Poor Wording on Exams

Hi, I’ve been having issues with poor wording in the practice exams, in general. For CE Exam 2:

Three months into construction, the contractor submits a sample, shop drawings, field measurements, and product data. Which of these should the architect reject?

Shop Drawings
Incorrect. Shop drawings are submitted to inform the architect how the contractor intends to meet the design intent.

Field measurements
Correct. Field measurements are not submittals.

Product data
Incorrect. Product data are submitted for the architect to verify performance requirements.

Incorrect. Samples are submitted as benchmarks.

Shops, product data, and samples can all be rejected on terms of not conforming to the contract documents. There isn’t any reason to reject field measurements, although they can be ignored.

I’ve been noticing a huge amount of questions that are exceptionally unclear in wording, causing me to second guess myself in order to try and get a correct answer. I’m more concerned in the PDD and PPD exams, which should have more objective questions but still see an exceptional amount of overly subjective questions and poor wording.

Hi @alberthong88 ,

We always strive to make our product the best it can be and appreciate feedback. If you ever run across something that gives you pause please feel free to post or message us directly.

In the example above, field measurements sent as a submittal should indeed be rejected. You should not ‘review’ field measurements and are not bound to do so by any language in the B101 or A201. You cannot ‘ignore’ a submittal, as it will remain an open item on the submittal log and it will definitely come up on the OAC if you have a submittal open for an extended period of time. I think another acceptable answer might have been ‘return the submittal as not-reviewed’ but based on the options given I think this question is accurate.

@coachchrishopstock can you please take a look into this and weigh in?


Thanks @alberthong88 for your question.
I agree with @coachdarionziegler that ignoring a submittal is a bad idea, regardless of what was submitted. Proactive contract administration means clearly communicating amongst the project team (owner, contractor, and architect). If a contractor submits something to the architect, they clearly think it’s important, so ignoring their request is going to create tension amongst the project team.
This question is asking ‘which of these 4 items should be rejected’ and provides information only about what type of submittal each is. Of course shop drawings, product data, and samples can be rejected, but the question doesn’t provide any information that would lead you to think any of these should be rejected. Essentially, this question is asking ‘which of these is not a valid submittal’. If we were to word the question this way, it would certainly be clearer, but the level of difficulty would drop and in my opinion, it wouldn’t be commensurate with the level of difficulty found on the ARE.
Many ARE questions are going to require analysis to understand what the question is asking - and this question is an example of that.
Thanks again for bringing this to our attention and I second coach Darion - if you ever come across a question that you’re concerned about, feel free to message us!

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Hi Darion and Chris,

I’d like to reopen this discussion on “rejecting” the field measurement submittal from CE Practice Exam #2.

In terms of analyzing the question and answer choices, one can reach the conclusion that field measurements is the item that does not belong, as it is not the architect’s responsibility to verify or even review this information as you’ve both pointed out. The issue I take is that “rejecting” is a formal submittal response, so by “rejecting” this submittal, would the architect not be taking liability for having reviewed this information and essentially be recording that the field measurements provided do not conform to the contract documents? This is precisely the opposite of what the question intends to ask, and I can see how this might be confusing for someone learning about submittals for the first time.

@coachchrishopstock is there any additional clarification you can provide?


@sillscai I would say that if the architect simply stamped the field measurements as rejected, with no reason as to why, that they might take on additional liability. Any submittal response should include clear reasoning as to why the architect took that action - if this particular situation happened to me, I would mark the submittal as ‘rejected’ and note in my response that it was not reviewed because field measurements are not a required submittal per the specifications, and amount to means and methods of the contractor.
Some offices may use different terminology instead of ‘rejected’ - I would also say that ‘not reviewed’ is a valid response to this type of submittal.

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