Submittal Procedures: more than just a sign-off

Post written by David Stewart.

Contractors need to present competitive bids. So, architects will avoid specifying or sole sourcing materials by manufacturer.  Instead, materials are specified by their properties, and it’s up to the contractor to get the best price. 

While Contractors are able to shop around, materials also have to be up to snuff.  That’s where Submittals come in.  Submittals are shop drawings, material data, samples, and product data that are required for the architect and engineer to make sure that materials proposed by the contractor are appropriate and will be installed correctly.
This the submittal’s primary function, but submittal procedures also make sure other important stuff gets done, as well. 
  • The submittal process gives the architect and sub-consultants the opportunity to select colors, patterns, and types of material that were not chosen prior to completion of the construction drawings. The architect’s not selecting different materials here, but rather clarifying the selection within the quality level indicated in the specification.
  • For materials that need to be fabricated, such as reinforcing steel and structural steel, the architect and engineer need to verify details furnished by the fabricator. These details show, among other things, material availability and production expediency. The contractor uses this information in installation, taking dimensions and installation data from the submittal.
  • The technical specification section of construction documents also requires the contractor to submit product data, samples, and shop drawings to the architect and engineer for approval. This is one of the first steps that is taken by the contractor after execution of the construction contract and issuance of the "Notice to Proceed."
Submittal data really does kill a whole flock of birds with one stone, which is why it’s incredibly important to allocate enough time for Contractors (and Architects and Engineers) to get it right.

Photo credit: baboon™ / Foter / CC BY-NC

Posted: Mon, 19 Nov 2012
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