With its inception almost 25 years ago, the Project Definition Rating Index, better known as PDRI, has continued to evolve, becoming an industry-standard practice adopted by organizations worldwide.

The results are critical in the determination of whether a project is sufficiently defined to proceed to the next phase, with proven correlations to both project cost and certainty.

The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) is a front end planning best practice developed by the Construction Industry Institute (CII). Around the world, PDRI has given organizations a methodology to measure the level of scope definition in a manner that ensures a comprehensive review of scope.

When best practices are followed in conducting PDRI sessions, the methodology allows project leaders to quickly identify gaps and take appropriate action. PDRIs that are performed consistently across a portfolio of capital projects systematically reduce risk – starting in front end planning.

How PDRI Works

A PDRI review is a typically a 4 – 6 hour session, hosted by a neutral facilitator and attended by the project team. Participants go through a series of questions, rating the level of completeness for each project element on a scale of 0 to 5 (definitions) . The higher the score, the higher the risk.

Generally, a PDRI review is performed twice during the Front End Planning phase of a project.

Recommended PDRI sessions during the front end planning

PDRI Tools are Aligned to Industry Sector

Over the past 25 years, CII has developed seven PDRI templates to meet the needs of the construction industry:

1996: PDRI for Industrial projects (updated in 2013)

1999: PDRI for Building Projects (updated in 2013)

2010: PDRI for Infrastructure Projects (updated in 2013)

2015: PDRI for Small Industrial Projects

2016: PDRI for Small Infrastructure Projects

2018: PDRI for Manufacturing & Life Sciences

2019: PDRI MATRS (PDRI Industrial 5.0)

2020: PDRI for Mining

PDRI industry template timeline

Latest Innovation – The PDRI MATRS Industrial Template

One of the key innovations in PDRI took place in 2019 with the release of PDRI MATRS (PDRI Industrial 5.0)

PDRI MATRS (Maturity and Accuracy Total Rating System) is an extension of PDRI, assessing both maturity and accuracy of Front End Engineering Design (FEED) in large, complex industrial projects.

FEED is a component of the Front End Planning process and is also referred to as Detailed Scope. FEED consists of the preparing engineering documents, outputs, and deliverables for the chosen scope of work.

Definition Level Criteria for all Elements

One key resource developed as part of the PDRI MATRS tool is definition level criteria for all elements. This valuable addition increases the consistency in facilitation. The score guidance provides increased clarity on what must be completed for each element and definition level.

PDRI element descriptions

The Maturity Score

Out of the 70 elements, 46 are directly related to FEED, spanning all three sections of the PDRI Industrial template. All elements maintain the same weightings and definition level values as the standard PDRI Industrial template. The normalization formula transforms the PDRI score for the maturity elements into a maturity percentage. A higher maturity score indicates a better scope definition for FEED deliverables. By the end of the Detailed Scope (Phase 3), the target maturity score is 80% or higher.

The Accuracy Score

The second addition is an accuracy score. A new accuracy section provided a means to evaluate the degree of confidence the team has in the overall scope definition package. Accuracy factors relate to the:

  • Project leadership team,
  • Project execution team,
  • Project management processes, and
  • Project resources

Accuracy Scoring System

The new accuracy section includes 27 factors organized into four categories. Each factor is weighted based on CII research results and is displayed as a percentage. The target score at the end of Detailed Scope (Phase 3) is 76%. The higher the score, the better. The definition levels used to evaluate accuracy factors are different than those use for scope-related elements, but the approach is the same.

  • Zero is used for not applicable
  • 1 means the team is “high performing” concerning the factor criteria,
  • 5 means the results are “not acceptable”

Analyzing the Results

The combination of the Maturity and the Accuracy score comprise the new secondary metric called the MATRS Score.


In addition to the core benefits of PDRI assessments, PDRI MATRS improves the degree of confidence in the level of maturity of FEED deliverables at the end of Detailed Scope (Phase 3). This typically represents 30% design complete and aligns with a Class 3 cost estimate range (AACEi).

Over twenty years ago, CII has made continual investment in improving the PDRI methodology. Valency, a CII Registered Provider, is here to supports organizations like yours around the world in implementing PDRI and deploying the latest innovations including PDRI training, supporting tools and new templates.

training course pdri principles and practices