displays it in easy-to-read charts and graphs. Anytime you need to see if you’re on schedule or keeping to your budget, it’s available immediately.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-timedashboard showing project metrics in real-time

ProjectManager is a project management tool that organizes tasks, teams and projects with real-time reporting tools, so you always know where you are and what you’re spending on your project. Join the tens of thousands of teams and organizations that use our tool to run successful projects. Take our free 30-day trial today.

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Resource Leveling 101: Master This PM Technique

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

There’s a limited amount of time and resources for every project. As projects unfold, you may encounter challenges and unexpected events that force you to rethink your resource allocation and make changes to your project schedule. Resource leveling can help you effectively redistribute your resources to use them in the most efficient manner so you can achieve more in less time.

What Is Resource Leveling?

Resource leveling is a resource management technique that involves balancing available resources and schedules to complete projects on time. In any given project, you’ll work with limited resources that need to be used simultaneously to complete tasks within a timeline. The primary goal of resource leveling is to schedule project tasks. This is done by considering resource availability and task dependencies so that you don’t overallocate your team members and none of your activities are blocked by a lack of resources.

ProjectManager is online project management software that’s equipped with planning, scheduling and resource management tools such as Gantt charts, workload dashboards and timesheets. Our Gantt charts are ideal for resource leveling, filtering for the critical path and tracking resources in real time. Get started for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart with the critical path popupProjectManager's Gantt chart with the critical path popup
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Resource leveling always involves a trade-off between two project constraints: time and resources. If you have a limited amount of time, you’ll need to add extra resources in order to complete more tasks in less time. In the opposite case, if you have limited resources, you’ll need to extend the project schedule to complete all tasks within a timeline that’s feasible for your team.

However, resource leveling goes beyond these two simple scenarios. Resource leveling is also used as part of project management methods such as the critical path method (CPM), critical chain management, project crashing and fast-tracking.

When to Use Resource Leveling

Let’s take a look at the most common uses for resource leveling in project management and how it helps project managers better plan, schedule and execute projects.

Critical Path Method

The critical path method is a visual project scheduling technique that allows project managers to map out all the project tasks on a diagram that shows their start and end dates, duration and dependencies, among other details.

This information is used to identify the project’s critical path, which is the sequence of activities that take the most time to be completed. These activities should be managed closely because if they’re delayed, the whole project timeline is delayed.

That’s when resource leveling comes in. Once the critical path is identified, project managers need to make sure that they allocate the right amount of resources for those tasks during the planning stage. Then, once the project execution begins, they might need to ask for more resources or reallocate available resources to make sure those critical path tasks are completed on time.

Critical Chain Management

The critical chain method is almost identical to CPM but focuses on resources. While CPM identifies the longest sequence of tasks in terms of length, the critical chain method identifies sequences of resource dependencies, where a resource can only be allocated to one task at a time.

When scheduling projects with these methods, project managers can better map out their resource allocation and determine whether they have enough resources to execute their project scope, or whether they should reconsider their project schedule.

Fast-Tracking

Fast-tracking is a schedule compression technique that consists in reducing the time that it takes to complete a project by executing tasks simultaneously instead of sequentially. Fast-tracking is a good choice whenever there’s a risk of a project running behind schedule, but there are available resources.

In this case, project managers simply need to make changes to the project schedule and reallocate resources so that project activities are completed faster.

Project Crashing

Project crashing consists in allocating additional resources for the completion of a task for faster execution. Project managers use this method to make sure projects are completed on time, at the expense of higher costs. Resource leveling is the core of this schedule compression technique, as the overall project timeline is reduced by allocating extra resources.

Resource Leveling Examples

To better understand how resource leveling works, let’s take a look at a real-life scenario. Let’s imagine you’re managing a construction project and weather conditions delay your project completion date by weeks. There’s work that needs to be redone, and your project team is behind schedule in terms of task execution. How can you complete this project on time? What can you do if there aren’t enough resources? What can you do if there’s no more time? Based on this scenario, let’s take a look at two resource-leveling examples.

Example 1: Resource Leveling with Limited Time

When a construction project must be completed by a due date, you’ll need to ask for more resources and try fast-tracking or project crashing. If you decide to fast-track your project, you’ll need to identify task dependencies to determine which tasks can be executed simultaneously and which can’t.

For example, you can’t begin with roofing activities without building the walls first. On the other hand, you can fast-track activities that don’t depend on each other such as masonry, plumbing and electrical work.

If you choose project crashing, you’ll simply need to estimate what project resources are needed for each task, and allocate additional resources so that those tasks can be completed faster.

Example 2: Resource Leveling with Limited Resources

If it’s not possible to ask for extra resources, you’ll need to extend your project schedule in order to complete all the work required to complete your construction project with the available resources at hand.

Why Is Resource Leveling Important?

Resource leveling is ultimately the stopgap to an emerging problem. If that fails, the results could mean a delayed project, missing out on resources as they get shuffled to other departments, and costing your company money.

