Assisting technical authors to create readable documents

Writing and editing advice for the Security Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work managing building security against terrorism.
Our clients

Dale Sinclair, the internationally respected authority on digital and technical innovation within construction, engaged Talent Lab several times on different projects. As Lead Author on this project, Dale worked with the National Protective Security Authority (NPSA) in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (CPI), to create the Security Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work. 

The challenge

The Security Overlay needed to engage and inform its intended audience:  everyone involved in the safe and secure design, construction and operation of any building. The overlay would serve as technical guidance for architects and other consultancies and align to the RIBA Plan of Work stages, and eight-stage process of briefing, designing, delivering, maintaining, operating and using a building. It must also complement other overlays within the RIBA Plan of Work library.

How we helped

Talent Lab was engaged to provide writing and editing advice on the overlay, working closely with the Lead Author and NPSA. Although the overlay is now available to download, because of the confidential nature of the topic and team behind the information within it, we cannot share too much of the detail of our involvement in the project. However, like all our writing projects, our goal is to understand what the intended audience for the overlay would need and wish to see in the guidance and we used that as our starting point.

The services we provided included:

  • advice on structuring the guidance, shaping the hierarchy of information presented to create a logical pathway
  • editing passages to ensure the technical content conveyed the key messages and information required
  • highlighting areas where the Lead Author / contributors needed to signpost other technical information, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • suggesting ideas to improve the visual impact and use of authentic photography to reinforce key messages and design themes
  • participating in online editorial review meetings with the Lead Author and NPSA to discuss ideas, agree actions, approve updates following wider stakeholder reviews, design layout review, and sign-off.
Outcomes

The published Security Overlay to the RIBA Plan of Work can be downloaded here.

Once the overlay was approved by all parties and published, we hosted Dale as a guest speaker at an Urbano event, where he shared the key points contained with the Security Overlay with specialists and others from across the Architecture, Construction, Technology and Engineering (ACTE) sectors. The podcast of that event is available to download here, as is the overlay from the RIBA website.

Contact The Lab to discuss writing and/or editing support for your next publication.

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