Q&A with Jean: What’s a Punch List?

The construction punch list, explained by Sweeten founder and architect Jean Brownhill
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Sweeten’s Founder + CEO Answers Your Renovation Questions

Welcome to #3 in our series, designed to bring clarity to some of the mysteries of renovating and answer questions we hear on a daily basis! Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a serial renovator, each project brings with it a new set of circumstances and new queries, and Sweeten is here to be a source of knowledge and reassurance. Today, our question is about the punch list; if this topic interests you, I’d suggest checking out our downloadable renovation checklist which provides some guidance on mapping out your plans.

What is a construction punch list?

JEAN: The punch list is the roster of items that need to be done for the renovation to be complete. The vast majority of the work has been finished, but there are still details to be resolved; the list could go on forever, so it’s necessary for you to sit down and define the list for your general contractor. You have one shot to compile your punch list, and once it is done, the project is officially—boom—done! The best idea I’ve heard is from Stephen Fanuka from DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor. He advises clients to place a pad of paper in each renovated room and for two weeks, not to speak to their contractor. Make note of everything you see that needs fixing when you are living in the space and at the end of the two weeks, collect those pages and hand them to the contractor. That’s your punch list.

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Looking for more advice from Jean? Be sure to check out the second installment in this series, Q&A: Why is Renovating in New York City So Expensive?

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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