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Bill Morley
Advanced Member
Username: billm

Post Number: 5
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 03:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

1. Should the architect apply their stamp to submittals that are primarily (if not totally) the responsibility of their consultants? (for example - elec. switchgear, concrete mix design, site utility pipe).

2. If the consultant's stamp says "approved as noted" (or whatever) does the architect's stamp simply mimic that status on the architect's stamp? Or would it be better for the architect to mark "No exceptions taken" (...by the Architect) even though the consultant may have taken some exceptions?
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 185
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 04:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


In your scenario above, the Architect is the clearinghouse for the consultant's submittals to maintain chain of custody. These submittals are informational to the Arch. and are not stamped but simply passed on to the GC with a covering transmittal.

If a structural submittal requries the Architect's review for specific architectural component(s), we stamp the submittal and check the box that reads: "REVIEW BY [FIRM NAME] IS LIMITED TO ARCHITECTURAL COMPONENTS ONLY", sign, date, and forward to the GC.

Nathan Woods, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 121
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 04:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

As a practice (not as a rule), our architectural firm does not overstamp a consultant's review. There are several reasons for this.

Contractually, the Architect has a duty to review and take appropriate action on all submittals under the architectural scope; this includes consulting engineers that are contracted to the Architect. Because of this requirement, we do not feel an architectural stamp is required because the review is implicit in our duties.

More importantly, our consultant agreements do a good job passing through responsibly for their scope squarely onto their shoulders. This is fair, as they are competent professionals and the engineer of record for their trade. If we overstamp their submittals, that responsibility goes back to us a little more directly, so we try to avoid that.

However, if we Add comments to the submittal, then we DO stamp the submittals, but we limit the extent of our review to Architectural elements only. We do this in three ways; our Stamp language specifically states it’s for architectural elements only, and by hand we write under the stamp the pages or portions of the submittal we limited our review too. The third way of course is with our architectural contract, which is the most binding of the three.

Whenever I overstamp a submittal, I furnish a copy of the final submittal to the consulting engineer for their records.

There are other considerations when stamping submittals. I hold to be true that the purpose of the Submittal is for the Contractor to demonstrate that they understand the scope of work. Sometimes, there is a desire on behalf of the architect/engineer to not reject things but just annotate them heavily and say "Furnish as Corrected". However, there are times when I am not convinced the contractor understands the scope well enough (based on the submittal), and I will overstamp the submittal as Revise and Resubmit. This annoys the consultant sometimes, but cuts down on the RFI's and Field fixes considerably.

Your milage may vary. Talk about it at the CSI Academy and let us know the results!
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 101
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 05:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The following comments are from the viewpoint of a consultant.

As consultants hired by the Architect our job is to assist and advise the Architect. In this context I do not believe that the Architects role is limited to providing a chain of custody. The architect has ultimately the responsibility to decide whether to submit the consultants’ comments and recommendations to the Contractor. Also the Architect like all of his consultants has an obligation to help coordinate the work.

When we review a submittal we are reviewing the submittal in the context of our scope of work. Thus we do not feel it necessary to say that our review is limited to Structural Components only since that is implied. On the other hand if we started commenting on issues outside our scope we could expand our liability.

If the shop drawing shows items that are outside of our scope of work on the same sheet as items inside our scope then we will note what items we have not reviewed and leave it at that.

It is my belief that the Architect needs to spend more time reviewing submittals that might be classified as Structural in nature. The reality is that all too often these “structural elements” have architectural implications and while we attempt to point out concerns we are often not able to appreciate some of the subtleties of the other systems.

I appreciate it when the Architect provides us with copies of comments that they have added to sheets we have reviewed.

I have no problem if the architect wishes to upgrade a “Make Corrections Noted” to “Revise and Resubmit”. Remember our role is to advise and assist the architect with the architect having the ultimate authority to accept or reject our recommendations. I would feel better if we used “Make Corrections Noted” less often but the reality is that on many projects the Owner is more interested in schedule.
Patrick Bandy
Junior Member
Username: patrick_bandy

Post Number: 2
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 10:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Mark's comments. Like the contractor who must take responsibility for the construction by reviewing and approving the submittals of the subcontractors, the architect must take responsibility for coordination of the design by reviewing and approving the work of the design consultants. AIA Document A201 states "The Contractor shall perform no portion of the Work for which the Contract Documents require submittal and review of Shop Drawings, Product Data, Samples or similar submittals until the respective submittal has been APPROVED BY THE ARCHITECT."
In response to the second question, if the architect has no additional comments, the stamp should mimic the engineer's response, unless the architect feels the engineer's comments warrant additional action. Keep in mind the chain of communication established by the general conditions. "Communications by and with the Architect's consultants shall be through the Architect."
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 11:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am concerned that as an Architect, by overstamping a consultant submittal consisting of scope of work I have no qualifications reviewing that I am accepting partial liability for any errors on the consulting professionals part. As architects we do not sign and seal our consultants drawings. Why would we then be expected to stamp and sign the submittals that fall under their review?
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wyancey

Post Number: 187
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 11:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

To set the record straight our current practice and stamp is based on the advise of our legal council. I recommend Bill do the same.

To borrow a phrase from Mark, the reality is we will review “structural elements” that have architectural implications and annotate with our comments and check the box noted in my first posting.

Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 102
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 11:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


As Patrick pointed out A210 requires the Architect to approve or disapprove submittals. Thus when your consultant reviews shop drawings he is doing so as your agent subject to your acceptance.

Architects who are not comfortable with the notion that they are responsible for the work product of their consultants might want to consider having the consultants contract directly with the Client.

I believe that stamping of shop drawings is not the same as "overstamping" which applies to the use of professional stamps as opposed to submittal stamps. The use of a shop drawing stamp just evidences that you have performed a shop drawing review as required by your contract.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 582
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 03:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Mark, and it has been my practice in the past to stamp all submittals. Can you image an elevator shop drawing if the electrical engineer, the structural engineer, and the architect all qualified their submittal stamps? Could the contractor really be sure that something didn't fall through the cracks between the three entities?
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 622
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 03:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We have different levels of contracts that we sign with our owners - depends on what degree of CA services they want us to perform as to whether we stamp other consultants work or not.

This is then reflected in the supplementary general conditions.

If you have no qualifier in your contract with the owner, and you use AIA A201 and do not modify it with supplementary requirements, then you are essentially violating both your contract with your owner as well as the general conditions of the contract for construction by not stamping all submittals.

Posted on Monday, October 16, 2006 - 11:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

OK- for the sake of this discussion let's say I agree with the Architect stamping all submittals. I then have to ask what box does he check on a switchgear submittal that has no architectural comments? Does he mimick the engineers comments or check "No Exceptions"?
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 105
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - 04:36 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If this is not already addressed in the PRM I suggest that future editions address this topic.

In any case why not decide which you prefer and document your practice in the project manual.

My bias would be for each dicipline to only address their scope of work.
Patrick Bandy
Username: patrick_bandy

Post Number: 3
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006 - 04:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

In the typical case where all consultants are hired by the Architect, the Architect has the last, official word to the contractor. The Architect can overule the consultant, but should think long and hard about it. The Architect should take the advice of the consultant and respond accordingly. If the consultant checks "Revise and Resubmit", the Architect should check "Revise and Resubmit" or "Rejected," even if there are no architectural comments. It is the Architect who administers the construction contract, not the consultants.

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