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Submittals and RFI's




In Procore

  • The information on this page refers to an operations standpoint for submittals. For procedural information on how Submittals are handled in Procore, please see the landing page located HERE or in the first section of Training Center (top portion of the main landing page).


What is a Submittal

  • Product or Sample information/documents by the contractors of materials that are involved in the construction of your project that are sent to the architect or engineer for review and approval.
  • These documents confirm the scope the contractor intends to complete matches the project design/contract documents.
  • Received and tracked for approval to ensure requirements are met.


Why Are Submittals Important?

  • Submittals are used to verify a specified product shown in the plans or specs is the one actually being used to construct the project. Every part and piece of a project should be sent to the architect or engineer for review and approval.
  • The submittal process ensures the owner that their project is being constructed correctly and to their desired result.  The submittal process also assures the General Contractor that each subcontractor is using the correct product(s).


How are Submittals Used?

  • In the office:  Submittals are used on the front end of a project to have material approved for release/order.
  • In the field: Submittals are used in multiple ways:
    • Verification of correct installation
    • Quality Control for correct products supplied/used
    • Quality Assurance for correctly specified products


Types of Submittals

Common types of submittals include:

  • Product Data: A document containing the manufacturers product information including, but not limited to size, finish, model number, use, specifications, etc.
  • Samples: A physical portion of the specified product being used to construct the project. (examples: flooring, paint colors, etc.)
  • Shop Drawings: Drawing or set of drawings produced by subcontractor, manufacturer, or fabricator which provides additional information required to construct the project (examples: foundation rebar, tilt-up embeds, structural steel, erection drawings, wood panels, etc.)  These are what the tradesmen will build from in the field.
  • Warranty Information: Blank warranty document provided by the manufacturer. Typically only need to be submitted for specialty warranties or when using alternate products.
  • Design Data: A document containing information on the actual design of a certain product that will be used to construct the project (examples: concrete mix design, asphalt mix design, etc.)
  • Certifications/Reports: Documents stating a product has been tested and inspected to meet its qualifications and/or specifications. Can also be a document containing additional information needed to further design (examples: flow test)

Project Engineer

  • It is ultimately the engineers responsibility to facilitate and manage the entire submittal process. The project engineer is to be the primary reviewer of submittals.
    • All submittals should be thoroughly reviewed/commented on by Brinkmann prior to sending to the design team for review.
  • Set expectations with subcontractors and design team after award to form submittal packages and set expectations for deliverables.
  • Set up and organize submittal log. This is handled in the Procore submittal tool.  (Please refer to the Submittal training for further information.)
  • The engineer should be inputting all submittal data and documents into the log, reviewing, and notifying the design reviewer of the information being issued, including open items and critical or "hot" items.
  • Once the submittal has been reviewed and approved, the engineer is responsible to notify all appropriate parties and have the product(s) ordered/released.  From this stage the submittal moves into the procurement phase.
  • All submittals and shop drawings to be approved and finalized within 3 months of the project award date.

Design Team

  • The design team is responsible for the official verification that products(s) being provided match the requirements as listed in the plans and specifications.
  • The design team is the 'last line of defense' to ensure a project is constructed correctly, matching the owners desired outcome.

Submittal Review Procedure

  • To build a submittal log:
    • Read through the specs, compile a list of every submittal that is shown.
      • Note: Procore can review your spec book and create a submittal log for you. However, it is still the responsibility of the engineer to confirm all information has been captured and is accurate.
    • Submit the log to the design team for review. The design team can confirm which items from the list will require their review/approval.
      • Additionally, they can notify you of any items that do not pertain the project in question.  (As you progress in your career, this step will become obsolete as you begin to recognize which submittals you will need, and which you will not.)


