The RFI serves as a business communication tool that collects and distributes information regarding the capability of a supplier or service provider. They’re essential in the early part of the construction phase, when companies are gathering information to create a quote, as well as in the final phase, when contractors and subcontractors may need more information about the building design, specs, or contracts. The RFI also serves as a guide on which steps to take next, which is why it’s essential to provide detailed, accurate, complete information to avoid costly mistakes later in the project.
RFIs can take many forms, making them hard to track and manage - a fact that business owners know too well. For example, an RFI between general contractors and subcontractors who perform a specific job will look much different than an RFI between a general contractor and materials supplier.
They are not to be confused with similar reports, such as an RFP, RFQ, and RFT. An RFP (Request for Proposal) is often based on an RFI and focuses mainly on sourcing. RFQs (Requests for Quote) center on the cost of a chosen solution, while RFTs (Request for Tender) allow potential suppliers to submit a bid to supply goods or services.
Each of these terms may precede an RFI; knowing the difference can help companies avoid doing more work than necessary when preparing the request.
When you have the time and resources to complete RFIs correctly, you have a highly valuable part of the project management process for your construction company. The reality, however, is that RFIs are often mishandled, missing information, or used improperly by many team members involved in the project.
One study by Navigant Consulting looked at the volume of RFIs submitted across 1,362 projects spanning from 2001 to 2012. In total, more than 1.1 million RFIs were submitted, which equaled roughly 796 per project.
The good news is that there’s always room for improvement, and establishing a better way to review and respond to RFIs can go a long way in optimizing every construction job.
BuildingBlok’s construction management software takes the administrative hassle out of creating and filing RFIs, providing real-time data and the clarity your team needs to be operationally efficient. We make it easy to manage all information related to your construction project, with unlimited users and support, so every member of your team has access and understands how to work within the program.
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With BuildingBlok, we've optimized our entire project management processes. Now, we're able to take on more projects and manage them all without added headache. Thanks, BuildingBlok!
Buildingblok has been an essential tool to maintain accurate document control especially when managing multiple projects. Using email was inefficient and very difficult to stay organized since items were easily missed due to the high volume of messages received.