Engineering blog
26 Sep 2018

Shop Drawing Submittals in the Construction Management World

Shop drawing submittals are an indispensable element of any construction project.

What are the Submittals?

Specificities in the form of the shop drawings, samples, material data and product data in the construction management process are broadly defined as the “submittals“. Submittals prove to be the most crucial stage where the architects and engineers verify and approve the science behind the drawings and designs of the construction project.

Submittal process allows project architects and consultants to eventually decide the color, pattern, and material type post the completion of the construction drawings. At this stage, architects and designers logically determine the material based on the quality and quantity specified in the architectural plans.

If an architect of a project would have to design every single interaction between the components and the construction system, it will become a herculean task that is highly susceptible to errors.

To state it more clearly, the shop drawing process requires contractors and sub-contractors to be responsible for designing the specific elements of the construction project.

Most of the architects aren’t skilled to design every component with intricate details and this usually procrastinates the project. Shop drawings play an important role because it helps the project architects to understand and review what contractors intend to supply and construct before the actual fabrication or construction process begins.

Details That Should Be Involved in the Shop Drawing Submittals:

  • Comparative Information for the Architects

    The shop drawing submittals assemble information to compare the drawings and specifications for the better understanding of the architects. Shop drawings majorly describe information pertaining to the functionality, appearance, and prescriptive explanations in the specifications and drawings.

    Shop drawings are highly detailed than the information articulated in the construction documents. This provides the opportunity for the architects and designers to thoroughly understand and review the contractor’s detailed description of the product, like cabinets or interior woodwork, before the fabrication process.

    While reviewing the shop drawing submittals, the architects constantly refer to the construction documents, specifications, and drawings for understanding them thoroughly.

    Apart from this, there are crucial details pertaining to the material components, dimensional specifications, and other relevant information required for the fabrication of the final product. Shop drawing submittals should be accurate and thoroughly detailed because it leads architects to come down to the decision of approval or refute.

  • Annotation

    If there are any changes made in the shop drawings which are different from the actual information given initially, it should be annotated for the reference, reviewal, and approval of the architects and engineers of the project. It is because of the obvious responsibility an architect and engineer share, and they should be intimated about all the alterations and incorporations made in the drawings.

    This leads everybody associated with the project to be clear about every minute details. Successful fabrications and installations are depending upon the right co-ordination among architect, designer, drafter, and contractor.

  • Fabrication

    Important information mandatory for manufacturing, such as dimensions, manufacturing standards or fabrication instructions, should be involved in the shop drawing submittals. The shop drawing alone should have detailed specifications that can clearly convey the information to the fabricators as the construction documents majorly lack this information.

  • Actual Dimensional Verification

    The actual dimensions of the site should be verified from surface to surface as the measurements might decline or augment. The dimensions are mostly involved in the construction documents and drawings, but the original dimension might change with time due to conditions varying on the site. 

The manufactured products should have accurate dimensions before installation and should not lead to site modifications. Contractors should treat this as an important step as its ignorance might lead to the add-on cost and wastage of time.  

In millwork renovation projects, it is absolutely necessary to verify the field dimensions before fabricating a product such as cabinets or casework.

What Are the Liabilities of Shop Drawings?

Shop drawings’ liability comes from the conventional methods, namely the coordination and review of the shop drawings by the architects, or by impeding the reviewal of the shop drawings.

Liability could normally arise from “a failure of the contractor to design and draft the shop drawings adequately” to “the failure of delivering the accurate specifications as per the contract”.

Furthermore, the architects and engineers are able to add liability by failing to review the shop drawings accurately or by delaying the reviewing process. 

A project contractor is completely responsible for the manufacturing and production details of the products along with the field dimensional verification for the accurate results. Moreover, the contractor is also required to review the shop drawing submittals at their level before passing it to the architects for further verification.

When a contractor submits the shop drawings to the architect and engineers, this signifies that the contractor has thoroughly reviewed and approved, verified the field dimensions, material quality, and fabrication criteria according to the contract documents. 

What Are the Liabilities of the Architect and the Designer?

 In comparison to the contractor, architects and designers are slightly relieved from the burden of reviewing the shop drawing submittals and their approval stage.

According to The American Institute of Architects (AIA) standard form contract by the owner, the design architect needs to review and approve the contractor’s shop drawing submittals but only to verify within the given information and design ideas specified in the contract documents.

It states that if the architect has given the approval on the submittals, it does not signify the approval or acceptance of changes made in the shop drawings unless the contractor has adequately detailed the changes in writing.


To recapitulate, the millwork companies can achieve success if followed a balanced and defined process of designing and drafting the shop drawings.

BluEntCAD is a millwork drafting company with a strong team of millwork professionals. Our team of millwork designers and drafters works for a wide range of clients in the architectural industry. If you want to know more about the shop drawing submittals, reach out to us now.

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Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "Shop Drawing Submittals in the Construction Management World" CAD Evangelist, Sep. 26, 2018,

CAD Evangelist. (2018, September 26). Shop Drawing Submittals in the Construction Management World. Retrieved from

CAD Evangelist. "Shop Drawing Submittals in the Construction Management World" CAD Evangelist (accessed September 26, 2018 ).

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