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The Importance of Approved Submittals featured image

The Importance of Approved Submittals

To the untrained eye, a construction project is a work of art that simply appears on the horizon brick by brick, with all of the pertinent pieces coming together to create a new office tower, school, or luxury home.

However, those in the business know there is a lot more to the process. It starts long before a building comes out of the ground.

That includes getting approved submittals. And in these days of technology and automation, no contractor can afford to fall behind on any step of the process.

Before construction begins, a contractor’s essential job is to ensure all construction submittals are complete and approved. They determine the accuracy of project completion, verify line items on the budget and show the proposed timeline.

Every contractor and the project manager must understand the importance of approved submittals, why they matter, what these submittals should include and how to streamline the process best.

What is a Roofing Submittal, and What Does it Include?

Roofing submittals are documents submitted by contractors to the architect to get approvals for projects.

Roofing project submittals can include everything from diagrams and materials details to architectural drawings, mock-ups, equipment necessary for the job, and even the colors for accessories trims. Once your company wins a bid, share these details with everyone from the engineers to architects as well others inside and outside your company.

Use a secure program to make safe and secure submittal distributions. Most construction companies prepare their documents as .pdfs since you can restrict access to them. Companies can set up role-based access, so only those involved in the project can give approvals. You may also set up access for others, including subcontractors, designers, architects, or data analysts.

The submittals process starts early on and helps guide the execution of a project. They show a project on a very detailed level so architects and designers can approve every aspect. This needs to occur before any items are fabricated or delivered. Otherwise, you risk setbacks in your timeline and budget.

When it comes to these submittals, quality matters, the more detailed they are, the better chance of an accurate schedule and budget. Since these submittals often involved hundreds or even thousands of different materials, accuracy and organization are crucial. You can compromise an entire project if you do not include the high level of detail called for in these documents.

Hold a Pre-Submittal Meeting

Hold a conference or pre-submittal meeting with your team to discuss a project’s outline before submitting a formal review document.

This is the time for all parties to clarify what they want to be detailed in the submittal. That includes delivery deadlines, the submittal format, the software you plan to use, and how you plan to route the submittal to the parties involved.

The Submittal Review Process

Construction submittal reviews can be tedious since listed items must be compiled from each contractor. This used to mean labor-intensive, time-intensive manual entries on spreadsheets, which meant there would be plenty of mistakes. Today, construction management software helps automate the process, improving accuracy and the quality of the submittals.

Once you collect all necessary submittal items, the design team, including the architect, reviews them for accuracy and quality. The general contractor also reviews them to ensure they include all the correct specifications and materials.

The Submittal Workflow

Find a submittal template that works best for your company. Due to the detail involved in submittals, having a comprehensive submittal log is crucial because they keep track of every document on a project. They are used as your record to confirm that you have received approvals on every item.

A submittal log should include:

·        Who made the requirement

·        A submittal name and a description of the request

·        The type of information being requested, such as color palates for tile and walls

·        The contractor providing the information

·        The person responsible for submitting specific items for review

·        The date the submittal is due from the responsible contractor

·        The date by which the approval must be granted

The submittal process is typically well-defined and formal for bigger projects. The contractor may ask each subcontractor to prepare submittals for their various specialties, then compile them into one document.

Construction management tools like Smartsheets allow you to track your project with a dedicated page and view all projects on the same dashboard. You can also monitor project tasks and keep an eye on on-site issues using a mobile app or your desktop.

Avoid Disaster

Failure to follow the proper submittal process can be disastrous. If each step of a project is not calculated and approved, injury and even death could result. You must commit to following a rigorous submittal process to avoid such a disaster, which could even cost lives.

Construction submittals are the primary tool for architects and engineers to verify that you are using the correct materials for a specific job. They provide a deeper detail level and the final quality assurance check before ordered and delivered to the job site. The submittal also authorizes a specific quantity and quality of materials.

Contractors that use materials not approved in the submittal are responsible for replacing the material with the correct product and bearing the cost.

Remember that approved submittals are crucial for every project to get formal buy-in on materials, timelines, budgets, and safety precautions. Communicate openly to ensure each party knows their responsibilities on submitting these documents and that each step has been examined and approved.

John Kenney has over 45 years’ experience in the roofing industry. John started his career by working as a roofing apprentice at a family business in the Northeast to operating multiple Top 100 Roofing Contractors. As Chief Operating Officer, John is intimately familiar with all aspects of roofing production, estimating, and operations. During his tenure in the Industry, John ran business units associated with delivering excellent workmanship and unparalleled customer service while ensuring his company’s strong net profits before joining Cotney Consulting Group. If you would like any further information on this or another subject, you can contact John at