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Tips on How to Create an RFI in Construction

builders at site

RFIs create an active channel of communication in the construction industry. It is used to answer questions, clarify ambiguities and fill the information gaps in the construction process.

For instance, one can submit RFI on a project drawing which is unclear, or a specification of an outdated product, incomplete or inaccurate or when a requirement is vague. Specific questions must be asked as quickly as possible to avoid any delay, miscommunication or rework.

RfIs are also capable of creating confusion and complications when the RFI is not complete, and the communication means completely unclear. Read below to discover a few essential tips on how to create an RFI in construction:

When Seeking an Information

RFI is often used to determine the preliminary stage of construction work. The size of the project matters too. Larger construction projects have more complexities and must be resolved before seeking formal proposals. RFI here can be of great help. There are three reasons for seeking an RFI:

  • Modify project specifications
  • Clarification on a specific task
  • Resolve a construction deficiency

Check out the tips to follow when stuck with the question: how to create an RFI in construction.

#1. Read your contract again

Begin by rereading the contract. A thorough understanding of the agreement is essential. Be well informed of how to make a construction RFI as per the contract, the timeline of the response and by when you can claim for the delays/lack of responses if it happens.

#2. Give it an apt title

Unfortunately, a lot of times only general titles are found as the title of an RFI. These don’t serve any purpose as they don’t provide any idea of what is contained in the RFI. A title should be a little descriptive. It adds the necessary information to the question asked and makes the intent of the issue clear. It provides the description needed if required in the future.  This is how to write an RFI construction.

#3. Follow a Format

It is essential to collect and securely scribble all the information. Usually, a pro forma RFI template is utilized in the construction industry for consultants and subcontractors to put forward a problem. Online tools most of which are cloud-based or mobile can assist in managing the construction process with the templates liked and picked by the company. Some of the critical items of an RFI template include: project name, date of RFI, serial number of RFI, address details, recipients of copies, RFI title, due date, specifications, the name of RFI issuer, company details, and response date.

#4. Allocate RFI to the right person

How to work with RFI for construction? Firstly, when allocating the RFI, it should be assigned to the right person. It is as important as asking the right question. Otherwise, there is no point asking a structural engineer prepare RFI regarding some mechanical issue. Furthermore, while you assign the RFI to the correct person, do not forward it to just one person. Coordination is important. To do so, send the RFIs to a group of people who need to be informed to know it all. However, the RFI may be structural but may affect the light fixture placement, to ensure that the electrical engineer knows about it too.

#5. Pen down the question – Clear and concise

A request for information starts with a problem. The query should be on point and specific. Read the following points to understand this.

  • is the question complete? Does it contain the information needed to answer the question?
  • Are the drawing references included?
  • Are the previous RFI references (if applicable) included?
  • Are the material types or reference submittals included?
  • is the reference grid line location or floor mentioned?

Above all, the question should appear professional yet simple. Do not use too many words. Abstain from using any fancy language. Your frustration should not form the basis of the question. It is how to work with RFI for construction.

If the RFI doesn’t answer the above questions, the receiver of the RFI an either decline or pursue some other projects. This is perhaps due to the reason he won’t be able to understand how to write an RFI response construction.

#6. Add attachments

Everything that can assist in answering the question should be included in the RFI. Though there are  plenty of things that can be attached, here are a few examples:

  • Pictures of the site
  • Highlighted or clouded drawing
  • Any email communication
  • Drawings of the existing building
  • Details or survey results
  • Drawing references – cut sheets

Attachments are just means of illustrating the problems and making it more apparent. More information means the person can understand the problem more easily and precisely.

#7. Add a Due Date

Just like everything else about a project, this too should have a due date. When the thing is not needed urgently, give it the amount of time required for responding. However, if the response is urgently required, then add a due date to it.

The primary schedule determines the amount of time allocated to RFIs.

Summing up

The receiver of an RFI can add to the success of a construction process if he knows how to respond to an RFI construction. Just make sure it is in line with the above description.

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