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Construction designers, architects, and engineers meticulously plan projects with a high level of detail. The design team generates drawings and specifications that outline the necessary materials, equipment, and construction methods to ensure quality. However, the intricate nature of this planning implies that even slight deviations from the plans can result in significant consequences. Given that various specialty contractors and suppliers typically handle the actual work and materials, it is imperative for designers and contractors to be in sync, and requires Submittals in Construction.

Fundamentals of Submittals in Construction

A submittal refers to any document or item forwarded by contractors for review by the design team, verifying that the materials, products, and equipment slated for use in construction align with the contract requirements. Submittals encompass a range of items such as product data sheets, samples, mockups, manuals, and more. Prior to commencing work, it is typically mandatory for specialty contractors involved in the project to submit specific documentation for approval by an architect or engineer.

While many Submittals in Construction are submitted before the commencement of work, the submittals process continues throughout the project, extending up to the closeout phase. Submittals offer detailed information about the materials, equipment, and systems to be installed by each contractor, including, at times, the methods they intend to employ for installation.

Submittals in Construction
Submittals in Construction

RFIs in the Submittals in Construction Process

During the preparation of submittals for design review, subcontractors often encounter questions regarding the drawings or specifications that must be addressed before proceeding. Contractors frequently utilize a request for information, or RFI, to communicate with the design team, seeking answers and clarification to ensure the accurate preparation of items.

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Both Submittals in Construction and RFIs share similarities in that they are addressed in the General Requirements of the prime contract, where the communication process between the General Contractor (GC) and the architect is outlined.

Ideally, all RFIs would be resolved before the production of any submittals for a specific scope of work. However, in reality, submittals may uncover new questions that need to be discussed with the design team. The submittal and RFI processes can become intertwined and run concurrently as subcontractors, the GC, and the architect collaborate on addressing constructability issues or potential scope gaps.

For instance, if the specifications specify that a hallway should be painted “gray,” the painting contractor might submit an RFI seeking details on the specific color mix or product name. While they could choose any shade of gray, there is a risk that the owner or designer might object to the chosen shade, necessitating a repaint.

On the other hand, if the specs call for “PPG PPG0994-1 Afraid of the Dark,” the contractor already has precise information about the required shade. They can then proceed with submittals of the paint color for the designer’s approval or confirmation. This may involve preparing brushouts (paint samples) or even an onsite mock-up to provide the designer with a better understanding of how the chosen color looks and performs in reality.

Types of Submittals in Construction

Various types of Submittals in Construction are common before the construction phase, encompassing shop drawings, material samples, engineering calculations, product cutsheets, mockups, and vendor information. Additional submittals are typically prepared during project closeout, including items like product warranties and as-built drawings. It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive and may vary for each contractor or vendor contributing to a project.

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Depending on the preferences of the design team and the General Contractor (GC), a specialty contractor may be requested to submit individual submittals or a comprehensive submittal package. A submittal package comprises closely-related submittals. For instance, an electrical contractor might submit a light fixture package containing product sheets for 25 different fixture types used inside the building.

Shop Drawings

Shop drawings are intricate plans, drawings, and illustrations demonstrating how specific project elements will be fabricated and/or installed. They are commonly required for specially fabricated materials or custom-built equipment to ensure the product aligns with the design in terms of fit and function. For example, HVAC contractors often submit shop drawings of custom ductwork to ensure compliance with design requirements, adequate airflow, and to depict the ductwork’s routing throughout the building.

Product Data

Contractors are often required to submit product information provided by the manufacturer to the design team. These documents, known as data sheets or “cut sheets,” provide standard details about products such as sizes, performance data, and preparation and installation instructions. Material certificates or test reports may also be necessary to confirm that an item meets or exceeds specified standards.

Types of Submittals in Construction
Types of Submittals in Construction


Samples, physical examples of materials to be installed, are crucial for the design team to verify that the materials align with the intended quality, color, texture, or structural requirements. Common examples of samples submitted as part of a submittal include flooring, tile, and paint.


Mockups serve as models of a constructed element, either produced at scale or life-size, using the same materials and methods intended for the project. They are created to verify the aesthetics and/or workmanship of the product. In instances where mockups are too large to transport, photos may be submitted to document an in-person review. Mock-ups can also be a portion of the work performed onsite (in situ), temporarily paused for a submittal review, and documented with photos like other submittals.

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Engineering Calculations 

Contractors may be required to provide calculations demonstrating that their work is sufficient for the intended application. For instance, electrical contractors often submit voltage drop calculations, short-circuit analyses, and load calculations to ensure the electrical system is appropriately designed and capable of handling expected demands, particularly crucial in institutional projects such as hospitals where power interruptions could have severe consequences.

Connecting Design and Construction Efforts

Submittals in Construction play a crucial role in the intricate puzzle of construction projects, serving as a vital link between the teams responsible for designing the project and those tasked with its actual construction. Successfully managing submittals demands precise scheduling, effective communication, and meticulous attention to detail to avoid expensive errors or delays. Despite the inherent challenges, when approached adeptly, a well-organized submittals process emerges as a potent instrument for the seamless execution of construction projects, regardless of their complexity.

Connecting Design and Construction Efforts
Connecting Design and Construction Efforts

Effective construction management at APPMVN company

Building on the foundation established by APPMVN, the exploration of various Submittals in Construction types in seamlessly connects with the utilization of construction management services. For further details on how APPMVN integrates with and supports construction management, you can visit their dedicated page:

Please send information or requests that you need to consult for Asia Pacific Projects via:

NGUYEN THI HIEU | Local Relations

Mobile phone: +84 918 331 489


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