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What is the GRIP Process?

  • David
  • 17 Mar 2016
  • Rail

GRIP stands for Governance for Railway Investment Projects and is the process that Network Rail uses to manage developments to enhance or renew Britain’s rail network.

The eight stages of GRIP are designed to minimise and mitigate the risks often associated with huge infrastructural changes such as those taking place in CP5. While this fixed process may seem to be counterproductive, the product driven system helps guide the rail industry through a projects’ objectives while avoiding unnecessary risks and helping ensure any resources are used sensibly.

The GRIP process ensures that the focus is on the delivery of previously agreed products so with each step a set of goals are completed. The stages developed by Network Rail are:  

  1. Output Definition – Establishes the scope of investment and potentially asset renewal.
  2. Feasibility – Defines the investment goals and identifies constraints to ensure that they can be achieved both economically and strategically.
  3. Option Selection – Assesses potential options and selects the most appropriate one to deliver stakeholders’ requirements.
  4. Single Option Development – The implementation of the option selected during the third step.
  5. Detailed Design – The creation of a detailed engineering plan that provides definitive costs, times, resources and risk assessments.
  6. Construction Test & Commission – The project will be completed to the agreed specifications and testing will commence in order to confirm that everything is operating within the design brief.
  7. Scheme Handback – The transfer of asset responsibility from the contractor to the operators.
  8. Project Closeout – Contracts are settled while contingencies and warranties are put into place before an assessment of the benefits is finally carried out.

This approach has been developed in line with the best practices throughout industries that undergo major infrastructure projects. It is based on the recommended practices of major professional boards including the Office of Government Commerce, the Association of Project Management and the Chartered Institute of Building.

Since all investment projects comply with these eight steps, the GRIP process ensures that best practices from other industries are adhered to throughout the rail industry. This ensures that the common risks which could potentially happen on the site of any investment projects are avoided to create a worksite that minimises risks.

The GRIP process is essential to the rail industry. While investments can be funded, procured and delivered in several ways, they must still be compatible and integrated with the existing rail network. Since Network Rail plays the role of infrastructure manager, their GRIP procedure allows them to manage how the projects are accomplished. 

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