|Bankers Boxes file submittals in a paper-intensive process.|
Paul Stout, Founder and Director of Education at Power Summit, an AGC partner and national provider of construction training programs, says the importance of submittals in construction projects cannot be overstated. "Traditionally, the submittal process assures owners that their plans and specs are clearly understood by contractors building the project. It is the single best way for owners to ensure quality, functionality, and compliance per the plans and specifications." At the same time, he admits,
"The process itself has been tedious,
time consuming, and redundant."
When they are done at the last minute, submittals can create all kinds of problems, from RFI’s to change orders. Project delays can result. Because engineers need time to analyze and approve submittals, mix designs, for example, are on the critical path of a project.
Given that submittals play such a central role in a project, it is a wonder that leading design firms, general contractors, and subcontractors still use old systems for creating and distributing submittals. Plenty of projects still rely heavily on printers, photocopiers, rubber stamps, and hand delivery. These time- and paper intensive methods are inefficient at best, and wasteful, at worst.
Electronic systems for creating and distributing submittals have many advantages, including time and cost savings. An electronic process also provides an opportunity to integrate submittals with project management and design software. There is a rapid return on investment for electronic submittal processes, especially when many of the solutions available are low (or no) cost.
Next week, I will look at how an electronic submittal process reduces costs over the paper-intensive alternative.
This is the first in my 3-part series on improving the submittals process with an electronic system. A similar article was published in the September issue of Construction Business Owner called How to Streamline Construction Submittals.