Published on October 21st, 2021 | by Ali Dino


What General Contractors Need to Know About RFI?

Construction projects are tricky things with a lot of moving components and people involved. In an ideal world, every detail of a building’s design is necessary while drafting a contract. In actuality, it is vital to address every aspect of a project throughout construction, and RFIs are the primary means by which subcontractors, general contractors, architects, and clients communicate about questions as they emerge.

This article will give a quick introduction of the RFI’s purpose, applicability, procedure, and content, as well as a list of recommended best practices. If you are looking to get your workforce plans straight, check out this link.

What Is RFI?

In the construction industry, a request for information (RFI) is a document prepared and sent by one project party to another seeking clarification of a specific aspect of the project, such as design plans, specifications, contract terms, and building standards.

Anyone may file an RFI at any time throughout the construction project’s life cycle. It’s a systematic procedure since concerns and problems might develop at any time.

The process of drafting and sending an RFI is a formal written procedure that you must complete correctly to be successful. During the construction process, contractors or subcontractors may opt to file an RFI to get an explanation from designers on a project’s specs or drawings.

They can also utilize an RFI to suggest alternate building components, seek more information about the project’s planned purpose, or request more supplies to complete construction chores.

You can send an RFI to a qualified architect, engineer, or consultant who can reply with suitable responses. If an RFI’s response is insufficient, you can resubmit it or request a meeting to get further information.

How Does It Work?

Subcontractors, general contractors, consultants, architects, engineers, and clients are the many stakeholders involved in the RFI process. RFIs may take around eight days. However, complicated and long-term projects might take much longer. Here is how it works.

  • A project owner may send you an email with a few concerns about how you’d approach their problem.
  • A subcontractor issues an RFI to the general contractor to explain the contract, design, specifications, or standards. Contractors may issue RFIs both at the start and during a project.
  • If possible, the general contractor provides a detailed response to the RFI’s query.
  • Work resumes if the subcontractor is pleased with the service. Otherwise, the subcontractor will modify the RFI and resubmit it.
  • You may opt for modern digital solutions that speed up (and manage) your operations to handle the entire process.

Importance Of RFI In Construction

RFI in construction is critical for the contractor to ensure that the project is carried out according to the agreed-upon schedule and budget. If there is any information gap (provided by the designers or the project sponsor) or insufficient information, the RFI enables the contractor to detect it and notify the customer.

RFIs aid in the proper construction and delivery of high-quality projects and customer satisfaction. If you don’t respond to RFIs efficiently and in a timely manner, you risk causing costly reconstruction work and, as a result, substantial expenditures for the at-fault party.

An RFI is also a critical construction document that aids in collecting information from the project’s authorized party or team. You may also employ RFIs outside the construction site in various ways.

Furthermore, responding to RFIs soon will help a construction project to stay on budget and schedule. In addition, quick replies guarantee that the builders construct the structure according to the requirements provided.

Tips To Improve RFI

Project stakeholders must adopt best practices to guarantee that contractors produce well-written RFIs and adhere to the same RFI process criteria. Here are some suggestions for improving RFI.

Include Any Additional Information

If you want to enhance your company’s RFIs, be sure to provide additional facts to explain the query. Use software solutions that allow you to hyperlink vital documents and images in the RFI to be readily viewed and assessed after delivery to the recipient.

Monitor And Track The RFIs Digitally

Digitizing the RFI tracking and monitoring process can enhance the productivity of your team. The necessity for electronic RFI tracking and monitoring is rising as building projects become more complicated and demanding.

The good news is that there are several dependable digital solutions available to assist any project team with such issues. Taking advantage of these solutions can help you streamline the entire process.

Introduce A Standard Contracting Language

The addition of explicit contractual language to the RFI process might make a significant impact. It will help keep your RFI process simple and successful. Also, using mutually agreed-upon language and definitions might prevent misunderstandings and leave no opportunity for disagreements between project owners and contractors.

Carefully Read The RFI

Make sure you go through all the specifics of a construction RFI before replying to prevent being contacted again. Don’t leave any questions unanswered, and make sure you’re clear about every question in the RFI.

Make Sure Everyone Is Participating

Communication is crucial in the RFI process and in managing construction projects successfully, especially when it comes to RFIs. Since your field crew is waiting for instructions, it’s critical to keep them informed on the progress of the RFI.

If you’re utilizing construction software, be sure you include everyone who will be engaged in the RFI process. Create an online group if you aren’t already using software to keep everyone in the loop.


RFIs, when appropriately used, may save you a lot of time and money. They allow you to swiftly assess dozens of vendors, negotiate the best price, and establish new win-win connections. 

If RFIs aren’t responded to swiftly, it might result in costly reworks. The introduction of digital solutions in the field is likely to aid significantly in this regard, as it will simplify and speed up the RFI process. However, this will require a significant amount of work on the part of all parties involved.

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