All contractors are familiar with the requirements of submitting shop drawings before actually installing materials or equipment on a project. The shop drawings typically augment and clarify the contract documents by demonstrating how the contractor intends to execute the contract work. The object of the shop drawings is to disclose to the owner or architect the contractor's interpretation of the contract documents. As long as there is conformity between the shop drawings and the contract documents, the architect's approval indicates that the architect approves of the contractor's interpretation of the contract requirements. In the event that there is a subsequent dispute, that approval is binding on the architect or owner. However, many architects do not stamp shop drawings "approved."
A typical architect's stamp of approval contained in most contracts specifies that: Architect's review is for general conformance with the design concept and Contract Documents. The fact that no exceptions may have been taken or that comments and/or markings may have been made on or attached to the drawings shall not relieve the Contractor from compliance with the Contract Document nor be construed as authorizing departures therefrom, nor constitute either expressly or impliedly, a change therein. Changes in the Contract Documents shall be effected only by a written change order signed by both the Architect and Contractor. In the event of any conflict between the Contract Documents and a shop drawing, the Contract Documents shall control. Contractor remains responsible for details and accuracy, for confirming and correlating all quantities and dimensions, for selecting fabrication processes, for techniques of assembly, and for performing his work in a safe manner.
Thus, if the shop drawing does not conform to the contract requirements, the architect's approval does not indicate an approval of any deviation from the specifications.