RFI is an inevitable part of the construction industry. They happen, are disliked, make contractors engineers pay the price yet they cannot be avoided. A survey by Navigant Construction Forum studied the effect of RFIs on more than 1300 projects running worldwide. The report found out that for every $1million in project value, there is an average of 9.9 requests. Each RFI costs $1080 approx. and 21.9% of RFIs show no response which means $859680 driven away just by RFIs.
No contractor, engineer or architect likes to pay for them. The reason is that they are often misunderstood and hence mishandled. Hence, you must understand what is RFI in construction. This is the best solution.
So, what is RFI?
RFI or Request for Information notice is a common admin process for a construction project. It is extremely important to manage the RFIs so as to reduce any delays and the cost overruns.
According to Wikipedia, “A request for information (RFI) is a standard business process whose purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers.”
RFI use in construction
An RFI can be used for any reason during the early information collecting phase of a construction project before the quoting process until the completion of the construction process. In this, contractors and subcontractors may like to have answers regarding things like building specifications, materials and more. Additionally, RFIs may be used for clarifying Design drawings, standards, specifications and contract.
Types of RFI or Types of Business Requests
Basically, there are four business requests and all of them start with ‘R’. These Include RFI, RFP, RFQ and RFT. We have already discussed RFI. These are business requests and not really RFI construction types. We have already discussed RFI. Now let’s understand the other three.
RFP (Request for Proposal): it is a business requirement-based request for some specific solution for the sourcing problems. It is sometimes based on a previous RFI.
RFQ (Request for Quotation): It is an opportunity for a potential supplier to price the final solution.
RFT (Request for Tender): It is an opportunity for a potential supplier to present supply goods or services in opposition to a detailed tender.
Please note that these three can either be used as a precursor to the construction RFI or when the RFI is in its first phase.
How to write a construction RFI?
Writing a construction RFI is simple but must be written in a systematic manner.
1. Follow a Format
Collect and write the information in a well-established form. RFI software development has made it easier. Pro forma RFI template is used in the construction industry for consultants and subcontractors to raise issues. Procore is the first RFI construction project management software. It can be used to manage the entire RFI process.
2. Be on Point
It is important to be specific or else you may end up having vague answers. This may result in unsatisfactory answers.
3. Include Drawing And Pictures
Providing photos and drawings can help find clarity of RFI. Pictures can set a backdrop to the question asked and assist in getting better RFI.
4. Do Not Ask Too Many Questions
Asking too many questions can make it difficult for everyone to understand. Therefore, it is advised to ask just one question at a time. This helps in getting clarity on one point amicably.
5. Name All RFIs In The Same Fashion
If all the RFI files are named in the same manner, it will become easier to search them when you need them later on. This keeps RFIs organized.
Now that you know what is RFI in construction, RFI construction types, RFI use in construction, it should be easy for you while writing a construction RFI.