Building Your VE/Substitution Management Process
Substitutions are ingrained into the project delivery process, and with the lure of cost savings without stringent proof of product equality up front, the risk of others stealing the architect’s identity and changing the project scope will remain. While total resistance is an option, it is not going to endear you to your clients and preserve your brand. The continuing volume of new products on the market along with healthy competition for cost and availability reinforces and sustains this post bid/negotiation phenomena. Design professionals should assume that the VE/Substitution process will continue to be used in the industry.
The best recourse is to prepare and manage appropriately. You have the best excuse of all the parties. You are complying with state licensing statutes and preserving your ability to practice. You may alienate some with your intelligent preemptive management, but you will always have at least one good friend when the smoke clears: your insurance agent.
Meanwhile, as you ponder that cryptic handwritten list of proposed VE/Substitutions, don’t forget to be careful out there.