The RFI tool, as part of Fieldwire’s Project Management, helps extend the flow of data from the Field and bridges the gap between various stakeholders. RFIs provide neutral data ownership and empower teams to intuitively build an indisputable record of RFIs.
Note: In order to get this feature onto your instance of Fieldwire, you can schedule a demo with our sales team or you can purchase it with Business Plus.
Table of Contents:
- How to Enable PM on a Project
- The RFI Workflow
- The RFI Tab
- Create an RFI - (Draft)
- Assign the RFI - (Draft > Open)
- Answer or Forward the RFI - (Open > Pending)
- Create a Related RFI
- Review the answer (Pending)
- Share an RFI
- RFIs on Mobile
- Send Feedback
How to Enable PM on a Project
For information on companies and how to enable PM on a project, please see this article: How to Enable PM and Manage Companies on a Project.
How to set a Lead Company
To make sure that all RFIs and Submittals go through your "company" in Fieldwire, you can now set a Lead Company. To get started, you'll first want to go to the project People tab and then click on "Set lead company" for the company that you want to be considered the "lead".
After clicking on "Set lead company", you'll get a pop-up that indicates what the users in the Lead company can do vs users in the "Other companies" that were not designated to be the lead. For example, users in the Lead company can send RFIs to any company, but users in the "Other companies" on that project can only send RFIs to the lead company.
Once you've decided that you do want to set a lead company, you'll need to click on the blue "Set lead company" button. After you click the blue button, you'll see the lead company indicated with a crown icon and "Lead company" next to it.
The RFI Workflow
An RFI can adopt different ‘statuses’, depending on the stage the RFI exists in. Since all RFIs follow the same flow for progression, review the table below for an explanation of the different statuses an RFI will adopt:
A RFI is in the ‘Draft’ status when it is first created. Both Contributors and Managers can create Draft RFIs.
While the RFI is in the ‘Draft’ state, you can ask the question, provide suggestions, indicate the impact, add related tasks, RFIs, and plans.
Only managers can move an RFI from ‘Draft’ to ‘Open’, by assigning the RFI to another company. Contributors can only reassign the ‘Draft’ RFI to a manager within their company. This will keep the RFI in the ‘Draft’ state.
An RFI will be ‘Open’ after an ‘Assignee’ is indicated and a due date is selected. At this point, an RFI number will be assigned.
In the open stage, the Assignee will have the opportunity to answer the question, create a related RFI, void the RFI, or reassign the RFI to another person in their company to answer the question in order to progress the RFI.
If an answer is received outside of Fieldwire, a manager in the company that created the RFI can answer on behalf of the assignee from the 'Actions' menu.
An RFI will adopt the ‘Pending’ state, after an ‘Answer’ has been provided - the RFI will be reassigned to the creator.
In this stage, the creator can accept and close the RFI or reject the answer and send it back to the previous assignee for clarification.
Once the answer is sufficient, the submitter will “Close” the RFI in order to close the workflow, making the RFI uneditable.
An RFI is made “Void” when it is no longer applicable. This is a permanent action that makes the RFI uneditable.
Similar to the “Closed” state, all stakeholders will get a notification of the RFI being void.
Throughout the RFI process, all users will be able to keep track of the status of the RFI, when information was requested/submitted as well as who requested/submitted that information.
In addition, whenever someone changes the Impact or Notes, highlighted in the screenshot below, it will be logged in the Activity tab so that anyone on the project can see how the Impact has evolved through the lifecycle of the RFI.
At any point throughout the duration of the RFI, but most often in the ‘Draft’ Stage, RFI ‘Watchers’ can be added to the RFI to receive email notifications on when the RFI progresses:
While watchers will receive notifications on how the RFI progresses, they will not be able to edit the contents of the RFI if they are not the Assignee or a Manager at the Assignee's company.
When an RFI is being assigned, the user has the ability to designate anyone on the project as a watcher. Also, whenever the Assignee of the RFI changes, that user is automatically added as a Watcher.
