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Dec 17 2013

Cutting RFI ‘touch’ and ‘cycle’ times

When cloud-based construction collaboration technologies were first launched to the market in the late 1990s/early 2000s, the vendors promised all kinds of process improvements but often could not cite reliable statistics on the benefits. Over a decade later, we are more advanced and can use reporting tools within our platforms to show measurable gains, particularly when compared with conventional paper or email-based systems.

For example, processing of requests for information (RFIs) has traditionally been very time-consuming. Documents always had to be printed, shipped, and distributed internally before they could be answered by the relevant consultant. Even with email, there were often delays as RFIs were reviewed by initial recipients and then forwarded to the appropriate person. This ‘touch time’ issue can also be compounded by prolonged ‘cycle times’ – the time taken for an RFI response to be created and returned to the person who initiated the process. It is not unusual for RFI cycles to take a week or even longer, particularly if documents get mislaid or overlooked, and this can cause expensive delays to construction site activities.

Austville ResidencesIn Singapore, we worked with a contractor, Greatearth Construction, to increase their RFI efficiency by using the CONJECT project collaboration platform. By centralising and routing all project information through one secure portal, the contractor could standardise its document control, workflows and correspondence processes for everyone involved in designing and constructing a S$128m residential scheme, Austville Residences.

Going paperless saves time

RFIs were managed paperlessly; all process participants could access relevant documents via the CONJECT portal and were automatically prompted when matters demanded their attention. Once issued, RFIs could be tracked online, and a secure audit trail detailed who did what and when, providing real-time visibility on the status of every document and process. RFI reporting tools also allowed team members to review responses at individual companies, and ascertain how efficiently each business dealt with RFIs.

Analysis of the reports for Austville Residences showed an 80% improvement in ‘touch time’ from 195 minutes for conventional RFIs to 40 minutres per RFI managed via CONJECT. With around 500 RFIs on a project such as Austville, this equated to a total time saving of around 160 man days. Previous RFI turnaround cycles averaged seven days, but with CONJECT Greatearth’s RFI cycle times were cut by a third to 4.76 days, reducing the potential for delays along the project supply chains.

About the author

Joerg Hahn

Joerg Hahn is a Business Development Manager at CONJECT, based in Singapore. He joined the company in 2010, having previously worked for online marketing agency Convima and, before that, online storage software business Balesio

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