- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 08 Aug 2022
Request for information RFI
A Request for Information (RFI) (occasionally referred to as a Technical Query) is a formal question asked by one party to a contract on a construction project to the other party. Typically this will be a request from the contractor to the client’s consultant team, but it may be between any of the parties, for example from a sub-contractor to a contractor.
RFIs can be roughly classified into several different categories. These classifications can be valuable to the project team if broad categories are used in documents. This way they will enhance communication, focus the process on the intended and desired result, and steer the project team.
These categories are:
- Design clarifications (conflicts, incomplete plans, specifications).
- Requests for a design change (often due to errors in construction, sequencing problems).
- Requests for substitutions (value engineering, material availability, ease of use).
- Constructability issues
- Differing site conditions
RFIs should set out:
- The details of project.
- The details of the party requesting the information.
- The date the query was raised.
- The nature of the information being requested.
- The date by which a response is required.
- Any supporting explanatory documents provided.
It may be necessary for the party receiving the RFI to seek further information from parties with whom they themselves have a contractual relationship in order provide a response. It is good practice to include this information from other parties with the response to the original RFI. This can create a chain of information, where for example a subcontractor requests information from the main contractor, who in turn requests information from the client’s consultant team, and so on. It may then be appropriate for responses and any explanatory documents attached to them to be disseminated amongst the wider project team.
This creates a matrix of RFIs that need to be carefully tracked, responded to and distributed appropriately. This process be managed using an information request schedule, or can be managed electronically.
It is important to record the dates that RFIs are dispatched, the dates by which responses are required and the dates that responses are received to provide evidence in the event that a dispute arises.
Contractually, the requirement to respond to an RFI is created by the obligation to provide further information as is necessary to enable the other party to complete the contract on time. Requests should, however, give sufficient notice for the respondent to be able to resource and prepare a reply by the date that the information is required. The parties are then entitled to rely on the information provided as correct.
Failure to provide necessary information may qualify as a relevant event for which the contractor may be entitled to an extension of time and to claim loss and expense incurred as a result of any delay. Similarly, a response which constitutes a variation in the nature of the works may qualify as a relevant event for which the contractor may be entitled to an extension of time and to claim loss and expense.
A contractor’s master programme (generally prepared immediately after the execution of the contract and issued to the contract administrator for comment) may constitute a request for information. Similarly, a client information release schedule may constitute a commitment to provide information by certain dates, whether or not these dates are necessary to achieve the completion date.
In 2018, researchers in Australia analysed data collected from 168 projects and calculated that the average cost of processing RFIs on a project is US$656,000 (AUS$910,000). Ref https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20450249.2018.1546976?journalCode=tcri20
- Architects instruction.
- Change control procedure.
- Contractors master programme.
- Extension of time.
- Information release schedule
- Information request schedule.
- Loss and expense.
- Relevant event.
- Site queries.
 External references
Featured articles and news
On Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
Over 70 managers and organisations shortlisted for the 14 awards.
From biometric to electrical current, chemical and more.
Changes are due to come into force on 1st October 2022.
Heed advice and insight of this report IPA tells the government.
From the Commonwealth Association of Architects.
For the Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Committee.
BSRIA's Technical Director reflects on recent weather patterns.
A national valuation to fund old-age pensions.
The world’s largest Commonwealth memorial to the missing.
Long after the end of the defects liability period.
Occupant satisfaction and wellbeing in buildings.
From the simple to the complex.
And the UK Government guidelines.
Commitment agreed to by major built environment bodies.
Electrical skills, low carbon, high-tech and the building services revolution.
Ultra-deep drilling with millimeter-wave beam technology.
Looking at the built environment from space.
BSI standards 8671, 8672 and 8673.
Bringing life to burial grounds.
From failed modernism to twenty-minute neighbourhoods.
The gates process and change control.