Last week we blogged on documentation to support the amount of a construction lien. This, however, is just the tip of the documentation iceberg.  For those of you who have experienced construction litigation, you know the large number of documents involved in a case. And, perhaps you are familiar with the awkward feeling of not being able to locate fundamental documents, like the signed contract. A good documentation system will serve you well in litigation, but it must be easy to use, efficient, and effective.

It is important to make sure that your documentation system is easy to use. If the folks responsible for completing, collecting, storing and retrieving this documentation find it cumbersome, they are less likely to use it. And, while a piece of notebook paper may be easy for a contractor’s daily report, it will be difficult to file and ultimately retrieve. Instead, a clearly entitled form, with headings and plenty of writing space may be more beneficial.

Your documentation should also be efficient. Whatever documentation you ultimately decide to use, make sure it does not take too long to fill out. It may be beneficial to visit with your frontline supervisors or any other individuals that are completing the documentation to get their input on making the documentation more efficient. Again, if it takes too long to fill out, your employees may not fill it out or will fill it out half way.

Finally, the documentation should be effective. To be effective, you must make sure that your documentation is accurate, objective, complete, uniform and credible. Ultimately, if you rely on a number of the same reports, it will be much more credible if they are consistently completed and contain the same information. You may even need to train your employees on how to fill out the form consistently.

Good documentation can make or break your claim. Having documentation in place that is easy, efficient and effective will improve your chances of success. Are you pleased with your documentation system? Give me a call, I’d like to discuss what makes it successful.