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Nathan Woods, CSI, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 691
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Monday, November 02, 2015 - 09:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

On a Design-Build project, the architect and contractor are considered to have collectively and jointly created the contract documents. Since they both "wrote the specs", there shouldn't be any substitutions because they theoretically already agree on what they are providing because they are contractually the same entity (in the eyes of the Owner).

But in the real world.... if the Contractor wants to clear a substitution item through the architect, what would it be called? It can't be called a Substitution Request, because those are reserved for material requests in the design that deviate from the Owner's program and scoping documents.

Try as I might, I haven't come up with a good term to use internally within the DB team. Got any suggestions?
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 611
Registered: 07-2001

Posted on Monday, November 02, 2015 - 09:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

How about a Pis Aller request?

"Pis Aller" is a French term meaning the final recourse, a stopgap, a course of action followed as a last resort. It's generally used in a sentence to denote a second best choice, the lesser evil. "Ces matériaux sont des pis-aller" means "we'll have to make do with these materials".
Ronald L. Geren, FCSI, AIA, CCS, CCCA, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: specman

Post Number: 1362
Registered: 03-2003

Posted on Tuesday, November 03, 2015 - 12:37 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It depends on the designer-builder relationship. If it's a truly symbiotic relationship, such as a true design-build entity or joint-venture, you would still need submittals from the subcontractors to make sure they are providing what is required of them in their subcontractor contract, which includes drawings and specifications relevant to their portion of the work. I would treat the submittal as I would in a A-E/consultant relationship, except that its builder/designer.

If the designer is hired as a consultant to the builder (i.e. contractor-led D-B), then it is more of a courtesy for the designer to review a subcontractor's submittal at the request of the builder--but it remains a submittal nonetheless.

If the builder and not a subcontractor is creating a package for the designer to review, then it really is an internal review and not a formal submittal in the traditional sense of the word. Thus, if it really is a D-B "Team," an informal "What do you think about this?" and a "Looks good to me" or "I don't think that'll work" response is all that is necessary, in my opinion.

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