Features Tips & Advice

How to manage RFIs to increase the success of your construction projects

We have all heard the saying time is money. This especially holds true in the construction industry where one small setback has the ability to derail an entire project off course, both financially and time wise.

Requests for information, or more commonly known as RFIs, are more than just inquiries about a current project. They are a formal written process that documents the clarification of plans, drawings, specifications and agreements between contractors, designer, supplier, subcontractors etc. It can be used to discuss construction items, timing and schedule, design change or clarification, change in process, omissions in specs or plans, material change, value engineering, utility conflict and or any other issues.

RFIs are a project management tracking tool to keep all these documents traced and recorded for both legal and organizational purposes so you can build correctly and deliver high-quality projects on time and on budget.

However, when it comes to managing RFIs, many construction businesses struggle to do so effectively. There can be hundreds of pending RFIs and if there isn’t a process in place to manage them, information might be missed, or documents might end up lost.

With the help of construction management software, this process has become a lot easier for construction businesses to control. To fully optimize your process, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Best practices for sending an RFI in construction management software

  • Before sending an RFI, you should be able to answer the 5 W’s & H.
    • Who will be impacted and who should be involved?
    • What is the issue and what tasks must be completed?
    • Where on the job site/drawings/is the budget impacted?
    • Why is this important- is there a time, cost or legal implication?
    • When is the response required and when are the impacted parties to be informed by?
    • How will the issue be resolved? How are you proposing it be resolved? How does this impact the job? Is there a change order, budget transfer etc.
  • Provide enough detail. If there is not enough information this can cause confusion and delay the project, as more time will be required for clarification. Avoid vague and generic comments and clearly identify the issue or inquiry that must be resolved. Provide some background information but ensure you only include relevant facts that pertain to the question you have asked.
  • Provide relevant documentation such as images, drawings or other documentation. Do not include unnecessary documents or information as this can confuse the recipient.
  • To avoid further delays, send requests as soon as you discover the need for additional information so this way, you have all the supporting documents. 
  • Limit each RFI to 1 topic. This will prevent questions from slipping through the cracks. If there is information overload and too many topics in the RFI there is a risk that no answer will be received and the project could become delayed.
  • When choosing recipients to include, ensure you are not including the wrong person. Only those who are directly involved should be included. This means anyone who was not involved or will not be impacted by the request should be excluded to avoid confusion.

There may be scenarios when you receive an RFI such as when you’re working with subcontractors. It’s important that you also respond accordingly to ensure there are no confusions or delays.

Tips for responding to RFIs in construction project management software

  • Always provide a definitive response and leave nothing to interpretation. When multiple options are presented there is a risk that different approaches will be followed by multiple recipients. Clearly state your recommendation I.e. use clear verbiage such as “We will paint the room blue”, instead of “We can paint the room red or blue. I like blue”.
  • Do not guess at what the issuer is trying to ask. Ensure you research the issue or ask relevant questions via a documented email. Verbal conversations are okay, but bear in mind paper trails such as emails between recipients can hold more credibility in case of a dispute.
  • Respond in a timely fashion. The rule of thumb is to respond back within a week. The longer the questions go unanswered, the bigger chance of delay.

Managing RFIs in Premier Construction Software

subcontractor completing an RFI using Premier's RFI request portalPremier Construction Software makes it easier than ever for construction companies to manage RFIs all from one platform.  Premier allows you to create RFIs, track responses, and view all applicable RFI’s for specific jobs.

By sending emails directly from the software, Premier helps minimize the no-response rate which is a likely cause of disputes in contracts. You can efficiently and conveniently track who you have received responses from and send reminder emails to those who have not. The system will automatically update the status of the RFI once the user responds. Users also have the option to manually add responses that could have taken place verbally over the phone. 

Premier also offers the flexibility to attach documents and drawings to RFIs. This ensures everyone involved has the information required to effectively make a decision and no documents are lost. For a quick audit on the status of all RFIs, users can easily generate reports for different jobs to review outstanding responses, and address pending items as quickly as possible to help avoid delays.

To learn more about Premier Construction Software and how it can improve your RFI process, get in touch with us today.

