How to prepare good project reports?

This articale about how to create project reports gives you answers to the following questions:

  • Why is the daily report important for all your projects?
  • How do you prepare daily and other project reports?
  • What is a daily project report for?
  • What is the best method to prepare especially daily project reports?
  • What are the contents of the project reports?

Why is the daily project report important?

Depending on the project type and your role, you may be obliged to keep a construction diary in some countries.

A daily diary is used to document the construction supervision. All conditions on the construction site are regularly recorded in it. In this way, all processes during the construction phases can be traced. Should there be any construction defects after the completion of the new building, the construction diary can help to clarify and find those responsible.

It is usually managed by the architect or the independent construction manager in phase 8 of the fee schedule for architects and engineers (HOAI). Private builders, general contractors, or property developers, on the other hand, do not have to keep a construction diary, although with such a large investment as a real estate it makes sense to properly document the process of building a house. A separately commissioned expert can do this for you and, if you wish, keep a construction log and monitor the construction site.

The costs for a construction diary amount to 32 percent of the total architect fee, which makes the effort of construction supervision and recording of the processes on a construction site clear.

A general contractor does not have to adhere to the HOAI's service phases and is also not obliged to keep a construction diary.

How do you prepare daily and other project reports?

Are you one of those people for whom creating the daily project report is a burden?

This does not have to be the case and is possibly due to one of the following reasons:

  • The daily report is created manually, which is time-consuming. Don't be surprised how many project managers still use this method.
  • The contents are not clear and agreed upon.
  • The report is created in text form as an email.
  • The report is typed into a PDF or Word form.
  • The report is not read or taken note of.

If one or more of the points mentioned above sound familiar to you, then you should think about how you can correct this. If you are interested, you can try out my daily report file. With it you can create a project report every day in a very short time without much effort. Everything is clearly arranged and the complete report is easy to create. The best thing is that you can easily save it as a PDF and distribute it via email or cloud.

What is a daily project report for?

In many cases, the daily report is one of the most important documents that is regularly created in the course of a project.

As mentioned at the beginning, the daily construction report is mandatory for some construction project managers in many countries. The daily reports are compiled in the so-called construction diary, which describes the exact course of the project. A construction diary is used to document the building of a house. It should primarily record the completion of the construction phases and any deficiencies identified. Usually, the site manager or the commissioned architect keeps the construction diary.

What is the best method to prepare especially the daily project reports?

In many cases, the daily report is one of the most important documents that is regularly created in the course of a project.

As described above, there are different methods and it always depends on the scope and requirements, both on the legal side and on the part of the client. While special software is often used for large projects, you can still find handwritten diaries.

I am of the opinion that handwritten diaries should be phased out slowly, the purchase of software on the other hand can be expensive, as there are often monthly or annual recurring costs. At the same time, with a good template, you can create a report relatively quickly and easily. Based on my experience, however, I advise against individual files such as Word, as these are difficult to analyze if necessary.

What are the contents of the project reports?

While the form of the report is not specified, there is, however, precise information on the required content.

Contrary to what the term “diary” suggests, a construction diary only contains facts and data. Dreams or furnishing wishes that one has in the construction phase have no place in it. The construction log must be kept regularly. At best, it should be filled daily, but at least every time the architect or site manager visits the site. However, there is no legal requirement for this.

This are the necessary contents:

  • Information on the project and the client (single-family home of family A)
  • Date of entry
  • Information on general construction progress
  • Information on the current weather: especially if the weather could have an impact on the progress of construction, such as frost or storm
  • People on the construction site: Companies, workers, numbers
  • Information about equipment used and delivered materials
  • Records of construction defects, damage, malfunctions or deviations from the norm
  • Instructions
  • Acceptance records of completed construction sections or parts of construction sections
  • signatures

The complete construction documentation also includes other documents such as photos, as-built plans, test reports, datasheets, etc.

All this can be easily achieved with the daily project report template

The template is made in MS Excel and can be easily updated in Excel or OfficeLibre.

Fast and easy reporting

Who says report writing is boring and takes a lot of time? That can be true, depending on how you prepare your report. But it must not… With my template, however, you can do this quickly.

The template is created in MS Excel, this ensures that you have the necessary software on the computer.

Just like the report itself is divided into different sections such as weather, manpower, equipment, material, HSE, quality, planned vs. Actual progress, etc., the Excel file has a few different sheets. With a few mouse clicks and in no time, you can fill out the sheets, which contain short, clear, and simple tables.

In principle, you can even save these sheets in separate files, share them on Dropbox or the like, and certain team members then only fill out their sheets at the end of each working day.

When all tables are filled with data, you select the current date in the actual report and save the report as a PDF.

Finished!

Convert data into information

This is probably the greatest advantage of this daily report template.

During almost every project, there are certain claims at some point, or you are faced with a situation of having to defend yourself against a claim.

During almost every project, there are certain claims for extension of time and associated cost at some point, or you are faced with a situation of having to defend yourself against a claim. If you record every day what materials were delivered, what resources were available, what the weather was, etc., etc. then it should be easy to draw certain conclusions and compare them with one another.

This is a great advantage and a strength in Excel compared to reports that are created in a separate file every day.

Prepare today for tomorrow

Even in 2021, the reality is that reports are often written by hand or created in MS Word, then printed, signed, and scanned.

In addition, it happens again and again that different team members report different data. That shouldn't happen anymore today. If you now come into the situation to deal with a claim as described above, it can be very difficult.

On the contrary, if you have all the data in tables, then it is easy to generate diagrams from them and compare them, or filter and export data or make calculations automatically.

The Excel tables are your single source of truth and no further report is required that could make contradicting statements.

Optimize every aspect of your project

Leading a project doesn't just mean delivering a good product that meets customer needs. The process of how the project was implemented is also of great importance. Project documentation is always part of it. Daily reports are an integral part of this.

Be compliant with legal requirements

Preparing daily reports is a legal requirement in many countries. Even if not, at least your daily report will precisely record the history of the project and possibly protect you and your company from financial losses later.

The required content is simply entered in different tables every day, which enables the data collected to be used further. If all tables are updated, only the current date is entered on the actual report and the report automatically fills the individual fields.

Project Daily Report Template
Project Management Daily Report System

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Optimizing every area of your project!

Preparing daily reports is a legal requirement in many areas. Even if not, at least your daily report will precisely record the history of the project and possibly protect you and your company from financial losses later.

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