RIBA Plan of Work

RIBA Plan of Work and BIM Based CM Integration


RIBA Plan of Work is the definitive model for the design and construction process of buildings.

For this reason, the integration between building information modeling (BIM) and change management has enormous advantages at each stage of the RIBA Plan of Work according to the followings:

Table of Contents

RIBA Plan of Work

The RIBA Plan of Work organizes the process of briefing, designing, constructing and operating building projects into eight stages and explains the stage outcomes, core tasks and information exchanges required at each stage.

The key advantage of BIM is the ability to facilitate exchange and storing of information, which leads to enhancing communication and collaboration in the design and construction process.

In addition, the fundamental principle of BIM is the alliance of different stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle to insert, extract, update, or modify information.

In actual fact, BIM breaks down the project segmentation and fosters a collaborative environment among team members, and it relies on using a common data environment (CDE) where single sources of information are used to collect, distribute, and manage project documents.

BIM is CM more than anything, and the diversity of BIM-based CM advantages at each stage of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 is in accordance with Figure 

Strategic Definition ( RIBA Plan of Work Stage 0)

One of the core objectives at the strategic definition stage is the strategic brief. The strategic briefing outlines the capital and revenue budgets and the project strategic timeline.

However, time and cost estimations are usually dependent on hard information and historical data or estimate intuition and assumptions that lead to inaccurate information, and that results in ineffective decision making, scope modifications, and later brief changes.

This gap between the initial and actual scope is the main source of project change – additional work will be added for reconciliation.

BIM is a game changer and it requires the appointment of all team partners from stage zero (0).

Hence, BIM-based CM provides the project with an updated database, and aids in the early appointment of the project team that drives the project towards producing accurate estimations and avoiding future changes.

Preparation and Brief (Stage 1)

Risk assessment is a key supportive task at the preparation and brief stage.

Risk and CM have many aspect similarities, specifically surrounding the process of probability occurrence predictability, and there is a synergy of integrating change and risk management that leads to avoid reworks.

Additionally, BIM improves risk management, particularly through controlling project change and safety issues. The trinity integration of BIM, CM, and risk management at an early project stage assures early identification and assessment of risks. Moreover, the project team is assigned at this stage.

However, the appointment of project team is a complex task for any BIM-based project – all individuals must understand their role professionally in order to start execution with more details in a shorter timeframe.

Smart owners use quantitative information, such as the number of change orders, to measure BIM team performance as owners are looking for an experienced team work that can the project right the first time.

Concept Design (Stage 2)

The management of project change during the early design stage is cost-effective, and the cost of design changes rise if change occurs at later project stages.

In addition, comparing BIM-enabled design processes and traditional design process via the Macleamy curve demonstrates how the cost of design changes decrease through BIM adoption.

BIM-based CM projects are integrated with augmented reality (AR) technology, which adds greater design visualization capabilities, and enable project teams to achieve common approval regarding concept designs from the outset (see Figure 4.2; Augment, 2015).

Further, project stakeholders are able to walk into the project and see a full-scale model. AR assures a new level of certainty and secures earlier stakeholder approval of the concept design, resulting in overcoming change caused by design errors and later client changes, for example.

Developed Design (Stage 3)

Coordinated drawings are one of the main outputs at the developed design stage. BIM-based CM endows a project with a coordination platform to enhance project delivery.

In fact, the integration of a data model allows project team members from different disciplines, such as Architects and Civil and MEP Engineers, to automatically update any design changes and discover clashes.

With this, BIM-based CM improves multidisciplinary collaboration, and precluding the impacts of change, such as errors, rework and demolition, and reduces time and cost overruns.

For sustainability purposes, the capability of 6D-BIM to manage change effectively allows project teams to explore different alternatives and changes with the purpose of performing energy consumption analyses.

The early integration of BIM with sustainable design analysis (SDA) through posing “what if” question supplies the project with rapid and quantifiable feedback on diverse sustainable alternatives. In other words, a BIM model allows changes to be assessed through different alternatives, such as climate, wind, location, heating and cooling loads, etc.

Technical Design (Stage 4)

The technical design stage includes producing the final design and specification details for tendering. Therefore, projects grow to be more complex and change becomes more challenging.

Detail design changes based on traditional paper-based 2D drawings are no longer adequate.

BIM-based CM addresses this problem through providing a real-time dynamic database. It is now possible to apply changes to the three-dimensional (3D) building model and determine the impacts of change at the same time.

The production of a 3D model based on modifications saves project time and cost, and ensures a high degree of compatibility between design documents and construction detail drawings.

Cost and time overruns are the primary negative effects of unmanageable changes. The intelligent linkage of a 3D model with 4D-BIM helps create exchangeable project scheduling and automatically manage time changes.

The integration of 5D-BIM leads to accurate evaluation, calculation, and cost analysis of change impacts. Hence, BIM tools in terms of 4D and 5D facilitate effective time and cost management during the technical design stage.

Construction ( RIBA Plan of Work Stage 5)

The construction phase features a number of changes as a result of design errors, additions, omissions, material unavailability, and weather conditions.

For each change, the project team follows a certain procedure to establish the change cause, primary responsibility, change impact, and the proposed action.

This procedure involves a Request for Information (RFI) at first followed by a change order (CO) to notify all involved parties about the change impact, and these changes represent the foundation for cost and time overruns, frequently resulting in legal disputes.

Furthermore, the RFI and CO create friction between Consultants and Contractors in terms of justifying the error responsibility and which owner will pay for the change in fees.

BIM leverages the delivery of effective CM during the construction phase, and project teams employ the model for conflict detection and sequencing with the purpose of evaluating potential impacts of change.

Furthermore, the gains from 4D/5D BIM are extended during the construction phase, where 4D-BIM is utilised for construction site planning activities to empower the project control of changes, and 5D-BIM enhances the predictability of scope, materials, equipment, and manpower changes, which results in efficient cost-effective construction solutions.

Handover and Close-Out (Stage 6)

All project changes need to be updated and submitted to the client during the handover and close-out stage, so the use of BIM-based CM ensures a high level of accuracy of as-built drawing delivery.

A case study presented by Eastman demonstrated that during the extension project of General Motors’ Production Plant with 442,000 sq. ft. in Michigan, USA, in 2005, the use of BIM led to eliminating as-built production because of tight integration between project partners, resulting in reducing COs to zero. Furthermore, BIM tools track snagging and change accomplishment for client handover.

In-Use ( RIBA Plan of Work Stage 7)

The changes are managed during the in-use stage via 7D-BIM for facility operation and maintenance management.

Stakeholders are capable of viewing and exchanging important data, such as maintenance and operation manuals, which results in easier and effective asset management.

BIM models offer a consolidated interface for information regarding all aspects of building operational performance, where BIM models and facility management systems automatically exchange and update information with each other, and no manual effort is required to update the space files.

Change information for what needs to be changed during project operation is critically important, including supplier information, materials, specifications, maintenance, and change procedures.

Moreover, BIM-enabled facility managers track any changes to the building made by customers if they modified existing spaces to fit their activities.

RIBA Plan of Work

Source: Mostafa Khames (2017) The Integration of Building Information Modelling and Change Management to Improve Construction Industry Performance. 

Photos by PEXEL

Picture of Khames


I'm Khames, an interior designer and blogger. Here, I love to share my interior design ideas, favorite quotes, stories, and photography from my little journeys throughout the world.

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