Notice to Proceed: Prepping the Submittal Schedule

The submittal schedule helps communicate your team's plan to your client, but what needs to be included on it?

After receiving your Notice to Proceed, you typically have only ten days to complete your submittal schedule. The first chance you have to show owners that you’re a good investment might happen at your precon meeting, but likely delays mean that this will be your first impression. Turning in your submittal schedule is contractually specified and won’t get pushed—it’s usually ten days, full stop. If this is one of your first projects, that can seem like a daunting task. Read on for a breakdown of terminology and some guidance on how to achieve this timeline with an impressive deliverable. 

First thing’s first: a submittal schedule is a document listing every available submittal and the relevant information necessary to complete it. For each submittal on the schedule, you’ll need to include: 

  • The division
  • The spec section
  • The submittal type
  • A short description
  • The target date
  • The responsible subcontractor

This document is owner-facing, so while the description doesn’t need to be comprehensive enough to be actionable, you must coordinate with the building schedule and your subcontractors to assign reasonable target dates. It’s fine if you haven’t bought out all of your subcontractors yet—just assign dates and responsibilities to the trades you currently have, and fill in as much information as you can for the rest.

What’s the point of the submittal schedule if it isn’t actionable? Well, it’s primarily to communicate your team’s plan with the design team and owners, demonstrating to them that you can get the project done on time and on budget. But it also serves as the foundation for the actionable document you’ll be using down the line: the submittal log.

The submittal log is a living document meant to assist your team throughout the entire project lifecycle, and therefore is more comprehensive than the submittal schedule. It includes additional requirements like LEED data, QA/QC requirements, tests and inspections, as well as full submittal descriptions from the spec book to make it more actionable. The log is also where you track the status of each submittal during the submittal review process. The specific terms for submittal review results will be determined in the contract or cleared up in your precon meeting, but generally these columns will be marked with some variation of the following:

  • Notified Subcontractor
  • Received from Subcontractor
  • Approved by GC
  • Submitted to Design Team
  • Returned Approved
  • Returned Rejected
  • Returned Approved as Noted

Accompanying these will be the date that action was taken, and who the ball-in-court belongs to. 

Your submittal log is likely going to contain hundreds of submittals, and each individual trade partner is only responsible for a fraction of them. Flipping through a long, monotonous spec book looking for relevant information is a tedious nightmare (that’s why we made AutoSpecs).  More and more GCs are splitting their submittal logs by relevant subcontractor, giving each trade partner a document focused on their specific scope. By doing this, the trade partner is better able to focus on their requirements and work more efficiently, which in turns helps your team work faster and reduces error.

The Notice to Proceed puts a lot on your plate very suddenly, and it can feel a little overwhelming. It’s manageable if you start right away and avoid common pitfalls. With the right tools and strategies, you’ll complete your deliverables both quickly and accurately, making the following submittal review process that uses this deliverable so much easier. 

Looking for other resources and strategies for success?

Christina Linauts

Christina spends most of her day talking to general contractors about their current processes and how they hope to improve them. She brings a unique perspective to the construction tech industry through her work with Autodesk's Global Partnership team.

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