Submittals in Construction Management are shop drawings, material data, and samples. Product data submittals, samples, and shop drawings are required primarily for the architect and engineer to verify that the correct products will be installed on the project.
This process also gives the architect and sub-consultants the opportunity to select colors, patterns, and types of material that were not chosen prior to completion of the construction drawings. This is not an occasion for the architect to select different materials than specified, but rather to clarify the selection within the quality level indicated in the specification. For materials requiring fabrication, such as reinforcing steel and structural steel, the architect and engineer need to verify details furnished by the fabricator. The contractor also uses this information in installation, using dimensions and installation data from the submittal. The construction documents, specifically the technical specifications, require the contractor to submit product data, samples, and shop drawings to the architect and engineer for approval. This is one of the first steps that is taken by the contractor after execution of the construction contract and issuance of the "Notice to Proceed". The submittal process is very important, as it directly relates to the quality, schedule, and ultimately the overall success of the project. The submittal process can be complex, because there are literally thousands of different materials, fabrications, and equipment used in a construction project. An "approved" submittal authorizes a material or an assembly to be released for fabrication and shipment. In essence, this is the final quality control mechanism before a product arrives on-site.
Commercial buildings will often have complex pre-fabricated components. These include: elevators, windows, cabinets, air handling units, generators, appliances and cooling towers. These pieces of equipment often require close coordination to insure that they receive the correct power, fuel, water and structural support. The submittal process gives another level of detail usually not incuded as part of the design documents.
Types of Submittals
Product Data Submittal
The product data submittal usually consists of the manufacturer’s product information. The information included in this submittal are:
- Manufacturer, trade name, model or type number: This information is necessary to compare the submitted item with the specified products and acceptable products listed, in the specification and addenda.
- Description of use and performance characteristics: Information should be furnished describing the normal use and expected performance of the product. The architect and contractor reviews this information to confirm that the product is appropriate for the intended use.
- Size and physical characteristics: The size and physical characteristics, such as adjustment capabilities, which is reviewed by both the contractor and architect. The contractor has the most available information for comparing adjoining materials and equipment. The contractor also needs to know the size and weight of the equipment for lifting and handling considerations.
- Finish characteristics: The architect reviews the available finishes and selects the appropriate finish, if the finish was not previously specified in the documents. The contractor should confirm that finish requirements in the specification are being met by the product.
- Specific request for jobsite dimensions: Some material is custom-fabricated to job conditions, requiring dimensions from the jobsite. These jobsite dimensions are provided by the contractor, prior to release of the product for manufacture.
See the article: Shop drawing.
SamplesMany products require submission of samples. A sample is a physical portion of the specified product. Some samples are full product samples, such as a brick or section of precast concrete, or a partial sample that indicates color or texture. The product sample is often required when several products are acceptable, to confirm the quality and aesthetic level of the material. The size or unit of sample material usually is specified. For some materials, a mock-up or sample panel is necessary. A common example of a sample panel is a wall mock-up. This is a full size mock-up of a wall assembly and can include window, exterior veneers and waterproofing. The mock-up serves as both an aesthetic review, but also provides the contractors the opportunity to field test the assembly before full-scale assembly. The mock-up panel might be 10 feet wide by 12 feet high, showing the full wall span from floor to floor.
Samples usually are required for finish selection or approval. Color and textures in the actual product can vary considerably from the color and textures shown in printed material. The printed brochure gives an indication of available colors, but the colors are rendered in printer’s ink, rather than in the actual material. A quality level may be specified, requiring a selection of color and/or texture from sample pieces of the material. Several acceptable manufacturers may be listed in the specification and a level of quality also may be specified. The contractor, subcontractor, or supplier may have a preference for one of these products, based on price, availability, quality, workability, or service.
Samples are usually stored at the jobsite and compared to the material delivered and installed. Comparison of samples with the product received is an important part of project quality control.
Review of Submittals
Definite processing time is required by most projects for approval of all submittals, shop drawings, and samples. The procedures can seem very cumbersome and time consuming, however, there are substantial reasons for review steps by all parties. The designer is ultimately responsible for the design of the facility to meet occupancy needs and must ensure that the products being installed are suitable to meet these needs. Any change in material or fabrication needs to be reviewed for its acceptability with the original design. Both the architect and contractor need to be able to coordinate the installation of the product with other systems.
Each level must review, add information as necessary, and stamp or seal that the submittal was examined and approved by that party. After the submittal reaches the primary reviewer, it is returned through the same steps, which provides an opportunity for further comment and assures that each party is aware of the approval, partial approval, notes, or rejection. Obviously this approval process is cumbersome and time-consuming.
Typically, the architect will review the submittal for compliance to the requirement] in the construction documents. Revisions may be noted on the submittal. Colors and other selection items will be made by the architect during this review. Sometimes the architect will reject the entire submittal and other times will request resubmittal of some of the items. The architect also will make corrections, which normally do not need to be resubmitted, but that do need to be applied to the product. While the architect and engineers review products for performance and design intent, the contractor must review the product for preparation and installation. The contractor should manage the submittal process just like any other process in the construction cycle. The submittal process requires lead-time consideration to produce the submittal, shop drawing (engineering), review and revise and the shop fabrication period. Careful planning is necessary to ensure that the products are ordered and delivered within the construction schedule, so as not to delay any activities. The contractor must prioritize the submittal process, submitting and obtaining approval for materials needed for the first part of the project.
- Anumba C.J. and N.F.O. Evbuomwan 1997, “Concurrent Engineering in Design-Build Projects,” Construction Management and Economics, 15(3):271–281.
- Anumba C.J., Cutting-Decelle A.F., Baldwin A.N., Dufau J., Mommessin M., Bouchlaghem N.M., “Integration of Product and Process Models as a Keystone of Concurrent Engineering in Construction: The ProMICE Project,” Proceedings of 2nd European Conference on Product and Process Modelling, Amor R. (Ed.), 1998.
- Dubois A.M., Flynn J., Verhorf M.H.G., Augenbroe, F., “Conceptual Modelling Approaches in the COMBINE Project,” Final Combine Workshop Paper, Dublin, 1995.