The RIBA PLAN OF
WORK

The RIBA plan of work (POW) was first
developed in 1963. Since it was first developed, it was the ‘definitive’ UK
model for the building design and construction process, having also a
significant influence internationally as well.

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The plan of work has been a foundation
for both the architectural profession and construction industry by setting a
framework for the organisation and the management of how architectural projects
are run, which also provides a process map and management tool to architects. The
POW Split into a number of key stages, the Plan of work also provides stage
reference points in a multitude of contractual and appointment documents and a
good practice guide. (RIBAPlan of work overview)

During the time since it had been
developed, the POW has evolved and amended several times during its lifetime to
reflect the increasing complexity of projects, and to incorporate regulatory
requirements that reflects the demand of industry and government reports, which
had criticised the industry.

The recent version of the POW, POW
2013, has undergone a drastic overhaul with the intention of making it as ‘more
flexible’. Stages such as planning permission and procurement are now being
described as adjustable (Plan of work overview). It reflects increasing
requirements for sustainability and Building Information Modelling (BIM) and it
allows simple, project specific plans to be created. Unfortunately the POW 2013
has come under criticism due to not properly integrating sustainability as they
could effectively be ‘turned off’ which sends the wrong message on
sustainability (messag on sustainability). The POW has also come under
criticism as it has significantly less detail than the plan of work before that
(The 2007 plan of work) and that it’s flexibility and customisability is very
limited. The definition and naming of the work stages didn’t reflect the
terminology that is used in the industry to date leading to some confusion
within the profession.

The work stages were restructured and
renamed into the following: Stage 0 – Strategic Definition; Stage 1 –
Preparation and Brief; Stage 2 – Concept design; Stage 3 – Developed Design;
Stage 4 – Technical Design; Stage 5 – Construction; Stage 6 – Handover and
Closeout; and Stage 7 – In Use. Stages 0 and 7 are new stages which were
included in the POW

Within the 2007 plan of work
two new stages were introduced. Stage 0 (strategic definition) 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”.  And stage 7 (In use) 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”.
They were introduced as new stages in the plan of work as a learning process
for the industry to reflect on a project and to help better understand a type
of project for future references.

Although the RIBA 2013
includes many benefits to the architectural process, there are many concerns
that the POW 2013 doesn’t make sufficient necessities for the aftercare of
construction projects (AJ) Other architects think that the POW could involve
architects in unnecessary and unpaid soft landing activities, leading to use of
resources which some practices cannot afford to.