Punch List Items



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    Christopher Hopstock

    Hey Albert - congrats on being one exam away from licensure!!

    We just released a new CE course that covers this topic in detail, and we also have a number of quiz and practice exam questions that deal with this because it's not the most straightforward topic.  

    In understanding what can and can't go on the punch list, it's helpful to remember that:

    • The punch list is a list of items that need to be completed between substantial and final completion.
    • Substantial completion means a space is complete enough that the owner can occupy it for its intended use.

    Considering the above two facts, items on the punch list are items that need to be completed, but cannot affect the usability of the space.  The most classic example of an item that cannot be on the punch list is something that's required by code - think about egress doors, exit signs, etc.  The owner would legally not be allowed to occupy the space for its intended use without these items, so there's no question that they need to be complete before substantial completion.

    There's a bit of an art to other types of items - can a missing closet door be on the punch list?  I'd say if all of the 500 required closet doors on a multi-family project are missing, that's not a punch list item.  if 1/500 are missing, maybe it can be.

    Similarly, if there are a few walls that need touch-up paint throughout the project, that's a punch list item.  If a few walls are missing paint altogether, I'd say that should be completed before substantial completion.

    Good luck on your final exam!

    Chris Hopstock RA
    Black Spectacles
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    Albert Hong

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for the explanation.

    I would like to know if there is a good physical resource that goes into depth about this topic. The Construction and Evaluation course on Black Spectacles did not go into this topic very much, and I am not willing to reuse or recommend this resource to others when instructors "give the wrong answer to increase difficulty".

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    Kirill Ryadchenko

    Albert Hong
    I'm sorry that you didn't find Black Spectacles course useful. While their video lectures aren't the best source, their Mock Exam is an unparallel tool in preparing you for a real exam. The complexity of questions in Black Spectacle resources are very similar to that of the real exam, and train you to cut through irrelevant information analyze any significant background that gives you the context to pick the MOST CORRECT answer among all potentially right options. Those skills are the key to being successful on the actual exam. 
    While it is impossible to be 100% right especially in questions of architectural practice, Black Spectacles are open and straightforward about their errors in the material if you find discrepancies in their material. In the explanation for the test questions, they are always giving the reference to the document or a book, so you can look up the right answer and deeper background in the source. So by now, you should understand that nobody can be 100% correct. But your inquisitive approach and curiosity will lead you to the reference in the source.

    During my exam preparation, I consider Black Spectackle's mock exams to be the most helpful. I recommend it to all my colleagues on the licensing path as well.

    As to your main question about punch list items you can find the definition in AIA contracts specifically in G704, Architect's Handbook for Professional Practice, and CSI Construction Contract Guide Administration.

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    Sean Engle

    Hey Albert - 

    See this other thread regarding preparation of punch lists:


    Basically, what makes it into or is kept from the punch list is dictated by the relationship contained within the contract.  So while the vanilla version of that question is that the CG provides and the Architects adds to, in reality that question is open to interpretation, and any court would first go to the contract.

    That said, solution you're seeking is a multi-staged approach, wherein you first go to the contract, then walk backward to the other resources as cited by NCARB and the AIA to work your way down to the answer.

    In reality, if the owner found something objectionable, that item would go into punch list because "it's not over until it's over", and then sections of the contract might be triggered and you're off to court, etc.  Reality in the context of these exams does not matter however, only the proscribed path of logic as dictated by NCARB and the AIA does.

    I concur with you on Black Spectacles.  They are good for creating the exam environment and some amount recreation of issues on the exam (as they do provide citations for basis of answer).  Where they do not make it however, are in the upper reaches of responding to questions requiring multi-staged logic such as that you've asked. 

    To compare it to target shooting, they may teach you how to hold rifle and generally aim the rifle, but unless you learn how to correct your marksmanship issue (i.e. this multi-staged logic issue), you still miss the target.  And that unfortunately, is the very reason you're there in the first place.

    Good luck on finishing your exams - you'll get there!  =)


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