In a recent decision by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, Dick Pacific Construction Co., Ltd., ASBCA No. 57675 et. al., decided on December 15, 2015, the Board repeated something that has been said many times before:
We consider daily logs to be the most reliable evidence of what actually happened during construction. Technocratica, ASBCA No. 46567 et al., 99-2 BCA ¶ 30,391 (“Daily inspection reports have been held to be prima facie evidence of the daily conditions as they existed at the time of performance.”)
Boards and courts often refer to daily reports as “contemporaneous records,” because they were created at the time that the events occurred and usually well before a claim was anticipated. It is for that reason that such records are assigned greater credibility than documents created after the fact.
Field personnel on a construction project have many important things to do in a given day, but they are well advised to take the time to record specific events that may have an impact on the time or cost of performance. The “remarks” section on a daily report is particularly important. If a Quality Control Representative is asked to testify about conditions on the site that occurred several years earlier, the memory of the witness will be much more believable if his recollections are supported by contemporaneous records.
Michael H. Payne is the Chairman of the firm’s Federal Contracting Practice Group and, together with other experienced members of the group, frequently advises contractors on federal contracting matters including bid protests, claims and appeals, procurement issues, small business issues, and dispute resolution.