Many new Assistant Project Manager's enter their first construction job and their primary responsibility includes processing submittals and RFI's (Request for Information). This how to explains how to properly process an RFI. An RFI is question that a subcontractor may have for the design consultant concerning such things as design omissions, field conditions, something needs further clarification, etc. Please see my accompanying article on how to process a submittal.
Before you even receive an RFI on a construction job, there should be some sort of order for how a subcontractor can submit their RFI's (Requests for Information). It is generally best to have each Contract submit an RFI beginning with #1 on a page that states their company name, address, and phone number, the key contact person, the job site name, what specifications section or drawings they are referencing and the question.
The next step is to assign it a number in your tracking system. Most construction computer programs do this. If not use excel and start with #1. It is ok if your number doesn't match what the Contractor's is. Your numbering system will encompass all RFI's. Additionally you should track when you received the RFI and when it is responded to. Most contracts require that they be responded to by 10 or 15 days. Be sure to know what the jobs contract requirements are.
Once you receive an RFI in the proper format and assign it a number, it needs to be reviewed. Often times you may be able to answer the question by checking the specifications, contract drawings, addendums, or bulletins. If not, go to the next step.
If you are not able to answer the question. Show it to the jobsite Superintendents. They are often able to answer the question especially if it is more complex. If not, go to the next step.
The RFI needs to be submitted to the Consultants (Architect and/or Engineers). Retype the RFI with any additional information on your construction companies letterhead. Forward to the appropriate parties.
Once the RFI is responded to by the Consultants, be sure to review the response and see if the response is a change order. Oftentimes RFI's are asked because the subcontractor notices a change of work and will use the RFI to request additional money. By reviewing the response you will know if there is a add/deduct change order to go along with it.
Forward the response to the subcontractor along with any request for pricing if there will be a change order involved.