RIBA Plan of Work


Membership of the RIBA is recognised the world over as a symbol of professional excellence among both clients and architects. Founded in 1834, and awarded its Royal Charter in 1837, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is the UK charter body for architecture. Its mission is to advance architecture by demonstrating benefit to society and promoting excellence in the profession.

The RIBA publish guidelines in the appointment of an Architect and publishes standard appointment documentation, these are know as the Standard Agreement for the Appointment of an Architect. Appointments are broken down into stages that range from A to L. Below is a précis of the various stages.


Stage A – Appraisal, Stage B – Strategic Brief

At these stages we work closely with you to explain all the aspects of the project and to define the brief in terms of accommodation, cost, timescales and design.
During the initial stages we obtain surveys and any other historical and planning information that may be required in the initial decision making process.
We prepare a more detailed programme and also prepare a project delivery framework.


Stage C – Outline Proposals

At Stage C we take all the information we have gathered and prepare schematic development plans. We use our CAD programmes to create 3D models and visualisations that assist in explaining the design, layout and appearance of a building. It is common to appoint a QS at this stage to prepare construction cost estimates.


Stage D – Detailed Proposals

Stage D is the planning application stage. The submission to the council is not only a set of drawings but a thoroughly worked out design and access statement. This statement explains the theory behind the design and justifies the Architectural Response.


Stage E – Final Proposals

Preparation of final proposals for the project for co-ordination, and identification of components.
Once planning has been granted the Architect works with a Structural Engineer and a QS to work up the drawings in sufficient detail for a cost plan to be prepared. This stage allows us to draw up a schedule of deliverables in terms of drawings and specs so that we can plan and programme the rest of the project in detail.
The cost plan includes all fees, any VAT and Tax that would apply.


Stage F – Production Information

Preparation of production information in sufficient detail to enable the construction to be tendered to number of (usually 5) different builders.
At this stage we work closely with the other consultants – including an environmental / MandE Engineer to prepare the detailed design. The QS attends all development meetings to make sure the cost plan is properly managed.


Stage G – Tender Documentation

All consultants drawings, specifications and schedules are passed to the Architect for final co-ordination. We then pass this information to the QS who prepare the contract documents. The tender documentation includes items like insurance requirements and LADs (Liquidated and Ascertained Damages). The LADs are penalties for late completion.


Stage H – Tender Action

Identification of potential contractors and obtaining and appraising prices for recommendation to the client.
It is at this stage that the QS prepares the Building Contract for signature. The contract specifies all of the contractors costs involved in the project.


Stages J, K and L – Mobilisation, Construction and Completion

During the construction phase, a project meeting takes place each month with the main contractor and a valuation is prepared by the QS that reflects that amount of work completed against the cost plan. The Architect checks the valuation against quality and issues an Interim Certificate for payment. Every month 5% of the valuation is held back until the end of the project.
When the client re-occupies the building, the stage is called Practical Completion – this releases half the retention or 2.5% of the contract sum. One year after practical completion we get to full completion – should any defects arise, these are then fixed and the final retention is then released. The QS usually allows for a contingency sum for unforeseen items, this is not disclosed to the main contractor.

The RIBA have recently updated the plan of work to run in Stages 1 – 7 but this has not yet been reflected in the appointment documents. Additional information on the Plan of Work can be found on the very helpful RIBA website