Last edited 09 Sep 2020

Preparation and brief project stage

NB the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 renamed this stage 'Preparation and briefing'.

The process for completing the design and construction of a building is often divided into 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 actually 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.

Preparation and brief’ is a new phrase coined by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for their 2013 Plan of Work. This plan comprises eight work stages, and its new terminology, stage referencing system and lack of detail have generated some criticism.

The preparation and brief stage involves:

This preparatory work enables the design process to begin in the next stage ‘concept design’.

The RIBA suggest that this new stage 1 merges the ‘residual’ tasks from the former Stage A ‘Appraisal’ and Stage B ‘Design Brief’.

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