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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you use this technique to keep track of when and where your submittals are at any given time? I am wanting to become comfortable with this concept as it seems an easier way to stay organized. Does anyone have an old copy or format that I could get a sample of? I am 22 and graduating college in December and I am trying to impress my PM at the moment and better prepare myself
 

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Structural Engineer
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The absolute fool proof way to manage submittals (and impress) in my opinion is to keep an immaculate job file. Each job file I manage has the following sections (I use big binder clips on each section):

Original job info & drawings
Submittals
Correspondence
Estimate backup
Meetings, notes
Purchases
Labor records

Each section has a cover sheet with a running log/tally of what should be in section, with status. Every document that pertains to the job gets the job number written in red in the bottom right corner, gets placed in the file or an in-bin on my desk, then gets filed in the job file at the end of the week. Right now I have 11 open jobs, and 9 projects to estimate.

At the end of each week, I'll go through my journal (simple spiral notebook) and copy any info onto a piece of paper and stick in the notes section (or photo copy the pages if it's a lot). I'll go through the manning e-mails I get from my partner and tally hours (he tracks hours across the whole company, I'll take the detail and log it into my projects to see where we're at), log purchases, etc, then send the sheets over to accounting for billing. I'll go through e-mails and insert the project number in the subject lines, so if I have to I can sort in Outlook.

In a perfect world, that's my Friday afternoon, with a frosty beer and some pretzels. This Friday I had to play tin knocker and hang breeching and draft inducers, so I'm doing my paperwork now on Saturday morning.
 

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General Contractor
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Loose papers are a death knell for my sense of organization. For that reason I constructed three racks, and purchased one other.
One of the homemade ones was a plan rack located behind my desk. This contained FOLDED copies of the home plan packages, along with spec sheets. These were for handing out to subs.

Beside the drafting table was the standard (purchased) hanging plan rack. These were office sets that never left the premises.

Near the front door was the "inspector's corner." A stand-up rack similar to the ones you see in tourist bureaus for sightseeing brochures. This was for permits and other Building Dept docs. We supplied a small table and a comfortable chair there too. It took some doing, but our inspectors have all learned to deal with us through this convenient little section of the office (usually the model home garage), and they love it! No dirty, messed up plans, No wasps in the doc holder. No hassle with wind and weather at the house site. And........... the coffee and donuts in the air conditioning always brightened their day.

We set aside a "Ready to go" in/out box on that table on any inspection day. Everything they needed was there, all set for them to either pick up and take to the house, or (and this happened more often than you'd think) for them to just stop in and sign off. I imagine they probably stopped by the house before hitting the office................. ya think?

But the major rack was constructed across the front of my desk. It held around 50 loose leaf binders. They were crossed cataloged as site addresses (one notebook for each house) and disciplines (one notebook for each trade). Everything that came in hit the copier first, then the hole punch, then right into both sections of notebooks. We bought them by the case at Staples for very cheap.

Inspections and orders/deliveries and Change Orders (and a few other things) each had their own notebooks too.... along with the standard duplicate copies in the individual job notebooks.

All that was really ever on my desk was the huge monthly blotter, and the daily "to do" list.

Very effective, and it also had the additional virtue of everyone in the company knowing how this system worked, no matter which project they might happen to be on at the moment. Even the subs knew where to quickly check on their daily and scheduled status.
 

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General Contractor
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I have found one thing to be VERY important. And that is STANDARDIZED CONVENTION.

All plan packages set up and organized in exactly the same identical pattern.

All notebooks set up with identical dividers, sections color-coded, and EVERYTHING date, job #, and signature-stamped. Buy a mechanical stamp (or two or three) and have them always convenient.

If you cannot pick up a notebook or plan package on any given project, and know exactly where to look to find what you need to know............ something is wrong! It needs fixing. It's wasting your time.

