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Delay In Shop Drawing Review

Wednesday, July 02, 2003 03:08 pm

Delay In Shop Drawing Review

The submittal of shop drawings, material samples, descriptive literature and other information for project owner review is a necessary part of the construction process. The contract drawings and specifications cannot always detail every aspect of the work. For contractors, however, the submittal and review process poses a risk of delay. The contractor simply cannot proceed with that aspect of the work until the project owner or its agent has approved the submittal.

Contractors certainly have responsibility in this matter. Advance planning and thorough preparation can avoid many of the problems with submittal review. But assuming timely submittal, how much time is a project owner then allowed for shop drawing turn-around? Surprisingly, most contracts don't say.

The AIA Contract Documents

AIA Document A201-1997, "General Conditions of the Contract for Construction," addresses this matter in Subparagraph 4.2.7. "The Architect's action will be taken with such reasonable promptness as to cause no delay in the Work or in the activities of the Owner, Contractor or separate contractors, while allowing sufficient time in the Architect's professional judgment to permit adequate review." The concept of "reasonable promptness" is vague enough to begin with. The qualifying language regarding "professional judgment" appears to vest the project architect with a great deal of discretion in determining how promptly a submittal should be turned around.


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