Friday, October 21, 2011

Reducing Costs with Electronic Submittals

In my last post on electronic submittals, I wrote about a process that one construction expert called tedious, time consuming, and redundant. In the second of my 3-part series, today I look at the cost savings of an electronic submittal process.

The first and most immediate return on an investment in electronic submittals is a reduction in the cost of distributing submittals. Multiple parties need to receive submittals, including subcontractors, the general contractor, the architect, structural engineers, consultants, and the owner. With a few assumptions, it is easy to see how the cost savings adds up.

Consider that each spec subsection requiring a product data submittal has, on average, eight items. Each item in the submittal has two to three pages of product data and often installation details as well. That adds up to 17 to 25 pages per submittal, including the cover page. Project specs can require as many as eight copies of each submittal. With multiple copies, each spec section can generate as many as 200 pages. Submittals also go through a review process, so there are often iterations that need to go back and forth between an architect and the general contractor or subcontractor.

When you combine multiple spec sections with multiple copies and iterations, you are paying for thousands—or even tens of thousands—of pages to be copied and delivered throughout the course of a project. It is no wonder large commercial and infrastructure projects have full-time document managers, with entire rooms devoted to storing these materials on the job site. The amount of paper for product submittals alone is staggering, even before considering shop drawings, LEED® submittals, and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) manuals.

In some cases, your company does not have a choice in how submittals are distributed. The architect, owner, or construction manager sets forth the submittal requirements as part of the Division I Project Administration requirements. If the requirements ask for a physical submittal with a rubber stamp, the end results is, of course, a room full of Banker’s boxes containing all the submittals from the project.

The owner does need a record of what building products were used in the building’s construction. He or she needs to know what equipment was installed and be able to access all warranties and maintenance information on equipment. But there is a better way!


This is the second in a 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.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Find 'Made In America' Building Products on BuildSite

Everyone in construction is talking about 'Made in America' building products after ABC News' David Muir ran a segment last week on the Bozeman, Montana home completely made in America.

At BuildSite, we are of course eager to tell folks that most of the products on BuildSite are manufactured domestically. To help you source American-manufactured products, look for the "Made in the USA" and "Regional MFG" icons when you search BuildSite.com. A product category search for air barriers brings up products that are made here in the U.S. and manufactured regionally:

A search on BuildSite pulls up products made in America.

Because many of the building products in our database that are made in America are not marked with icons, we went through contractor Anders Lewendal's list of 'Made in America' building products to show what you can find on BuildSite. Click on the links below to be taken to the manufacturer and product pages, then find a retailer near you using our distributor zip code search.

 'Made in USA' Products   Manufacturer  Manufacture State 
Hangers, straps, H clips Simpson Strong-Tie CA
 TJI’s  iLevel  OR
 Powder actuated pins  ITW Ramset / Red Head   IL
 Foam board  Dow Building Solutions  IL
 Spray insulation  JM Corbond  MT, TX
 Paint  Sherwin Williams  OH
 Telephone wire  3M  MN
 Duct Liner  Johns Manville  CO
 Allthread Anchors  ITW Buildex  IL
 Soulder Flux  Rectorseal  TX

We list hundreds of other manufacturers with products made in America. If you have any questions about the products you find on our site, email us. Start your search now!