👀  Hiring Founding Technical Product Owner (Integrations) →


Construction 101 for Software Engineers: Submittals

Q: What is a Submittal in construction?

In construction, a Submittal is a document, sample, or other piece of project information delivered to an architect, engineer, or consultant for approval. Submittals can include thousands of items, including color charts, material data, samples, shop drawings, blueprints, and more. Submittals are often grouped together (e.g. by trade, by contractor) into a Submittal Package for organization purposes.

Q: Why are Submittals needed?

Submittals help a construction project’s design team (i.e. architects, engineers) verify that the correct products and quantities will be installed on a project in compliance with the project’s Specifications.

Q: Who is involved in the Submittals process?

Three stakeholders are typically involved in the Submittals process:

  1. Submittal Manager: oversees a Submittal from its submission to approval. This is typically a Project Manager/Engineer employed by a project’s General Contractor.
  2. Subcontractor: responsible for preparing the materials covered in a Submittal.
  3. Design Team (e.g. architects, engineers): responsible for verifying that the Submittal contains the correct products and quantities, since this is what will be installed on the project.
Q: When are Submittals sent?

Submittals are sent in the late pre-construction or early construction phases because they inform how a project will be executed.

Q: How are Submittals distributed and approved?

The typical workflow for a Submittal is as follows:

  1. The Design Team (e.g. architects, engineers) write a Specification, which describes the necessary materials, the scope of work, installation process, and level of quality that satisfies a requirement for construction.
  2. A Submittal Manager creates and sends a Submittal to a Subcontractor to request information about specific items planned in the Specification (e.g. Front Door Paint).
  3. The Subcontractor reviews the Submittal and responds with information (e.g. product samples) related to the items requested by the Submittal Manager.
  4. The Submittal Manager then forwards the Submittal with the Subcontractor’s input to the Design Team.
  5. The Design Team then reviews the Submittal. If the work or fabrication is acceptable for construction, they review or, when requested, approve the Submittal and notify the relevant parties. They may also reject it, or request that it be resubmitted for review with more information.
Q: What information do Submittals typically include?

A Submittal typically includes the following information:

Information Category Description
Attachments Reference Any attachments (e.g. shop drawings) associated with the Submittal.
Description Metadata A short description of the Submittal request
Name Metadata The title or subject of the Submittal.
Number Metadata The number of the Submittal, used for internal reference.
Recipient(s) Stakeholder Individuals copied on updates to the Submittal.
Reviewer(s) Stakeholder The individuals (e.g. Architects, Designers) responsible for reviewing the Submittal.
Specification Section Reference A reference denoting the source of the requirement for the Submittal.
Status Metadata The status of the Submittal (e.g. open).
Submitter Stakeholder The individual (e.g. Project Manager) responsible for overseeing the Submittal.
Type Metadata The type of Submittal (e.g. samples).

Note, Agave API includes all of the above fields in our data model for Submittals.

Q: What systems does Agave integrate with for Submittals?

Agave currently supports reading and writing Submittals and Submittal Packages from Procore. We plan to add other systems, including CMiC, Fieldwire, and PlanGrid in the near future.

If there’s any Source System you would like us to expedite for Submittals, feel free to email us at api-support@agaveapi.com.

Q: Why are Specifications included in Submittals?

A Submittal is submitted in order to verify that the correct products and quantities are used on the Project, as specified in the Specification. This is why Submittals are sent for the approval of the Design Team (i.e. to confirm that everything is being built as they specified).

Q: How are Submittals different from RFIs?

An RFI is intended to clarify the design intent of Specifications over the course of a project, whereas Submittals are intended to confirm that a Project Manager or Subcontract understands the design intent of Specifications.

Q: How are Submittals different from Change Orders?

A Change Order is a written record of a contract modification (e.g. to a Prime Contract, Subcontract) which can change the budget, schedule, and scope of work to be completed. Submittals can result in Change Orders after the Submittal Manager recognizes there’s a budget or scope gap from understanding the design intent of a Specification (e.g. there is a lack of supplies and materials needed for a project).

Are you working to read and write Submittals data to multiple construction systems? Use Agave because we unify those data models and save you weeks of work.