IPA overhauls project route map to tackle complex major projects

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) has published a major update of its existing guidance and best practice around the delivery planning of major projects.

The Project Routemap, developed by the IPA with the support of Turner & Townsend and academics at UCL, sets out new guidance and best practice to ensure that novel and complex programmes across UK infrastructure sectors are set up for success. 

The new guidance has been informed by workshops and contributions from expert stakeholders across government, industry and academic to provide a comprehensive update from the previous 2014 methodology.  It responds to an increasingly diverse and complex range of priorities that underpin the delivery of capital programmes, including meeting the UK government’s ambition to reach net zero by 2050 and to level up social and economic opportunities across the UK.  In meeting these challenges, the route map aligns with the United Nations sustainable development goals.

It also places renewed emphasis on organisational design, digital technology, and the transitions in capability required across the project lifecycle – drawing on expertise in change management to ensure benefits encapsulated in early project business cases are maintained through delivery and realised into operation.

The route map takes the form of a handbook and series of eight advice modules targeted at a broad ‘delivery community’ within UK infrastructure – from rail, road and aviation, to defence, health and education. The modules focus on the capabilities required to take programmes successfully from conception and planning through procurement into readiness for delivery. 

The guidance in the updated Project Routemap has already been deployed by the IPA and Turner & Townsend on the UK government’s hydrogen heating programme, led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Patricia Moore, UK managing director at Turner & Townsend commented: “Across the UK we are seeing greater ambition when it comes to major programmes, both in terms of technical sophistication but also the social and environmental outcomes that they deliver. It is vital that we continue to balance traditional drivers such as capital cost with cutting carbon and creating long-term societal value, but this requires careful planning from the outset.”

“The Routemap tackles these complexities head-on, providing a clear blueprint based on best practice and learning from over £300bn of capital programmes. This will be an invaluable resource for our industry as we deliver projects in a greener, more inclusive and ultimately more productive way.”

The ambition for all major projects that are complex or novel use the Routemap methodology was set out with the UK government’s National Infrastructure Strategy in November 2020 and forms part of the drive to fundamentally recalibrate the planning and delivery of major programmes. 

Nick Smallwood, Chief Executive Officer of the IPA, commented: “Over the coming years there will be more investment in infrastructure and major projects than ever before, backed by both public and private sectors. This investment will be a catalyst to building back better and stronger. Infrastructure and major projects will play a critical role in fueling economic growth and improving the lives of people right across the country.

“With greater investment comes greater responsibility and we must ensure we have a strong delivery record that demonstrates real value. This means setting projects up for success from the very start, so that they come in on time and budget, and deliver on their promises - to the benefit of the citizens of the UK.

Click here to download the updated IPA Project Routemap.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email