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New Plan of Work will improve all contract types

24 May 2013

All types of contracts, including design and build, should be able to be run and organised better under the most radical rewriting of the RIBA’s 50-year-old Plan of Work.

The new Plan of Work was officially launched this week. It has been welcomed by contractors and replaces the former A-L stages in the RIBA Outline Plan of Work with eight new numbered stages designed to mirror the modern processes in project procurement and delivery. It has been drawn up following a new framework set out by the Construction Industry Council which all professions will follow, thus making integrated working under the BIM environment easier and more efficient.

The new schedule is meant to improve transparency of project information, particularly on BIM-enabled projects, and be more readily adaptable to different procurement methods. It will place greater emphasis on the integration of design and production information.

Jack Pringle, former RIBA president and current president of the CIC, said: “The old plan was simple, but too simple really. This is a lot more sophisticated, it all covers all stages of procurement and is intended to be adaptable to all contract types from design and build to two-stage tender to construction management. I think all professions in the team will notice an improvement on contracts where it is used.”

Steve Loughe, director of design, BAM, said: “I welcome RIBA’s forward thinking initiative to tackle the issue. The new Plan of Works aligns itself more closely with the government’s BIM strategy, which is something BAM endorses as we are very multidisciplinary and try to use BIM and Revit on all projects as well as get the supply chain on board and thinking the same way.

Loughe continued: “The new schedule should get everyone from different institutions talking the same language and it’s a major development on the 2003 Plan of Works. The various stages can be easily tailored to suit different procurement routes and mechanisms, not every contractor is the same so it gives us leeway to adapt to suit the procurement route. I expect take up to grow when people see the benefits and major organisations and client bodies’ look to use it.” 

Adrian Shilliday, senior design manager and BIM leader at Miller Construction, agreed: “As a contractor we welcome a more joined up approach between all the design disciplines as there has been huge disparity between what an architect would include in a Stage C/D report and what a structural engineer or M&E consultant would produce at the same stage. This is becoming more critical with the drive towards lean construction, the use of BIM, the proper integration of sustainability, early engagement of the supply chain and the consideration of facilities management and the building in use.

“However, it looks like there does need to be guidance from RIBA on how to use the new stages for different types of project scale, type and procurement. The stages apply to all projects of all types of procurement and all that changes are the different roles and responsibilities at each stage, such as whether there are novation requirements,” added Shilliday.

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