Excellent and important topic, about which there is much confusion among design professionals and contractors. We try to maintain definitions for:
- Pre-bid requests for prior approval of proposed comparable products where products are named in the specifications
- True pre-bid substitution requests that present an alternate type of product from that specified (ie., not “comparable” but perhaps suitable)
- Post-award requests for approval of proposed comparable products “for convenience” of the contractor with or without credit to the owner
- Post-award requests for approval of proposed comparable products “forcause” due to unavailability, failure to meet specified warranty, etc.
- Submittal of non-complying products “to see if we can get away with it.”
Public agencies, owners, and design firms all have different approaches to each of the above, which requires the specifier to carefully define their terms in Division 00 Document “Procurement Substitution Procedures” and “Division 01 Section “Substitution Procedures,” as well as establishing consistency across the several hundred specification sections.
Thanks, Phil, for your boots on the ground perspective of how to consistently handle the specifications when handling substitute materials or products.
Your turn. Thoughts or Phil or me? Share below, or shoot me an email.