Are Easier and Faster Job Submittals Always Better?

March 7, 2018 Shaun Gambardella

That’s a really interesting question. After all, for just about any construction professional who’s responsible for putting together job submittal packets several times a month, the automatic answer is a resounding, “heck yeah!”

But, after taking a moment to consider all the angles, it becomes less black and white. So, let’s break it down a bit and see if we can arrive at a more balanced answer.


The case for faster and easier job submittals

If you’re responsible for creating job submittal packages for your firm, you’ll probably agree that they’re a time-consuming, labor-intensive job. On average, we’ve found that most firms invest between five and seven hours of work into each completed binder that ships out.

That also means it’s an expensive job. The average project manager earns between $90,000 and $150,000 per year. So, that means that every five- to seven-hour investment in putting together a job submittal costs the company between $215 and $504, plus the peripheral costs of paper, ink, binders, and shipping.

So, of course, if it were possible to make the entire job submittal process faster and easier, construction firms could stand to save a tremendous amount of time and money, and that’s always a good thing.


The case against faster and easier job submittals

The only reason a faster and easier job submittal process could end up being worse than its slower and harder counterpart is if you’re forced to sacrifice quality for speed and ease.

You see, these job submittal packages require so much work because they’re a necessary part of the construction workflow. When a general contractor accepts your initial bid, they’ve decided they can trust your company to handle their project and they think your price is fair. But, it’s not until they have a chance to review your completed job submittal that they (and the client) can officially sign off on letting you start work.

It’s by means of the job submittal that the general contractor and the client can confirm that the work you plan to do and the materials you plan to use meet all their requirements:

  • Aesthetic - The finished product will look the way they want it to.
  • Functional - The finished product will work the way they want it to.
  • Compliant - The finished product will meet all applicable regulations for code, safety, zoning, etc.
  • Quality - The finished product is going to be of sufficient quality to stand the test of time.

That’s why such a labor-intensive, inefficient manual process has survived in the industry for as long as it has: if a general contractor receives a sloppy, incomplete, or unprofessional job submittal package from you, it could cause delays for them and other trades that are dependent on each other. Worst case, it could mean losing any future jobs from that contractor. And, obviously, that’s not worth saving the time and money it takes to do it right.

So, there’s our balanced answer to the original question:

When it comes to job submittals, easier and faster is always better unless you have to sacrifice quality to achieve it.


Balanced solutions are available

Simple, lightweight, cloud-based applications that automate the submittal process have been proven to save construction project managers up to 70% of their time and labor while producing consistently high-quality, professional submittal packages. And, since everything — from locating the most up-to-date product database to automated formatting and indexing — takes place inside the app, the final product can be printed out and shipped like always. Or, it can be submitted electronically, saving even more time and expense.

If you’ve been looking for a way to make the job submittal process faster and easier, take a look at submittal management software today.


About the Author

Shaun Gambardella is a Product Manager for Trimble MEP. Prior to joining Trimble, Shaun worked in the electrical industry for 10 years, with 8 of the 10 in estimating and project management roles. With his decade of experience utilizing Pricing, Estimating, and Project Management software, Shaun brings real world experience and insight from the contractor side of the electrical industry into everything he does.

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