Industry Insight Trends & Technology

How COVID-19 Has Shifted the Construction Industry in 2020

Things have changed in 2020; we all know that. With industry shutdowns, social distancing, and new safety regulations, there’s no way they couldn’t change. The construction industry is unique in the effects the pandemic has had on our work. Since much of our work still has to be done on-site and by groups of people working closely with each other, the industry has had to pivot quickly. This has led to innovations in several areas, with the most prominent being technology, safety, and communication.

Construction technology

There have always been early adopters of construction technology, and many companies have been on the cutting edge for years. But these adopters have been widely dispersed and technology hasn’t gained much momentum in the industry, until now. In fact, up until now construction has been one of the slowest industries when it comes to adopting technology.

In 2020 the game changed. Suddenly everyone had to adopt technology, whether they wanted to or not. Some tech, like video conferencing, everyone had to quickly adapt to, so we were all in it together. There is some technology however, that the construction industry had to adapt on its own.

Drones have been in use on construction projects for a few years now. So they aren’t completely new to the industry. But suddenly project teams had to rely on them to get information from project sites. Drones are now being used by roofing contractors to do takeoffs and inspections, by site teams to perform project walk-throughs, and as a tool for surveying parts of projects that are difficult to get to. Expect drones to continue to grow in popularity into the future.

Virtual reality (VR) has allowed project teams to view projects and do inspections without having to be present physically. VR runs the gamut from photographs that are sent to inspectors and team leaders to a full video tour by a project team member with a phone or by drone. While the use of photos and video have been around for a while, they were never used for formal building inspections. Jurisdictions have been quick to adopt these technologies due to the fact that they needed to limit their on-site visits. The use of VR has the capability to speed inspections and shorten schedules.

The use of robots and other equipment to assist with the installation of building materials has also increased this year. Glass companies are using additional equipment to help them install large panes of glass with only one or two real person team members. This has improved the safety of installation and also sped up production. The use of robots and equipment to assist with installation continues to increase, and probably will as we continue to look for ways to work smarter.


2020 has been the year for new safety and health regulations, including regular health checks and added PPE. Local jurisdictions have been quickly issuing new guidance to contractors on how to keep their job sites running during the pandemic, while keeping workers as safe as possible. Contractors have had to pivot multiple times this year, reassessing their safety protocols and making sure that everyone is complying with the new requirements.

Companies now have to implement health monitoring protocols into their job sites. On large projects this can be difficult, as workers are entering and leaving areas through multiple entrances, and sites aren’t always monitored. In addition, companies have to track where workers are working at all times and who they are working closely with, in case they need to do contracting tracing. They also must keep detailed records and have them available when requested. Many companies have turned to technology to assist them with this, including the use of wearables, location monitoring, and automated health checks. Until the vaccine is widely distributed, these protocols will remain in place.

PPE needs have skyrocketed this year. Suddenly facemasks and gloves were in short supply. Now that supplies have leveled off, it’s easier for contractors to get a hold of the PPE they need. Many sites are requiring face protection, gloves, and masks be worn at all times to keep employees safe. These protocols are likely to continue into 2021 and beyond, as we try to maintain the health of all on-site workers.

Manpower use and crew size have decreased this year. Large job sites that had hundreds of workers were reduced to tens. Many companies had to look at alternative ways to get their work installed. Some used added equipment or robots, while others looked to prefabrication. Fabricating assemblies off-site reduces the number of employees in one space, allowing more workers to continue working safely. Prefabrication also reduces the amount of material used, prevents weather damage, and is better for the environment. This is a trend that will continue to gain momentum.


In a Forbes article, Johnny Clemmons, SAP Global Vice President Industry Business Unit Head of Engineering, Construction, and Operations, said that in the future, “Information must also be democratized, digitized, and universally placed into the hands of constructors to make a real impact on the industry.” While communication has often been a struggle in construction, many companies were forced to step into the future whether they were ready or not. The face of communication on job sites will be forever changed due to the pandemic.

Videoconferencing immediately jumped into the forefront of everyone’s day-to-day life. Zoom calls and Teams meetups are the norm today. These meetings have allowed people to remain in contact with each other, see each other, and maintain some sense of normalcy when face-to-face meetings haven’t been allowed. While many are suffering “Zoom fatigue,” these calls have allowed team members to attend meetings and view sites without having to travel, saving time and money. Conferencing this way may continue to be the norm going into the future, especially as security improves.

