When asked this week by a client from where the phrase came I was stumped. I hoped it came from shipbuilding or sailing as do so many phrases.
I found from Wikipedia…”The phrase takes its name from the historical process of punching a hole in the margin of the document, next to one of the items on the list. This indicated that the work was completed for that particular construction task. Two copies of the list were punched at the same time to provide an identical record for the architect and contractor. ”
I may just try this on my next one – then scan to PDF.