And just like in bookkeeping, everything should be tracked in both individual ledger format, and ALSO on an overall Journal sheet.... this can be weekly, monthly, or for the whole job... or a combination of these.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replys. I am trying to better prepare myself and have the most efficient management skills for the time of graduation. A lot of students who graduate overlook the importance of being well prepared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Do all shop drawing have to go through the contractor, arch/engineer and then the consultant. I know the everyone has X amount of days. Reason I am a little confused is because I have these shop drawings in an EXCEL spreadsheet:
Structural ShoringConcrete Mix Design Shop DrawingTilt-Up Panels Shop DrawingRebar Shop Drawing: Footings, Foundation Walls and SlabsStructural Steel ColumnsStructural Steel BeamsStructural Steel BoltsStructural Steel JoistsMillwork Shop DrawingsDoor & Window Schedule Shop DrawingsFire Sprinkler Shop DrawingsFire Alarm Shop DrawingsIrrigation Shop Drawing

I have to out these into the correct order and then track the process at any given time. The contractor has X days, architect has X days and the consultant has X days. Just a little confused on how to set this up.
 

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General Contractor
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One thing that will prove invaluable - and will likely save your butt more than once - is keeping an accurate and up-to-date phone log.
 

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General Contractor
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Do all shop drawing have to go through the contractor, arch/engineer and then the consultant. I know the everyone has X amount of days. Reason I am a little confused is because I have these shop drawings in an EXCEL spreadsheet:

Structural ShoringConcrete Mix Design Shop Drawing
Tilt-Up Panels Shop Drawing
Rebar Shop Drawing:

Footings, Foundation Walls and SlabsStructural Steel ColumnsStructural Steel BeamsStructural Steel BoltsStructural Steel Joists (How are these divided?)

Millwork Shop Drawings
Door & Window Schedule Shop Drawings
Fire Sprinkler Shop Drawings
Fire Alarm Shop Drawings
Irrigation Shop Drawing

I have to out these into the correct order and then track the process at any given time. The contractor has X days, architect has X days and the consultant has X days. Just a little confused on how to set this up.
There are people here far more qualified to answer this than I am. But I can tell you from just a cursory scan of your post that you can do a lot on your own here.

Set about determining who has responsibilities in which categories. Learn the professional extent and legal scope of each participant's influence and responsibility. Also, the Arch/Eng are not always within the same firm. Ferret this information out. Get to know all the players, and where they fit on the field.

I do not blame you for trying to just get some answers here. But I do question the value of such a course of action where the learning of some fairly serious stuff is concerned.

Many people here can tell you who, what, and when. Hell, even an old house builder like me............BUT you really need to consider the importance of first learning for yourself the WHY's of all this.

Begin breaking all this down as logically as you can. Arrange some time to pick the brains of some of the people you listed..... as well as studying construction procedures, contracts, and law...... to better build an inner understanding of the fit of people and processes.

That's why some of this is deliberately presented to you in a confusing manner. You have to orient your thinking process to encompass the whole ball of wax. It's a "building block" thing. You are to be working on your mental foundation right now.

Hang in there.
 

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General Contractor
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BTW. Have you been taught anything about Gantt charts yet? CPM? A lot of your questions will fall into place with the proper application of tools such as those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So when trying to find the order that the shop drawing should be submitted is something I will accumulate from the critica path method? I was taught some of the Gantt Chart and CPM but it was not actually stressed about.

And I am by no means ASKING for the answer. I am wanting to learn the most correct and efficient way is all.
 

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General Contractor
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So when trying to find the order that the shop drawing should be submitted is something I will accumulate from the critical path method? I was taught some of the Gantt Chart and CPM but it was not actually stressed about.

And I am by no means ASKING for the answer. I am wanting to learn the most correct and efficient way is all.
No, but these skills will help you understand the importance of priorities and sequence.

I know you aren't, that's why I'm not giving one. I believe you would much rather dig it out for yourself, and I have to respect that initiative. :thumbsup:
 

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I went through some old copies of Design Cost Data Magazine, and found an interesting article on the responsibilities involved in Shop Drawings.