Problems due to poor resource leveling could have a domino effect. Suppliers could be delayed, factories could be unavailable, shipments could be missed, production could be offset and forced into a time crunch, and leadership could be impacted by the disruption to their bottom line.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Resource Management

At its core, resource leveling is a crisis management method. Dealing with compounding conflicts? Resource leveling untangles them. However, it usually does that at the expense of one of the triple constraints of project management—cost, scope, or time. So even at the outset, the risk of error is high, and minor mishaps are baked into the process.

Because this process juggles resources between projects, it has the potential to make things much more complicated than they would have been at the project outset. That’s why it’s important to have a mechanism in place to track your project’s timeline and milestones so you never miss a beat.

How ProjectManager Can Help with Resource Leveling

As previously mentioned, with an online platform like ProjectManager, you can access project management tools to schedule resources, balance workloads and reassign tasks. Know which activities are dedicated to whom, when they’re due and how much they cost. Get the visibility you need to accurately track your resources for informed decision-making by signing up for our award-winning project management software.

ProjectManager's workload chartProjectManager's workload chart

Resource leveling will help you solve project roadblocks as they happen. With online project management software like ProjectManager, get the tools you need to track your resources effectively from the outset. Enjoy our free 30-day trial, where you can access our interactive Gantt chart and get visibility into the workload of your entire team.

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Microsoft Planner: Pros, Cons and Alternatives

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

In the world of planning, there’s no shortage of software offerings that allow you to plan and execute your project. Microsoft Planner in particular, which is included in the Microsoft 365 platform, is a major player in the project planning and task management software space.

Microsoft Planner is a tool that helps you gather the elements of your project and create a project plan with a beginning, middle and end. MS Planner is part of a suite of tools that Microsoft offers to project managers and their teams.

But is Microsoft Planner the right software for your needs compared to Microsoft Project, another Microsoft project management tool—or should you perhaps look elsewhere, like a Microsoft Project alternative?

Before making any decisions on what tool to use when managing your next project, let’s take a closer look at what works and what doesn’t with Microsoft Planner.

What Is Microsoft Planner?

Microsoft Planner is a task management software that’s equipped with kanban boards and to-do lists. Microsoft Planner is part of the Microsoft 365 platform and serves as a to-do list app rather than a legitimate project planning software due to its lack of project management features. The Microsoft Planner interface makes use of task cards in a kanban board interface. It’s a lightweight app that can be used on both mobile devices and desktop computers.

For a truly complete project management experience, you need software that offers multiple task management tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and calendars that are easy to use and don’t cost an arm and a leg. ProjectManager has these and other features to help you plan, schedule and track your projects.

Kanban board in ProjectManagerKanban board in ProjectManager
ProjectManager’s kanban boards are a great alternative to Microsoft Planner. Learn more

What Is Microsoft Planner Used For?

Looking at it from a project management angle, Microsoft Planner’s kanban boards can help project managers and their teams make plans and assign tasks. Plus, there’s a chat feature to foster collaboration as well as basic task tracking charts that show progress.

Think of it as a way to organize your team and tasks, similar to apps such as Slack and Trello. Microsoft has positioned this task management tool for more casual users who have personal projects to execute. For professional project managers, MS Planner can be seen as a gateway app into Microsoft Project, Teams and Sharepoint.

Related: How to Run Microsoft Project for Mac

Microsoft Planner Features

Individuals and teams are using MS Planner to get visibility into their projects, stay updated on approaching deadlines and group and filter their tasks. These are only some of the features available—let’s take a quick tour of what else makes up Microsoft Planner.

  • Kanban boards: Kanban boards are a visual task management tool that let you assign work, track task completion and reduce lead time by using boards, cards and columns.
  • To-do lists: Simple task lists can be used to prioritize work and enter task information.
  • Schedule view: The schedule view allows users to view all their tasks on a calendar.
  • Group and filter tasks: Filter your tasks by deadline and see what work is coming due soon.
  • Collaborative task management: My Tasks shows all your tasks, and team members can comment and attach files on the task in Outlook, Outlook Groups, Teams and more.
  • Assign a task to several team members: Unlike some other task management tools, you can assign tasks to more than one person.
  • Give users access to the tool: If you’re working on a project and want to bring in a vendor, contractor or stakeholder to see what’s going on, you can add external access.
  • Import Microsoft Planner into Outlook: You can put your Microsoft Planner into your Outlook through the iCalendar feed, which helps facilitate scheduling and time management.
  • Get email notifications: There are also email notifications that keep users on track by alerting them of coming deadlines.

All combined, these task tracking features are helpful in planning and executing the project, though they don’t offer the level of control project managers need to deal with resources, budget and more.

How Much Does Microsoft Planner Cost?

As mentioned above, Microsoft Planner can be acquired through paid subscriptions, as part of the Microsoft 365 platform. MS 365 is a premium grouping of its Office applications, cloud storage, advanced security and more. It works across multiple devices at the same time, whether Windows, macOS, iOS or Android.

There is a 30-day free trial you can take to kick the tires, but if you’re interested in using the business-level subscription, there are several tiers.

