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Last edited 26 Jan 2022
In the general sense, submittals are associated with the act of sending some type of information for consideration. Submittals are intended for studying and evaluating information to reach a decision or proceed with an action.
Submittals in construction are sometimes referred to as construction submittals. These are broadly defined as documents submitted by the responsible supplier to the appropriate design professional fto obtain approvals.
 Purpose of submittals
Information for submittals is generally provided by subcontractors and suppliers to the main contractor who then presents this information to the designated recipient (whether that be the designer, architect, engineer or some other person tasked with granting approvals). The intention of this process is to ensure that properly specified items (and quantities of items) are delivered to the project.
 Types of submittals
The information presented in a submittal can be provided in several different forms including things such as meeting minutes. However, the most commonly requested submittals are provided both in written format (as shop drawings and product data) and as physical objects (as product and material samples).
Shop drawings, blueprints, diagrams and schedules generally relate to pre-fabricated components, showing how they should be manufactured or installed. They take design intent drawings and specifications prepared by the project design team and develop them to show in detail how the component will actually be manufactured, fabricated, assembled or installed.
They may be reviewed by the project design team prior to fabrication to verify that they comply with design drawings and specifications and to ensure that different packages of work and components are properly coordinated. This means that they need to contain relevant information to enable this to be done, which might include the provision of samples for approval.
Product data (such as technical data, test data and operations and maintenance data) is information including things such as dimensions, materials and characteristics, about products and materials that may be used on the project. This can be used to confirm whether the product will meet the requirements of the project.
Product data may be provided in the form of product data sheets that summarise the performance and other technical characteristics of a product, material or component according to specific regulatory, market or client-specific requirements.
Product and material samples and mock-ups have become more common requirements on construction projects as the number and complexity of goods and materials that are available and that are required for a single project has increased.
Product samples might include simple items such as paint, tiles, bricks or carpets. In some instances, a sample of a certain type of material in the fabrication process may be offered to designers to evaluate before a final decision is made on its suitability for the project.
These kinds of submittals - sometimes referred to as action submittals - generally require some type of response. This may come in the form of an approval, a request for revision and resubmission or a rejection.
Timing of submittals should take into consideration several key aspects, including:
- Preconstruction. The submittal process should be clarified during preconstruction meetings.
- Scheduling. A submittal schedule should be defeined early in the project to keep everything - and everyone - on track.
- Preparation. Gathering documentation for the submittal process can take a significant amount of time.
- Review. This process will be handled by the decision makers who will be looking at the submittal samples and documentation to determine how the components will impact each other. Again, this can take time and this should be factored into the project programme.
If handled effectively, submittals can become part of the permanent record of the project. This can be used by facilities and operations professionals who are responsible for the management of the project once completed.
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