The RFI creator can add RFI ‘Watchers’ from their company (or from other companies) when the RFI is in the ‘Draft’, ‘Open’, ‘Closed’ and ‘Void’ state. The RFI Assignee can add RFI ‘Watchers’ from their company (or from other companies) when the RFI is in the ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ state.
The RFI Tab
The headers in this tab provide a high-level overview on the nature, order, subject, and status of the RFIs across the project. More specifically, these headers are defined below:
- #: The 'Company Code' is assigned by the company the RFI is being requested from and added when the RFI moves from Draft to the Open status.
- Name: The title of the RFI, added when the RFI is created.
- Status: The current state of the RFI, which dictates what actions are available to the users - can be ‘Draft’, ‘Open’, ‘Pending’, ‘Closed’, and ‘Void’.
- Due date: The expected date of when the RFI should be Closed.
- Assignee: The current owner of the RFI's next actions.
In addition, you'll notice the RFI status summary up at the top of the page where you'll be able to easily see how many RFIs are on the project in each status.
You have the option to Filter RFIs on the 'RFIs' tab:
After you select 'Filter RFIs', you can filter RFIs by the parameters below:
Status: The phase where the RFI is currently in; Draft, Open, Pending, Closed, or Void.
Company: The company that the Assignee is assigned to.
Assignee: The individual assigned to the RFI at that given time.
Last Updated: The last time the form has been modified.
Create an RFI - (Draft)
Any user that is part of a ‘Company’ can create new RFIs. To create a new RFI, navigate to the RFI tab, select “+New RFI”, then enter the name of an RFI:
Note: The title of the RFI can be adjusted later on - click on the pencil by the Name in the 'Draft' RFI.
A new RFI draft is created. “Question” is the only required field to assign the RFI. Supplement the question with crop Plans, Photos, or Files on your project:
Note: You also have the ability to mark up any photos that you attach to the RFI.
The RFI creator can also designate the potential budgetary and/or time-based impacts of the RFI:
If there are any existing RFIs to relate, the creator can reference these from the Project Link section:
The Creator can also choose to create a new (or reference an existing) Task from the Project Link Section:
Any Managers or Contributors in your company will see the draft RFI. However, it can only be downloaded or deleted from the ‘Actions’ drop-down in the draft RFI itself by Managers or Contributors from your company.
The RFI hyperlink from the single page plan view allows users to create an RFI directly from a plan itself, or to attach an existing RFI to the plan:
Anyone can select the plan name itself to be redirected to the associated plan.
Note: it’s not possible to attach a ‘Related plan’ from the RFI itself - rather, to ensure an RFI is referenced (or that an RFI will reference the plan), please use the ‘Link to RFI’ tool from the single-page plan view.
Create an RFI Draft from a Task
Instead of creating an RFI Draft from the RFI tab, you can also create an RFI directly from a Task. If there are observations/photos that are already being tracked in tasks, users in the office can easily convert the task into a formalized RFI with a few clicks.
To do so, you'll need to have photos in your task. Then, you'll need to click on the paperclip icon in the task. Next, you'll select "New RFI". Once you select "New RFI", you'll see a new pop-up box. The pop-up box will allow you to name the RFI as well as select or deselect a checkbox to include the existing photos from the task in the new RFI. Lastly, you'll click "Create draft" to create the new RFI.
Assign the RFI - (Draft > Open)
Once a question is entered, the ‘Assign & send’ option will turn dark blue and be selectable. This means the RFI can be sent to another party to review and respond to the request. The process of providing a ‘Question’ enables the user to move the RFI from ‘Draft’ to ‘Open’.
After you select ‘Assign & send’, choose between assigning to a "Project user" or an "Email address", enter the “Assignee”, add “Watchers” and the “Due date” date as well as an optional “Message”.
Note: Messages only appear in email notifications when an RFI is assigned, submitted, or rejected.
