Mike, project manager for a large building company in southern Oregon, told Session 8B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Last Wednesday morning, January 10, 2007, Tim informed me that we had received a rejected submittal. This was not good news because the material was on site and was scheduled to be installed in the top of the wall at the control building by the mason that morning. The comments for the rejection were that the submittal did not reflect changes made by the engineer in September 2006. I retrieved one of the embeds and the engineer and I compared it to the new design. Sure enough, it was the wrong size. The engineer said he would reevaluate his calculations for the embeds to see if they met minimum conditions. He was trying to work with us because the material was on site and he knew the cost and delay that would result if we couldn’t go forward.
I called the supplier of the material and questioned why they sent the wrong size. I had sent the required changes to him on September 29, 2006. He said he would check his records and get back to me.
I panicked. I talked to the two project superintendents, Dennis and Bob, about the problem. We could not allow installation of rejected material and they both agreed. The mason and therefore the project were stopped until we had a resolution of the matter. Then I took a walk around the project to cool down and gather my thoughts. All was revealed in a couple of hours. The engineer said the on site embeds would be acceptable based on a reduced but acceptable factor of safety. Then I called the supplier back. He admitted that he had
misfiled the design change I sent to him and hadn’t forwarded it to his detailer. I told him that this was not an acceptable procedure. We had a schedule to meet and he could not impact the schedule by misplacing paperwork. I asked him how we can eliminate this from happening in the future. He felt bad and said it wouldn’t happen again. He suggested that I send changes directly to his detailer in the future. I agreed to put his plan into action. I told him he was a valuable part of our team and trusted that this wouldn’t happen again. He agreed that our schedule was important and that he would complete his work correctly in the future.
The lesson I learned from this experience is to check all submittals before sending them to the engineer for review, and not to just assume that it is correct. The action I call you to take is to check all paperwork for compliance before passing it on. The benefit you will gain is not going into a panic mode and scrambling at the last minute to correct a problem."