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What is the RIBA Plan of Work?

For anyone thinking of having their home extended, renovated, or even commissioning a new build project, it is useful to know as much about the process as possible beforehand. One of the key frameworks that all architects and designers will refer to is the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Plan of Work. Here’s a brief overview of what it involves.


Originally launched in 1963, the document is regularly updated with feedback from industry and government reports, to provide a model for the design and construction of all types of building project.


RIBA describes it thus: “The RIBA Plan of Work organises the process of briefing, designing, constructing and operating building projects into eight stages and explains the stage outcomes, core tasks and information exchanges required at each stage.”


The industry-standard plan takes into account the core concepts that builders and designers follow the world over, and formalises it, so that all the members of the project team are ‘singing from the same hymn sheet.’ This reduces the possibility for misunderstandings and conflicts to arise, and makes the whole process run more smoothly and efficiently.


The first stage, referred to as Stage 0, involves creating a strategic definition of the project, from which a detailed brief can be crafted. Stage 1 develops the brief further, and a feasibility study will be carried out to take into account the suitability of the site, the limitations of the budget, and risk analysis.


The later stages will move through the concept design, the sustainability issues, and spatial and technical design. Once the manufacturing and construction stages begin, it includes off-site materials, and regular inspections and reports of the site. The final phases oversee the handover of the building, and any follow up work that needs to be done.


Lastly, the post-occupancy performance of the building will be assessed, to determine the future management plan of the building, and rate the overall success of the project.


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