What is a Submittal Log?

Construction is one of those industries that has a lot of jargon.  There are a lot of words that will make you question if people are speaking english or not. Rodbuster, Tin Knocker, Punch List, CPM, BIM and the list goes on of somewhat odd terminology that would make outsiders think you were making things up.  However some of our terminology is not quite as difficult to decipher such as a Submittal Log. Let’s break it down a bit starting with the obvious one “Log”. Many industries have logs, simply stated it is a list or inventory of items for tracking. So what exactly is a “Submittal” then? A submittal is written or physical information provided by the responsible contractor to the General Contractor to ensure that project plans and specifications are followed. Often times this information is then submitted to the Designer for sign off to ensure that it fits within their design intent. Simply put it is a list of items that need to be submitted to the GC for review and approval.

What are Submittal Logs used for?

Submittal logs are generally created at the beginning of the project as a tracking mechanism to ensure that all materials and final designs are approved by the design team prior to installation. This can be a very important step in the construction process. Often times designers specify several products that can be used on a project so it is up to the responsible contractor to pick one. A submittal is a way for the designer to ensure that the contractor picked one of the already approved products or an equal. These lists help manage the hundreds of materials, certifications, testing requirements and warranties that need to be submitted to the design team. Without them it would be difficult to know what is required to be submitted and by when.

Why is it important to create a log early?

It often takes several weeks and even sometimes months to pull submittals together. As subcontractors are brought on board each of them has things they will need to submit. Some of them will get away with some paperwork and off to work they go. Others will be required to submit physical samples for evaluation.  Sometimes these samples take time to make and get submitted. In addition no work should be put in place until an approved submittal for that material is returned. So understanding when those materials are required on site is critical to maintaining the project schedule. We have to ensure to backup from the time we need materials on site including time for shipping, fabrication, approval and review. Often times this time period can span several months so ensuring you have submitted early is key. We also need to ensure that we are not overloading the design team with information. If we submitted several hundred submittals at the same time they would not be able to handle it. Likely those items have a priority and the submittal log can help set that. Aligning your submittal log to the project schedule early on is important to project success.

What kind of information should be on the submittal log?

There is a lot of information that could be made available on the submittal log but some information is pretty standard:

  • Title: Name of the submittal
  • Specification Section: Where the requirement came from
  • Submittal Type: Is is at shop drawing or product data?
  • Responsible Contractor: Who will provide this material?
  • Date submittal Required:  When do we need this from the contractor?
  • Status: Is it approved or not?

Having a manageable list of submittals with this key information will help with managing the submittals on your project.

Gathering all of this information in the past has been extremely laborious and even difficult. Thanks to Pype AutoSpecs, and our specification extraction algorithm, we can greatly reduce the time required to create your initial submittal log. It will still be important to review this log with subcontractors and the design team to insure it is complete but you will be well on your way. From there you can input required dates and ensure everything is received on site in time. Pype is committed to making the submittal log process as simple and efficient as possible. Learn more how we can help your team create and manage your next projects’ submittal log by reaching out to one of our team members.

Want to learn more about submittals?
Watch our webinar for submittal education and best practices.


Pype is the construction industry's first SaaS provider for submittal log management and project closeout. Over 40% of the ENR top 400 use AutoSpecs, Closeout, and SmartPlans to provide unprecedented insights on spec and closeout data, help teams extract actionable information from specifications and plans to close communication gaps between design, construction, and operations teams, and ensure a higher level of quality assurance, efficiency, and risk management on projects coast-to-coast.

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