Contractor submitting an RFI

When questions or issues arise on a construction project, everyone needs to get on the same page. An RFI, or Request for Information, is an essential tool for effective communication. on a construction project. On this page, you’ll find free RFI templates for different scenarios that arise on a construction project, and some information about how to use them.

Let’s dig into these simple documents so you can start implementing RFIs on your projects in a stress-free way.

What is a Request for Information (RFI)?

A Request for Information (RFI) is an official document that a party involved in a construction project can use for clarification on an issue. RFIs are available to all parties on a project, and they can just as easily go up the chain as down. It’s important to understand that they aren’t always bad. They’re most often just basic requests for simple information on the project.

As you can guess, RFIs can be very valuable to contractors. They promote open, transparent communication. Each RFI includes a deadline to receive the answer, so they also help keep projects on time. In an industry plagued by delays and poor communication, RFIs can be incredibly useful.

When an RFI is Used in Construction

Any party on a project can use an RFI for any question they want to ask officially, but there are some situations where RFIs are common. 

Potential Solutions

When a property owner has an issue or problem that they would like fixed, they’ll often send an RFI to a host of contractors. The goal is to get a clearer picture of what a solution might look like, and possibly move on to a bidding phase for the project.

Preparing an Estimate

A contractor could send an RFI when preparing an estimate. If they have a question about the work involved, an answer to an RFI may provide the information they need to prepare an estimate.

Questions About Specifications

At the bidding phase, a contractor might use an RFI to request information about the work or materials required to complete the project. It’s difficult to prepare a fair and accurate bid without understanding the whole picture. An RFI can help.

Potential Issues and Change Orders

If there are issues on an active project, a contractor with foresight might send an RFI to the owner or engineer. Often, the goal is to get an answer before the issue throws the project off schedule. A change order is usually to follow.

To Obtain Information About Suppliers and Contractors

A contractor can also use an RFI to collect information about the property or project. This is helpful at the beginning of the job as it provides the contractor with a clearer picture of who is working on the project, any potential lenders, any bond information, and the owner of the property. Sending an RFI with your preliminary notice can be great practice to get into.

It’s also helpful to send an RFI during the project. Contractors can change, and an RFI sent during the project will help the sending party stay on top of who’s working on the property. Also, a failure to supply this information could be a red flag that there are payment issues looming. 

An owner could also send an RFI to the GC or project manager for a list of contractors, subs, and suppliers. This list could be incredibly helpful, as they’ll have an idea of who needs to get paid and who should be supplying them with lien waivers. 

What You Should Include in an RFI

RFIs aren’t highly regulated by the states, so almost anything will work in most cases. However, there are some basic elements that RFIs should include. They’ll help keep the RFI streamlined and easy to understand — essential for receiving a timely answer.

  • Your name and company name
  • The company name of the receiving party
  • Who at the company should reasonably be responsible for answering the question (this is often a design professional, owner, or GC)
  • The project name, address, and number
  • A unique RFI number
  • The date sent
  • The date you need the answer by
  • Drawing number that the question relates to
  • Your question or problem
  • The impact the problem may have on the schedule or budget
  • A possible solution to the problem

These pieces of information will serve for nearly all construction RFIs. You can use them to ask for contractor, supplier, and lender information, as well as for changes in the scope of work. It’s relatively basic, straightforward communication.

Free RFI Templates for Construction

General RFI template

A general use RFI template is helpful for any questions you might have about a project. You can use it ask about drawings, specifications, schedules, or any other information like you’d to create an official document for.

Download the template

RFI template for change orders

An RFI specifically designed for change orders will look similar to a general RFI, with a few additions. You’ll find fields for change order numbers, as well as check boxes for approvals, denials, and other information.

Download the template

Template to request a list of subs & suppliers

An RFI for a list of subs and suppliers is very straightforward, and can actually just accompany a standard RFI to make the request. They’re helpful for property owners, general contractors, and others to keep track of all parties involved in the project to avoid payment issues and liens.

Download the template

Request for payment bond information

For contractors and subs working on a bonded project, it can be helpful to submit a request for payment bond information at the beginning of the project. If payment is late, you will need this information in order to make a payment bond claim.

Download the template

RFI Log template for tracking requests

Use this template to track RFIs submitted throughout the project, responses received, and the status of each request.

Download the templates

Information is Power When It Comes to Payment

When it comes to getting paid for your work on a project, the more information you have, the better off you’ll be. By sending an RFI at the beginning of a project, you’ll collect important information you might need later down the road. You’ll know who the property owner is, the lender, information about any bonds, and who the other contractors up and down the payment chain.

Sending an RFI for a list of subcontractors and suppliers early in the project will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the payment chain. It could be the key to avoiding payment issues, so be sure to keep detailed records as well.