If you would PM an e-mail address, I'd be glad to send them (it's a two-parter) to you.
 

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I know it's been said already but standardization is key! These days digital records are the way to go, no shuffling with papers, lost files, coffee stains etc. If you don't have PDF writer yet I would advise finding a copy. This way to can save word/excel files in such a way that they can not be tampered with. Once your all set up there are dozens of ways to organize documents and shop drawings are only one part. We use logs for everything, Shop drawings, RFI's, Change Orders, you name it. All logs have the same purpose, so it's all about how efficient they are too keep.
For shop drawings, when we get a new submittal we open a new sub file folder in a shop drawing file and give it a S-### in the order of which we received it. All documentation related to that submittal will reference that number and all correspondence will be kept in that file folder so you know exactly where it is. Now when we enter it into the log this is the process we follow:

Submittal #, Area, Site copied (Y/N), Sub-Contractor/Supplier, Sub/Supplier's #, Description, Sent to, Date Received, Date to Eng, Date requested from Eng, Actual date from Eng, approved/rejected, Date distributed/returned, Days out for review, Notes

Now there are a lot of macros in there that make that process a lot quicker, but you get the idea. On top of that we submit cover sheets w/digital stamps which are only 1 click away if the excel log is set up correctly. We also use colors to make it easier to determine if the submittal is still out for review, whose hands it is in and alarms go off when it's been outstanding for too long.

I would send you a copy of the log we use but for company confidentiality I can't, but I hope that gives you a bit of an idea.

Regards,
 

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How many of you use this technique to keep track of when and where your submittals are at any given time? I am wanting to become comfortable with this concept as it seems an easier way to stay organized. Does anyone have an old copy or format that I could get a sample of? I am 22 and graduating college in December and I am trying to impress my PM at the moment and better prepare myself
Every project will be a little different in terms of the requirements for submittals.
Some commercial projects will adhere to a particular numerical format which will be outlined in the project manual published by the Owner.
Sometimes the contractor is provided by the client with a submittal list detailing those submittals which are expected from its scope.
Many commercial projects will utilize the CSI standardized specification format. At least for some time still you'll see many projects continuing to use the long accepted CSI 16 division format. Over time the new CSI/CSC 50 division MasterFormat will likely become the industry standard. There's also an ASTM UniFormat II standard that's sometimes used for design-build projects.
Whatever the case, do not assume every job has the same submittal requirements. When it comes to the CSI specification formats, part 1 of each spec section (division) specifies what needs to be submitted. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the specified requirements.
The next step is to ask your client if there are any deviations from the specifications you need to know about. Many times the specs require lots of stuff no one really wants. Many times the specs don't require submittals that the client does want. You have to "feel out" every project in this regard. Most of the time the client is going to drive what gets submitted.
My $.02: 1. Unless you're charged with doing so, don't reinvent the wheel with your files. If the company has a "standard" format then consistently use it - even if others aren't. 2. What you file needs to reflect your role in the process. Don't keep files for items which aren't under your control 3. minimize redundancy to the greatest practical extent.
I keep a 6 part project file consisting of: the [sub]contract agreement; progress invoices; general correspondence from the client; general correspondence to the client; potentially useful bid (pre-contract) documentation and post-bid supplier quotations and subcontract proposals; the submittal log.
Every submittal gets it's own folder consisting of: submitted documents; returned documents.
Every Change Order Proposal gets its own file consisting of: client change order directives and pre-request correspondence; Change Order Request; change order cost and time estimate; supplier quotations and subcontract proposals.
Every subcontract gets its own folder including subcontract agreement; subcontract progress invoices; subcontract proposal; request for subcontract proposal.
Impress the PM with your ability to learn and utilize the existing management routines and anticipate what they need from you. Improve on things over time only as you gain insight into the appropriate means to make such improvements.
 
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