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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.