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Planning Ahead – An introduction to the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 The RIBA Plan
Planning Ahead – An introduction to the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 The RIBA Plan

Planning Ahead – An introduction to the RIBA Plan of Work 2013

The RIBA Plan of Work was first conceived at a time when the regulatory framework for building design and construction, industry structures and procurement arrangements were simpler and more fixed, and very different from those we see today. The publication of the UK Government Construction Strategy gave an impetus to the RIBA to take a guiding role, working with the Construction Industry Council (CIC), in shaping a set of unified work stages suitable for use by all the members of the project team. This has been a once in a generation opportunity to update the industry’s process model to address key changes in areas such as procurement, town planning, sustainability, BIM and construction delivery.

The RIBA has undertaken a fundamental review of the RIBA Plan of Work, to ensure that in its fiftieth year it reflects the very best principles in contemporary practice. The existing RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007 consists of eleven stages, defined by the letters A-L, with a description of the key tasks to be completed at each stage. The new RIBA Plan of Work 2013 comprises eight stages, defined by numbers 0-7, and eight “task bars” that replace the description of key tasks, three of which (procurement, programme and planning) can be customised by the user via a new online tool.

can be customised by the user via a new online tool. Fig 1. RIBA Plan of

Fig 1. RIBA Plan of Work 2013 compared with RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007

The eight stages of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 are:

Stage 0 Strategic Definition - This is a new stage in which a project is strategically appraised and defined before a detailed brief is created. This is particularly relevant in the context of sustainability, when a refurbishment or extension, or indeed a rationalised space plan, may be more appropriate than a new building. Certain activities in Stage 0 are derived from the former (RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007) Stage A (Appraisal).

Stage 1 Preparation and Brief - This combines the residual tasks from the former Stage A with the former Stage B (Design Brief) tasks that relate to carrying out preparation activities and briefing in tandem, and emphasises the need to properly assemble the project team.

Stage 2 Concept Design – Stage 2 maps exactly to the former Stage C (Concept Design).

Stage 3 Developed Design – The new Stage 3 maps broadly to the former Stage

D (Design Development) and part of the former Stage E (Technical Design).

The strategic difference is that in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 the Developed

Design will be co-ordinated and aligned with the cost information by the end

of Stage 3.

Stage 4 Technical Design – This comprises the residual technical work of the

core design team members and the work of any specialist subcontractors with design duties. At the end of Stage 4, the design work of the core designers will

be completed, although they may have obligations to respond to design

queries that arise from work being undertaken on site.

Stage 5 Construction – Stage 5 broadly maps to the former Stage K (Construction to Practical Completion), but also includes the former Stage J (Mobilisation).

Stage 6 Handover and Closeout – The new Stage 6 maps broadly to the former Stage L (Post Practical Completion) and deals with activities associated with the issue of the Practical Completion Certificate and handover of the building through to issue of the Final Certificate.

Stage 7 In Use – This is a new stage which includes post-occupancy evaluation and review of project performance, as well as new duties that can be undertaken during the In Use period of a building.

In the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 tender activity has not been expressed as a specific stage. The approach to procurement and programming varies significantly from project to project. In order to reflect this, tendering activity is addressed through a separate task bar, which can be adjusted to match the procurement approach, for example traditional, or single stage or two-stage design and build, and the associated timing and level of detail upon which tenders will be based. Similarly programming and town planning activities are dealt with through flexible task bars, which allow users to generate a bespoke practice or project RIBA Plan of Work 2013.

The remaining task bars provide details of key support tasks, sustainability check points, information exchanges and the new Government information gateways.

When the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 is published on 21 May 2013, as well as traditional documentation, there will be a free electronic version, accessible on-line, which will give users the ability to create a customised Plan of Work to meet their specific practice or project needs, and this will be one of the most exciting innovations in the new format RIBA Plan of Work.

Work has been undertaken to map the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 to similar project delivery plans that exist in other countries. The RIBA hopes to promote the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 overseas, particularly as many countries are very interested in the UK Government’s BIM strategy and how this has been rolled out.

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 will be formally released on 21 May 2013. The launch will comprise the publication of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and new electronic online version and associated technical guidance:

‘RIBA Plan of Work 2013 – Overview’ available in hard copy and downloadable pdf versions, both free

‘RIBA Plan of Work 2013 – Online’, a free electronic version which can be customised to meet your requirements

‘Guide to using the RIBA Plan of Work 2013’ from RIBA Bookshops

RIBA Job Book’ (new edition) from RIBA Bookshops

Alternative services schedules for the RIBA Agreements from RIBA Bookshops

It is expected that both the old (2007) and new (2013) versions of the RIBA Plan of Work will remain in parallel use for quite some time. However, the RIBA anticipates that the advantages of RIBA Plan of Work 2013 will quickly become apparent and that many people in the construction industry will start to make the switch sooner rather than later, and we already know of a number of architectural practices which intend to be early adopters.

In summary, what will the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 deliver?

A new streamlined set of 8 stages, structured in accordance with the CIC brokered unified construction industry work stages.

A Plan of Work which is flexible to suit all sizes of project and the range of traditional and non-traditional procurement routes

Available on-line, to enable customised versions

Clear, comprehensive and with clearly defined terms

A Plan of Work which reflects the variety and complexity of developing and delivering contemporary construction projects

The Editor of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 is Dale Sinclair, Director at Dyer

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 will be available from 21 May 2013 at:

There will be extensive information about the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 in the May edition of the RIBA Journal.