An RFI is a document containing a question which is raised by one party [on a construction project] to the other party with whom they are in contract.
It is a contractual document which requires a formal [contractual] reply.
In order for the receiving party to make a reply, it may be necessary for the receiving party in turn to forward the RFI to other parties [to the receiving party's other contracts] who have a right and or an obligation to reply.The prime example of this is a main contractor who receives an RFI from a subcontractor, and in order to respond to it requires answers from the design team.
It is important to note that it is usual for the responses received to the forwarded RFI to be included in the final response to the originator of the RFI.
Thus the originator will have one RFI consisting of TWO documents, namely the question raised, and the answer. The original recipient will have at least these two documents, but additionally may also have responses from other parties to whom they forwarded the RFI.
Any of these documents may have attachments by way of explanation of either the question or of the answer.
In the event of a dispute between the parties, each party will require tohave access to the records not only of the document and any attachments, but also to be able to demonstrate the dates these documents were despatched and received.
An alternative name for an RFI is a Technical Query or TQ.
Return to Meaning of Terms