Submittals in a P6 Schedule?
For your construction projects, I’m sure you typically detail out your planned work activities. All the work activities such as sitework, demolition, electrical rough-in, or mechanical system performance testing?
What about submittals?
I’m sure you develop a submittal register and track all your product data, shop drawings, and other specific submittal items. But, do you track submittals in a P6 Schedule?
Personally, I don’t recommend tracking all your project’s submittals in a P6 schedule. I do recommend modelling the long lead procurement items and maybe a general item for each major CSI division.
For example, I would have a “Develop / Submit – Storm Drain” for my site storm drainage product data and any shop drawings or samples. This activity would drive “Review / Approve – Storm Drain”. I would schedule the “Review / Approve” to drive a “Fab / Deliver” activity with the lead time determined by input from the sitework contractor. This would drive the start of any storm drain work.
Personal tip: If there are going to be multiple areas of storm drain work, I would tie to the first three areas so any possible delay to the first work area. This could be caused by any number of delay scenarios, perhaps by the lack of progress for a different site utility, third party utility coordination issue, or unforeseen condition. Having more than the first work area driven by the “Fab / Deliver” activity allows for this out-of-sequence work, and we don’t have to worry we will forget to revise the successor to the “Fab / Deliver” activity.
The point is to have a string of predecessor activities, that is tied to the start of actual work, which models the necessary submittal and procurement allowing the start of the actual work.
(This project only has one storm drain installation activity).
Sure, we could create individual submittal groups of activities for each required submittal item, but that duplicates the effort of the submittal log and makes the schedule unwieldly. Just use the schedule to drive the required dates in the schedule register. (The scheduled dates will be driven by the required start of actual work in the CPM schedule).
A long lead item may be structural steel or HM frames and would be handled the same way with the fab / deliver duration being key.
The important thing is to make the “develop / submit” duration as realistic as possible. Maybe you allow a month or two weeks.…. The contract will most likely provide the required “review / approve” duration, maybe 15 calendar days or 10 working-days. These will drive the procurement and delivery duration, which will be based on vendor input.
Modelling the submittal packages in the schedule is basically a balancing act between having too many submittal items to efficiently manage the schedule and not enough submittal packages to realistically manage the scheduled start of the work activities.
But the bottom line is – We need to model the submittal process to some degree. Far too often, I see schedules with actual work planned to start far too early because there was no allowance provided for any realistic submittal development, submission review, and procurement. This sets the project up for failure. Not many owners will accept the installation of materials or equipment at risk. It’s not prudent for the contractor either! Having a general submittal process in the schedule can help prevent this.
Plan your schedule…
Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP
Paul has extensive experience as a Construction Manager. Over time, he became convinced that there is a critical shortage of skilled planning and scheduling professionals in our industry. In 2009, he backed away from his work as a Construction Manager and began focusing on planning and scheduling. He now serves our industry as a subject matter expert in this area.