What are the RIBA stages?

The Royal Institute of British Architects has provided a systematic approach to managing architectural projects that guide stakeholders from inception to completion.

In a nutshell:

• RIBA has provided a structured framework for the construction of projects such as architectural façades.

• It is essential for architects, clients, and other stakeholders involved, such as façade companies, to understand all 8 stages of ‘the RIBA Plan of Work’.

• The first four stages lay out the inception and design phase, where a project brief is created and approved, leading to a conceptualised design and a full technical design.

• The final four stages oversee the project come to life: from construction to handover and lastly maintenance of the final product.


'The RIBA Plan of Work' is a structured framework produced by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) that guides architectural projects from inception to completion. This framework consists of eight stages, each crucial for the successful delivery of a project. Understanding these stages is essential for architects, clients, and other stakeholders, such as façade companies, involved in the design and construction process.

Stage 0: Strategic Definition:

• This initial stage involves defining the project objectives, feasibility studies, and establishing the project brief.

• Key activities include site appraisals, initial consultations with stakeholders, and preliminary budget assessments.

• Façade companies can offer pre-construction services to explore the buildability of projects through early collaboration.

• The goal is to clarify the project's purpose, scope, and viability before proceeding to the next stages.

Stage 1: Preparation and Brief

• During this stage, the project brief is developed in detail based on the client's requirements and aspirations.

• Architects gather information, conduct site surveys, and analyse regulatory requirements and constraints.

• A design team is assembled, and initial concepts may be explored to align with the project brief.

Stage 2: Concept Design

• Conceptualisation is the main part of this stage as initial design ideas are developed and presented to the client.

• Architects explore various design options, taking aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability principles into consideration.

• Feedback from relevant parties such as clients or façade designers is crucial to refine the design direction before moving forward.

Stage 3: Developed Design

• Building upon the approved concept from the previous stage, the design is further developed with more detailed drawings, specifications, and material selections.

• Structural, mechanical, and electrical systems are integrated into the design, ensuring coherence and efficiency.

• Cost estimates become more accurate, and potential risks are identified and mitigated.

Stage 4: Technical Design

• Detailed technical drawings, schedules, and specifications are produced during this stage, ready for construction.

• Coordination with consultants and specialists intensifies to ensure compliance with building regulations and standards.

• The focus of this stage is on resolving technical complexities and optimising the design for construction efficiency.

Stage 5: Construction:

• The design begins to become a reality as construction starts based on the approved technical documentation.

• Architects oversee the construction process, ensuring quality, safety, and adherence to the design intent.

• Regular site inspections, progress meetings, and communication with contractors are essential to address any issues promptly.

Stage 6: Handover and Close-Out

• Upon completion of construction, the project is handed over to the client after rigorous testing, commissioning, and snagging.

• As-built documentation is compiled, including operation and maintenance manuals, certificates, and warranties.

• Post-occupancy evaluations may be conducted to assess the building's performance and user satisfaction.

Stage 7: In-Use

•This final stage focuses on the long-term performance and management of the project throughout its lifecycle.

• Facilities management, maintenance, and potential adaptations or refurbishments are addressed to ensure the building remains functional and efficient.

• Continuous feedback and monitoring contribute to ongoing improvements and sustainability.