Construction RFIs: A Project Manager’s Perspective
Love them or hate them, construction RFIs (Request for Information) are part of your job.
As a project manager, you will likely have to respond to several of them during a typical construction project.
Me? I love RFIs.
I love to see my team digging into the plans, looking ahead, plotting their strategy, and questioning what doesn’t fit.
But most of all, I love solving little problems before they become big, costly, time-consuming headaches.
An efficient construction RFI process can do that for you.
Early collaboration is the key.
The project goes much smoother when I establish a sense of unity and team collaboration early on. So I get the team together early in preconstruction and set the ground rules.
“We all want the same thing,” I say.
“A safe, successful project we can all be proud of. And if we can work together respectfully, that’s exactly what we can deliver.”
Not one of us, but All of us.
It’s important to remember that we’re all in this project together.
So I encourage the team to think as a unit.
“Don’t make assumptions!” I tell them.
“When you see something that doesn’t make sense, stop and look into it.”
“Take a minute, even if it doesn’t affect you or your crew. Because ultimately, if something goes wrong for one of us, it affects all of us and the entire project.”
Keep it simple.
“Please, stop. Pull out your phone, tablet, or laptop, bring up the plan sheets, or find the specifications. Dig into the issue, and let’s solve it together.”
This is why I love technology.
Construction RFIs (Request for Information): The fast and easy way
When the foreman or superintendent has an issue on the job site, technology lets them pull up the plan sheets or specifications, and Boom!
- Mark up the plan sheet or spec right on the spot.
- Take a photo, or shoot a quick video.
- Add some text, and you’re done.
Now they just forward that critical information to the RFI manager or PM, and the process moves us forward.
“Don’t wait till later,” I remind them. “Because nine times out of ten, “later” means never. And we don’t need any costly last-minute surprises.”
Expectations and commitments
Another critical element in my preconstruction ritual is setting expectations.
“We know RFIs will come up, and we know the industry standard. But a 10-day turnaround? But that’s just average.”
Average construction teams delivering average projects.
“What’s our target turnaround?” I ask.
“What are we committing to?”
You need a target to aim for if you ever hope to hit anything.
- The construction team has to provide the context:
- Plan sheets
- So the design team has all they need to respond.
Construction RFIs: What’s your system?
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
Let’s face it; construction is uniquely challenging.
We’re building something new, in a unique and ever-changing environment, from a two-dimensional design or multi-dimensional BIM model.
And as much as we plan, and as much we’d like a trouble-free project, it’s just not going to happen. So we prepare for the unexpected.
The trick is to have a clear and simple RFI system to capture and contextualize the information in question. That way, the design and engineering teams have everything they need to make decisions.
And, if the project is modeled with BIM, all the better.
- Accurate data,
- Delivered efficiently,
- Drives better decisions
Automate your construction RFI workflows
And let your tech do the heavy lifting.
A digital RFI management tool beats the daylights out of sending documents by email. And the automated workflows make it easy to expedite the entire RFI process with just a few clicks.
- The prebuilt forms make it easy to create an RFI.
- Just follow the prompts and complete the fields.
- Drop-downs keep typing to a minimum.
- No wasted time or effort.
- Talk-to-text to fill in your narrative.
- Sometimes, it’s just faster.
- Markup plan sheets and attach photos and video.
- The RFI module is connected to the project drawings.
- The system follows the RFI through the entire process.
- No more wondering when and where.
- Automated alerts keep the processing moving.
- The chat feature lets everyone stay informed.
You have everything at your fingertips.
No more losing schedule time to incomplete, unprocessed RFI requests.
Improve construction RFI response times by over 50%
People are the key to success with construction RFIs.
Give your people the motivation and tools they need to take action with minimal effort.
Linarc’s RFI module is a fully independent RFI management system. Use it as a standalone system or integrate it with your schedule, budget, and change order workflows.
Connect your project stakeholders, design team, subcontractors, and suppliers. Share the spec book, plan sheets, and critical project documents on a centralized, cloud-based workspace.
Linarc is a cloud-based project management system for collaborative, data-driven construction management.
- Seamless collaboration
- Easy file sharing
- Common communication platform
- Real-time updates on project progress
- …and so much more.
Put the power of construction technology to work for you.
Get a custom demonstration of the Linarc project management platform today.