If 'Enable assignee email reminders' is selected, the assignee will receive an email notification 48 hours prior to the due date, reminding them that the RFI needs a response:
If you're assigning the RFI to an "Email address", the assignee will receive an email copy of the RFI. In the email, they are provided with the name of the RFI as well as instructions stating that they have been assigned this RFI and to reply to the email with their answer to the RFI, which will send an email to the creator of the RFI so that the creator can respond on the assignee's behalf.
Note: Only the Lead Company can assign RFIs to email addresses.
Once the RFI is assigned to the email address, you'll see that the Assignee field in the header is flagged to indicate that the they are an external user. In addition, this email address will appear in the activity feed, in the table, and in any reports created.
Managers can assign the RFI to a Manager or Contributor in another company to move the RFI from ‘Draft’ to ‘Open’ - Contributors can assign the RFI to a Manager within their company.
The RFI will remain in the ‘Draft’ state until the Manager reassigns it to another Manager or Contributor in another company. If you’d like to have another party outside of your company address the RFI, create a related RFI.
Reassigning the RFI
If a previously assigned RFI needs to be reassigned, Managers can designate any user, at any company. Contributors have the option to reassign to others as well; however, the Contributor must be the current assignee in order to do this.
This flowchart provides more context on how the Reassign button can be used:
Reassign in my company
From the ‘Actions’ menu, a Manager or Contributor has the option to reassign the RFI to another Manager or Contributor in their company. The new assignee and any RFI watchers will receive an email notification after this action. Reassigning is captured in the ‘Activity’ section of the RFI for transparency - in addition, the original assignee will be added to the RFI as a watcher.
Answer or Forward the RFI - (Open > Pending)
Once an RFI has been assigned, the new Assignee (and the pertinent watchers) will receive an email to inform them that the RFI has changed status from ‘Draft’ to ‘Open’.
Open and Pending RFIs will be visible to all users in the two companies involved: the creator company or the company to which the RFI was assigned. In addition, any Managers associated with that company will be able to view and edit that RFI on behalf of the assignee.
Manager Open State Actions:
Manager Pending State Actions:
The Assignee themselves will have a few options to proceed with moving forward - from the ‘Actions’ menu, the Assignee can re-assign to another person in the company or void the RFI. Alternatively, the Assignee can simply submit an answer to the question:
Answer on behalf of the Assignee
If necessary, Managers in the creator company of the RFI can ‘Answer on behalf’ of the RFI Assignee from the ‘Actions’ menu:
If the creator chooses to ‘Answer on behalf of the assignee', this will unlock the ‘Answer’ field; however, the current assignee will not be able to contribute to the RFI:
If the RFI Assignee would prefer to respond and provide an answer by email, they can do so by following the steps below.
First, the RFI Assignee will receive an email with this information in the screenshot below. In the information they receive in the email, they'll see that they have the ability to answer the RFI by replying to the email.
Once the assignee replies to the email answering the question posed in the RFI, the person who assigned the RFI will receive an email with that response. In that response email, the original requestor will see the answer the assignee provided as well as the 'Action needed'.
With this information, the original requestor can now 'Answer on behalf' of the Assignee, and this sequence of events is captured in the RFI's Activity.
Review the answer
In order for the RFI to progress, the ‘Answer’ section will need to be completed by the assignee, a Manager from the Assignee’s company, or a Manager in the creator company, who can answer on behalf of the assignee:
After the answer section has been completed, the ‘Submit answer’ option will become available to the assignee. This will re-assign the RFI back to the Creator for answer approval:
The creator of the RFI then has the option to accept, reject, reassign, or void the RFI. If the answer is rejected, it will be sent back to the previous assignee for further clarification.
Accept (and close)
Suppose the answer you’ve received from the assignee has all of the information you need. In that case, you can notify multiple users of the content of the RFI using a built-in distribution list that will notify selected users, via email, of the closed RFI.
The distribution list can consist of users outside the two companies in charge of the RFI, however, they will need to be invited to the project in order to appear on the distribution list.
