This week the latest book associated with the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 has been published. Assembling a collaborative project team is a practical look at how the project team can be brought together as a whole – client, design team and contractor. The book is authored by Dale Sinclair, who sits on the RIBA Practice and Profession Committee and is Director at Dyer. An accompaniment to the book is a 'Toolbox' spreadsheet externallink that contains examples of the practical tools described in the book. This spreadsheet was developed by NBS following the principles defined in the book.


 Fig 1 - Assembling a Collaborative Project Team and associated Toolbox

The commencement of a project is crucial because the decisions made by the client at that point in time have a fundamental impact on how the project team will be assembled. Two of the key questions are 'Who is in the project team?' and 'What does the project team need to do?'. Answering both of these questions satisfactorily ensures that the best possible start to the project is achieved.

Within Stage 1 of the RIBA Plan of Work, 'Preparation and Brief', two key tasks are defined within the Procurement task bar, 'Prepare the Project Roles Table and Contractual Tree and continue assembling the project team'. A number of key support tasks are also defined; these include agreeing the Schedule of Services, Design Responsibility Matrix and Information Exchanges.

These tasks go some way to answering the 'who' and the 'what' questions that are so important the preparation and brief stage. An overview of three of these worksheets within the Toolbox is given below:

1. Project Roles Table

The Project Roles Table allows for each of the roles that are required to be defined for each stage of the RIBA Plan of Work. In addition, through the use of spreadsheet pick lists, it is possible to define the parties that are participating in the project. The user may then define which party will undertake each role at each stage.


Fig 2 – Example Project Roles table

2. Design Responsibility Matrix incorporating Information Exchanges

At preparation and brief stage, the areas of design each party are responsible for at each stage can be defined. This provides clarity as to what deliverables are required, who will be delivering them and at what stage. At the preparation and brief stage, these can be defined in terms of the concept aspects of design (elements). As the project develops these aspects of design can become more precise to reflect the design solutions (systems and products).


3. Multidisciplinary Schedules of Services

The Schedule of Services ensures that all of the tasks set out in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 are allocated to a party set out in the Project Roles Table. If appropriate, further tasks may be added and certain tasks may be allocated to another party. The parties in the Schedules of Services are those previously defined in the Project Roles Table for the particular stage and role.


Fig 4 – Example Project Roles table

A short video below gives a software tutorial on how the Toolbox may be used on a typical project:

The Toolbox may be downloaded for free from the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 website: - externallink

At NBS, we are considering developing the tools in the Toolbox into applications that project teams can use online. If you would like to help influence these developments, then please consider joining our Beta Test Programme.

And finally, the Toolbox is best used in parallel with the detailed guidance in the book 'Assembling a collaborative project teamexternallink available at RIBA Bookshops externallink.