Last edited 06 Sep 2022

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0a: Strategic definition (business justification)

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'Business justification' is the first part of the 'Strategic definition' stage (or 'Strategy' in PAS 1192:2 (now replaced by BS EN ISO 19650)). It involves making crucial decisions about whether and how to proceed with the proposed project.

These decisions, along with those made throughout the life of the development, should be information-driven. The purpose of building information modeling (BIM) is to ensure appropriate information is created at the right time.

It is important that this information is prepared in a format that will be of the greatest value through the life of the project, and that it is named and stored in a way that will be consistent with later stages. At this stage, this may simply be a matter of creating a folder in which files can be stored and adopting a standard file naming convention such as that outlined in BS 1192:2007 (now replaced by BS EN ISO 19650).


From the assessment of business operations or from the assessment of an existing estate, the employer identifies a need that could require the development of a newly built asset.

They then prepare a statement of need that describes the requirements for the potential project. This will later develop into a strategic brief. The statement of need is likely to be in a report format, however, where possible, information and requirements should be scheduled in a requirement management application or spreadsheet that can be expanded and will be easy to use to test whether proposals satisfy requirements later in the project.

The employer then prepares a preliminary business case based upon the statement of need. This offers a justification for the investment required by the potential project. As with the statement of need, this is likely to be in a report format, however, where possible information should be scheduled in a requirement management application or spreadsheet so that it will be easier to use, test and develop.

Employer's decision point

At key points in the development of the project, the employer will have to decide whether the project should proceed, whether additional information is required or whether the project should be changed or abandoned.

To make this decision, the employer will need to answer a series of questions about the developing project (sometimes described as plain language questions), which will require that specific information is available. Later in the project, the publication of required information may be described as an 'information exchange' or 'data drop'.

The table below sets out examples of plain language questions that an employer might ask at this decision point and the information they might require to answer those questions.

Plain language questions Information required

Has the project information been prepared and organized in a way that will be useful in later stages? Does the statement of need adequately define the requirement?

Does the preliminary business case give sufficient justification for the project?

Should the project be pursued and a strategic brief prepared that will allow feasibility studies and options appraisals to be carried out?

Statement of need. Preliminary business case.

next stage >> 0b: Strategic definition (strategic brief).



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