An investigation of the records kept by supervisors on construction sites
During the execution of a project constructed under the traditional contractual system, separate sets of site records are typically kept by each team of the two main parties on the construction site: the contractor, and the supervisor who looks after the client's interests. While the contractor's prime concern is to construct the project in accordance with the contract documents, one of the site supervisor's main functions is to keep a good record of what actually takes place during the construction process. Identifying the contractor's ability to complete the project on time, confirming that works are carried out correctly, and dealing with contractor's claims, are some instances where site records are likely to be used. It is therefore very important that the record-keeping system adopted by the supervising team provides detailed information in a readily-accessible format to ensure that facts can be established at any time during the construction period, or years later, when disputes may develop. This research programme studied the nature of existing site records kept by construction supervisors, to identify the types of records kept, the use made of them, and the problems and difficulties encountered in maintaining such records. It concentrated mainly on records of progress of construction works. The methodology adopted for undertaking this research, apart from reviewing the relevant literature, involved carrying out preliminary studies and conducting a national survey. The preliminary investigation comprised two studies as follows:• Studying site records kept on a project under construction. • Studying a set of site records kept on a completed project. The national survey, using mailed questionnaires, aimed at determining attitudes held and procedures currently adopted in the site record-keeping process in order that the present state of the art might be determined. The data gathered from the survey, in addition to resolving the research aims and objectives, has been used to investigate a number of assertions made regarding particular areas of construction supervisors' site records. The research findings revealed that the typical set of site records kept by construction supervisors is deficient in a number of respects. Various problems and difficulties relating to the procedures currently adopted by site staff have been identified which will typically affect the quality of these records and hence limit their value. If records are to be more useful, they must be more accessible and this suggests an increasing use of computers. With information held electronically in an organised system, the problems of accessibility should be reduced considerably. In addition to the general conclusions, a number of recommendations to improve site records have been made, including elements of quality procedures for record-keeping, and the potential use of an electronic diary software as a valuable tool for computerising one of the most important sources of site records.