A Guide to Writing an Effective RFI for Construction

Research says that almost 10 RFIs (request for information) occur against every $1 million in construction. After all, it's an important document for the success of every construction project. That's why construction managers and architects spend hours making an RFI for complex projects.

Integrating your system with workforce management tools like Bridgit streamlines your construction activities. You don't have to spend much time organizing labor and resources. Instead, you can prepare an insightful RFI to have more clarification on the project.

But what exactly is RFI, and how to effectively write it? This post will tell you everything about that construction document.

What is RFI?

RFI, or request for information, is a document that gives a clear picture of the construction project's details. Think of a complex building project with different internal shapes and designs. When you show the project blueprints to the client and other stakeholders, they usually never nod but get confused.

That's when RFI comes into play. Managers prepare multiple RFIs throughout the project according to the need to comprehend the difficult parts of the project. Those parts include:

  • Construction - The construction phase of a project.
  • Design - Designing project model and framework for a better visual representation.
  • Material - Procurement of construction material from multiple sources.

Simply put, RFI is a useful document, especially for clients, suppliers, and intermediaries who might not have enough knowledge of complex construction projects. You can easily answer their queries with the help of RFI.

Why is RFI important?

RFI is an important yet common document in the construction industry. If you prepare a clear RFI, you can keep the project on schedule and complete it under budget. This document also keeps the project stakeholders satisfied as their queries have been answered.

The purpose of an RFI is to gather information about a construction project's aspects. Since being knowledgeable means having information, RFI imparts knowledge to people who don't have particular information regarding the project.

RFI's insights can also estimate a construction project's cost and time. That means you can complete the project before schedule and under budget if you use the RFI the right way.

How to write a construction RFI?

Now that you know RFI is a document that gives solutions to problems throughout the construction project, it's time to write an effective RFI for your next assignment. Here are four tips you can follow to write a powerful RFI:

Problem definition

The first tip is known as the "Problem Statement." Always begin writing RFI by defining the problem. All construction projects face problems once the actual work begins. That's the time when subcontractors write RFI to resolve the issues.

Remember that one RFI document focuses on only one problem. So, ensure you write multiple RFIs if there are multiple queries. You will get a single helpful response from the general contractor for each problem. Then, instantly apply the technique to fix the issue as you receive it.


Contractors and construction managers are experts in this domain. That's why they can easily solve the problem by providing a viable solution. They have spent years in the construction industry and are well aware of project challenges.

The problem defined in the RFI clearly explains what the issue is all about. Then, after analyzing the progress of the project and identifying the problem's cause, the construction manager and contractor answer everything that's asked in the document.


Always provide all information regarding the problem while writing the RFI document. Sometimes the context is not clear when you mention an issue in RFI. That creates another issue because the contractor doesn't understand the context of the problem.

In such cases, the RFI document is returned to the subcontractor without being answered. If it happens, you must write another RFI and properly mention all additional details regarding the problem.

For example, if a heavy-machinery is not working, you can include the following details:

  • Response - Equipment's response when you put it in working mode.
  • Status - Equipment's status on the display screen if you have integrated it with a computer system.
  • Load - The load equipment bears and its actual load capacity.
  • Running time - Start and end time of the equipment in a day.

You can also add more details in RFI according to other conditions. For example, the contractor might ask you more about the equipment, which, again, is a time-consuming process.

Therefore, make sure you explain the problem and cover the context in a detailed manner. That way, the contractor can analyze the problem and provide a solution.


Adding visual information to the RFI document is an important factor. A study shows that visual content is 60,000 times faster to process by the human brain than text-based content. This fact also applies in the construction industry through infographics, charts, and graphs.

So, the best practice is to use different measurement tools like the Gantt chart, PERT chart, and pie chart to visually present information. That will not only save time but also increase the productivity of the documentation team.

What if you don't write RFI?

Without the RFI document, your project will likely face many problems, eventually making you miss the first milestone's deadlines. The contractor and construction manager will also slow down their progress because they will never understand what is causing these delays.

A poorly written RFI also wastes the contractor's time, affecting the construction schedule. When you are behind schedule, there's no chance you will complete the project within the assigned budget.

Therefore, always write the RFI document whenever you spot a problem during the construction project and send it to the contractor or the construction manager. They will inspect the issue and immediately solve it to avoid any delays.


The RFI document helps you and other stakeholders understand the project more clearly. Since construction activities are often complex, writing an RFI is the best way to know what will happen in the project.

So, follow the tips for writing an effective RFI mentioned above, and boost the performance of your entire construction team.

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