Construction Software RFI

Ten Tips To Upgrade Your RFI Process: Part One

Does your RFI Process Need an Upgrade? 10 Tips You Can Start Using Today

The Request For Information (RFI) workflow is one of the most important processes that Trade Contractors use during the lifecycle of a project. It the opportunity to ask a formal question to obtain a specific question in regards to a deviation to the original project documents, plans or ever an Owner initiated request in the field. In 2020, eSUB Customers created thousands RFI’s using our platform! The average time to receive a answer to a RFI was 9.2 days.


The eSUB Customer Support team has worked with hundreds of Trade Contractors to help them standardize their RFI process.

Construction projects average hundreds of request for information (RFIs) each year, making it essential that project stakeholders maintain an efficient RFI process in the field. Additionally, it is essential that project stakeholders incorporate best practices to ensure contractors write well-written RFIs and hold them to the same RFI process standards. When you are working on projects with various different professionals, it is important that managers and contractors work together in order to mitigate negative impacts and risks.


We have catalogued 10 helpful tips for developing your RFI process to manage and handle RFIs from the Field Crew to your Office Staff.


1 ) Encourage discussions during regularly scheduled site meetings

When you have meetings with architects, general contractors and other subcontractors, encourage discussion. As subject matter experts in your trade, it is important for subcontractors and trade partner to be included as early in the design process as possible. Encourage discussion and open collaboration upfront, so that you can avoid some RFIs altogether. It’s also a great time to ask questions about the preferred RFI process. When you can answer questions before the construction process starts, the entire team project can save time and money!


2) Use a cloud-based construction software

Using a construction software can help you to streamline your RFI process. This enables your foremen on site and project managers in the office to virtually interact and work together to identify issues, ask questions, and find solutions. The traditional process of managing RFIs through a spreadsheet can very time-consuming and hard to track. Imagine if you truly did have 20 questions and needed to track 20 RFIs. How would you track each individual RFI? If you managed the process with a spreadsheet, how would other members of the team know the status of each RFI? Cloud-based software allows you to instantly connect with everyone involved in the project. This ultimately means a faster and more organized RFI process, and RFIs themselves, which leads to better efficiency.


3) Ask one specific question

When you are requesting information from a General Contractor or Owner, it is key that you ask one very specific question. The best RFI process includes sending one RFI per question. That ensures each RFI has a specific question and a specific answer requested. If you send an RFI with 5 different questions for an issue, it will likely cause disorganization and confusion. Combining several questions and issues will only complicate the RFI process and lead to a lack of clarity for everyone involved. While you may have 5 different questions, you should send 5 different RFIs. This will allow you to track which questions have been answered to ensure that you receive 20 corresponding answers.


4) Provide drawings and pictures when possible

We all think that we are speaking the same language. However how often do you run into occurrences when items get lost in translation? Adding photos and plan mark ups to your RFIs can be extremely helpful for the person receiving the RFI and ensuring that nothing gets lost in translation. Annotations or field sketches help to give context to whatever question or issue has arisen. Photos and drawings also help the individual receiving the RFI to better understand the question and come to the best solution.

If you have a plan tool like BIM 360 Docs, you can review changes between different versions and create and share markups—in 2D or 3D. When you take the time to add drawings and pictures to your RFI, it will speed up the overall RFI process in the field and ensure that everyone is on the same page.


5) Name all RFIs the same way

If you name all of your RFI files the same way, it will make them much easier to find when you need to search for them. A helpful hint includes adding RFI number to reference more easily. As the number of RFIs increase, a numerical naming system used in conjunction with the subject will keep your RFIs more organized. Additionally, as RFIs get revised it is also important to track revisions separately. This enables you to track previous versions, so that a trail of documentation around one of RFI is kept intact.




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