Submittals – their role in the built environment

In the project schedule shared with you in a previous post, the first activity line shown was Submittals. This is an early and critical activity that serves as the process for eventual approval of all the materials and fabricated items that will become a part of the construction of the project. Submittals include items like shop drawings, product literature, samples, reports from testing agencies, operating instructions, installation instructions, maintenance instructions and warranties.

The above photo shows rebar that was submitted to FSB on October 10, 2012, approved on October 23, 2012 which as then fabricated and sent to the job site and assembled into the cages shown awaiting a pour of concrete to arrive that will transform it all into one of the spread footings for the Visitor Center.

The architects and engineers drawings and specifications communicate to the contractor, subcontractors, fabricators and suppliers the intent of the design with adequate detail that it can be constructed. They are not intended to contain information for detailed fabrication of every piece and part of the building. That’s the purpose of the submittal process. Submittals are required to show how the subcontractors and their fabricators and suppliers plan to meet the intent of the design. The shop drawings created by subcontractors and their fabricators are used for the detailed fabrication of the product within their respective shops. Different shops may go about fabricating a product in different manners and the shop drawings illustrate how they plan to approach fabricating their product. Product literature and physical samples are submitted to document the actual materials, colors and textures that the subcontractors and suppliers are planning to use on the project.

Architects, engineers and consultants review the submittals and take one of the following actions:

  • Approve
  • Approve as Noted
  • Disapprove
  • Returned for Re-submittal
  • Other

Critical to the process is proper logging and tracking of the submittals. Each submittal is numbered, logged in, routed to the appropriate reviewer and logged out with the action taken noted. FSB utilizes software called Newforma for this purpose. It allows for efficient tracking of the submittals and produces reports that all the team members (architect, engineers, owner, construction team and others) can view. Shop drawings and product literature/data are submitted electronically in our world. Everyone identified as a team member can also view these documents. Physical submissions are primarily product samples that are brought to our office for review.

The submittal numbering system (first column in the report below titled ID) is a combination of a 6 digit number, a 2 digit number and another 2 digit number (000000-00-00). The first number represents the specification section. The second number represents the sequential number of items submitted under that section. The third number represents the number of times that item has been submitted.

Here are the stats on the submittal traffic thus far through FSB’s office:

  • Total received: 77
  • Under review: 15
  • Overdue: 0
  • Closed out: total 62 of which approved-53, rejected-7, no action taken-2

To view the Report showing all submittals received to date at FSB click here. This report shows all 77 submittals that we have received to date. They include a lot of the early construction activity items, long lead items like steel and a number of in between items like doors, frames, toilet partitions, etc.

The second column in the report is titled “Spec Section” and references to the section in the specifications (referred to as the Project Manual) where the product, quality and installation is discussed. Specifications sections are numbered according to the CSI Format (Construction Specification Institute). The link takes you to what looks like a table of contents for the spec book. If you are interested in the detailed outline with all the 6 digit numbered sections and what they are click here. You will see the first item in the submittal Report is from spec section 033000 which is Cast-In-Place Concrete. That spec section covers all items having to do with the CIP Concrete, in this case Concrete Design Mixtures.

To view the Report showing current submittals under review at FSB click here. You will see other than some formed metal all of the current submittals are focused on electrical items. Some of these have only a few days left before they are due. No pressure Naby.

More on submittals and construction activity update to come.

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