Microsoft Planner Plans and Pricing

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $6 user/month with an annual commitment, includes Microsoft Teams, storage and the Office suite of products only accessible online.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50 user/month with an annual commitment, has the above, business email and premium Office applications across devices.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $22 user/month with an annual commitment, includes the above and greater security against cyber-threat and device management.
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business: $8.25 user/month with an annual commitment, includes file storage on the cloud and Office apps, but no Teams or business email.

Microsoft Planner is available on all enterprise plans, education plans, business essentials and the business premium Microsoft 365 plans.

Pros and Cons of Using Microsoft Planner

While Microsoft Planner is a suitable task management tool for simple projects, it has some massive drawbacks when it comes to project management. When you compare it to other project management software, problems arise. Here are some of the pros and cons of Microsoft Planner.

Pros of Microsoft Planner

  • You can get started quickly thanks to an easy-to-use kanban board interface. It makes onboarding your team simple.
  • Email notifications in the Microsoft planner app let you stay on top of your task list and ensure you’re never surprised by unexpected deadlines.
  • All the information you need to complete, manage and collaborate on your tasks is in one place, with a kanban card window, checklist, labels and comments.
  • The project calendar view lets you set deadlines how you want.
  • You can generate reports on tasks, progress and more to stay on schedule with the Planner Hub.
  • See all of your team’s assignments to better manage their workload and stay updated on their progress.
  • Get a unique Outlook email for communications with each plan and better organize your project work.
  • The Microsoft planner app fully integrates with Office 365.

Cons of Microsoft Planner

  • The absence of a Gantt chart makes it impossible to link dependent tasks, set milestones and view all your tasks chronologically on a timeline.
  • There is no way to set recurring tasks, which adds busy work and slows you down.
  • There is no risk management feature, which makes it challenging to identify and manage any issues that might arise.
  • There is no time tracking, which makes it difficult to stay on schedule and monitor your team’s progress.
  • The lack of in-app notifications means you have to leave the tool to get updates, which takes you away from your work.
  • There is no access to dashboards outside of the project team, which takes away a valuable tool when updating stakeholders.
  • There aren’t multiple checklists per task on the kanban board view.
  • There is no way to see team workload and reallocate data from the same page.
  • The lack of portfolio management, portfolio roadmaps or dashboards means you can manage only one project at a time.
  • There’s no way to check team availability, making it more difficult to assign tasks because managers don’t know who’s free.

Microsoft Planner Alternatives

Here are three common alternatives for users who are looking for a more robust project management software than Microsoft Planner.

1. ProjectManager: The Best MS Planner Alternative

If you’re looking for software like Microsoft Planner but want more features and more robust project management tools, try ProjectManager. It offers all of the same functionality as Microsoft Planner with the added bonus of robust project management features.

A screenshot of a kanban board in ProjectManager, an alternative to Microsoft PlannerA screenshot of a kanban board in ProjectManager, an alternative to Microsoft Planner

More Planning & Scheduling Features

It’s like taking the powerful kanban board from Microsoft Planner and adding in Gantt charts, real-time dashboards and powerful collaborative tools for a complete project management experience. ProjectManager is online software so progress is updated in real time. It even supports large remote teams at a better price.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart

With an easy-to-use, user-friendly interface, there’s no training required. Business and Enterprise plans have onboarding fees included in the listed price. You can get your team up and running fast! Plus, you’ll have access to a top-notch customer support team to help.

2. Microsoft Project

Unlike Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project allows you to plan, schedule and monitor your projects with multiple project views such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and calendars.

Microsoft Project used to be the most common choice for project managers for years. However, Microsoft Project has drawbacks that haven’t improved over time. For example, this project management software is notoriously hard to use, isn’t compatible with Mac computers, and can be expensive.

3. Project Online

Project Online, also a Microsoft product, is a good choice for those who want to manage their projects online without the steep learning curve of the traditional versions of Microsoft Project. This project management tool has the advantages of online software, but just like Microsoft Project, can be expensive.

A disadvantage of Project Online is that users need to choose between pricing tiers which limits their alternatives. On top of that, they need other Microsoft products to use all the features Project Online has to offer.

Microsoft Planner FAQ

Choosing the right task management tool to manage your team’s work is an important decision for a project manager or team leader. Here are some Microsoft Planner FAQs to learn more about this software.

Is Microsoft Planner Free?

Microsoft Planner is not free. It’s part of the Microsoft 365 platform and it’s available for business, education and enterprise subscriptions.

Is Microsoft Planner the same as Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project sound similar but are two different things. Microsoft Planner focuses on task management and planning while Microsoft Project offers a wider range of project management features.

Is Microsoft Planner a Project Management Tool?

Microsoft Planner is a basic project management tool that relies on kanban boards and to-do lists to manage work. That simplicity might be a good fit for beginner project managers, but it lacks the features to be considered a robust project management software.

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There’s so much more ProjectManager can do for you when planning a project big or small. It’s easy to use and powerful, with tools that manage one project, a program or even a portfolio of projects. Get started today planning your next project on ProjectManager by taking this free 30-day trial.

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