The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 organises the process of briefing, designing, constructing, maintaining, operating and using building projects into a number of key stages. It details the tasks and outputs required at each stage, which may vary or overlap to suit specific project requirements.

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013:
  • Acts across the full range of sectors and project sizes
  • Provides straight-forward mapping for all forms of procurement
  • Integrates sustainable design processes
  • Maps Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes
  • Provides flexible around (town) planning procedures

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 itself is not a contractual document: it directs readers to various tools and supplementary core documents used by a project team, including documents relating to professional services contracts, Schedules of Services and project protocols, which may or may not be contractual, and to the various forms of commonly used Building Contracts.

Plan of Work Graph

Development from earlier versions

The RIBA Plan of Work framework has served both the architects’ profession and the wider construction industry well.

The major strength of the RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007 was the simplicity of its stages and the clarity of the stage descriptions. Although the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 may initially appear quite different from the RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007, its use of stages and task descriptions has not altered fundamentally. The definition of the project stages is pivotal, because the stages act as milestones for agreeing deliverables, establishing fee agreements and determining the activities of the many parties involved in the design, construction and supporting activities of a project.

The RIBA Outline Plan of Work 2007, however, only aligned to a single (traditional) procurement route and made assumptions about the timing of planning applications.

The Plan of Work consultation with members, undertaken by the RIBA in 2012, showed that traditional contractual arrangements remain the most prevalent form of procurement, used to some extent by 86 per cent of architects’ practices that responded to the survey. However, other forms of procurement are also commonly used. Design and build forms of procurement have grown in popularity, with 40 per cent of responding practices indicating that they use both one stage and two stage variants. Management contracting and private finance initiative (PFI) procurement routes are less frequently used by practices but are important procurement approaches on larger projects.

It is also clear that, with certain forms of procurement, a number of common variants exist. This is particularly true for design and build forms of procurement, where the information used to form the Employer’s Requirements, and the subsequent Contractor’s Proposals, can vary significantly from project to project.

The town planning process also emerged from the RIBA’s member consultation as a key topic. Common trends identified were:
  • More frequent requests from clients for planning applications to be submitted earlier in the design process, typically using an enhanced Concept Design
  • Not all members of the design team being appointed during the initial design period
  • The need to recognise the increasing amount of supporting information required for a planning application and the benefits derived from early community consultations on some projects; and
  • The requirement, particularly on conservation projects, for very detailed design, specification and construction information to be approved before, or during, construction.
Buildings are refurbished and reused or demolished and recycled in a continuous cycle. If building outcomes are to improve, better briefing processes will be required. More importantly, feedback from completed projects must be available to inform subsequent projects. The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 recognises the stages that a building project goes through and promotes the importance of recording and disseminating information about completed projects.
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