How to Improve RFI and Submittal Workflows
Today’s jobsite is more complex than ever before. New building technologies, higher expectations from owners, tighter budgets, and faster timelines fuel the potential for delays, budget overruns, waste, and team conflict.
With the global population expected to rise to ten billion by 2050 and 80% of contractors reporting a hard time hiring skilled labor – a common theme emerges – efficient construction project management workflows are vital. With these challenges come larger teams, projects, and a greater demand for collaboration.
Request for Information (RFIs) and submittals are examples of two essential workflows that need to follow a prescribed path for review and approval to meet contract obligations. Nevertheless, when not optimized they can bog down the construction process – sometimes taking weeks or even months to complete. Even with the help of software applications designed to improve the flow of communication, the complicated dance of RFIs and submittals can feel frustratingly inefficient. However, selecting best-in-class tools and strategies, simplifying these processes will maximize construction project management workflows and ultimately connect the office to the field, driving efficiency, improving quality, and reducing risk.
The Digital Solution to Improve Project Management Workflows
It’s clear that today’s construction teams need a more streamlined way to manage workflows, without losing the ability to align with contractual procedures. As we mentioned above, many technology point solutions attempt to address the challenges of RFIs and submittals. However, it can also create additional confusion by forcing teams to switch between apps, increasing the potential for data loss and missed communication.
The most efficient way to ensure this doesn’t happen is by integrating contractual project controls and clear workflows onto a connected construction management platform.
Using a digital system and a common data environment makes it easy for team members to access project information on an as-needed basis. It’s a true advantage, as changes to documents can automatically be visible to all project stakeholders that require access. Cloud-based connectivity and access on both mobile devices and desktops enable team members to access documents and drawings on an ongoing basis as the project progresses.
Reducing the time spent transferring information from one system to another allows teams to respond faster to real-time changes and minimizes the potential for error and conflict. As a result, teams can quickly digest and act on that information and move on to other important tasks.
Enhancing Performance with Streamlined Workflows
Contractual procedures, communication processes, and standards can vary from one project to the next. But one constant remains: you need to be able to create and manage multiple workflows flexibly across teams and projects while maintaining clear accountability.
Using connected construction technology – like Autodesk Construction Cloud™ – allows teams to designate responsibilities for each step and coordinate responses with the design team. In turn, RFIs and submittals move through the process efficiently, eliminating the potential for conflicting responses.
For example, if an RFI workflow can be set up to allow any project member to initiate an RFI and submit it to the General Contractor (GC), the GC can then edit the RFI and assign a primary reviewer and additional co-reviewers. This creates a clear response structure for the RFI, eliminating friction, and reducing miscommunication.
The increased visibility and controlled workflow eliminates guesswork and conflict. This ensures that all critical information is immediately available to all relevant parties, ultimately reducing rework.
The same can be said for having a similar construction project management process for submittals. By ensuring adequate controls, only the GC or manager can review the submittal package and make the final decision on when it’s ready for the design team to review.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve both workflows for submittals and RFIs, you might find the following resources helpful:
Streamline Your Construction Project Management Workflows Today
Having flexible yet controlled construction project management workflows enables teams to better manage handoff points within these critical processes without limiting collaboration and maintaining a single point of responsibility. Get started with optimizing your construction workflow today to increase transparency, communication, and efficiency across your projects to save time, improve quality, and reduce risk.