Setup a workflow for an RFI
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    Setup a workflow for an RFI

      Article summary

      The general contractor is the hub for all subcontractors, architects, engineers, owners, and other parties involved in a construction project. Any communication between the parties can only be routed appropriately by the GC. Hence, it becomes GC's responsibility to duly forward an RFI from the creator to the responsible parties for processing. Once the workflow is set up, Linarc automatically moves the item to respective companies in successive steps for their actions as per the workflow.

      The RFI workflow governs the routing of an RFI to respective parties at successive stages in the order. For example, an RFI created by the project manager of an SC is routed in the following order for review, response, and approval.

      SC (Create) > GC (Review) > Architect (Respond) > GC (Approve and close)

      • Linarc allows the company admins to create and maintain custom workflow templates with different sequences of actions, the company type responsible for the action, and the maximum permissible days for each step. 
      • Any company, may it be the Owner, GC, SC, or the Architect, can be set as the responsible party to answer an RFI in different templates. 
      • The RFI workflow templates, defined at the company level, are available for selection to apply to the RFIs pertaining to all the company's projects.  RFI workflow managers from the company can use the template appropriate to an RFI depending on its creator, the nature of questions, and whom to provide clarifications.
      • At any stage of the flow of an RFI, the manager can edit the workflow to change the responders and due dates of the current and the pending steps.    
      • Linarc also provides the versatility of dynamically adding more steps to the primary workflow of an RFI. The parties assigned to respond, review, and close an RFI can add ad-hoc steps to dynamically route the item to other parties, for example, the creator, should they need any further clarifications or reviews. Once the additional steps are completed, the RFI returns to the original assignee as per the primary workflow to proceed further. The ad-hoc workflow steps can be added any number of times within the lifecycle of an RFI.

       This section explains how a GC PM can set up the primary workflow for an RFI.

      Roles and permissions:
      • Only users with roles having the 'Manage' permission enabled for the RFI module can set up the workflow.
      • You can view the persons designated with the above permissions for a project in the Team > Workflow screen. See Workflow managers for more details.

      By default,

      • RFIs created by you - You can set up a workflow in the draft stage itself
      • For RFIs created by office and field staff of your company, other than RFI workflow managers  - The item is shown as 'Draft' on your RFI board. You can review, add comments, and set up a workflow for it.
      • RFIs created by other stakeholders, like the owner, subcontractors, and architect - The item is automatically assigned to you for initial review and shown in the 'InProgress' column.

      You can perform an initial review of the RFIs and move forward with setting up a workflow for legitimate ones. 

      • Approve - If the RFI deserves clarifications from other stakeholders, you can set up a workflow and forward it to the next step, typically to the design team. You can add your comments to the questions, which are viewable by the stakeholders.
      • Answer- Depending on the context, you can answer the questions in part or full.  You can still set up a workflow and forward the RFI to the responsible party for the responses.
      • Reject - If you can answer the RFI through other communication means like the built-in collaboration or if the RFI is trivial, you can reject the RFI after adding your comments to the questions. The rejected RFIs are automatically closed. See the next section, Reject an RFI, for guidance on declining an RFI.

      To perform an initial review and set up a workflow

      • Open the 'RFI' > 'Boards' screen
      • Open the RFI 
      • Open the 'Question' tab

      • Review the questions one by one by clicking the question numbers at the top. 
        • Click at the top-right of the question box to add your comments to the questions. See Add Comments in Project Documents for more details.
        • If you can answer the questions in part or full, click 'Add Answer' at the bottom and enter your responses. See Answer an RFI for more details.
        • You can attach plan sheets, images, and/or link other project documents like submittals to support your comments and answers.
      • Open the 'Workflow' tab

      The 'Workflow' tab lets you configure the stakeholder companies to whom the RFI should be routed at subsequent steps for review, response, and approval throughout its life cycle. You can also manually define the duration for each step to override the default durations inherited from the applied template. 

      The drop-down at the left shows all available templates for you to choose from.

      • Choose a template depending on the creator, the context, and the entities responsible for various actions on the RFI.

      Once chosen, the actions and the responsible company types in the workflow template are shown as a list. 

        • Step - The serial number of the step - gets auto-populated once the workflow is saved and published.
        • Action - The activity involved in that step. This can be 'respond,' 'review,' 'close,' etc., per the chosen template. 
        • Company Type- The role of the collaborating company in the project responsible for the respective step. This can be the owner, general contractor, subcontractor, architect, etc.
        • Company Name- The business name of the company. You can choose the company for each step from the respective drop-downs. Any team member from the company with the required permissions can perform the action. However only the persons designated as RFI workflow managers for the project from the company can route the RFI to the next step.
          • Click inside the 'Company Name' field and choose the company from the options.
        • Process days- The maximum permissible days for the activity. The number of days allowed for each step is inherited from the respective values specified in the template by default. You can manually edit them as required. The 'Due Date' for each step auto-updates depending on the set process days. 
          • Double-click inside the 'Process Days' field to manually enter the number of days 
        • Received Date - The date on which the RFI was received for the action from the previous step.
        • Due Date - The target completion date of the activity. The date is auto-populated based on the completion date of the previous step and the allowed process days of the current step, excluding weekends and holidays. 
        • Response Date - The date on which the action was completed.
        • Status - Whether the action is complete, pending, or in processing.
        • Select the responsible companies and enter the permissible days for each step
        • Click 'Save' to apply the workflow to the RFI.

      The first two steps of 'Create' and initial 'Review' get automatically added.

      • Click the 'Edit Workflow' button to change the assignee companies and/or the process days, if requiired. You cannot add or remove steps or change the sequence of actions by editing.
      • Click the 'Route RFI'at the top right to forward it to the next step

      You can view the status of an RFI in its workflow at any time by clicking the 'Workflow' tab.

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