They’re time-driven, time-consuming, and essential
Call them a means of communication, a paper trail, or a headache.
No matter how they’re viewed, though, there is no denying that submittals are an integral part of the construction process. They are an industry-endorsed, time-driven system of checks and balances to ensure that the general contractor has correctly interpreted the architect’s concepts.
Step 1: The process begins
Ideally, the submittals should begin in the pre-construction conference, when all players have an opportunity to spell out the process, from review of deadlines to routing to the number of copies. Thorough discussion on this end of the process can help prevent costly and timely issues throughout the project.
Step 2: The architect
While the architect is not responsible for actual submittals, the process often begins with him or her. During the conception and development of architectural plans, technical specifications and the types of submittals required are collected for the general contractor. It’s also a good idea for the architect to keep a log of these requests for future reference.
Step 3: The general contractor
Assuming that the GC has a clear understanding of each player’s role, he or she creates a submittal review schedule as a result of the pre-construction conference – a realistic timeline of submittal and review dates.
This schedule is then routed to the design professionals for review. Contract documents, written before this process begins, usually spell out a realistic length of time for reviewing submittals. It can range from several days to a much broader, “timely” review.
Step 4: The actual submittal
Submittals can be presented in a variety of formats, such as shop drawings, samples, and/or manufacturer data.
Actual submittals are the responsibility of the GC. As such, the GC can either work on each submittal or delegate them out to subcontractors who will work on specific pieces of the project.
If this is the case, subcontractors route their completed submittals to the GC, who reviews them for accuracy. At this point, the submittals can either be returned to the subs for revision or forwarded to the design professionals.
Step 5: Review
Once completed, a submittal is routed to the design professionals to determine if the GC successfully interpreted the project’s design concepts.
For accuracy, the architect may funnel submittals to various consultants, such as structural engineers and mechanical engineers. It’s important to remember that this is not the time for redesign. Any design change would result in a new submittal procedure. And again, submittals at this point can either be approved or returned to the GC for revision.
The caution tape
Of course, issues can and do arise throughout different phases of a construction project, which is why the submittal process is somewhat fluid. If, for some reason, the GC must make an on-site variation from an approved submittal, there are essential steps that must be taken.
First, the GC must submit written communication of the variation to the architect and then, in a separate communication, identify the variation on the actual submittal. After review, the architect must submit written approval of the variation.
Paper and people
The submittals themselves are only as good as the paper on which they are written. It takes knowledgeable people in all phases of construction to keep the project safe, high-quality, and on time.
Because Telesco Construction is a design-build firm, all of the key players in the submittal process are under one roof, which makes for a well-communicated, streamlined process that ensures your project comes in on budget and schedule. Call us at 305.390.0250 or fill out our online contact form to find out exactly what our full-service firm can do for you.