Tips & Advice

6 Ways to Streamline Your Construction Submittals Review Process

The submittals process creates the foundation and defines the workflow for any construction project; therefore, effectively managing the process is fundamental to finishing projects on time, within budget and to specification. Before a project can begin, submittals must be created by the general contractor for every component of the project and sent to the architects and engineers for review and approval. If any submittal is denied or rejected, revisions need to be made and it must be resubmitted to the appropriate parties for another round of review and approvals. Once every submittal is approved, fabrication and construction can begin.

The submittals review and approval process has several key goals. First, it ensures the safety of the structure, as well as the people involved in the construction and future occupants. Second, it serves as the contractor’s proof of compliance with the construction documents and adherence to design concept and quality of materials used. Third, it outlines the approval workflow and illustrates how portions of the project will be carried out to improve efficiency and mitigate delays. 

Depending on the size of the project, the submittals process can involve thousands of detailed documents, all of which need to be distributed, reviewed and approved by members of the project team. Additionally, all the project documents must be saved and stored somewhere. In the past, all of this needed to be managed manually in programs like Excel, which created a lot of room for human error and often resulted in costly mistakes or compromising the project altogether. 

Moreover, when using the manual system, physical copies of every submittal—including comments, notes, revisions, and approvals—have to be printed, distributed to multiple parties, and stored for reference and record-keeping. Printing multiple rounds of revisions not only costs a fortune but manually maintaining thousands of pages of construction documents is laborious and also requires physical office space for storage.

Fortunately, today there is construction management software that can help you streamline the submittals review process by improving upon three key pillars: administrative work, visibility, and tracking. Below are six ways you can leverage technology to your advantage:

1. Eliminating paper trails

Because submittals outline all of the project details, they are critical documents, but traditionally cumbersome. Leveraging a cloud-based solution means general contractors don’t need to physically manage and store stacks of documents, and project members can access the documents they need with just a few clicks instead of waiting around or sifting through pages of revisions to make sure they’re working from the most up-to-date version. Going paperless not only speeds up the review process, but it also saves money on printing costs.   

2. Accessibility on any device

One of the greatest benefits to a cloud-based solution means any team member can access up-to-date project information whenever, and wherever they need it. Whether it’s on the job site, from home, or while traveling, accessibility is fundamental to project oversight and management and allows for informed, rapid decision-making when needed.

Create and track construction submittals with Premier Construction Software

3. Keeping project documents safe & secure

Construction submittals are very detailed documents that require input and feedback from multiple parties. While external stakeholders will need access to some project information, it’s also important to keep sensitive project information private, secure and limited to necessary parties. Utilizing a comprehensive software allows you save pertinent documents in a centralized location, while also allowing you to choose who gets to see what. 

4. Centralizing markups

Every submittal requires that multiple people review and approve it, which also entails a number of revisions and markups. Without having submittals in centralized location, team members may have to toggle between multiple platforms, wasting valuable time. Using construction management software allows project members to add stamps, boxes, comments—all of which can easily be viewed by page on the same screen. 

5. Updating workflow information in real-time

Manually managing submittals and sending them back-and-forth between multiple parties is a tiresome process. Using a management software that creates a direct link between parties and shows revisions and markups in real-time shortens the review process considerably. This also saves money and resources that would otherwise be spent manually printing and routing revised drafts and corrected versions to multiple team members. 

6. Custom reporting

Ensuring submittals are routed and approved on time is critical to keeping a project on schedule. Management software allows you to create custom dashboards with detailed reporting options so you can set and assign due dates, track responses and overdue items, view full version history and more. This means the project leaders can always keep a pulse on what’s happening, and easily create status reports to share with the rest of the team or external stakeholders.

These are just some of the many ways technology can be used to streamline the complexities of the submittals review process. To learn additional ways our all-in-one, cloud-based solution can help keep your projects moving along with greater accuracy and higher efficiency, click here to schedule a personalized product tour. 


Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.

Industry Insight

COVID Changes in Construction

If there’s one thing 2020 taught the construction industry, it’s that flexibility is everything. Having the ability to make changes, adapt, and stay organized is important. It’s even been the cornerstone of the success for many companies through these challenging times.

But just how much has COVID changed construction? And how are the most adaptable companies keeping track of these changes? Read on to find out.

COVID’s biggest impacts on the construction industry

The Coronavirus Pandemic affected the construction industry in some profound ways. Many of these impacts are changing the way the industry operated for many years. It’s hard to tell if any of these changes will be permanent. However, construction companies and personnel need to adapt to them now.

