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Construction Tech Learning Series: Taking a Look at the Submittal

Construction projects involve a lot of different stakeholders, most of whom have different tasks and goals. For contractors, it can be a nightmare to coordinate so many moving parts in order to deliver a successful project. To minimize any potential mistakes, contractors will initiate a planning phase prior to construction. One important aspect of the job is to review and approve construction submittals during this phase. A submittal is a small, yet important, document that includes details about the components of a project and can really impact the project’s overall success. 

So let’s get to the point: submittals are documents that are reviewed by the architect. These documents contain specific information about the planned materials, equipment, drawings, data, and more, that contractors plan on using. For example, this can be anything from the type of soil being used, to the exact color of the paint.  Architects receive this information ahead of time so that they have the chance to perform a comprehensive review. Architects will typically verify thousands of submittals per project to maintain consistency with their design documents. Any missteps in the process can lead to disastrous results.

What can a Submittal look like?

Submittals are as diverse as they are plentiful. It doesn’t help that different contractors will follow different standards depending on the project. To help you get a better understanding of what to expect, we will outline a few common types of submittals below.

  1. Drawings

A drawing or a set of drawing produced by a stakeholder that is usually required to illustrate the work that will be done by the subcontractor. These can be blueprints, drawings, schedules, and diagrams among others. 

  1. Samples 

These are physical samples of the products that will be submitted to the contractor. These are useful as they give the architects different samples for analysis to help them with their decision-making. Examples include paint, wood, and concrete.

  1. Product Data

This type of submittal outlines the technical information associated with certain materials. This can be anything from manufacturing information to warranties, to the physical characteristics of a product. This will help project stakeholders determine product viability in the overall project. 

The Overall Process

Now we have a better understanding of what submittals look like, so how about we take a look at the submittal process. As always, the process will vary from project to project but they will typically follow the same steps.

Before Construction

The start of any construction project is usually one of the most important steps. This gives all stakeholders an opportunity to meet, ask questions, talk about the project, and set expectations for what an appropriate submittal looks like. By effectively setting the stage the coordinators can minimize potential mistakes and delays, thus improving the chances of successful project delivery.

Submittal Schedule

Architects have to verify hundreds, if not thousands, of submittals at all stages of a construction project. Stakeholders can deliver the submittals as they’re required according to a schedule. This should leave ample time for stakeholders to make the appropriate changes in case something goes wrong in the review process.

Submittal Review

Here comes the tedious part – reviewing the individual submittals to ensure that they meet the standards of the architect. They will analyze each document and look for potential issues. Once approved, the relevant party can begin work on sourcing their materials.

Our tips for creating the best Submittal

Finally, here are our top tips for improving your submittals so that they’re less tedious and more streamlined. 

  1. Set clear expectations about how to format submittals. You can go a step further and provide the subcontractors with a template to use. This will reduce the potential for error and simplify the workflow. 
  2. Follow your schedule. Be sure to set a timeline to avoid getting overwhelmed during the project. 
  3. Automate your submittal process. Without a doubt, submittals are a very tedious component of an architects job. That’s why we recommend that you digitize this component of the job and never go back to keeping track of submittals in spreadsheets. With ContractComplete, you can easily receive submittals, approve or reject them, and even forward them to a 3rd party.

Making your life easier with ContractComplete

Contract Complete is a comprehensive construction project management tool that streamlines the oftentimes frustrating administrative side of the job. One of the amazing things that you can do with Contract Complete is easily receive, forward, and review submittals. This tool will help you stay organized and save valuable time for other more important tasks. Furthermore, ContractComplete allows you to store documents digitally, thus reducing the need to store a physical copy. Above all, our process reduces inefficiencies and ensures that all parties have a clear understanding at all stages of a project. 

Switch to ContractComplete Today!

Having a consistent and reliable procedure in place allows for simplicity should the need for a change notice arise. We recommend outlining this process from the beginning with project owners. Most importantly, being upfront ensures that everyone is on the same page when changes happen. Being proactive requires deviation from industry norms, which at ContractComplete, we are eager and prepared to provide.

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