A request for information (RFI) is a common
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trad ...

process whose purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. Normally it follows a format that can be used for comparative purposes. An RFI is primarily used to gather information to help make a decision on what steps to take next. RFIs are therefore seldom the final stage and are instead often used in combination with
request for proposal A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that solicits proposal, often made through a bidding Bidding is an offer (often competitive) to set a price tag by an individual or business for a product or service ''or'' a demand that something b ...
request for tender Request may refer to: * a question A question is an utterance which typically functions as a request for information, which is expected to be provided in the form of an answer. Questions can thus be understood as a kind of illocutionary act ...
(RFT), and
request for quotation A request for quotation (RfQ) is a business process in which a company or public entity requests a quote from a Distributor (business), supplier for the purchase of specific Product (business), products or Service (economics), services. RfQ general ...
(RFQ). In addition to gathering basic information, an RFI is often used as a solicitation sent to a broad base of potential suppliers for the purpose of conditioning suppliers' minds, developing strategy, building a database, and preparing for an RFP, RFT, or RFQ. The ubiquitous availability of the Internet has made many government agencies turn either to state-run or vendor operated websites which provide listings of RFIs as well as RFPs and RFQs. Many allow vendors to sign up at no charge to receive e-mails of requests either generally or for specific categories of product or service for which there is an interest. The entire process may be conducted online and collects responses as scanned documents or Portable Document Format (
PDF Portable Document Format (PDF), standardized as ISO 32000, is a file format ogg-file: 154 kilobytes. A file format is a standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for pe ...
) files uploaded to the server. Or for legal reasons, a response must be sent in hard copy form and/or on
DVD The DVD (common abbreviation for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electr ...

disc or
USB flash drive A USB flash drive (i.e. thumb drive) is a that includes with an integrated interface. It is typically removable, rewritable and much smaller than an . Most weigh less than . Since first appearing on the market in late 2000, as with virtuall ...

USB flash drive
by mail or delivery service.

In the construction industry

An RFI is used in the construction industry when a project's construction documentation lacks information that is required to proceed with any given scope of work. It is raised by the
general contractor A general contractor, main contractor or prime contractor is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of a construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"C ...
that has been answered by the client, or
architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that h ...

, and distributed to all stakeholders, is generally accepted as a change to the scope of work unless further approval is required for costs associated with the change. An RFI is common and accepted practice for a subcontractor or supplier to state his/her concern related to the omission or misapplication of a product, and seek further clarification of the building owner's intended use or their official acceptance of the specified product. It is also acceptable for the subcontractor to use an RFI to call attention to an inferior product that may not meet the building owner's needs, and use his/her expertise to recommend the better/correct product. RFIs were for some years tracked using spreadsheets, but during the early 21st century many companies started using various construction management applications, including document management platforms, to manage RFI processes and help construction professionals save time, reduce costs, and improve quality.

Extended components

The exact format of an RFI will vary depending on what information is being requested, but the most common elements found in a construction industry RFI include: * Objective/Summary * Timeline * Storyboard or Screenshots * Deliverables''The bare minimum'' * Evaluation criteria''For any bonuses'' * Payment terms


{{DEFAULTSORT:Request For Information Procurement