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RIBA Plan of Work: What Is It? Why Is It Important?

Featured image of Words by: Vandini
23 January 2023 09:35:00 GMT

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RIBA Plan of Work: What Is It? Why Is It Important?

RIBA-Plan-Of-Work-onetraceInitiated in 1963, The RIBA Plan of Work is a framework that can be used by architects to work on their respective projects. In essence, the RIBA Plan of Work contains a knowledge base, scope of work and information exchange that occurs throughout the lifecycle of any construction project. 

In the year 2020, a handbook most commonly known as the ‘Firestopping of Service Penetrations’ was introduced as a collaborative effort of five of the largest non-profit organisations working in the sphere of fire prevention sector.

The key objective behind this collaborative approach was to create a space where the fire safety of an establishment would be considered in the early planning stages of construction and not as an afterthought. The ideal situation in this matter would be when architects, consultants, interior designers, contractors, installers, site managers, and clients amongst a plethora of others actively seek to include both active and passive fire safety mechanisms from the very start of the design phase when starting any construction work. 

Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA), Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) and the Gypsum Products Development Association (GPDA) collaborated on creating the ‘Firestopping of Service Penetrations’ guide (GPDA).

This guide's very essence is to help install service penetrations properly in buildings, preventing the spread of a fire caused by improperly placed or badly installed service penetrations. These guidelines are not unknown to the construction industry but are sparingly involved in the initial stages of any project, which often leads to setbacks in the long run.

Therefore, to secure buildings against fire-related incidents, the guide draws attention towards a seven-stage framework which is a conclusive model for the design and construction phase of any building which was defined by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA Plan of Work). 

What Exactly Falls Under the RIBA Plan of Work?
  1. Strategic Definition
  2. Preparation and Briefing
  3. Concept Design
  4. Spatial Coordination
  5. Technical Design
  6. Manufacturing and Construction
  7. Handover
  8. Use
What Are the Golden Rules?


Since this guidebook gets constant updates as the legislation changes, it is wise to always refer back to ASPF’s guidebook to ensure that the information is up-to-date.

As per the ‘Firestopping of Service Penetrations,’ there are 9 ground rules that set out the entire process that should ideally be followed:

Golden Rule 1: The engagement between specialist installers and fire-stopping manufacturers must take place within the early stages of any construction-related activity. 

Golden Rule 2:  All documents and plans with respect to fire strategy must be reviewed in concurrence with the M&E specifications. 

Golden Rule 3: Map out the space necessary to correctly install any equipment related to fire stopping whilst also identifying all service types transmitting through the compartment wall/floor, including any type of insulation products.   

Golden Rule 4: Act in accordance with the ‘Design process for penetration seals’

Golden Rule 5: UKAS accreditation as a third-party certification is a must when considering any fire-stopping product whilst also ensuring that they have been tested against the relevant inspection standards or are at least CE marked. 

Golden Rule 6: As a best-case scenario try to choose a single manufacturer to supply everything through the entire course of the project. And, if at all different manufacturers are to be considered then comprehensible evidence must exist to affirm their usage.

Golden Rule 7: Proof of third-party certifications must be obtained and then authenticated by notably qualified personnel to establish the relevance of the certificate in specific situations. 

Golden Rule 8: Third-party certifications provided by either FIRAS, LPCB, IFC, BM TRADA etc must exist for all the installers when considering service penetration seals. 

Golden Rule 9: A well-structured inspection plan must include photographic evidence as proof of successful work. 

Onetrace: Built Around the Golden Rules of the RIBA Framework

Compliance and legislation are at the heart of the RIBA Plan of Work and Onetrace’s interface was carefully mapped out to ensure that contractors and fire protection operatives can reap the maximum benefit when it comes to staying in line with the legislation.

Our platform is more than just a system that enables you to manage your workforce and daily tasks. When used optimally, Onetrace will assist you in ensuring that your operatives are working as per your specifications and in line with accreditations set out by BMTRADA and FIRAS. 

Interested to know how Onetrace can be used to optimise the way you conduct your daily business? All you need to do is book a demo to find out how.


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