Cloud storage allows teams to access files, documents, and photos from anywhere with an internet connection. Since many project executives have been working remotely or at home, the ability to have access to these documents is paramount. This has allowed teams to easily keep up to date with project changes and ensure that team members have access to all the project files.

Collaboration and communication among team members has been more difficult when they can’t meet around the table and have open discussions. Many have turned to project management software to assist in collaboration. The ability to review drawings or documents, make changes, and have them updated immediately has improved project communication and helped ensure that work is done correctly.

The new normal

While drastic changes in technology, safety, and communication have occurred this year, the industry has quickly adapted and integrated these changes into his everyday processes. Teams are now better poised to deal with changes on-site with the use of these tools. While the use of on-site technology and current safety protocols may be reduced once the pandemic has passed, the need for communication and collaboration among team members will continue into the future. Companies that adopt tools such as construction project management software will have more success in the future, leading to better projects and improved client relationships.


Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.

Company News

Premier Construction Software named High Performer in G2’s Winter 2021 Report

Premier Construction Software is excited to announce it has received the High Performer, in G2’s Winter 2021 Report in the Construction Accounting Software category. In addition to its High Performer award, Premier was also awarded for “Best Support” and “Easiest to do Business With” in the Construction Accounting Software category.

“When it comes down to it, software truly is a people business. At Premier, we are most proud of our brand and world class team. We are passionate about finding new ways to empower construction  businesses to work smarter. We visualize what the future of construction industry should look like and then work backwards to make it happen.” said Karoline Lapko, Business Unit Leader of Premier.

Premier Construction Software named High Performer on G2's Winter 2021 report

“Our team prioritizes listening to our clients in order to solve the most time-consuming and complex processes so we can empower great businesses, to be even better. Software innovation can truly reshape an organization. It’s rewarding to know that we are part of an initiative that pushes the boundaries with unconventional thinking and it ends up making people’s lives easier – our software development is truly a story of empowerment.”

G2 Crowd is a business product review platform for verified users to share experiences, thoughts, and feedback on various services and technology.

“Rankings on G2 Crowd reports are based on data provided to us by real users,” said Michael Fauscette, Chief Research Officer at G2 Crowd. “We are excited to share the achievements of the products ranked on our site because they represent the voice of the user and offer terrific insights to potential buyers around the world.”

Take a look at some of the amazing reviews we’ve received from construction businesses like yours.

The support at Jonas has been very easy to work with and flexible in meeting our demands. The software is very user friendly, was very easy to learn for us, and has a great layout. Their reports have a drilldown feature which has been extremely useful for us and has really helped us see exactly where our numbers are coming from. In comparison to our previous software we find that Jonas Premier doesn’t require as many steps to accomplish a task. We previously used to utilize Microsoft Excel to create all our Job Cost Reports but Premier has saved us a lot of time and effort as it provides this information to us through their job cost reports which has really increased our efficiency.


Onboard training was excellent. Support for questions or issues after implementation is excellent. Web-based software so employees and owners can view and add information from where ever they are working. Plus backup is current and ME rollover is smooth and doesn’t require lots of processing to accomplish. Lots of reporting options and owners find the information easy to locate and readily available for review as needed. Very intuitive to use once for day to day activities.

To read more on what Premier users have to say or to leave your own review, visit us on G2’s Premier Construction Software Review Page. To schedule a personalized product tour with our team, visit here.


About G2
G2, the world’s leading business solution review platform, leverages 1M+ user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Business professionals, buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software and services based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Every month, more than three million people visit G2’s site to gain unique insights.


About Premier Construction Software
Premier Construction Software is a true cloud, all-in-one accounting, job cost, project, document and drawing management solution designed to meet the needs of GCs, Developers, Design Build, and Homebuilders. Trusted by thousands of companies, Premier partners with forward-thinking, progressive construction companies to provide a fully integrated solution for office and field staff operating on Mac, PC and any mobile device. Premier operates in North America as well as Australia, providing a true cloud solution that meets the needs of both markets today

Tips & Advice

What Are Punch Lists in the Construction Industry?

