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At my previous Firm we had a person dedicated to reviewing all submittals for the team of CA's. This worked well because that dedicated person knew the specifications inside and out since the specs were mostly consistent from job to job as well as knew the areas of common problems given the building type so they knew what to pay particular attention to, this consistency of both the person and the specs sped the review process nicely. This person also would directly confer with the Project PA's and Interior dept as needed to expedite final TBD selections. If the work load for that one person was more than could be accommodated in a timely manner the CA dept would meet and work together to divide the load as needed.
In my current Firm we use Newforma exclusively and the beauty of that is the entire project team is notified when the submittal is entered by the Contractor and the individual disciplines grab the submittal and post their responses ASAP so that the next discipline can build on the previous reviewers response. This allows the design team to share the work load to fit within their schedules as well as gives the designers the opportunity to learn the difference between the drawn world and the built world. The main CA on the project will then keep track of the Newforma responses as they are posted. The CA being experienced and most accustomed to the Contractors ways will then be the final review and return the completed copy back to the Contractor. Our entire project team of PA's and Consultants have a standing one hour weekly team phone call to review the status of submittals in the system and coordinate who is working on any particular piece at that time and confer for specific needs or questions that affect multiple consultants.
The Newforma system works when you have Consultants that are committed to the process, this may not always be the case but the weekly status phone call helps to keep everyone's attention and the CA can monitor / manage the process rather than spend all his time reviewing submittals instead of doing what we are supposed to be doing. Reviewing the quality of the construction and being sure the contractor is building per the contract documents.
I hope this helps.
Scott B. Wieser AIA
Vice President / Construction Administration
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