Having gaps or conflicts in project information can cost an average of $1,080 per RFI review and response, according to Construction Junkie. That’s why having a set process for managing your RFIs is so important.
Before we get into how to manage RFIs, let’s talk about what they are and why they are important in construction projects.
What is an RFI?
An RFI or request for information is a standard procedure used by construction professionals to get clarification on certain aspects of their documents. RFIs in construction are helpful for making decisions throughout the life of a job.
How to manage RFIs in construction
Making sure you have all the information you need for each job is essential for staying on time and budget. Here are six ways to properly manage your RFIs, avoid information breakdowns and save more money for your bottom line.
1. Don’t be afraid to encourage discussions
Lack of communication is the root cause of many issues including construction job site errors. When meeting with your team and subcontractors, it’s crucial to remember the importance of discussion. Including all involved parties from the start of a project will help to keep everyone on the same page. By encouraging open communication from the very beginning, you could potentially avoid some RFIs altogether.
It’s also a good idea to discuss your RFI process and answer any questions before the construction process officially begins.
2. Keep it simple and be specific
When submitting an RFI, it’s important to be straightforward and specific. Trying to pack too much information or too many questions into one RFI will result in confusion and complications. If you have multiple questions or are needing several pieces of information, it’s best to submit separate RFIs. Keeping questions and requests separate helps with organization and allows for streamlined RFI management.
Although it may seem like a lot to have multiple RFIs, it’ll help you in the long run by allowing simplified tracking and clarity for each issue.
3. Provide visual guidance when possible
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? In this case, a photo or drawing could be worth the time and money you save by cutting out the confusion. By including a photo or drawing with your RFI, you’re giving the other person additional context that could help them answer your question more effectively and ensures that nothing gets lost in translation.
4. Set due dates
It’s crucial to remember the due date when sending an RFI. Setting a due date will hold your team member or subcontractor accountable and keep things moving to avoid delay. Enforcing due dates ensures that you keep your projects and jobs on track, which ultimately leads to happy clients.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
We said it once, but we’ll say it again – communication is a critical element to the success of your construction business.
When it comes to managing RFI process, updating the status is critical. Although it’s great when you can set it and forget it, that’s not the case here. Updating your RFI status keeps all key individuals informed and ensures everyone is aware of the progress. For example, even if you’re not able to get ahold of a vendor, it’s important to update the status to let your team know and eliminate any questions.
6. Simplify your RFI process with tech
Using Buildertrend to run your RFIs will not only help to streamline your process, but it’ll ensure that everything is organized, saved and documented in one location. Can you imagine having 10 different RFIs for one project and having to keep track of them all through email – or worse, paper? Having everything saved online makes it easy for everyone to regularly touch base and collaborate efficiently.
And in addition to creating RFIs from scratch, you can also create RFIs within Buildertrend features such as To-Do’s, Bids, Change Orders and Purchase Orders. Having a built-in RFI process makes drafting, assigning and sending questions to team members, subs and vendors simple.
Have questions about using RFIs within Buildertrend?
Your account executive is here and ready to answer any questions you have. We’re committed to helping you learn everything Buildertrend has to offer to ensure the success of your business.
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