This efficient recordkeeping system keeps all job-related paperwork in one place on site Without a way to organize the paperwork that tends to accumulate at the job site, it’s impossible to find what you need when you need it. On my first few jobs, the client’s name went on an overstuffed file folder that lived on the passenger seat of my truck, often till months after the job was complete. Like most tools, however, the paperwork got sharper with experience. These days I work as a project manager handling several jobs at any one time. To keep all the records straight, I use a separate, three-ring binder for each job. All paperwork relating directly to the construction process is organized into ten standardized sections, and the notebook stays on site where the crew and I – and the homeowners – use it every day. When the job is completed, the notebook goes onto a shelf in my office for quick reference. The ten sections can easily be modified to meet the unique requirements of any construction company or of a particular job, but I’ve deliberately designed the organizational scheme to follow the order of construction. The simplicity of the notebook increases the likelihood that it will be used, and to be effective it must be accessible and concise.

The forms I use for the job-site notebook are all readily available, either at stationery stores or by mail order. Here are the sources I use to build each notebook for as little as $10:

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