Last edited 30 Jan 2015

Strategic definition stage for building projects

The process for completing the design and construction of a building is often divided into notional ‘stages’. This can be helpful in establishing milestones for the submission of progress reports, the preparation of information for approval, client gateways, and for making payments. However there is a great deal of ambiguity between the naming of stages by different organisations and the definition of what individual stages include (see comparison of work stages) and so it is important that appointment documents make it clear specifically what activities fall within which stage, and what level of detail is required.

Strategic definition’ is a stage referred to in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for their 2013 Plan of Work. This plan comprises eight work stages, and introduces new terminology, and a new stage referencing system:

The first stage, Strategic definition is a new stage, although some of the tasks involved were previously included in old first stage of the 2007 Plan of Work ‘Appraisal’.

During the strategic definition stage, the client’s business case and strategic brief are assessed to ensure they ‘…have been properly considered’ and the scope of the project is defined.

The RIBA suggest that, ‘Strategic considerations might include considering different sites, whether to extend, refurbish or build new and the key Project Outcomes, as well as initial considerations for the Project Programme and assembling the project team.’

The stage is followed by stage 1, ‘Preparation and brief’ which involves developing the initial project brief, carrying out feasibility studies and assembling the project team ready for concept design to commence.

It is possible that the client may need to appoint independent client advisers to assist them during this stage, prior to the appointment of the consultant team.

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