A punch list—also sometimes referred to as a snag list, deficiency list, or punch out list—is a document prepared during the project closeout process to outline tasks that have yet to be completed, or items that need to be corrected, before a project can be considered finished. 

Punch lists are typically created when a project reaches substantial completion, a legal term used in construction to signify when responsibility for the project shifts to the owner rather than the contractor. More specifically, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) defines substantial completion as “the stage in the progress of the Work where the Work or designated portion is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use.”  

Although punch lists aren’t considered mandatory, it is a traditional part of the construction process as it gives key project members—for example, the general contractor (GC), subcontractors, architect and owner—an opportunity to double-check the work to ensure everything has been completed to satisfaction before project closeout and final payment. 

What’s included in a punch list? 

There are a number of items that can be included on a punch list, but most of the time it’s limited to minor items that need to be completed or corrected before a project can be closed out. The fixes addressed in a punch list should be small in scope as any major changes were likely resolved earlier in the process through a change order

A punch list will typically include the following:

  • Mechanical issues
  • Incorrect installations
  • Interior/exterior issues
  • Damaged items
  • Uncompleted/unaddressed work outlined in the original contract

Because no building project will ever be perfect and there will always be some level of error(s), the GC must determine what is (or is not) considered a reasonable deficiency. Reasonable deficiencies—like a small ding or a little paint splatter—are minor flaws that should be outlined and explained, but don’t necessarily need to be corrected as the work still satisfies the project requirements. Unreasonable flaws—like the walls being painted an incorrect color, or the wrong fixture being installed—are errors that must be fixed.

Who’s responsible for a punch list?

General contractor completing a punch list near the end of project

While it’s typically the GC’s responsibility to ensure all the line items are addressed and resolved before a completion certificate is issued, everyone on the project team has a role in the execution of a punch list—especially because it’s tied to final payment.

A punch list is usually developed after the GC and owner (or the owner’s representative) do an initial walkthrough together to identify incomplete or non-conforming work. If there is an architect on the team, they may join the GC and the owner for the job site assessment; otherwise, the GC will send the architect the punch list so they can do their own walk through to ensure work has been completed to their design specifications. The architect then updates the punch list and sends it back to the GC. From there, the GC distributes the punch list to the subcontractors and is responsible for ensuring the work gets completed. 

Typically, the final payment to the GC—referred to as retainage or retention—is contingent upon completion of items on the punch list within the specified time frame. This amount of money (usually between 2-10% of the total contract value) is deliberately withheld to ensure all the work gets completed and in accordance with the contract documents.

How can you improve punch list management? 

The term punch list gets its name from the historical process of punching a hole next to a line item in a document once it was completed, with the goal being to get to zero before the project reaches substantial completion. It’s an ambitious goal, but there are steps companies can take to improve their chances of going for zero-punch. 

Utilizing construction management software is one of the most effective ways to improve communication and collaboration across project stakeholders, securely store and maintain construction documents, and establish responsibility and accountability between team members—all of which reduces the likelihood of errors and rework, therefore also helping companies get closer to a zero-punch.

For more information about Premier Construction Software and how we can help improve your processes, click here to schedule a personalized product tour. 


Author Biography:

Kathryn Dressler is a content strategist with more than 10 years of experience across the spectrum of marketing services, including blogging, social media, public relations, copywriting and editorial services.

Trends & Technology

Strategies for Ditching the Paperwork in Your Construction-Based Business by 2021

With the recent changes in how we work, going paperless has become a necessity. The days of everyone working together in a centralized office may be gone forever, so we need to adapt.

Construction companies are particularly challenged when it comes to going paperless, mainly because we deal with so many documents and files. Keeping them updated and making sure everyone has the documents they need when they need them is difficult in the best of times. Now that we’re separated and many are working with smaller teams, it’s become even more complicated and difficult.

We’ve got five strategies to help you go paperless and increase your team’s efficiency. But first, we need to look at why it’s a good idea to go paperless.

