Upset construction worker looking at his supervisor who is showing him a tablet.; RFI processes concept

How Construction Project Management Software Streamlines RFI Processes

RFIs (Requests for Information) are a double-edged sword for trades contractors. 

On the one side, RFIs are essential because they help fill in the gaps of missing information and enable you to get clarification on project information that may be unclear. “When used efficiently, they prevent rework, change orders, and miscommunication,” notes Stonemark Construction Management.

On the other side, however, they are troublesome because they can break timelines and budgets if they aren’t handled properly. That’s why you need to standardize RFI processes with construction project management software, like eSUB.

Here’s how the technology brings more efficiencies to creating, storing, and monitoring RFIs. 

The Software Streamlines RFI Processes

RFIs are time consuming.

According to Navigant Construction Forum’s seminal study, projects between $5 million and $50 million have an average of 17.2 RFIs per $1 million of construction cost, and it takes an average of 6.4 days for stakeholders to reply to an RFI. 

That equates to a significant amount of time spent on creating and responding to RFIs — time which most project teams don’t have if they want to finish a job on time. Construction project management software can reduce that time commitment for everyone by streamlining the submission and review process.

The most critical element of a RFI is that it must be in writing so there is a paper trail of the request and subsequent follow up. This is what takes so much time, particularly if you are using paper or even spreadsheets. The person requesting the RFI has to manually fill out the proper forms and send them out. Then, the receiver has to respond and resend the document, and so on until the issue is settled. 

Technology changes that process. The software allows you to transform field notes into RFIs and then automatically notifies parties of the request so they can promptly respond. This process is facilitated within the platform until the request is fulfilled.

Woman in hard hat, rubbing her eyes, on a building site; RFI processes concept

The Technology Organizes RFIs for Greater Accessibility

Software reduces the administrative burden of RFIs for everyone. 

When it’s a manual process, the most up-to-date paper versions of the RFI are only accessible to one stakeholder at a time. Someone has to save each version every time a revision to the document is made, which means there are multiple versions out there and no way of centrally keeping track of which one is the most recent. This makes it infinitely more difficult to organize a high volume of RFIs and to check status updates.

Construction project management software eliminates the need for paper documents. Stakeholders simply review and respond to them within the platform. This means all RFIs are stored in one place which makes it easy for anyone to search and access them at any time. 

That centralized access to RFIs made a big difference for Patriot Air Systems after they adopted eSUB. It gave them greater accountability, cost savings, and insights into project status and resource allocation, which saved the company time and money. 

“Just being able to have everything all in one spot and go through it [saves time],” says Construction Project Manager Jessie Harris. “I go through everything about once a week to see what we don’t have answers on.” Then the team is able to do a quick follow up to keep everything moving. “eSUB opened up a whole new world to me,” says Harris.

The Tool Enables Real-Time Tracking of RFIs

To keep projects progressing, RFIs need to be addressed as quickly as possible. When they are done manually, it’s difficult to track in real time where each is in the process. The technology gives you the ability to track RFI status in real time so you can move them along more quickly to a resolution. 

Through its remote access capabilities, all stakeholders can track the progress of RFIs from anywhere — whether that’s in the office or in the field. This helps reduce the risk of significant project delays that could lead to higher costs and profit loss. 

At the end of the day, RFIs are a necessary evil in construction. “While RFIs can feel burdensome, they are ultimately essential for keeping projects running smoothly,” writes Tom Belmont, COO at BigRentz. “Given the dynamic nature of construction projects, RFIs are very useful in responding to changing situations or conflicting information.” The right tool can help reduce the stress that often accompanies RFIs.

To learn more about how software can help maximize the efficiency of RFIs on your projects, schedule a demo of eSUB Cloud today.

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