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MEP – RIBA stages

The RIBA Plan of Work is published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The RIBA Plan of Work organises 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.

Stages of the RIBA Plan of Work 2020 (RIBA stages):

0 – Strategic Definition.
1 – Preparation and Briefing.
2 – Concept Design.
3 – Spatial Coordination.
4 – Technical Design.
5 – Manufacturing and Construction.
6 – Handover.
7 – Use.

RIBA Plan of Work 2020 Design Stages
RIBA Plan of Work 2020
Download PDF file

REMARS M&E Consulting Engineers have developed processes and information deliverables for each RIBA stage of the project. That allow us to provide the client timely and appropriate level of support as the project progresses through the various RIBA stages.

RIBA Stage 0: Strategic Definition

At Stage 0, you should consider the options for your project, work out the limits to your budget and assess the site or sites you are discussing.

The 2020 Edition of the Plan of Work suggest that ‘Stage 0 is not about design or the practical details. It focuses on making the right strategic decisions and capturing them in a Business Case. The stage involves considering the pros and cons, Project Risks and Project Budget for a range of options and, where necessary, carrying out Site Surveys and corresponding planning appraisals, before undertaking a comparative analysis and recommending and ratifying the best option for delivering the Client Requirements.’

Identification of client’s business case and strategic brief.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Client Requirements
  • Business Case

RIBA Stage 1: Preparation and Briefing

At the end of Stage 1, you pick your design team. For clients with smaller projects, this usually means appointing an architect or a building contractor. They will be the Principal Designer, which is a role with statutory duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.

The stage 1 ‘Preparation and briefing’ involves developing the initial project brief, carrying out feasibility studies and assembling the project team ready for concept design to commence. The brief will be decided following consultation with all design team members to ensure all elements are considered, the MEP and energy / sustainability proposals being key to this part of the process. Identification of specific key requirements and constraints including quality, project objectives, budgets.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Project Brief
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Site Information
  • Below ground utility services maps for team use
  • Project Budget
  • Project Programme
  • Procurement Strategy
  • Responsibility Matrix
  • Information Requirements

RIBA Stage 2: Concept Design

At Concept stage, REMARS Consulting Engineers work closely with the client to develop the employer’s requirements for the Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health (MEP) building services including the energy strategy for planning submission. During the early stages REMARS helps clients to agree on the design brief. We then work on concept design to include all design strategies, preliminary cost information and final a strategy which culminates in the production of a RIBA Stage 2 Report. This report builds on the energy modelling to develop the MEP and energy strategy for the site. From the MEP aspect, this will include volumetric information on plant spaces, load requirements, riser sizes and service routes, to show how the MEP installations fit into the overall building volumes. The cost information is also developed further at this stage.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Project Brief Derogations
  • Project Strategies
  • Programme and phasing strategy
  • Outline Specification
  • The cost plan
  • The design concept
  • Design concept MEP volumetric requirements (plant, risers, primary routes) as a set of coordinated drawings
  • Utility capacity requirement calculations and report
  • Draft Energy Strategy
  • Draft BREEAM Pre-Assessment
  • Stage 2 Report
  • Procurement options
  • Buildability and construction logistics

RIBA Stage 3: Spatial Coordination 

During Stage 3 or at the end of it, you will normally submit your planning application. Development of agreed Outline Proposal to Detailed Proposals. Developed design, with the various disciplines being co-ordinated in their design solutions, particularly those that have a significant impact such as structural and mechanical design. REMARS will develop the MEP design, strategy further at Stage 3 to quantify all MEP spatial requirements to ensure coordination with architectural and structural elements of the project.
The design is taken to a level of engineering that allows the client to take the project to tender.
This will include, fixing plant room sizes and distribution routes; providing approximate sizes for ducts, pipes and electrical containment. Preparing developed models, schematics, sketches.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Signed off Stage Report
  • Project Strategies
  • Updated Cost Plan
  • Planning Application
  • Functional Output
  • Develop product info for tender
  • Specification
  • Updated Outline
  • Design drawings
  • Contractor design details
  • Utilities Quotes
  • SBEM/SAP Dynamic Simulation Modelling
  • BREEAM Pre-Assessment
  • Planning Energy Strategy Report
  • Planning Thermal Comfort/ Overheating Assessment
  • Planning Ventilation Strategy Report

RIBA Stage 4: Technical Design

The RIBA Plan of Work 2020 suggests that Technical design (Stage 4): ‘…involves the preparation of all information required to manufacture and construct a building. The core documents at the start of Stage 4 are the Responsibility Matrix, the Information Requirements and the Stage 4 Design Programme, which is heavily influenced by the Procurement Strategy.’

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Manufacturing Information
  • Construction Information
  • Final Specifications
  • Residual Project Strategies
  • Building Regulations
  • Application

RIBA Stage 5: Manufacturing and Construction

“Manufacturing and construction” is a new stage introduced by the RIBA Plan of work 2020. This replaces ‘Construction’ in the 2013 edition and reflects the increasing prevalence of manufactured systems and components and volumetric construction.

Throughout this phase, project cost plans, programme and CDM Health & Safety information are reviewed and relayed back to the client.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Building Manual including Health and Safety File and Fire Safety Information
  • Practical Completion
  • certificate including Defects List
  • Asset Information

RIBA Stage 6: Handover

In the construction industry, the term “handover” typically refers to:

  1. The handover of the site to the contractor at commencement of the works.
  2. The handover of the completed works to the client. This is sometimes referred to as handover and close out.

At “Handover” stage, the client becomes the main person (or company) responsible for the site. The building contractor will hand over key operational material /documents including a building owner’s manual and the health and safety file.

From MEP side this will include any comparison between design and actual situation, target performance.

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Feedback on Project
  • Performance
  • Final Certificate
  • Feedback from light touch
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation

RIBA Stage 7: Use

The 2020 edition of the RIBA Plan of Work has renamed this stage ‘Use’. It suggests that: ‘On the majority of projects, the design team and construction team will have no Stage 7 duties to undertake.’

Results at the end of the stage:

  • Feedback from Post Occupancy Evaluation
  • Updated Building Manual including Health and Safety File and Fire Safety Information as necessary

For REMARS M&E Consulting Engineers the RIBA work flow stages are well evaluated and we are happy to work according to these guidelines. They allow for a clarity and alignment of responsibility to the whole construction process from inception to building operation for the MEP design services.

If you would like us to help you with any kind of M&E project for any RIBA stage of work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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