Why go paperless?

project manager with archive documents

Because you have to. With face-to-face meetings and project visits canceled due to the pandemic, virtual documents are now the only way to go. Since everyone’s working from home or remotely, handouts for a meeting don’t make any sense. Besides, passing out papers at a meeting is risky as it might potentially spread the virus.

Accessibility. Since teams are working remotely with only small office staffs, there’s no central place to store documents. A virtual document hub gives all workers the ability to get the information they need. If your data is stored in the cloud, it’s much easier for employees to get the documents they need from anywhere, at any time.

Improved efficiency. Employees don’t have to spend hours searching for a document they need when it can be looked up in the project management software or cloud-based storage system. Files are stored securely and can be organized for easy retrieval.

Good for the environment. Saving on printing and paper costs is not only good for the company, but it also helps save the environment. These savings are good for a company’s triple bottom line.

Transition to a cloud-based filing system

The first step to reducing paperwork is to transition to a cloud-based file storage system. This can be a stand-alone system or can be integrated into other software that you are using. Stand-alone systems are often free with limited storage capability. A free account is a good way to test the product and make sure it’s a fit for your company.

Using a cloud filing system offers several benefits. These systems reduce the need for email communication, as files are accessible by anyone on the team. Since so many of us are overwhelmed by the amount of emails we receive each day, it’s easy for important items to get lost in our inboxes. A cloud system will reduce the chances of losing important correspondence.

Team members can also instantly access any information they need through a cloud-based system. There’s no waiting for someone to send a file, let alone find it. And they know the information is always up to date.

Files are available anywhere any time when they’re stored in the cloud. All you need is a tablet, laptop, or even a smart phone and you can view and even edit them as needed.

Use project management software

Laptop displaying a reporting dashboard for a construction project managers

Construction project management software allows project teams to organize documents and files and send correspondence easily and quickly. It keeps all the records of a project in one secure location and organizes them for easy search.

With all project files located in one handy location, there’s no searching emails or folders for just the right file. When combined with cloud-based storage, teams have access to all project documents at any time.

Getting current information, from the status of documents to cost reports, is key when managing construction projects. PM software allows team members to get status reports on submittals, RFIs, or the budget status with a quick inquiry.

Integrate accounting and project management software

When a company’s accounting software is integrated with their project management software, project teams can get up-to-date cost reports instantly. This access allows them to analyze the project from wherever they are without having to ask the office for a certain report.

Often project managers have to ask accounting to give them the latest cost report so they can complete their cost projections and know where they stand on the budget. When the software platforms are integrated, there’s no wasted time or energy waiting for a report so they can complete their projections.

Integrating accounting software also saves time and improves accuracy, as an entry to one system updates the other and there’s no double entry. This helps ensure that project records are accurate and current.

Use electronic signatures

Using electronic signatures reduces paperwork by allowing team members to quickly approve or sign a document from anywhere. There’s no printing required, and any electronic device can be used to provide the signature.

Using electronic signatures to sign change orders and agreements in Premier Construction Software

Electronic routing of documents also allows for tracking who needs to sign a document next. With this information, teams can quickly determine who needs to do what next to move a document along.

Update hardware

With everyone working remotely, you’ve probably already updated your hardware, but it’s still worth mentioning. Make sure that everyone on the team has the appropriate hardware in order to access documents and files electronically. This means everyone should have a tablet or laptop that they can use. Desktop computers don’t allow for mobility, making them less useful when going paperless.

You’ll also need to make sure everyone has access to internet and Wi-Fi so they can retrieve and download files, as necessary. Large documents or drawings can be difficult to download on a cell signal.

Paperless is here to stay

With the five strategies above, you should be able to take your construction business to paperless operations. It requires patience and determination to make any new system work, so take it slowly and begin with just one or two project teams. Once all the bugs are worked out, you can roll the new process out to the rest of the company. Easing communication between project team members will improve work efficiency, reduce rework, and increase project quality and profitability.


Author Biography:

Dawn Killough is a construction writer with over 20 years of experience with construction payments, from the perspectives of subcontractors and general contractors. Dawn has held roles such as a staff accountant, green building advisor, project assistant, and contract administrator.  Her work for general contractors, design firms, and subcontractors has even led to the publication of blogs on several construction tech websites and her book, Green Building Design 101.