Many construction teams are familiar with a Request for Information (RFI) solely as an initial stage used in evaluating subcontractors or materials vendors. RFIs are commonly sent out in a standard format to all potential suppliers as a way of documenting their capabilities, and this information is then used to winnow down the potential list until only the most appropriate and capable are left for consideration.
However, as many construction firms discover, this is often not the last time you see an RFI. RFIs are used during the project as a way for contractors to bring up issues and change the scope of work, and they become a crucial tool when disputes erupt between vendors, subcontractors, or even investors and other principals. The worst time for RFI issues to rear their ugly heads is when construction claims preparation in Alabama is upon your project.
All RFIs should be carefully prepared and evaluated by a construction and materials expert who can ensure they are prepared properly, according to the format adopted by the project at the outset, and that they contain accurate information. RFIs that have been improperly prepared or which contain erroneous information can lie dormant for months or even years as a project moves forward, and suddenly become an issue when claims are being prepared in a construction project.
Some best practices to avoid RFI issues include
- Use a template for all RFIs for consistency
- Enforce contractual time limits for RFI delivery
- Require all explanatory assets to be attached to the RFI upon delivery
- Record all RFIs in a coherent manner with a unique ID
- Log distribution of RFIs so it is on record that all team members received them
- Have all RFI responses reviewed by a construction expert