One of the largest problems with the RFI process is late generation. The secondary problem is late replies.
Though there are a many RFI subjects that cannot/will not be found until field work is in progress, many could also be found if the contractor/subcontractors made field construction drawings in areas that are not detailed on the contract drawings or in areas know to be problematic on previous work. Not near enough "homework" is done by contractors, subcontractors and/or vendors. We are too anxious to swing the hammer and insert the shovel.
Design drawings will never be perfect. Engineers are not construction oriented to the most part. These days more and more design is pushed to the contractor. The contractors must learn to complete the design before sending workers to the field.
RFIs are inquiry/question documents. They should never be used in place of proper impact documentation. Think of an RFI as a white document and an impact document as a red document. Impacts require a quicker response.
Unfortunately, in construction today, RFIs have become a catchall document, put through the same review process and under the same contractual level of importance.
We urge you to separate the RFI and Impact Notification processes.