Can Deep Learning Improve Construction Snag Lists?

Can deep learning improve construction, and the overall reliability of snag lists? Here's how it could help improve the process.

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January 28, 2019
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Big data is changing the future of the construction industry in the United States. Many industry experts and data scientists have talked about some of the ways that big data has changed the industry. Rachel Berger has said that big data has played a role in everything from improving CAD designs to streamlining invoicing. However, there are other benefits of using big data that don’t get as much attention. One factor is the use of snag lists.

Deep Learning and the Use of Snag Lists in the Construction Industry

The construction industry is undergoing a number of changes. They are under a lot of pressure to identify defects that can cause problems, especially in light of some high profile incidents. You will need to make sure that you understand the role of snag lists moving forward. They need to develop snag lists, which are affected by big data. A government survey in 2017 indicated that 51% of housing projects were found to have major defects in them. And the problem is not just confined to the housing sector, as many publicly funded projects are suffering the same thing. These problems could have been avoided and addressed with a snag list. A snag list in construction is also known as a punch list simply put is a list of small minor tasks and items that need to be fixed before a construction project can be considered finished. A snag list usually occurs in phases: at the end of a construction project as well as six months to a year after because cracks and other faults often happen at the end of the drying out period. The purpose of a snag list in construction is basically a ‘defects liability period’ where mistakes can be seen and subsequently be fixed by the contractor. How this works is that most of the time the contractor will arrange a walkthrough with the client or his/her representative together with the architect to find out if there are things that need to be addressed. The construction project is considered done when the owner has affixed his signature the completed punch list. Big data has made it easier to keep track of snag lists. Companies can look at all kinds of records of different problems and offer solutions. Capterra has discussed some of the benefits of big data.

“Fuel consumption could be compared with benchmark figures to see if operators on site were using the machines efficiently, or if there were possible mechanical problems to be fixed. The big benefits of big data to the company included increasing productivity enough to finish the project a month ahead of schedule, and fixing potential problems before they became real ones. Because the data gathered also showed the company its real costs, it now uses this information to tune profitability and become even more competitive for following projects.”

What Is Inside a Snag List? Snag list items in construction are typically created before the final inspection, and follow the terms of the original contract. The contractor, together with the client makes a list of the things that have might installed incorrectly, damaged during the work, or items that are just incomplete. For all the items that are on the list, the contractor and the client will reach an agreement before they’ll consider the project complete. Usually, the contract will include a clause for the right to withhold the final balance until all the items have been repaired completely. A post-construction snag list varies depending on if you are doing commercial or residential construction. But, a snag list may include both exterior and interior issues or just focus on a single area. Some of the examples of typical punch list entries include broken items like a drywall or cracked walls, items fitted inaccurately like flooring, electrical and plumbing issues, as well as mechanical defects like thermostats, ductwork etc. Since no construction project will ever be perfect, contractors can make a difference between rational (minor mistakes that still fall within contract specifications) and big mistakes, and a punch list identifies these unreasonable flaws for correction. Zero Snag List The longer the snag list, the more disadvantageous it is from the contractor point of view because it eats up on the bottom line, and, the customer will not be happy as well with, so a good snag list is a zero snag list. And, while punch list is typical and respected by contractors, most want a zero-snag list because it saves time, stress and money along the way. There are a few things that can help builders accomplish this:

  1. Quality Control. Builders should set high standards from the beginning of the construction process, and this means including zero snag list as one of the goals in your planning. Builders should focus on strict quality control as well as implement a rolling punch list on every phase of the project to ensure quality checks.
  2. Clear Definitions in the Contract. Builders should make sure that the contract covers all the specifications so that the likelihood of any work not meeting standards or overlooked will be reduced. This can avoid any potential misunderstandings and lawsuits in the long run.
  3. Communication. Depending on what type of construction it is, communication may include owners, architects, subcontractors or other parties. It is very helpful to have clients updated and visit the site regularly during the building process to make sure that they see the process, and in this way, you can keep them informed which can go a long way in client satisfaction.

Snag List: The Importance of Documentation and Definition Snag list at the very least, provide a means of communication between parties and the contract administrator at the end of the construction works and facilitates an orderly transition between the creation of a building and its final use. However, the term snag list is loosely defined and can mean a lot of things from different people, so lawyers from The Thompson Reuters law office which specializes in Law construction suggests that to avoid any problems later on, a lawyer in charge of building a contract should address this issue by doing the following:

  • Don’t assume that everybody has the same meaning and understanding of the term “snag list” or its use in the contract.
  • If a snag list will be used in the project, it should be taken up with all the parties involved as well as the general contractor at an early stage. If a snag list will be used upon the end of the project, terms should be put in, expressing contract terms that deal with its effect.

Big Data is Essential for Creating Effective Snag Lists

There are a number of great benefits of big data in the construction industry. One of the most important is the use of defect lists to improve quality control, and deep learning can help make it happen.