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.
Understanding the role and purpose of an RFI is the first step toward creating a document that is clear, concise, and can be utilized properly. BuildingBlok’s RFI management solutions put the following best practices into action to improve the way you handle RFIs and keep costs as low as possible.
Investing your time wisely is everything when it comes to handling RFIs. Take your time when submitting an RFI, as rushing through it often results in confusing documentation. Know when an RFI needs to be submitted and dispatch it as soon as possible. The earlier you submit it, the stronger the chance that project timeline can remain in-tact. Our software for RFI construction management allows you to easily view a document’s status and keep your project on-track.
Any construction industry project requires the completion of smaller moving parts and tasks; the more you can standardize your procedures, the greater the chance you stand of having those moving parts working on the same goal.
Think about all the different methods and mediums that are involved in your current RFI process. Without a proper template or standard delivery method, you never know when RFIs are coming or going. Formats may vary from company to company, but a typical RFI should contain the objective, a timeline, deliverables, how the results will be evaluated, and payment conditions.
BuildingBlok helps you get specific on what you want the construction RFI management process to look like and how documentation is tracked, so your project team members can act accordingly. These streamlined and organized processes save time for everyone, making it easier to know the next steps without having to reinvent the wheel every time.
Uploaded file: "blueprint_floor_1.pdf"
Added Note: "New drawings are attached to RFI."
Marked RFI complete.
Successful construction project management hinges on having all the details at the right time. Too often, RFIs fall flat because they don’t contain the right information. Make sure you’re asking the right questions and providing context into your request. It’s better to provide too much information than not enough, especially when you’re working against a deadline. Our web-based applications give you all the details you need at your fingertips and at-a-glance. Review RFIs associated with any project, whether you’re at your desk or on-site.
Traditionally, RFIs were developed as pen-and-paper spreadsheets, but modern technology is making a strong case to digitize your paper trail and embrace document management platforms. Construction management software made specifically to meet your business’ needs changing the way companies manage every aspect of RFIs while saving time, money, and errors that could delay or complicate projects.
Cloud-based project management software makes it easy to put the other three best practices into motion at scale. Centralizing all of your construction documents is the single most efficient way to streamline communications and fulfill RFIs without going through an extensive search effort for information. Information is updated by your project team members in real-time so you always have the most accurate set of data to pull from.
And when you don’t have to keep customers waiting longer than necessary, you can enjoy greater peace of mind and business relationships.
Project Manager - Approved
Architect - Approved
Owner - In Review
BuildingBlok tracks everything and keeps us organized. Thanks BuildingBlok for giving me back my Sunday!
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.