How to develop construction checklists

Posted by Compass Group on Feb 16, 2022

Construction checklists are a must-have for an organized workflow and effective project management.

A checklist.Checklists are a critical quality-control tool. They are a way to break large projects into actionable tasks while serving as a reference for making sure things get done on time. They can, and should, be used for the management of all aspects of a construction project. The most common construction checklists are for items or activities related to:


  • General safety
  • Equipment
  • Quality and Certification
  • Pre-Work
  • Quality

Studies show that, on average, nationwide construction projects go over budget by at least 16%. Large projects typically take 20% more time than scheduled to complete. An optimized checklist should be thorough and organized to help prevent human errors that cause projects to go over time and over budget. Laying out individual responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations is also key in preventing confusion and supporting a healthy work environment.

Here are some important things to consider when making construction checklists for your team:

  1. Arrange the content in an order easily understandable to the people using it. For example, time-bound activities would make the most sense paired with a checklist in chronological order.

  2. Set baselines for budget, timeline, and scope — while allocating some wiggle room for mistakes. But if you’re thorough enough, you should be able to use your checklist to spot potential risks.   

  3. Outline major deliverables, then list the tasks (and maybe even subtasks) for each. Include estimates of the time it will take to complete each task. 

  4. Identify key resources and any resource constraints, like budgets or supply chain issues. Resources also include people on the team. 

  5. Go digital to increase efficiency. This allows multiple people to view a checklist at once and see changes made in real time.

All checklists should be tailored to the specific team using them. But if you need inspiration, there are hundreds of construction templates available online.

Topics: construction documents