A carefully designed snag list is a prerequisite for successful defect management in the public sector construction industry. We therefore provide you with a free MS Excel template, which you can fill in and adapt according to your individual needs. Simply fill out the form at the end of the article to receive the free Excel Snag List template. This spreadsheet will save you time, give you a better overview and ensure that no important points are forgotten when it comes to documenting and fixing snags.

Snags are an unavoidable part of the construction industry. The risk of snags cannot always be avoided, even in the public sector construction industry. With a well-functioning construction management, the risk of snags may be reduced, but it cannot be completely eliminated. The public sector construction industry is no exception. This part of the construction industry is concerned with the construction of public buildings such as hospitals, sanitation facilities, public transport, etc. In order to continue to receive public contracts, it is particularly important for companies in the public sector construction industry to detect, document and professionally rectify snags before the building is handed over. A professional snagging list is essential in this process. In this article, you will learn about the challenges the public sector construction industry faces, how the risk of snags can be prevented, who uses a snagging list and what such a list should contain.

What information should snag lists for public sector construction contain?

Professionally prepared and managed snagging lists are an absolute necessity in the management of snags in the public sector construction industry and in the construction industry as a whole. If you want to create or complete a list of defects, it is therefore important that all the necessary content is present. Depending on the type of project, the lists may differ from one another. 

Using a snagging list, the building is checked for defects a few days or weeks before it is handed over to the client. Any flaws are documented and rectified before the handover. Depending on the building, the handover to the authorities in the public sector construction industry in the United Kingdom takes place in one or in several steps; in the case of small buildings, the building is accepted as a whole at one time. On larger projects, on the other hand, individual sections of the building are usually handed over one by one. If there are several inspections, there must also be several lists of defects for the corresponding section. In smaller projects, however, only one list is usually used. 

Below, you will learn what a snagging list should contain:

Numbering of the snag

It is important to mark the snag properly so that there is no confusion and that the snag can be easily retrieved in documents and in computer systems. This labelling can take the form of a number or a corresponding code. If you are using construction software, categorizing the snag will be easier. The snagging list must necessarily have the corresponding number of the defect, so it is clear to all parties involved which defect it is about.

Designation of the task

The snagging list must describe exactly which kind of snag it is and what needs to be done to correct the snag. The entries listed are individually dependent on the defect. If, for example, an incorrect door was installed, it must be replaced. If a wall has not been painted, this must be done. To avoid misunderstandings and ambiguities, it is advisable to be as precise as possible in the description.

Responsibility for the correction

Who is responsible for the defect, or who must carry out the work necessary to repair the snag? This too belongs on a professional snagging list. If the list is kept in analogue form, do not forget to send a copy of the list to the person in charge. Only if the person has all the necessary information can he or she be sure to fix the defect as desired.

Description of the snag

The actual description of the individual defects is the core of every snagging list, both for individual inspections and for inspections in stages. At this point, it is crucial to describe the defect in as much detail as possible: How does the actual state deviate from the target state? Where exactly is the problem? Is there anything that needs to be taken into account? In addition, if possible, pictures, videos or sketches should be taken to graphically document the defect.

Notes

Not every deficiency requires additional notes to be written. However, every snagging list should offer the inspector the possibility to add notes if necessary. This is where things are entered that cannot be assigned to any other section of the list, such as additional comments, special notes, precautions, guidance etc.

Who uses snag lists in public sector construction?

In the public sector construction industry, the inspection for defects is carried out by the contractor and, if necessary, by subcontractors before the building is handed over to the client. Usually, it is appropriately trained construction experts or specialists and persons responsible for the respective construction sectors who carry out the inspection. In order to be able to conduct the inspection, they need a snagging list that allows them to proceed systematically, to document the deficiencies and to define responsibilities for their rectification.

In addition to the companies, the public authorities in England also use their own lists to check the building for snags during the building inspection. Some authorities employ their own experts for this purpose, while others hire external construction experts to carry out the inspection on their behalf. The aim of the construction companies in the public sector construction industry is to discover and rectify any snags before the client inspects the construction site. If defects are still found at the time of acceptance, the authority will in most cases not sign the construction acceptance protocol and demand a correction of the snag.

What can builders do to maintain a high building quality? 

