RIBA Plan of Work 2013


At the 50th anniversary of the original RIBA Plan of Work(PoW) has marked the birth of a new one. The original plan of work first came to action in 1963 and had been the definitive UK model for the building design and construction process, and has also been used internationally.

The catalyst of the change came about after the publication of ‘Green Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work’ in November 2011 and ‘BIM Overlay’ in May 2012. RIBA decided to review its old PoW to ensure it meets with best practice from all specialists within the integrated construction team, and to provide a renewed framework which will be fit for the next generation. The alignment of the new project stages against Construction Industry Council (CSC) Schedule of Services and the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 is one of the achievments emanating from this new plan of work, and is important as the CIS is the interface for many Cabinet office activities on its construction strategy.

Below shows the RIBA PoW 2013 against the original RIBA PoW and CIC scope of services.


The final version in hard copy will be published by end of 2012 and the electronic version available early this year.  There will be generic bars for the ‘3 Ps’ (procurement, planning and programme) and the electronic version will allow creation of more specific bars for these activities.

The electronic version can be applied for repetitive use by a firm or as a ‘one-off’ for a particular project. E.g. Companies that are involved in mainly small projects using traditional procurement, and are likely to use this form of procurement in the future, will be able to generate a plan that explains the design and construction process to their clients without specific dialogue on procurement or planning or programme. But for larger projects, discussions or workshops related to the separate but interlinked subjects of procurement, town planning and programme will be important before a project specific Plan of Work 2013 is generated. RIBA Client Advisors will need to ensure that discussions on these topics are met in the preparation stage before design work begins.

 The Matrix Grid

Plan of work stages in numbers


What is good about PoW 2013?

  1. While the existing plan is linear, PoW 2013 has a gridded matrix structure, with columns for work stages and rows for tasks. Although the new stages follow a liner sequence, it is more flexible; it will now be possible to bring forward certain aspects of the design or for some stages to overlap. The new task bars, which form the eight rows of this grid, are fixed, variable or switchable and will help to make jobs more specific to practices and projects – effectively it is an adaptable kit of parts.
  2. PoW 2013 will be integrated with the rest of the construction industry, with new stages aligned with the Construction Industry Council schedule of services, and will allow the interchange of supporting documents produced by different bodies. These stages will also align with the government’s proposed information exchange gateways – the formal issues of documents for review and approval at key stages of projects.
  3. The new ‘matrix’ is a response to the current forms of procurement. PoW 2013 will be ‘procurement-neutral’ – i.e. it will be possible to generate project or practice- specific versions electronically online, enabling the template to be converted into a project, practice or client-specific Plan of Work
  4. The new PoW avoids assumptions about the timing of planning applications which can, in reality, be made at various stages of projects and the town planning task bar allows for this.

What is bad about PoW 2013?

  1. There are concerns that PoW 2013 doesn’t make sufficient provision for the aftercare of construction projects. On the other hand, some architects think PoW 2013 could involve architects in excessive and unpaid soft landings activity.
  2. There are no role descriptions for environmental, sustainability or ecology consultants.
  3. There are concerns that small practices, although involved in PoW 2013 consultation, will be at disadvantage. Yet others argue it lends itself to small projects, with its emphasis on stages 1- 3.
  4. Architects are worried about the fee implications. Residential clients sometimes wish to stop projects after planning or Building Regulations approvals. The large stage 4 (equivalent to former stages E –H) will make this look expensive. Others argue that PoW 2013 will support BIM fee structures and that this be beneficial.
  5. Some architects think the architectural profession should have been involved at a higher level and with input from more members in the development of PoW 2013, and just in consultation.

Five strategic stage changes:

–          New stage 0, which is optional, emphasizes the need to strategically appraise and define projects before detailed briefs are formulated.

–          Stage 3 is similar to D and part of E, but developed design will be co-ordinated and aligned with cost information by the end stage, necessitating extra time for information review.

–          Stage 4 accommodates the residual technical work of the core design team members, whose design work will be completed at the end of this stage, although they may be obligated to check fabrication design information during stage 5 or deal with question arising from work on site at stage 6

–          Stages G, H and J have been replaced by a procurement task bar to enable the PoW to be used in conjunction with different procurement strategies. This schedules the principal tendering and contract tasks at each stage

–          The new stage 5 recognises the increases importance of design work undertaken by specialist contractors and’or suppliers employed by the contractors and the need to define this work early in the process in the Design Responsibility Matrix.

Fee Scales

The RIBA recommends practices consider the implications of the five strategic shifts in the PoW on their processes on call out rates. Whereas stage 0 is likely to be chargeable at an hourly rate, stage 3 coordination may result in higher fees that the previous stage D. Fees for tendering and other procurement work should reflect specific activities for the form of procurement.

In the case of projects for which the Procurement Strategy is not, as recommended, finalized at the end of stage 1, the pull-down options in the electronic version of the PoW  provide flexibility. A ‘holding’ bar can be placed in the project PoW and a new Plan generated when the Procurement or Town Planning Strategies or the Project Programme have been determined.

Learn more about RIBA Plan of Work 2013:

BIM overlay in Po

RIBA Plan of Work 2013

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