The Hidden Power of Checklists

Written by Charles Nelson - December 11, 2019

While checklists may sound awfully conventional, they are an effective tool that can help built environment professionals succeed in this contemporary, ever-changing world. Architects often have repetitive tasks to complete, and without guidance, certain steps can be forgotten in the process. The checklist is a simple tool that helps architects easily eradicate these mistakes.

The original CHECKIT! system was developed in 1987-95 for the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) National Practice Division. Working with the RAIA Practice Division, we undertook research that identified a major reason why architects do not use checklists. They are too long and take too much time.

Thus, we worked on the 85% theory – that it was better to have an easy-to-use system that got 85% of things right most of the time than to have a system that would get 100% of things right, but be too lengthy to use. We didn’t realise at the time, but what we were doing was applying Juran’s Pareto Principle of the ‘vital few’.

What is CHECKITx?

CHECKITx is the latest version of the CHECKIT system, used by Australian Architects since 1986. This version is Excel-based, intended for paper-free use. CHECKITx is divided into two sets of checklists: CORE and MORE. The CORE set contains 29 checklists every architect should use on most projects requiring full services. The MORE set is an extra 43 checklists that cover a range of issues faced by current design firms, including environmental design, BIM, and consultant coordination.

If you are interested in trialling and/or purchasing BOTH checklists, you can download CHECKITALL. This is all 72 CORE and MORE checklists combined into one productivity tool.

Along the way, CHECKIT has become a highly flexible and scalable suite of tools, which can almost infinitely be modified, quickly and easily, to suit any design practice undertaking any design project. “Almost” because there are a few things about that can’t be changed – everything needs some kind of structure to hold it together.

To download a free trial or to purchase CHECKITx, or to simply find out more, visit and follow the instructions. More information regarding checklists can also be found on

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA, AECPM

30 October 2018