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Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1378
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 09:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph W. Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Cincinnati, OH

Bam! The stamp of approval has been laid upon the request-- the substitute has been approved!

Hey! But wait a minute! The substitute is but one 2-sided sheet, written in a virtually illegible script submitted with some snippets of information and a copy of certificate that doesn’t seem to apply to the product in question. What’s going on and WHY has this highly questionable substitute been approved?

With the bahzillion products at our disposal [all too many unknown to us—Sheldon Wolfe mentioned that dilemma one time or more]how can we possibly analyze any product the first time it has been revealed to us? Many of us tend to re-use the products that have served us well over time; but we all, at the onset or during the project documentation are drawn into the murky stream of “unknown” products. I hate to think that the litany of available products is numbered somewhere in the order of the national debt-- but may be!!! Frightening! Every time I read the responses on 4-Specs.com, and the answers to questions about a new-to-me product that has “jumped” up. I wonder!

A challenge to both design professionals [spec writer, etc.] and product representatives. The instance cited above, gives us another scenario-- the Contractor submitted the substitute [good practice] but with absolutely NO background information in regard to why the substitute is suggested; if it is equivalent to the specified products; case histories; references; cost differential and so forth. In other words, the “family history” of the products, and their direct application to our project.

But submittals are strictly opinion!

Our product representative colleagues have their stock of information, rather extensive in some cases, but not necessarily in a form usable by design professionals for a quick analysis. But here is more than opinion, to a large degree and hopefully they also have a good insight into their competitors’ products. If the representatives coordinate with the Contractors and sub-contractors [and vice versa] to develop the minimal information for substitutions, we will all be far ahead. We know, for example, that schedules are the prime mover in today’s construction. This can be aided if the design professionals can issue prompt and properly reviewed appropriate substitution requests.

No one here is necessarily wrong, but a little more time, attention to requested detail and specific product reference [ style, number, model number, etc.] will be most helpful. In my opinion [eh, what?] we all will benefit in the end IF we simply do our jobs as they are given to us. Submitting suspect substitutes [and other submittals, incidentally] may be used as a quick way to try to shift the burden and responsibility, but in reality if we each do what we are obligated to do, we’ll all come away with greater satisfaction all around-- and better projects.

What’s your opinion?
Robert W. Johnson
Senior Member
Username: robert_w_johnson

Post Number: 224
Registered: 03-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 03:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Require use of CSI Substitution Request form as part of the process.

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