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Request for information frequency and their turnaround time in construction projects: A data-analytic study

Ajibade A. Aibinu (Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Simon Carter (Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Valerie Francis (Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
Paulo Vaz-Serra (Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Built Environment Project and Asset Management

ISSN: 2044-124X

Publication date: 26 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the nature of request for information (RFIs) on construction projects by using data analytics to understand the frequency of RFIs, when they occur on projects, and the relationship between project characteristics and frequency of RFIs and between project characteristics and RFI turnaround time.

Design/methodology/approach

A data-analytic approach using RStudio and Minitab software on 168 construction project cases in Australia and New Zealand involving 1,032,949 correspondences and 53,042 RFI event records made available by Aconex, one of the world largest cloud-based project management platform.

Findings

Large and complex projects tend to have significantly larger number of RFI events per day and longer RFI turnaround when compared with smaller and less complex projects. Projects with fewer users per organisation recorded a higher RFI turnaround time when compared with projects with more users per organisation – users mean persons involved in managing the project using the online platform (an index of project complexity). RFIs occur early on less complex projects and occur later on more complex projects.

Research limitations/implications

Benchmarks of RFI incidences and turnaround time have been developed for various project characteristics and, practitioners can use them to monitor the RFI performance of projects. Organisations need to pay greater attention to staffing levels needed to handle RFIs to reduce RFI turnaround time.

Originality/value

A data-analytic study of RFI yielded insights for managing RFIs. The findings of previous studies on RFIs are difficult to generalise because they are based on single project case study. The influence of project characteristics on RFI frequency and RFI turnaround time is not yet known.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Aconex contributed the data used for this study. Mr Karthik Venkata, Dr Chath Widanapathirana and Dr Zaeem Burq, of Aconex provided valuable comments on the data analysis as well as the draft of of this paper. The authors would also like to thank Mr Humphrey Obie, Swinburne University of Technology who contributed to the initial extraction of the data used for this study.

Citation

Aibinu, A.A., Carter, S., Francis, V. and Vaz-Serra, P. (2019), "Request for information frequency and their turnaround time in construction projects: A data-analytic study", Built Environment Project and Asset Management, Vol. 10 No. 1, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/BEPAM-10-2018-0130

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited