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Do Not Take the
Submittal Process Casually

The procurement chain process is very much depended on the purchase ans submittal processes. The more technical the project and processes, the more you must stay with procurement every step of the way.

From visiting many jobsites as a consultant over the years and found that the submittal process was handed off like a stepchild. No one liked the job of tracking/expediting procurement items. We need to find the people who see this position as an important job and want to do it. This person or people should be assigned to project until the process is complete and then be sent to the next project. Companies look for qualified and experienced people to do jobs, why doesn't the construction industry do the same.

We need procurement professionals. Most of the time this work is placed in the hands of the "low man on the totem pole," often the new guy or gal. But when the process goes wrong it rapidly climbs the ladder to the PM.

Far Too Little Emphasis
and Control Over
Submittals and Procurement as a Whole

Even though the full procurement chain process is often on a projects critical path, we just don't apply adequate attention to the full process. Everything that is on the jobsite must in some fashion be procured, including a talented field staff.

It is the rare schedule that adequately incorporates the full procurement process. (What's the excuse? IT'S TOO MUCH WORK. That's called a "cop-out."

Numbered Definitions
 

Discussion

1

The prepared contract failed to set forth the requirements for the subcontractor total scope and submittal/procurement process expectations. The subcontract was late and not in accordance to the Submittal Preparation time Submitted in the bid.

   

2

The subcontractor is late preparing it submittal package. Or the GC's initial review causes them to request a new modified submittal. This is a delay caused by the GC or the subcontractor.

   

3

Here is where the GC should catch any basic submittal errors. It is the GC's responsibility, not the owner's reviewer who should catch a submittal that varies on a non-technical level. All too often the GC ignores the need or responsibility to conduct this review.

   

4

It is only now that we reach the contract timeline. It is now typically that the timer starts. To the owner/Architect the GC was the totally responsible entity to cause any delay prior to this point in time.

   

5

Now it is in the hands or the owner's reviewer. This time should be tracked carefully to make sure that this phase is conducted timely. This should be tracked by the contract schedule.

   

6

At this point in the submittal process, the status of the submittal is known.

   

7

It is now again where the GC is responsible i being sure that the review comments and status are reasonable. They may want to discuss the comment with the reviewer before it is returned to the subcontractor so that they can manage the remainder of the process or a recycle process.

   

8

The subcontractor is now in possession of the reviewed submittal and any comment or directions from the GC.

   

9

If approved (accepted) by the owner's reviewer the process moves on. If not approved or accepted, the submittal is sent through a new submittal cycle. This can greatly extend the submittal process and create delay.

   

10

Items can be standard off-the-shelf items or fabricated/assembled items with parts from the subcontractor's vendors. It behooves you to find out and know these details since complicated procurement chains with sub-assembly/assembly/ manufactured/purchased parts can be a bear to track and expedite. Risk of an on-time delivery free of defects can grow exponentially.

   

11

Delivery can be simple or complex depending on what is being shipped, special shipping requirements, possible customs, in-shipping damages, parts shortages and more. Be sure to inspect received items on the shippers vehicle before you insurance is responsible.

   

12

Have a special receiving crew so that all deliveries are checked properly and consistently. Take photos on and off delivery vehicle.

   

13

Storage should be arranged based on sequence of planned removal to avoid movement of other items. Be sure that all vendor-recommended storage procedures and environments are met.

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Contributor

James G. Zack, Jr.
Executive Director
Navigant Construction Forum,
Navigant Consulting, Inc.
Website

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