Once you have chosen your distribution list, select “Accept and close,” which will move the RFI from the Open to the Closed state. Everyone on the distribution list will receive an email regarding the closed RFI:
Reject the RFI
If the answer you’ve received from the assignee does not answer your question, you can reject the answer by clicking on the action button and selecting “Reject answer.” This will keep the RFI in the open state and send it back to the original assignee, prompting them to adjust their answer as needed.
Void an RFI
If an RFI is made ‘Void’ it will make the RFI permanently uneditable, since the RFI will adopt a permanent ‘Void’ status. Only leverage this if you predict the RFI will no longer be pertinent.
After you select the ‘Void’ option, you can, optionally, send an email notification to the RFI Assignee and the contingent watchers to provide any other pertinent information:
After the RFI is made Void, it will appear in the RFI tab with the ‘Void’ Status:
If necessary, users can still Download a copy of the RFI, or create a related RFI from the ‘Void’ RFI:
Create a Related RFI
If an RFI is in ‘Open’, ‘Pending’ or ‘Closed’ state, the Creator and Assignee (as well as pertinent Company Managers associated with the RFI) can create a ‘Related RFI’ or 'Attach an existing RFI' from the 'Related RFI' dropdown menu in the Project link section.
If a user opts to create a related RFI, the option to clone over certain elements from that RFI are presented:
- Include questions, suggestions, and impact
- Include question attachments
In addition, you can provide a new title.
Note: Creating a related RFI will not clone the same cohort of RFI watchers. The individual who created the related RFI will become the assignee of the ‘Draft’ RFI.
Share an RFI
From the actions menu, the RFI Assignee, Creator, or Watcher has the option to download the RFI, independent of the RFI's current status. A Manager at the Assignee's company can also download the RFI.
Emailing an RFI
Users can now email RFI PDFs directly from Fieldwire, just like they can with Forms and Tasks. To ensure accountability, this action will be logged in the activity feed so that there is proof of what information was distributed and when.
At each step in the RFI creation process, the user accessing the RFI can click the “Actions” dropdown button and then click the “Email” option.
After choosing the “Email” option, you will see a pop-up, where you will need to enter the email addresses of the recipients. In addition, you will see a field where you can edit the subject line of the email. Lastly, you will see a field where you can include an optional message.
Once the required fields have been completed, you will need to click the “Send” button.
Here is an example of what the received email will look like:
Here is an example of what the email attachment looks like:
Lastly, as mentioned above, once the email is sent, it is tracked in the RFI activity log:
RFIs on Mobile
RFIs can now be viewed in any state (Draft, Open, Pending, Closed, Void) on your mobile device from the 'RFIs' tab. In addition, RFIs can now be created and filled on your mobile device while in the Draft state. This includes users being able to add Questions, the Due Date, Attachments, and the Impact while out in the field. However, you currently can only change the status of the RFI using the web app.
Create RFIs on Mobile
As you can on the web, users are now able to create new RFIs on their mobile devices go navigating to the RFIs tab and clicking on the blue "+" button as shown below.
Fill Out RFIs on Mobile
After creating a form on mobile, users can fill out the fields for Questions, the Due Date, Attachments, Impact, etc. while the task is in the Draft state. In addition, users are able to view Related tasks, RFIs, and plans when viewing the RFI on mobile.
You will also be able to mark up any photos that are taken on your device and attached to the RFI.
View Completed RFI's on Mobile
Like on the web, you can view the content pertinent to completed RFI's on mobile:
|Suggestion / Impact
Sort RFI's on Mobile
From the 'RFIs' tab on mobile, you can sort the RFI's by status, number, name, and due date to help you find the desired document faster:
Status: The stage the RFI exists in - Draft, Open, Pending, Closed, or Void.
Number: The auto-assigned, unique number, applied when the RFI was created.
Name: The title of the RFI.
Due Date: The date when the RFI should be completed by.
Search RFI's on Mobile
Select the magnifying glass and type the name of the RFI to search for any completed RFIs:
We would love to hear your feedback as we strive to create the most intuitive RFI management tool: