Automating Construction Administration: Streamlining Submittal and RFI Review Workflows
Construction administration processes can pose significant challenges to project productivity. The processing of submittals and requests for information (RFIs—a necessary part of the project lifecycle) is a tedious and time-consuming task for most project teams. In the case of larger projects, teams can be flooded with thousands of submittals and hundreds of RFIs.
The AEC industry is moving at a lightning-quick pace, requiring architects and engineers to quickly process and resolve RFIs and submittals to maintain their tight deadlines and keep costs within budget, which poses an ever-present challenge for teams.
In Construction, Time is Money
The challenges to optimal contract administration are plentiful. Submittal and RFI processing move across multi-company systems, rather than one holistic, automated system. Thus, file transfers require human intervention to upload, download, and re-enter information across systems; and human intervention is sadly prone to human error. As a result, information can be incomplete, inaccurate, or contain errors that erode trust between parties.
For projects to move forward, RFIs and submittals need to be processed and dealt with in a timely fashion, or it can bring about delays. Communication lags for RFIs can result in rework, safety issues, increased cost, and schedule delays. This can often lead to a blame game among parties, eroding stakeholder trust and project coordination.
Lastly, when information is exchanged between systems, submittals may be incomplete or contain inaccurate information, leading to lengthy back-and-forths for revisions and resubmittals. RFIs that are poorly written or lack clarity can lead to misunderstandings between the design team and the contractors. This can result in delays in obtaining the necessary information or incorrect interpretations, potentially leading to construction errors.
The pressure continues to mount in recent times, as budgets become more rigid and deadlines become tighter. This has prompted the industry to look for solutions to reduce the high number of billable hours, such as automated contract administration.
Automating RFI & Submittal Workflows
Leveraging construction project management platforms like Newforma Konekt helps project teams automate their contract administration process, significantly reducing human error and review times.
Automation and the optimization of document control have been a major help to the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (AECO) industry in general, helping firms:
- Reduce manual administrative work of uploading and downloading files.
- Reduce the number of emails during the review cycle.
- Display transparency on workflow / ball-in-court.
- Track high-priority, items coming due, and overdue items.
Newforma Konekt allows architects to file emails directly from Microsoft Outlook as a submittal or RFI. They can take the information directly from the email, including the attachments, and auto-populate the submittal/RFI within the project record, eliminating duplicated data entries and saving firms from the time-consuming manual tasks of logging them individually.
The architect can then forward the information to the review team, with email notifications being sent through Newforma Konekt to reviewers with a link to the submittal or RFI. Review teams can then quickly access attachments and respond/review directly on the platform, keeping the information in-house.
Should there be any confusion or a need to rehash these RFIs or submittals, the platform allows users to see the workflow and history of each submittal or RFI, saving teams the hassle of manually looking, thanks to its aggregate search and filtering functions.
Newforma Konekt in Action
Michael Petrovick Architects PLLC, an architectural firm based in Amesbury, Massachusetts, expertly manages multiple projects concurrently, earning a stellar reputation throughout New England. They too sought to optimize their contract administration.
They began using Newforma Konekt and experienced a seamless transformation of their document filing process, streamlining it within a matter of days. By centralizing access to information within a single hub, they bid farewell to cumbersome spreadsheets and disarrayed documents, resulting in reduced billable hours.
The substantial reduction in workflow time allowed the firm to allocate more resources to additional projects, unlocking new revenue opportunities.
Learn more about Newforma Konekt and see how to save on billable hours, take on more projects, and improve the pipeline.