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Submittals, Samples and Shop Drawings

Article Objectives:

  • Introduction of submittals, samples and shop drawings

  • Uses of submittals, samples and shop drawings

  • Types of submittals

  • Requirements of submittals, samples and shop drawings

  • Type of submittals used in the construction process.

  • Information expected in submittals.

  • Submittals process.

  • Use of the procurement schedule to control submittals to meet the construction schedule.

  • Use of submittals during the construction process.


The construction documents, especially the technical specifications, require the contractor to submit product data, samples, and shop drawings to the architect and engineer for approval. This is one of the first steps that is taken by the contractor after the execution of the construction contract and issuance of the notice to proceed. Shop drawings, material data, and samples generally are referred to as submittals. The submittal process is very important, as it directly relates to the quality, schedule, and finally the overall success of the project.

Types of Submittals

Product Data Submittal

The product data submittal usually consists of the manufacturer’s product information. The information that is necessary for such a submittal includes:

  • Manufacturer, trade name, model or type number: This information is necessary to compare the submitted item with the specified products and acceptable products listed in the specification and addenda.

  • Size and physical characteristics: The size and physical characteristics, such as adjustment capabilities, should be reviewed by both the contractor and architect.

  • Description of use and performance characteristics: Information should be furnished describing the normal use and expected performance of the product.

  • A specific request for Jobsite dimensions: Some material is custom fabricated to job conditions, requiring dimensions from the Jobsite. These Jobsite dimensions are provided by the contractor, before the release of the product for manufacture.

  • Finish characteristics: The architect should review the available finishes and select the appropriate finish if the finish was not previously specified in the documents.

Shop Drawings

A shop drawing is a drawing or set of drawings produced by the contractor, supplier, manufacturer, subcontractor, or fabricator. Shop drawings are not produced by architects and engineers under their contract with the owner. The shop drawings normally show more detail than the construction documents. The style of the shop drawings is usually very different from that of the architect's drawing. The shop drawing's primary emphasis is on the particular product or installation and excludes notation concerning other products and installations unless integration with the subject product is necessary. The Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) has developed standard symbols, graphics, and formats for shop drawings and cut sheets that generally are used by reinforcing steel fabricators.

Each supplier or manufacturer will have specific information that should be included in shop drawings. This information includes:

  1. Comparison of information for the architect and engineer.

  2. Information needed to fabricate the product.

  3. Notes of changes or alterations from the construction documents.

  4. Indication of dimensions needing verification from the Jobsite.

  5. Placement or installation information.

  6. Samples.


Many products require submission of samples. A sample is a physical portion of the specified product. Some samples are full product samples, such as a brick or section of precast concrete, or a partial sample that indicates colour or texture. The size of the unit of sample material usually is specified.

Samples need to be stored at the Jobsite and compared to the material delivered and installed. Comparison of samples with the product received is an important part of project quality control.

Requirements for submittals, Shop Drawings, and Samples

The construction documents usually indicate which product data submittals, shop drawings and samples are required by the architect for a particular project. The contractor can require these in purchase orders and subcontract agreements, whether or not they are specified in the construction documents. Submittals, samples and shop drawings are used by the contractor and the architect as a reference for monitoring quality control.

Submittals are required in the following areas of contact documents:

  • General conditions of the Construction Contract. (Ref. Constructskills: Contract terms

  • Supplementary Conditions.

  • Section 01300 of General Requirements.

  • Individual Product Specification in the Technical Specification.

The contractor uses the submittals in the construction process for:

  • Placing Details

  • Determining installation techniques

  • Inventory of material

  • Quality control

The use of Submittals during Construction

  • Information for preparation of openings, support, adjoining assemblies, and general construction details.

  • Quality control information to assure that the correct product has been supplied.

  • Placement diagrams for installation of the material.

  • Jobsite reference for architect and owner.

  • Information relating to necessary handling and placement of equipment.

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