Monday 11 November 2013

Innovation and the RIBA Plan of Work 2013

The new RIBA plan of works 2013 offers architects and design teams the opportunity to innovate with closer working relationships between consultants, specialist fabricators and contractors. The key moves which make it more intuitive to innovation are that Tender, contractor appointment and mobilisation (old parts G, H and J) are not prescribed in the work flow. To work with all types of procurement systems, BIM led or not, these times are integrated throughout the new stages. This means it is potentially easier to manage projects to involve specialists as early in the design process as possible.  

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013
The stage matrix does not highlight any specific time to Tender.  These actions are implicit and can be worked in to a variety of work stages.  Stage 0, Strategic Definition, is key to establishing consultants and experts which might be needed for a project.  It is at this point where specialists can be targeted, and innovation can be planned out.

More integrated working relationships between consultants and specialists should help to: 

  • Focus design deliverables sooner, 
  • Help iron out any design issues relating to fabrication and buildability sooner, 
  • Establish specialist consultants, fabricators and contractors into design discussions at the earliest possible point. This procedural move is key to unlocking many more potential innovation types, and is one of the items noted in an earlier post on Marian Bowley.
  • Give clients cost and design certainty as early as possible.  This should offer clients the incentive to innovate with greater assurance that risks can be designed out. 

The RIBA Plan of Work 2013 offers flexibility to work with specialists (fabricators, consultants and contractors) at a very early stage in the design process.  Introducing technology and expertise in to early project development is one important way to boost innovation. 

To help reinforce more integrated working relationships with specialists in design, the RIBA has prepared a Design Responsibility Matrix which seeks to establish the consultants and specialists required on a project at the outset.  This document can be found with the RIBA's Plan of Work Toolkit located on their new and free RIBA Plan of Work 2013 website for project management.  Alex Tait at the RIBA's Practice Department told me its the place to set up your own Plan of Work for each project.  It is a mayor shift from the 2007 Plan because of its flexibility.  He added that the new Stage 3 (previous Stage D) is where much of the coordinated and integrated design effort can take place with industry based specialists.  The benefit of this is greater cost certainty and a more developed design in preparation for Planning Approval. 

The website as a whole offers a great set of resources which should help make project running with the new Plan of Work a lot less daunting and make an invaluable contribution to any practice's QA system. 

By comparison, the RIBA Plan of Work 2007 followed a structured route where close integration of consultants, specialists and contractors was not intrinsically promoted.  With the traditional building route specialist fabricators and contractors were not appointed until after the proposals were 'fully designed' leading to a risk of last minute coordination issues once on site.

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