RFI vs RFQ vs RFP | Understanding the Differences

January 10, 2023 |

RFI’s, RFQ’s, and RFP’s are created, managed, and used during the design, construction, and commissioning processes to allow effective and efficient communication between various project team members, helping ensure that all required information needed to design, build and commission a facility successfully is available, accurate, with queries being raised, and clarifications provided.

While RFIs, RFQs, and RFPs have a similar end goal of enabling communication and coordination, there are key differences between them.

  • RFI | Request for Information | Used to ask for additional information/clarifications of project information,
  • RFQ | Request for Quotation | Used to request costs based upon a scope of works and project documents,
  • RFP | Request for Proposal | Same as RFQ, used to request costs based upon a scope of works and project documents.
RFI vs RFQ vs RFP | Understanding the Differences

🟩 RFI – Request for Information Meaning

An RFI, or ‘Request for Information’, is a document the project team uses to seek clarification or additional information about the project [tendering, design, construction, commissioning]. It is usually used to manage unclear elements of specifications, drawings, guides, schedules, or other project-related details.

An RFI is typically used when one of the project team discovers something that requires further explanation or questioning.

Who will be involved in the RFI process:

  • Client/Owner,
  • Project Manager,
  • Commissioning Agent,
  • MEP Designer,
  • General/Main Contractor,
  • Sub Contractors,
  • Vendors.
🔗 We have written more on RFI's, see our article | '[RFI] REQUEST FOR INFORMATION | What is it in Construction with Templates'

🟩 RFQ – Request for Quotation Meaning

An RFQ, or ‘Request for Quotation’, is a document issued by the owner/project manager to request costs and quotes from specialized companies, consultants, or vendors for a specific service or project.

A well-run RFQ process allows the owner or project manager to evaluate and select the appropriate consultant or contractor for the work.

Who will be involved in the RFQ process:

  • Client/Owner,
  • Project Manager,
  • Commissioning Agent,
  • MEP Designer,
  • General/Main Contractor,
  • Sub Contractors,
  • Vendors.

🟩 RFP – Request for Proposal Meaning

An RFP, which stands for ‘Request for Proposal’, is the same as an ‘RFQ’ Request for Quotation.

🔗 We have written more on RFQ's, see our article | 'RFP / RFQ TENDERING PROCESS | How to Complete in 20 Steps'

🟩 RFI, RFQ & RFP Responsibility Matrices

Responsibility matrix for RFI, RFQ & RFP

It is crucial to understand who is responsible for managing, raising, creating, and preparing RFIs, RFQs, and RFPs and which parties are responsible for answering them.

🟧 RFI Responsibility Matrix

Typically, the general/main contractor will create and issue the RFI’s as they will generally need clarification or additional information about the project.

The Owner, Project Manager, and/or MEP Design team will be responsible for answering them and providing the necessary information.

TaskWho
Issue RFI Template that is to be used across the project.Owner
Project Manager
Write and Issue RFI to Main/General Contractor where required.Sub Contractors
Vendors
Suppliers
Review and Issue RFI to Owner/Project Manager,

Write and Issue own RFI to Owner and Project manager,
Main/General Contractor
Manage File and Track RFI's.Main/General Contractor
Project Manager
Company Answering RFI
Review and Reply/provide Answers to all RFI's.Owner
Project Manager
MEP DEsigner
Commissioning Agent
Manage any Change Orders/Variations based on Responses.Owner
Project Manager
Quantity Surveyor

🟧 RFQ/RFP Responsibility Matrix

The Owner and/or Project Manager will typically create and send out the RFQ/RFP’s to seek quotations and prices from the contractors and service providers/suppliers.

The companies receiving these documents will then be responsible for responding and presenting their proposal before selection.

TASKWHO
Review Project Requirements and Determine Scope of Works for Each Package.Owner
Project Manager
Create List of Tenderers, for each Scope of Work that is to be issued.Owner
Project Manager
Conduct pre-tender interviews.Owner
Project Manager
Shortlist tenderers.Owner
Project Manager
Create tender packages.Owner
Project Manager
Other Consultants where needed
Issue RFQ/RFP including Scope of Works [SOW].Owner
Project Manager
Answer any RFI's issued by tenderers.Owner
Project Manager
Other Consulatants where needed
Tenderers to issue proposals and costs.Tenderers
Assess proposalsOwner
Project Manger
Other Consultants where needed
Interview tenderersOwner
Project Manager
Other Consultants where needed
Select successful tendererOwner
Project Manager

🟩 When are they Created and Issued?

RFI, RFQ & RFP When are they Created?

The timing of when RFIs, RFQs, and RFPs are created and issued within a project can vary depending on the type, stage, and works being conducted.

We have included a table below showing the most common timeline to help understand the overall process.

TypeProject Stage
Request for Information
[RFI]
RFIs will be created and answered from the very early stages of the project, most commonly, during the design and planning stages.

This will allow the project manager, and owners consultants to clarify any questions or issues before the tendering process begins.
Request for Quotation
[RFQ]
RFQs are usually created at two different stages during a project.

1st - at the concept stage where the owner needs to go to the market for employment of their consultants.

2nd - the second period of time will be after the design stage when the owner and project needs to evaluate and employ the General/Main Contractor to complete the overall build programme.

Request for Price
[RFP]
Same as the RFQ above.

RFPs are usually created at two different stages during a project.

1st - at the concept stage where the owner needs to go to the market for employment of their consultants.

2nd - the second period of time will be after the design stage when the owner and project needs to evaluate and employ the General/Main Contractor to complete the overall build programme.

🟩 RFI, RFQ, and RFP High-Level Formats

RFI, RFQ & RFP what are the Formats that can be used?

RFIs, RFQs, and RFPs are usually issued using a project template in a document or email format.

🟧 RFI High-Level Format

  • RFI reference number [ID],
  • Project information,
  • Location of issue/query or document number,
  • Date raised,
  • Status of request,
  • Subject/title of request,
  • Description of request,
  • Attachment of ‘other’ information needed to explain the issue/query,
  • Date response required,
  • Author of request,
  • Company raising request,
  • Request to be actioned/answered by,
  • Space for response
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🟧 RFQ’s/RFP’s Example Format

RFQ’s and RFP’s can vary from package to package, depending upon the Scope of Work [SOW] being requested. Below we note a standard set of documents that would usually be sourced, created, and issued within this overall package.

  • Request for Quotation [RFQ]/Request for Proposal [RFP] Document,
  • Scope of Works [SOW] Document,
  • Owner company guidelines,
  • Project specifications,
  • Project drawings,
  • Project programme,
  • Contract terms and conditions
  • The terms and conditions under which the work will be completed

🚀 Tips for Using RFI, RFQ, and RFPs Effectively

General Tips for using an RFI, RFQ & RFP effectively

Here are some tips for creating and responding to RFIs, RFQs, and RFPs:

  • Create and use a project-wide template that is issued to all team members,
  • Develop a project-wide numbering format,
  • Define the process and team members that will be involved in the creation and responses to any items,
  • Ensure that all information provided via the RFI, RFQ & RFP is clear, concise, and accurate, ensuring easy understanding for the reader,
  • Include references and attach any relevant documents or materials to aid the process,
  • Set clear deadlines for responses and follow up if necessary,
  • Respond promptly and accurately.

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