The principal records that have to be kept in this category are:
• the inspectors’ daily returns;
• the site diary and weather records;
• the RE’s diary;
• weekly and monthly progress records;
• progress charts (these are dealt with in Chapter 14).
The inspectors’ daily returns are a vital record. If no inspectors are employed, then each assistant engineer should complete a data form for his own section. If the RE is on his own he should endeavour to keep the necessary log going himself. A typical inspector’s return is shown in Fig. 13.1. The sheet is purposely simple because it hopes to encourage the inspector to
put down the following information:
• where and what type of work was being done that day;
• how many men and what machines were engaged;
• what delays and bad work were experienced and why.
The inspector is given an aide memoire at the top of the form to remind him of the separate sections of the job needing coverage. The last section permits the inspector to comment on what he sees, in addition to logging down delays, etc. This gives the inspector an opportunity to put his comments on record, thus contributing to the RE’s successful control of the job.
Inspectors’ records are invaluable for dealing with claims from a contractor for delay, disruption, lack of instructions, or ‘uneconomic working’. These are all difficult to handle if only general progress charts are available.
The site diary is a day-to-a-page diary which notes matters not on inspectors’ daily returns, such as weather, visitors to site, meetings held. Weather records are important, but need not be strictly meteorological. It can suffice to note weather which affects work, for example, stoppages due to rain or snow; freezing conditions that can affect concrete; showers interrupting concreting; excessive heat causing over-drying of concrete, etc. A note such as ‘Heavy showers interrupting concreting’ can, for instance, be the explanation for leaks found later in the concrete walls of a tank which appear to be due to poorly compacted concrete.
The RE’s diary is not easy to keep. The aim must be to record events not recorded elsewhere, such as decisions on problems; comments made by the employer or specialist advisers; and important telephone calls. When things get in a tangle and misunderstandings occur, it can be particularly important to be able to say, with certainty, when a discussion or telephone conversation took place.
It depends on the style of operation of the agent how meetings with him are recorded. Formal meetings (usually over claims) have to be minuted and agreed. But many informal discussions will take place between an agent and the RE. It is not usual to minute these. A good agent will often discuss some problem with the RE; and if this leads to some oral agreement or instruction from the RE, the agent will not act otherwise. All the RE needs to do is to make a note in his diary of any matter decided.
Many a job is run almost entirely by oral discussion and agreement between RE and agent, without any need to record what was decided. However, when a complicated series of decisions has been agreed upon, a written list of these might be supplied to the agent so that the staffs of either side know what to do. In other unfortunate cases where an agent makes things difficult and takes every opportunity to lodge a claim, it may be necessary to confirm every instruction in writing.
The weekly report is commonly sent to the engineer. A typical example is shown in Fig. 13.2. Amonthly report should be sent to the employer, primarily to inform him of progress to date. Adraft of this is usually sent to the engineer, for him to amend as necessary and send under his own hand to the employer. On overseas sites, weekly reports are not usually adopted; instead a monthly report will go direct from the RE to the employer with copies sent to the engineer.