Job site safety

It wasn’t that long ago that job site safety meant wearing a hardhat and fall protection. Now it means so much more.

Construction sites across the world are adapting to strict social distancing guidelines. Workers must stay six feet apart from each other. If they can’t stay clear from one another, they need to don PPE. Also, bathroom facilities need constant attention to remain sanitized and safe. 

One of the biggest changes has to do with personnel. Employers are telling employees to stay home if they aren’t well. Until now, sick days were scarce in this industry.

Extended timelines

The amount of time it’s taking for some projects to complete has more than doubled since the pandemic began. Regulations shut many job sites down for months at a time. This downtime cost builders and owners lots of time and money.

Many supply sources closed down as well. With job sites closed, suppliers from small shops to large chains had to make decisions. Many found it better to shut their doors and furlough employees. When suppliers re-opened, they found a backlog of orders to sort through.

All these factors have added up to increased timelines and scheduling conflicts. Owners, general contractors, and project managers need to adapt to keep projects from derailing completely.

Materials shortages

One of the rather unexpected changes to come about from COVID is the materials shortage. When authorities let sites reopen, many contractors found themselves struggling to source materials.

The lumber industry took a hard hit from COVID. During the shutdown, many lumber mills and logging operations had to shut their doors as well. Coupled with the fact that most homeowners were off from work during the best DIY-months of the year, lumber started flying off of the shelves.

Trucking was also affected by COVID. It drastically increased the amount of time it took to get materials to a job site or supplier.

When construction sites reopened, it was clear that there weren’t enough supplies to go around. The supplies that were available were as much as twice as expensive, potentially destroying the profit margins on most projects.

The effects

All these factors add up to some expensive and significant changes. Increasing safety measures, extending deadlines, changing suppliers, and shopping for alternative materials are all changes that no one was expecting before the pandemic.

So how do you survive it?

How to stay adaptable with the right technology

If there’s one way to survive all of the changes that COVID has thrown at us, it’s through adapting. The construction industry as a whole is reluctant to change. But, adapting to new policies, practices, and tools is important. They could be the difference between surviving and allowing tight margins to swallow your company or project up and spit you out.


The best way to implement these changes is to embrace technology. The right construction software will help you adapt and overcome these changes. You’ll be able to focus on the job at hand while streamlining your administrative work.


One way to stay nimble during the pandemic and any future changes the industry may experience is to use effective forecasting software. 

Many contractors think of forecasting as a long term strategy meant to identify trends, but forecasting is much more. While it is extremely effective at identifying trends, forecasting has an immediate benefit. It shows you how changes you’re dealing with now will effect your project as it moves forward.

One example of how effective forecasting software can help you navigate these changes might be purchasing PPE for a project. If you’re on a project that now requires increased PPE, your profit margin may be in serious trouble. Inputting the cost of your PPE into the right software can show you its impact across the length of a project. 

That same software can show you where you’ve come under budget, allowing you to shift some cash. By having a good grasp on your project with forecasting software, you can make adjustments in real time. You’ll be able to cover the increased cost of PPE instead of scrambling to find funding for the rest of the project.

You can run this same scenario with increased materials costs, timelines, or any number of other changes that you need to stay on top of. Forecasting is the best way to understand how these changes will affect your project.

To learn more about how you can forecast with Premier Construction Software, you can schedule a personalized product demonstration here.

Change Order Management

If you haven’t seen a major increase in change orders during the pandemic, it’s coming. Projects simply cannot go as scheduled right now. Materials are short, projects are over timelines, and budgets are less than stable.

Software that handles your change orders can save owners, general contractors, and project managers a lot of time in front of the screen. Automatic generation for budget shifts and external change orders means less human error. 

Project managers and general contractors can also send change orders to their customers electronically. They can then receive an approval with an electronic signature within minutes.

These same programs can also keep track of proposed change orders and budget transfers. Owners and project managers can use it as a road map that shows them where the project stands, how it got there, and where it’s headed.

Cost Plus Billing and Time and Material Billing

The materials shortage and increase in costs are changing how many contractors structure their contracts. Instead of shouldering the costs or submitting change orders for approval, many are opting for Cost Plus or Time and Material Billing structures.


While both of these structures protect the contractor’s bottom line, they can be a challenge to put together on a large project. The right software can do it for you, automatically generating reports and payment applications. You can even set markup percentages by trades and material markups automatically.

Providing detailed and transparent payment applications means your customer will have fewer questions. Good software keeps your accounts receivable organized and easy by removing the hassle of billing.

