The humble timesheet. A simple document. If used effectively, it can be a powerful primary record, but it’s often overlooked because it requires discipline and 10 minutes of your day!
The timesheet – at its most basic, is a piece of paper that records time. The time spent by skilled tradesmen such as bricklayers, joiners or electricians recording their daily construction activities such as laying bricks, installing roof trusses, or laying cables. At its most complex, it’s a powerful primary record of daily construction activities that will be hard to beat. The timesheet is a humble document. It should be quick and easy to fill out, but so often in construction, it’s overlooked and undervalued. Is it because it requires some daily discipline? Is it because it takes 10 minutes of your day to fill out? What if you had an app on your phone that allowed you to complete your timesheet instantly, and even add photos of what you were doing, and where, or what issues you faced? Would the timesheet still become a chore to fill in? Whatever the reasons, the industry still fails to grasp the importance of it and how useful it can be. By not respecting this humble document you may find yourself losing thousands, or indeed millions of pounds on financial entitlements, all because you cannot demonstrate the actual works done on a project.
Why write about timesheets?
You may have read that last paragraph and thought that sounds extreme; well it isn’t, I assure you. It stems from my recent involvement in a large and rather lengthy multi-million-pound construction dispute that was heading for litigation. The contractor got into difficulties in the latter stages of the project, resulting in temination of the contract – and the works left incomplete. The owner was left to finish the remaining works and in doing so, incurred substantial additional costs that it later tried to recover in litigation.