Key Items To Verify When Reviewing Submittals

  • Verify manufacturer and/or clarify if requesting a substitution
  • Verify the proposed product meets the specified product specs (color, finish, thickness, material type, etc.) and requirements.
  • Product data submittals should also include product data sheets for all accessories associated with the primary product you are submitting on.
  • Every document should be thoroughly reviewed even if the product submitted is on the basis of design.
  • Confirm the installation method to be used if varying installation methods apply.
    • Example: Fully adhered TPO membrane vs mechanically fastened
    • Cross reference drawings and specifications
  • Utilize product data to address outstanding questions or clarify design intent with the design team.
  • Submit the log to the design team for review. The design team can confirm which items will require their review/approval, as well as any items that do not pertain to the project in question.
  • Confirm that all required tests have been performed for the product being submitted on.
  • Review the report to verify that the product has been tested and is in compliance with building codes applicable to the project,and your type of construction.


Shop Drawing Review Items

  • Common types of shop drawings include the following:
    • Site Utility Structures (grease interceptors, meter vaults, underground detention vaults)
    • Steel (structural, joists, embeds, stairs, railings, etc.)
    • Reinforcing (rebar)
    • Slab control joint layout - Important for storage unit projects, exposed concrete finish
    • Wall panels (tilt walls or panelized metal)
    • Windows and storefront
    • Doors
    • Tapered roof insulation
    • Casework, countertops
    • Toilet partitions
    • Carpet seaming diagrams
    • Signage
    • Elevators
    • Fire sprinkler systems
  • Utilize the same mentality/methodology of doing a check set when you are reviewing shop drawings.
  • Are the shop drawings complete enough to build off of?
  • Is the scope delegated design? If not, design team must provide final approval
  • Are the drawings stamped by professional engineer, if required?
  • If scope is delegated design, the design portion should be completed prior to shop drawings being produced (Example: Cold formed metal trusses)
  • Do these documents need to be submitted to the local AHJ as an addendum to the permit drawings? If so, who is responsible for submitting? (Example: Fire sprinkler drawings, joist and deck, building signage, fireproofing)
  • Make sure a final "for construction" set of shop drawings is produced regardless of design team approval.
  • Send out final set to all affected subcontractors (applies to all submittal documents and not just shop drawings).
  • Do not underestimate how long it can take to get some of your more complicated shop drawings finalized and approved.

The submittal process is an important aspect of a successful project, and carries a high level of risk for both schedule and cost delays. Therefore, it is important to avoid mismanagement of the submittal process (slow review, approvals, disorganized, etc), so the process does not snowball into larger issues for the project at large.

Ultimately, the design team is responsible for catching mistakes or errors during the submittal review process.  However, there are cases where the GC carries the design for a project, and therefore the risk is shifted to Brinkmann.

In either case, all submittals should be thoroughly reviewed with comments, dates, and initials to create a historical log of everything reviewed and any mishaps that may take place, for an accurate record for the responsible party.


  • A design team is slow to review a foundation rebar shop drawing by 4 weeks.  The same rebar has an additional 4-week lead time from approval, and foundations are set to begin in 6 weeks. There is now a 2 week delay in the project schedule since approved rebar was not ordered in time to be on site for the foundation installation. While fault appears to be on the design team, it is on Brinkmann Constructors as the GC, to push the design team to review and to notify the owner of any issues.
  • Multiple steel embeds had incorrect dimensions in the shop drawings. If the mistake is not caught during the review process, the field team will construct using incorrect information, eventually requiring correction. In this example your delay will include the need for an RFI to clarify, the actual correction on site, schedule delays that will incur, and additional cost outside the subcontractors base contract amount for the required corrections. 
  • Complete your submittal log in Procore (note Methods and Procedures above) early. Once the submittal process begins, and information is being received it can be very time consuming and frustrating to play catch up. If the log is ready, you can simply add the information as you go.
  • Be organized.  Your submittal log and procurement logs should be identical.  
  • Set expectations with the design team and your subcontractors early on.  Especially in a volatile market, speed is key.  You may not have the luxury of a full 10-day review and turnaround process to lock in pricing and meet schedule deadlines.
  • Submittals should be reviewed and approved within three (3) months of a project award.  
  • Use your review of submittals as a time to familiarize yourself with the types of products, and what items are involved in different market sectors.
  • Take ownership of the project.  By doing submittals you gain familiarity with the project because you spend the time reviewing everything involved.
  • Take enough time to ensure the process is done correctly. Although expediency is key, doing your due diligence is more so.
  • Do not fall behind. Trying to play catch-up in the submittal process is a losing game.