Last edited 16 Jul 2021

Major project definition

According to GRIP Manual, Introduction to the Project Management manual, published by Network Rail in 2006, the term ‘major project’ refers to:

‘A bespoke project, programme or portfolio characterised by its complexity, level of investment and stakeholder involvement. Such a project is likely to have its own project control office established and have a dedicated project team under the direct control of a nominated person.'

The Major Projects Authority defined major projects (in the public sector) as projects that meet any of the following criteria:

  • It requires HM Treasury approval.
  • It could lead to a breach in departmental expenditure limits.
  • It involves significant levels of unplanned spending.
  • It could set an expensive precedent.

The CIOB Planning Protocol 2021 (CIOB PP21), a technical information sheet published by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) in February 2021, defines a major project as: ‘A project where the construction works are estimated to cost at least £10 million pounds sterling.’

In July 2021, the IPA published an updated routemap for novel or complex major projects.

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See also: Standard project.

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