Defects do not occur without reason. In some cases, snags in public construction are the result of malicious construction botches. In most cases, however, it is an oversight, such as misunderstandings, insufficiently trained personnel or sloppy mistakes that lead to snags. Nevertheless, the contractor is responsible for the quality of the project. So, what can be done to ensure good construction quality?

Sufficient planning

Sound and careful planning is the be-all and end-all for a smooth construction project. With the planning, the companies lay the foundation for the following construction phases. Those who invest enough time, money and effort into the planning stage can identify and eliminate possible sources of error in advance. In this way, the risk of snags gets drastically reduced in advance. The key here is to involve all stakeholders in the planning process, clearly allocate responsibilities, and ensure that the client’s ideas are made clear.

Effective defect management

At the end of the day, it is still people who work on the construction site, and where people work, mistakes happen. Certain defects cannot be avoided. Instead of apportioning blame, what matters is to analyse the snag in order to learn from it. Efficient defect management ensures that the construction defects that have arisen in spite of everything are discovered, documented and properly resolved before the building is handed over to the client. This is where the snagging list comes in. A functioning defect management with a professional snagging list is therefore one of the most effective weapons in the fight against undetected snags.

Targeting limited resources

In today’s world, resources such as raw materials, building materials, labour and energy are limited. When companies in the public sector construction industry have to work with limited resources, the risk of construction snags tends to increase. For this reason, it is vital not to waste the limited resources and to use them in the most targeted and effective way possible. Here, construction software such as PlanRadar can help to work more efficiently, more expeditiously and with less strain on resources.

Realistic prices and deadlines

Price pressure and tight deadlines can lead to sloppy work, which may result in snags. In the public sector construction industry, it is particularly important to be more competitive and perform ahead of the competition to win public contracts. However, companies in the public sector construction industry should try not to undercut themselves with unrealistic deadlines and prices, which subsequently cannot be met and will lead to snags.

Communication with the client

Communication is the key to a successful construction project. It is always important that the client knows where you stand and vice versa. Therefore, in the public sector construction industry, companies must proactively seek communication with the client in order to avoid ambiguities and misunderstandings.

What are the common challenges when it comes to public sector construction?

Construction companies are primarily responsible for the quality of their projects. However, it should not be forgotten that companies in the public sector construction industry have to deal with numerous challenges that can lead to the emergence of snags. It is rarely a single challenge that causes snags, but rather a mixture of different impacts. In the following, we present two of these challenges that the public sector construction industry is currently facing.

Inflation

One issue that is affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives currently is the record high inflation in the UK. While inflation seems to be stabilizing somewhat at the moment, the storm is not over yet. Industries around the world have been hit by inflation. It is therefore not surprising that the high prices also have an immediate effect on the public sector construction industry. Since the construction industry, as a second sector industry, is dependent on large amounts of raw materials, energy and labour, it is hit particularly hard by the inflation. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out almost two years ago, problems in the supply chain led to shortages of some building materials, which led to a sharp rise in prices. Moreover, with the Covid aid, more money was put into circulation. While the amount of money in circulation increased, the supply of goods and services remained the same or even decreased somewhat. Thus, the perfect starting position for monetary depreciation was created.

With the war in Ukraine, the situation went from the frying pan into the fire; energy prices went straight up through the roof, driving up transport and operating costs. The production of building materials also went up in price, while at the same time building materials and raw materials from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus failed to arrive. Furthermore, inflation led to an increase in labour costs. Consequently, construction became more expensive, which is putting pressure on companies in the public sector construction industry.

Adoption of technology

Digitization has revolutionized entire sectors of the economy in the last two to three decades. Numerous developments and countless innovations have emerged in the construction Industry. Compared to other industries, however, the implementation of new technologies in the public sector construction industry is progressing very slowly. In order to tackle the problems of the current time, though, it is unavoidable to approach new technologies. To a certain extent, this is already happening in the form of construction software, drones, 3D printing etc. Yet, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Public sector construction snagging list template: Conclusion

Construction defects cannot be avoided. However, there are numerous ways in which companies in the public sector construction industry can reduce the risk of defects remaining undiscovered until handover to the customer. One of these possibilities is professional defect management with a snagging list. Here you can download a free template of a snagging list.