HomeResourcesGRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) process explained

GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) process explained

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Network Rail developed the GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) process to manage and control investment projects – ones that enhance or renew the national rail network as opposed to those involved with routine maintenance of the railway. It was developed in order to minimise and mitigate the risks associated with delivering such projects .

GRIP divides a project into eight distinct stages. The overall approach is product, rather than process, driven and, within each stage, an agreed set of products is delivered.

  1. Output definition.
  2. Feasibility.
  3. Option selection.
  4. Single option development.
  5. Detailed design.
  6. Construction test and commission.
  7. Scheme hand back.
  8. Project close out.
The eight stages of the GRIP process.

The stages in detail

GRIP Stage 1: Output Definition

This stage establishes the scope of investment and and the work being proposed. In particular, it considers:

  • The objective, scope, timing, and specification of the enhancement;
  • Funding for the project and any project risks;
  • Procurement methodology: what should be undertaken in development and implementation works;
  • Any likely interface with existing railway operations and other relevant projects and route strategies;
  • Other stakeholder involvement.

GRIP Stage 2: Project Feasibility

Following successful review and prioritisation of the investment proposal, Stage 2 moves the project forward. Where a scheme changes the capability of the railway, for example it changes the timetable or operation of the network, or it integrates with existing major programmes of work, then Network Rail’s System Operator team is likely to sponsor the scheme. Other schemes, such as investment in stations, will be sponsored by Route Enhancement teams.

GRIP Stage 3: Option Selection

At the end of this phase, the following workstreams should have been completed:

  • The various options available to complete the project will have been identified;
  • Each of these available options will have been appraised; and
  • A single option and outline design should be recommended.

The business case should confirm whether or not the project is affordable, including consideration of whole-life cost issues, whether it can be delivered in a reasonable timescale, whether it will provide value for money, and, on this basis, whether to proceed to detailed design and implementation.

GRIP Stage 4: Single Option Development

Development of the chosen single option selected in stage 3 commences to create the outline design.

Outline designs are produced, and any technical or legal issues that could cancel an option or a project are usually identified by this point.

GRIP Stage 5: Detailed Design

The completion of a robust engineering design that provides definitive costs, times, resources and risk assessments.

Stage 5 will deliver the full design to which the project will be built is produced. This includes cost and time estimates.

GRIP Stage 6: Construction, Test and Commission

The project is built to the design and specification detailed during stage 5. It is tested to confirm everything is operating as specified and commissioned into use.

GRIP Stage 7: Scheme Handback

Transfer of asset responsibility from the contractor’s project team to the operator and maintainer.

GRIP Stage 8 – Project close out

The project is formally closed.  Contracts are settled and warranties agreed. Benefit assessments commence and the project team disbands.


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