Construction Submittals Basics: What all Contractors Should Know

» Articles » Construction Articles » Article

April 16, 2018

The submittals process is extremely important to safety of not just those constructing new buildings and structures but also of the public.

Prior to submitting Shop Drawings and Samples to an Engineer for review, the contractor shall have:

a)      Reviewed and coordinated the Shop Drawing or Sample with other Shop Drawings and Samples and with the requirements of the Work and then Contract Documents;

b)      Determined and verified all field measurements, quantities, dimensions, specified performance and design criteria, installation requirements, materials, catalog numbers, and similar information with respect thereto;

Continue reading below

FREE Construction Training from Lorman

Lorman has over 37 years of professional training experience.
Join us for a special white paper and level up your Construction knowledge!

Best Practices for Measuring and Documenting Construction Delays

Learn More

c)       Determined and verified the suitability of all materials and equipment offered with respect to the indicated application, fabrication, shipping, handling, storage, assembly, and installation pertaining to the performance of the Work; and

d)      Determined and verified all information relative to Contractor’s responsibilities for means, methods, techniques, sequences, and procedures of construction, and safety precautions and programs incident thereto.

Social Media in Construction

Also, each submittal shall bear a stamp or specific written certification that Contractor has satisfied Contractor’s obligations under the Contract Documents with respect to Contractor’s review of that submittal, and that Contractor approves the submittal.

Finally, with each submittal, Contractor shall give Engineer specific written notice of any variations that the Shop Drawing or Sample may have from the requirements of the Contract Documents. This notice shall be set forth in a written communication separate from the Shop Drawings or Sample submittal; and, in addition, in the case of Shop Drawings by as specific notation made on each Shop Drawing submitted to Engineer for review and approval of each such variation.

A contractor should allow about 14 days for review for small to medium sized projects. Some submittal contracts may include statements such as “Architect/Engineer to notify the Contractor if the review would take more time”. This assures review will not be held up and there will be open communication between the reviewer and the contractor. There are many different kinds of submittals, some including:


  • Shop Drawings
  • Progress Schedule
  • Material/product certificates
  • Test reports
  • Progress photos
  • Quality control reports
  • Temporary structures
  • Qualification statements
  • Safety Plans/Excavation Plans/Surveys
  • Engineered Systems signed/sealed by design professional (i.e. dewatering system)

Failure of the submittals process often results in economic loss via delays and need to correct “defective work”, plus claims and disputes, and sometimes worse. An engineer should always use professional judgment in reviewing and processing submittals. This process is mandatory before work can begin.

Brown, James C. & Cavaluzzi, Gerard P. “Shop Drawings and Other Construction Submittals: Legal and Engineering Perspectives.” Lorman Education Services. Eau Claire, WI. 2014. 11-12, 42.

The material appearing in this web site is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein is intended only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current developments. Although these materials may be prepared by professionals, they should not be used as a substitute for professional services. If legal or other professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.

The opinions or viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Lorman Education Services. All materials and content were prepared by persons and/or entities other than Lorman Education Services, and said other persons and/or entities are solely responsible for their content.

Any links to other web sites are not intended to be referrals or endorsements of these sites. The links provided are maintained by the respective organizations, and they are solely responsible for the content of their own sites.