4specs.com    4specs.com Home Page

Substitutions or be in the original S... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

4specs Discussion Forum » Coffee Pot and Water Cooler » Substitutions or be in the original Spec? « Previous Next »

Author Message
Dale Roberts CSI, CCPR, CTC, LEED Green Associate
Senior Member
Username: dale_roberts_csi

Post Number: 121
Registered: 10-2005

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015 - 07:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Substitutions or be in the original Spec?
How do I convince my boss that it is better to be pro-active then reactive regarding specs?
My boss wants us to work more with the sub-contractors. Physically doing substitutions for them? I need some ammunition as why it is better to be in the specs than to go after the job with substitutions?
ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 890
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015 - 07:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Talk about irony. I used to use Custom as the perfect example of why golden reps are important.

It appears your boss doesn't know his company's legacy. Twenty years ago no one had ever heard of Custom Building Products. You had virtually no market share primarily because two of your competitors owned the market as a result of their golden reps. Then something happened. Just as those two companies dropped their rep program, Custom started sending out knowledgeable reps to educate designers. They didn't sell; they educated. They became the best resources in the tile industry. Now, CBP is among the biggest tile setting companies in the industry, and among the most credible.

If your boss doesn't learn from his own company, learn from the other two; don't screw up a model that works. Maintain your relationships with the Architects and designers. There are always going to be regions that are true to your competitors. Don't get greedy. Work smart. Be credible.
Nathan Woods, CSI, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 642
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015 - 07:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Why is this an either/or proposition? That seems like a flawed approach. You want subs to choose your product because the price, availability and support is appealing. You want designers to specify your product because the tech data is comprehensive, the products meet the design requirements, and the quality is such that the installer can't goof it up too much. Additionally, and significantly, Designers are more likely to specify a product that is well represented by field reps that answer their phone, know their product, and make good recommendations that lead to that quality installation

Ultimately, both parties want a product that they only have to deal with once. No call backs.
Nathan Woods, CSI, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: nwoods

Post Number: 643
Registered: 08-2005

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015 - 07:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I like Ken's answer better :-)
Karen L. Zaterman, CCS, LEED-AP, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: kittiz

Post Number: 112
Registered: 10-2005

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015 - 09:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Agree with Ken & Nathan.
Also, even on the public work where the "or equal" problem comes into play, I would routinely use a Basis of Design approach, thus naming the product. You want the knowledge in the architect's hands during design. That is where the final decision lies as far as accepting the substitution, isn't it. This goes for the transportation projects I worked on, too.

For the projects you are not named, by all means help the subs with their substitutions, you know the product better than them and your familiarity with the design side informs you whether proposed substitution is realistic. Right? Of course you probably need help... all reps are being squeezed these days.
Karen L. Zaterman, CSI, CCS, SCIP-Affil, LEED AP BD+C
Curt Norton, CSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: curtn

Post Number: 216
Registered: 06-2002

Posted on Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 08:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

It should be as easy as doing the math. Instead of trying to get subs to send in substitution requests for every project out of an architect's office, get the architect to include the product in their master, and find other things to do with your spare time.
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 815
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 10:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Some offices routinely reject substitutions, just because...

The best answer is to look at AIA A 201. The Architect designs the building and the Contractor builds the building. Design includes choosing products appropriate for the project. The Contractor is required to perform the Work according to the Contract Requirements (which you know since you are a CCPR). Having your product(s) in the specs means that your product(s) are part of the contract requirements.

I call this "marketing by substitution" and I really, really hate it. The substitution requests are frequently incomplete, and the whole process is a hassle. Even when the request is somewhat trivial (really for a comparable product), it requires extra time. The Architect who is very busy frequently resents such requests, and the process builds ill will. I am tempted to begin to delete Custom from my rather lengthly list of manufacturers offering acceptable products.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 849
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 10:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I rarely list more than a few manufacturers or products. The more there are, the more time it takes to keep up with them and make sure they still comply with the specifications. I maintain the short list by asking our CA people what products appear on our projects. What's the point of having Joe's Widgets in the specs if they never show up on site?

I don't mind prior approval requests or substitution requests, as they are a way to know what's new in the market. (I do not like when they often appear, a couple of days before a bid opening, but when that happens, I have no qualms about rejecting them.)

I often wonder why there is so much angst about prior approvals and substitutions; it seems that some people think they must accept requests for prior approval or substitution. I regularly remind our staff that they have no such obligation, and that they are free to reject not only requests that have inadequate supporting information (a common occurrence), but to reject anything they are not familiar with, and anything that will take more time to evaluate than is available. As a firm, we are conservative, and prefer to let other owners do field testing of new products.

When rejecting requests, I typically explain my reason and invite the reps to come in and show their stuff, so they might be included in future projects. If we do begin specifying them but contractors don't use them, they're removed from the specifications.

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Options: Automatically activate URLs in message

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration