Construction project management is more complex than ever in a digital age coupled with increased legislation. So, working with teams of architects and designers as well as contractors and other interested stakeholders means keeping things on track is harder. These days you need tools that help you manage project delivery, risk assessments, o and m manuals etc. Technology is one of the greatest enablers for the successful delivery of construction project management. It provides the tools to manage construction projects cost-effectively, quickly and safely.
One common issue every construction project faces is managing requests for information (RFIs). These have the ability to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in project delays. Some RFIs may be unjustifiable, while the actual answers could already be in the contract or they are design requests not authorized by the design team. These costs impact the profit of a project’s bottom line, so a project manager needs better control of the RFI process.
Project managers need 24/7 insight into a project of any size to complete it successfully. Here are some insights into project management of RFIs. This is an example of how good project management tools can make a difference.
Managing requests for information
Contractors use RFIs to ask questions of the designers and architects. The contractor can also use RFIs to ask the client questions. Sometimes contractors use RFIs to justify claims of changes in a project's scope. But, in reality, they can cause delays. A transparent, consistent system for dealing with RFIs is an important part of construction project management.
A project manager cannot avoid RFIs. But, project managers can use tools that standardize and give relevant stakeholders access to consistent project management processes for RFIs.
Standardize processes for requests for information
Collaboration is key to delivering a standardized process for everyone involved in the project.
In a basic collaborative model, the project manager receives RFIs by email and tracks each one using spreadsheets. This makes tracking RFIs and any attachments difficult. It also makes it difficult to solve them before the end of each construction phase.
Take collaboration to the next level using project management software that stores all RFIs in a central repository along with the relevant drawings and attachments. Use a platform based in the cloud so relevant parties can review and action RFIs simultaneously. This saves many man hours of processing RFIs. Good project management tools give you transparency and the ability to anticipate recurring issues before they occur.
It takes time to get contractors to adopt new processes. Once they do, there will be efficiencies across the whole project. This gives everyone better understanding with better communication. But, unless everyone involved in the project conforms to collaborating on the one platform, efficiencies will be hard to drive.
Instill best practices
Create guidelines for best practices for everyone involved in the project to follow. An example is establishing consistent tags or numbering system to categorize RFIs. Use these to group RFIs and to assign priority. A good construction project control tool set gives the flexibility to setup up the information you need as a mandatory field. Things like what the RFI affects, trade type lodging the RFI, whether it requires a change order, and the impact on costs and time.
RFIs should link into the construction schedule. A contractor can flag urgent requests that need resolution before work can move forward. This makes the issues visible for all to see.
RFIs are one piece of the construction puzzle construction management software can help manage. It can also help project managers with:
managing and tracking all project documents
managing and submitting bids
scheduling resources and workers
job and time estimates
If you are still resisting using new tools of the trade to manage construction projects, talk to the experts Raptor Project Management. They can help transform the way you manage construction projects.