For more answers on how Premier Construction Software can help you with your Cost Plus billing or Time and Materials billing, click here.

Adapting to changes during COVID

Change is hard, and the construction industry resists it all costs. However, resisting these changes can cost you everything. Implementing new policies and tools, while staying nimble and alert to the status of your projects and profit margins might make all the difference.

We don’t know when the pandemic will pass or what its permanent effects will be on the construction industry. However, there are lessons worth learning; best practices change, and flexibility and fluidity are key. The industry’s adoption of streamlined tools and technology could be the most important COVID-related change to date.


Author Biography:

Tom Scalisi has over 15 years of experience working in the trades. Since moving to full-time freelance writing, he has developed a passion for helping construction companies grow. He enjoys teaching contractors how technology can streamline their businesses and educating them about their rights during payment disputes. 

Tips & Advice

How to Successfully Manage Construction Submittals

In last week’s blog, we defined what construction submittals are and discussed why they’re important. This week, we’re going to talk about the submittals process and why it’s important to leverage technology to more successfully manage the workflow. 

Recap: What Are Construction Submittals?

Construction submittals come in various forms—for example, shop drawings, material data, color charts, product cut sheets, samples, etc.—and are critical documents that lay the foundation for any construction project. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, submittals could end up being thousands of pages long. 

The Submittals Process

Submittals tend to follow a four-part process to ensure the accountability of all participants in the project, to mitigate inefficiencies and to reduce the likelihood of errors.

Pre-construction Phase:

Sometimes referred to as the pre-submittal meeting, conference, or submittals meeting, this phase brings together the general contractor, architect and engineer to clarify and define what the submittals process will be. This includes everything from setting deadlines for delivery and review to determining how the documents will be routed. The main goal of this meeting is to make sure all the project participants understand the approval workflow and to establish the lines of communication.


Schedule Development:

Preparing submittals is the responsibility of the contractor, but the architects and engineers lay the foundation by identifying the types of submittals and required technical specifications. Once the contractor has the plans, they prepare a schedule that lists all the items each submittal needs, along with a timeline. The schedule needs to be coordinated with the building schedule to ensure there’s enough time for the architect to review and request changes, if necessary, without delaying construction. 


Submittal Preparation:

Once the schedule is set, the general contractor will prepare the submittals (or outsource this step to a subcontractor). The project will determine what type of submittal documents are required. In this step, the preparer should call out and explain any deviation from the construction documents. If a subcontractor prepares the submittals, they will go back to the general contractor for review and approval.

Submittal Review:

After the general contractor has given their stamp of approval, the submittal is sent to the architect. The design team must ensure the materials selected are in compliance with the requirements stipulated in the construction documents, and that the use and performance needs of the design are fulfilled.


The designer who worked on the project may make comments or request changes. Once they give approval, the submittal is sent to the supervising architect or engineer. Every person must review and check the submittal to ensure its compliance with construction documents before giving their sign off.  


All project documents must be reviewed in the order indicated by the approval workflow, which gets outlined during the pre-construction phase. Once all the submittal documents have the necessary approvals, they are returned to the general contractor.

Leverage Technology to Streamline Complex Processes 

Submittals feature in Premier Construction Software

With today’s construction projects being more complex than ever, submittals may be extremely long, detailed documents that require dedicated project teams to assess the myriad of requirements. Because submittals are like the building blocks of a project, it’s crucial to ensure they’re managed appropriately—not only to ensure project success, but to mitigate risk and liability. 


As you can imagine, overseeing the submittals process and tracking required approvals without using construction management software can be a nightmare and is ripe for error and inaccuracies. To help you more successfully navigate the process and create a fluid workflow, we’re excited to announce the rollout of our new submittals feature. 

Create and track construction submittals with Premier Construction Software

Launching in October, our new feature will offer the following benefits: 

  • Create & Email Submittal Link to Multiple Parties
  • Live Collaboration with Any Third Party – No Extra Fee
  • Construction Specific Annotation Tool Bar – Add Stamps, Boxes, Comments etc.
  • Accessible on Any Device
  • Merge Multiple Files Together, Sort & Regroup
  • Track Responses, Due Dates, Version Control & Full History
  • Easily View All Submittals History
  • Customize Workflow Configuration
  • Ability to Revise & Resubmit
  • View & Share Historical Responses
  • Automate New Requests for Revisions
  • Set Due Dates & Track Overdue Items
  • Easily View Comments by Page on the Same Screen
  • Auto-Stores in Document Management


For more information, or to schedule a personalized product tour, click here.


Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.