Request For Information (RFI) Procedures: An Integral Part Of The Construction Process

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RFI in construction is a business process used to collect information about the abilities of the various suppliers. It is a standard process that affects the buying decisions.

Business requests help in deciding which suppliers are best for specific organisation requirements. The three standard types of requests are RFI (Request for Proposal) and the RFQ (Request for Quotation).

An RFI is usually a document prepared on demand of the buy side companies to receive service and resource information from the supply companies. It is often a 3-5 page document which provides a summary of the operation which should be outsourced along with a piece of detailed information on the specific capabilities of the vendor.

There are reasons An RFI in construction is prepared, check the main three below:

Construction Modification/Substitution

A contractor may forget to procure some material or an item. At times, it could be cheaper to replace a certain item with some alternative. The contractor in such a situation is unable to decide without seeking permission of the owner through the architect. An RFI construction project prepared and submitted both request permission. When answered, it helps in pushing the documents ahead.

Additional Information or Clarification

Plans are made in the architect’s office. The contractor guides the architect by his/her abilities to prepare the design. No matter how detailed a project is, the subcontractors will always need more information (Read RFI in construction) when they start building. Some additional information may be required as well to falsify flashings.

Construction Deficiency

A departure from the specifications and plans is construction deficiency. These can happen at any time yet you don’t require money to correct a situation.

Also, a subcontractor or supplier can ask about misapplication of a product or a deemed omission for a clarification on the owner’s use of the building official’s acceptance of the product. A subcontractor can make use of RFIs to get attention to an inferior product, and it may not meet the owner’s needs and offer their expert skills to suggest a better solution.

Additionally, an RFI I construction utilises a broad base of prospective suppliers for developing a strategy, preparing for an RFQ or RFP, and build a database.

How does an RFI look like?

An RFI is submitted in a form. But since RFIs are a standard part of the construction process. Every designer, architect, subcontractor, contractor have their method of presenting an RFI. But after some time, it turns out to be expensive and full of confusions since it is difficult for all the stakeholders to track the diverse methods of a request and as per some stats, do not receive any response.

The best approach is to have standardised technology which is capable of enabling all the stakeholders to request a piece of information in a definitive timeframe.

How to write an RFI in construction?

The answer to “how to write an RFI in construction” is straightforward

An RFI indicates the potential bidders that there is a competition for a service or product, and the potential client is looking for information in a structured, formal and competitive way. It shows that the buyer appreciates the vendor’s time and resources and asks for only the basic knowledge required to move forward. Here is the best thing to follow:

Follow a Format

Collect all the information in a formal and structured way to ensure direct comparison of supply companies.

Be Specific

When you are more specific about the information, you will receive a useful response. Asking vague questions can only confuse the supplier and the data thus provided would be irrelevant. Define the information you need precisely.

Be Mindful

The final goal of the information needed is to build a healthy relationship with a business partner. The success is dependent on mutual consideration that starts with requests for time and resources.

Give Appropriate Time to Respond

Although responding to an RFI construction project takes lesser time than other request information such as RFP or RFQ. The minimum time is one week for the response. However, the standard time is two weeks. It may take a long time depending on the amount of information needed.

What is RFI in project management?

In project management, clear communication and the ability to distribute information can affect project cost and time. The best practices can boost the outcomes of a project. A project can benefit a lot from the RFI when carried out appropriately:

  • Minimizes the response time
  • Clear Responsibility
  • Gives access to history to settle disputes
  • Higher accuracy with links to data validation, iterative reviews and data validation

Summing up

An RFI construction project is a simple document which should be prepared and sent in the manner described above followed by responding and marking it as answered.

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