RFI Process (flow chart)

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    Lawrence Griffin (Edited )

    My understanding of this subject is growing but so far this is where I am at:

    The flow protocol really depends on the contract, project delivery method, and the information needed by the professionals in the flow chart. 

    For example, if there was a questions about the HVAC from an MEP subcontractor, (or any subcontractor) what would the flow chart look like?

    One of the keys to consider is that the information would always pass through the GC and architect. (In a typical Design Bid Build (DBB) process). The GC and then architect will decide if others need to be involved in flow chart.

    The flow chart could be something like the following:

    HVAC Subcontractor - GC - Architect - MEP Engineer and back up

    This flow chart is critical to controlling potential issues by passing information through the DBB flow chart. The GC will be able to watch over the means and method and the Architect can protect the design intent as well as coordinating any changes that may result out of the RFI.

    If anyone has any examples of how this is different with other project delivery types please comment below!

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    Pierre Antounian (Edited )

    Hi Lawrence,
    I’m glad you brought this up, I have been curious about this as well. I want to take your question a step further. What if the Sub-Contractor who discovers the inconsistency in construction relates to the work of a specialty consultant hired directly by the Owner and further it results in a coordination issue not only between the Architect and his consultant but also in the work of that specialty consultant. Does the Architect hand over the RFI to both his consultant and the Owner’s consultant at the same time? So essentially a copy to his own consultant and a similar copy to the owners consultant?
    Or would he send to his consultant first, then back to Architect and then over to Owners consultant back to Architect, back to GC and finally back to subcontractor?
    Hope my question makes sense and hope people here can chime in as I can’t find any text on this type of flow in the AHPP.

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    In this case, the RFI should be sent to the GC, and then the GC will send to the owner for the owner’s consultant, and also to the architect, and then the architect will route it to his consultant if necessary.

    The architect does NOT communicate directly with the owner’s consultant since the architect has no contract with the owner’s consultant, it has to go through the owner or owner’s designated representative.

    RFI protocol is very important: All RFIs have to go through the GC and have to be in writing, and for owner’s consultant, the GC has to go through the owner, for the architect’s consultant, the GC has to go through the architect.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Pierre Antounian

    Hi Gang,
    I’m looking at Figure 10.27 “Construction Communication Protocol” AHPP 15th Edition page 718.
    There are three types of lines drawn showing the protocol of communication.
    Direct
    Indirect
    Coordination Only

    Without making my question to long:
    Does “Coordination Only” not account for RFI’s?
    Is an RFI not considered a Coordination effort?

    Based on your description above, the answer to my question is NO.

    But it sounds like the bottom line is this:
    If there is no Contract between the two parties then there is no transfer of an RFI.

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    Correct.

    Coordination or RFI or whatever forms of communications has to follow the correct protocol:

    Point of contact is very important to avoid confusions and errors.

    All communications to and from the subcontractors shall go through the GC; All communications to and from the owner’s consultants shall go through the owner; All communications to and from architect’s consultants shall go through the architect.

    Gang Chen, Author, Architect, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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    Pierre Antounian

    As always, you were very helpful! Thank you!

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