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The RIBA Plan of Work describes the activities from appraising the client's requirements through to post construction. The stages are also used in the appointment of architects and help to identify consultant services and indicate the resource and fee total by Work Stage.
The choice of procurement route has a fundamental influence on how different Work Stages proceed. This is summarised in outline as far as possible but the exact way in which different Stages are conducted within the overall project programme needs careful consideration at the outset. It is worth noting that the RIBA Plan of Work was originally developed to reflect the needs of Traditional contract forms. The subsequent development of alternative contract forms such as PFI, BSF and partnered contracts means that RIBA Stages don't necessarily fit precisely with discrete stages in these alternative contract forms. The Achieving Excellence in Construction Procurement guide 11 Sustainability identifies the intervention points for larger programmes such as BSF including PFI. See www.ogc.gov.uk.
Any project needs a vision and key performance indicators to be identified up front. They should be assessed at each stage to monitor achievement and check that they are still appropriate. For a project that wants to integrate sustainability in all aspects of a project this is even more important, as for many clients it will involve some changes to conventional methods and new ways of working need strong management support if they are to be successfully implemented. KPIs should be identified in the early project stages for the whole of the Prepare, Design, Construct and Use cycle.
Identification of Client's requirements and any possible constraints on development. Preparation of studies to enable the Client to decide whether to proceed and to select the probable procurement method. The latter is a particularly important decision, as it will determine the way in which project resources, responsibilities and risks are apportioned between the Client and its consultants and contractors.
Preparation of general outline of requirements and planning of future action on behalf of, the client with client confirming key requirements and constraints. Identification of procedures, organisational structure and range of consultants and others to be engaged for the project. The strategic brief is a key output from this stage and becomes the clear responsibility of the client.
Final decisions taken on every matter related to design, specification, construction and cost. For a traditional procurement process, production information is first prepared in sufficient detail to enable a tender or tenders to be obtained. Any further production information required under the building contract to complete the information for construction is then prepared. All statutory approvals should be obtained by the end of this phase.
Tenders obtained and appraised with recommendations made to the client body or Steering Group to allow an appointment to be made. It is important that the contractors' understanding of, and commitment to, the project vision and its sustainability is tested at this stage. This can be achieved by the inclusion of this as a key selection criterion early in the procurement process.