6 Tips & Tricks to Getting Faster Submittal Approvals

Those familiar with the construction submittal process know that it can be a slow, arduous process. Approvals can sometimes take weeks, even months depending on the content, quality, and accuracy of the submittal package. So how do you speed up such a critical aspect of every construction project? We have 6 tips & tricks to help you gain quicker approvals and get your materials on site sooner.

  1. Kickoff your project with a specification review

Designers often use a standardized set of specifications that they take with them from one project to the next rather than investing numerous hours creating new specifications. As a result, there are often requirements that don’t apply to your specific project. We suggest scheduling a review of the specifications with the design team and owner’s rep to review the project’s submittal requirements. Bring your submittal log with you, and you’ll be surprised to see how many submittal packages aren’t needed.

  1. Hold a “Quality Meeting” with your subcontractors

Establishing expectations is critical to managing subcontractors, especially any that you haven’t worked with before. By scheduling a one-time quality meeting with each of your subcontractors, you can clearly communicate the process, quality, and formatting that you expect for your project’s submittals. After all, each contractor assembles submittals in their own way and standardizing this process will save you and the design team review time.

  1. If you receive partial approvals, resubmit the entire package

As construction schedules continue to get condensed, the need for quicker submittal approvals increases. This is why partial submittal approvals are becoming more and more common. The next time you come across a partial approval, we suggest resubmitting the entire submittal package and indicating which portion of that submittal has already been approved. You can do this by indicating the approved pages in the transmittal, table of contents, or make a note on each approved page. Allowing the reviewer to observe the entire submittal package will give them the whole picture, not a piecemealed one.

  1. Establish a weekly Submittal review with the design team

Reviewing RFI and submittal logs in your OAC meetings is great, but it doesn’t allow you to discuss the documents in detail. By establishing a weekly RFI/Submittal review with the design team, you’re devoting time to review these documents together, which will result in faster approvals. The review is where questions can be asked and answered instantaneously and get validation that everyone has looked at the submittal package. One key note is to make sure that during this meeting everyone is devoting their time specifically to reviewing and discussing these documents, not answering emails!

  1. Invest your time on the front end

We wanted to leave you with one age-old recommendation. The more time you spend reviewing the first round of submittals, the less work you will have later on. Everyone knows it, but sometimes with our time crunched schedules we don’t perform as an in-depth review as we should. This only causes more trouble later on, and leads to several rounds of resubmittals which ultimately delay approvals. Set aside some time to review the submittal package with your subcontractor before submitting to the design team, and not only will you better understand what is being submitted, but you will probably catch some errors too!

  1. Use technology

Of course our biggest tip is to use SKYSITE’s electronic submittal tool. You’ll speed up the approval process and eliminate the need for analog stamps, cover and transmittal pages, and 3rd party software. Find out more about saving time and improving workflow with SKYSITE submittals here.