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Construction 101: Fundamental Guide to Construction Submittals

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July 15, 2019
Author: Ben Halverson
Organization: Lorman Education Service


With the vast number of renovation and construction projects today, the industry is at an all time high. More importantly, the construction industry is more competitive than ever before. If your construction company is expected to rise against their competitors, industry professionals must use more than their organizational skills or communication system to streamline submittals.

Before a construction team lays their first brick or puts down their first nail, the most important step for a contractor is: "construction submittals." According to the American Bar Association, "construction submittals reduce the allocation of risk on any construction project." However, for your construction company to be truly successful, they have to know what this means and how it applies to their project. 

     What Is A Construction Submittal? 

A construction submittal defines the accuracy of project completion, tracks the success of the proposed timeline, and determines the basis of the budget. A submittal is the written document or physical response provided by the contractor to a general contractor. The information is submitted to a design team for the approval of the equipment, material, etc. This information is submitted to the general contractor before the equipment is fabricated and delivered to the construction project. In fact, submittals are submitted before the project begins to dictate how the project will actually be construed unlike as-built drawings (submitted after construction is complete). 

     What Are The Common Types Of Construction Submittals? 

  • shop drawings 
  • material data 
  • samples
  • product data 
  • shop drawings 
  • cut sheets on equipment 
  • color charts 

and more... 

More importantly, a construction submittal serves as the primary documentation to the architect and engineer to validate that the correct products will be installed on the project. For example, the exact color of paint that's being used on a project must be approved through a construction submittal. Each construction project consists of more than one submittal too. 

      Why Are Construction Submittals Relevant? 

Construction submittals break down the entire construction project for approval on each step. However, the quality of the submittal is important because it can impact the budget costs and schedule. Errors in the documentation can also compromise the project and result in your construction team losing out on a contract. Approval on the construction process is meant to solidify the success of the construction project. The verification of the correct quantities and products proposed for a project are necessary before a construction project can get underway. 

      Construction  Submittals: The Review Process 

For many construction professionals, the review process was long and tedious. Today, software resources are used to simplify the process and get the construction process started as soon as possible. During the review process, construction submittals must include detail facts and data about every process, procedure, and material used during the construction project. After construction submittals are passed on for review, the architect and design team must review every aspect of the commentary for approval. In fact, there a number of steps that ensure the accuracy of construction submittals. The accuracy of the project is important to both you and your client. The software used helps the thousands of documents involved from becoming overwhelming. The benefits of technology allow you to track every aspect of your constructional submittal documents all in one place. 

Bottom line: Construction submittals prevent misunderstandings and problems during a construction project. A contractor indicates they understand the specifications of a projects plans. It's better to spot a discrepancy concerning the project before it begins than in the middle of the project. 

If you need help with learning more about construction submittals, you're encouraged to contact us at Lorman for more details. You're invited to learn from the best!


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