How Efficient is Your Submittal Review Process?

As Consultants, we can't escape the reality of submittal reviews. But do we really know how well we're managing that process?

Jan 24, 2022

Reviewing submittals is part of the shop drawing process as a whole – and let’s face it, it’s probably not the most exciting thing on your to-do list. Even so, it’s important to make sure you aren’t inadvertently making more work for yourself or other stakeholders as you go about this important work.

In this article, we’ll explore common challenges in submittals reviews, ways you may inadvertently be duplicating efforts, and tips for streamlining the process. You’ll be the hero of your consulting team! Let’s dig in.

An Overview of the Submittal Review Process

The goal here is to get you thinking about your own process and the way it currently works in your company. Often, we don’t recognize areas for improvement in these seemingly mundane processes until we go over them more intentionally.

For most companies, submittal review is still a largely manual process. See if this looks familiar:

1. The hundreds to thousands of project submittals are received by email as PDF documents.

2. You stumble through your existing file hierarchy to find a new location (typically five to seven levels deep) to create a new folder.

3. The shop drawing file is forwarded via email to all relevant consultants who were not copied on the original email. They are asked to review within a certain number of days.

4. Consultants may or may not actually complete that review.

5. You have either been diligent and set yourself some kind of reminder to follow up with overdue consultants or – as too often happens – have received a message from the GC reminding you that the shop drawings are either due tomorrow or already overdue.

6. You panic.

7. You dig up the original email and resend it, asking consultants if they are almost done and reminding them of the due date. You add “professional herder of cats” to your resume.

8. You field several emails asking you to resend the file as the recipient cannot access or cannot find the file. 

9. You chug coffee and pull your hair out as you try to keep track of who has completed their review via the flurry of emails flying back and forth.

10. You save each reviewed document on the server in the original folder.

11. Finally, you’ve received and completed all reviews. You’ve compiled them into one PDF file and are limping to the finish.

12. Not so fast! Maybe you’re one of those lucky creatures whose company doesn’t recognize that the email is the transmittal and insists on creating one to attach to the shop drawing. That’s right, you’re already overdue and we’re back to 1985’s communication methods. 

13. Defeated, you fill out the Word document transmittal, export to PDF, and merge with the other PDF. 

14. You begin questioning your life choices.

Yikes…that sucked

It’s not always that bad – but then, sometimes it’s worse. Sometimes you have the Contract Administrator tracking outstanding submittals in an Excel spreadsheet when the GC is doing the same thing. That’s a duplication of efforts and wasted time. It’s also unlikely that your spreadsheet is capturing all the data possible to tell you where there is inefficiency in your process. 

The good news is that the sheer frustration and time wasted in such a manual, tedious process just isn’t necessary anymore. Sure, that’s the way it’s always been done. But technology has advanced a great deal since the 80s and today, a completely streamlined workflow is achievable without the steep learning curve.

How to Improve Your Submittal Review Process

Part3 was created to not only make the submittal review process easier and more efficient but more effective, too. Which consultant is slowing you down? Which consultant is the most efficient? Where is the bottleneck? Tracking that data is incredibly time-consuming if done manually.

Our platform tracks your data every step of the way so you can see at a glance who owes you a review, where the team is most efficient, and where improvements are needed. Part3 makes the entire process transparent and in doing so, makes the consultant’s life so much easier.

With the ability to export all your data in excel and PDFs from cloud-based software, you no longer need to create folders and save files on your servers. All consultants know which items are in their court, and you can send reminders and collaborate together in the app. 

Imagine fewer emails and phone calls. Less chasing. Key information and updates at your fingertips. This is not only possible – it’s becoming the new standard in the submittal review process. And it’s about time!

Start Improving Submittals Today

If you want to get a closer look at our submittal solutions, we went deep into the platform during our submittal tools webinar:

To learn more, book a demo with Part3 to get a personalized look at how our platform can streamline your submittal review process with features like our AI-powered submittal review tool and more.