Bill of quantities is a document that consists of the measured specific amounts of the required items for a project, based on the drawing and specifications in the tender documentation. Bill of quantities is generally referred to as ‘BoQ’ or ‘BQ’ and is generally used in the construction industry.
Cost consultants or quality surveyors formulate a document of the required items, including construction materials, labor, and individual work costs. So, the bill of quantities plays a role of a communicating medium among the client, consultant, and contract administrator to give specific details about the needed items for a construction process or project schedule.
When project owners draft their product or project design, it needs many materials and effort to make it a reality. Highly qualified quantity surveyors estimate the required items by analyzing project drawings to alleviate and optimize the cost planning process by incorporating details about the quality of the materials, labor prices, material prices, etc.
What is the Bill of Quantities?
Definition: A bill of quantities is defined as the documented list of materials and services needed to perform and complete a project. Once the project design is done, bills of quantities are made by architects, engineers, or quantity surveyors that generally incorporate details of materials and labor along with the quantities of each.
All in all, it is documentation of the required work items and material according to the architect’s design for a project. It is also known as BoQ or BQ. It involves a cost consultant or a quantity surveyor to create a document regarding the required items, including materials for the project progress and completion along with the total number of workers and their payments as well as other necessary parameters for the construction projects.
The elements of the Bills of quantities are measured in the form of the number, length, volume, mass, area, weight, or time. After drafting the BOQ, it is transferred to the tenderers to provide the proper pricing of the list that is important to continue the construction work. But, comparing the tenderers’ individual and overall price for the BOQ assists the owner in negotiating the tenders.
Who Prepares The BOQ?
A cost consultant or quantity surveyor often prepares the BOQ. They are generally associated with the engineering firm which is in charge of the design. This lets a neutral party analyze the scope and quantity of work.
This bill offers the measured quantities of the items that will be needed for a specific project. The quantities are presented in the form of drawings, designs along with detailed specifications.
However, some of the large companies have an internal engineering staff for creating their bills of quantities. Even in some of the cases, the design firm, and cost consultant could be two different companies, but it is suggested that assigning both tasks to the same engineering firm is more fruitful.
Basic Format for preparing BOQ
In a bill of quantity, the quantities can be measured in any form, such as volume, length, time, number, area, or weight. In order to prepare a proper bill of quantities, the illustrations need to be finished properly.
The key details that should be included in the basic bills of Materials are the form of the tender, requirements, information, pricing schedule, day works, provisional sums, etc.
So, while preparing a BOQ, you should include at least the following 5 components-
- Item Description
- Rate per unit
- Total Amount
The Purposes of a BOQ
Companies create the BOQ and issue that to tenderers for letting them prepare the pricing plan for carrying out a project. Bill of quantities is useful in assisting tenderers in calculating the construction costs for their tender and optimizing their competitive bids. Let us have a look at some of the key purposes of a powerful BOQ-
1. Comparison between construction proposals
Bill of quantities allows the construction’s basic requirements, and the contractors propose the total budget for the project. So, it is easy to check out the price before dealing with that contractor and gather a price list for this same project from different contractors. The owner can get an idea about the cost and deal with the perfect proposals accordingly.
2. The scope of working
It is a list of required items, labor, and their regular payment. It’s a proper mathematical calculation of the amounts of various requirements, and there is merely a chance of misunderstanding the number of workers who would work during the project. So, the scope of work is limited and definite.
3. A better idea of the budget
It represents the required items for constructions entirely with the total amount. A cost consultant helps to determine the budget while maintaining the quality with a top priority. So, the owner becomes aware of the project’s total expenses, which allows that person to invest and work on the billing cycle to earn more capital.
The Power of Bills of Quantities
In the construction industry, it is a crucial matter that gains tremendous attention from each project. It spreads an aura of massive power in construction to put some real value on an architect’s design. The advantageous areas of the bills of quantities include:
1. Cures difficulties and challenges
Developing a project is not an easy job, and owners repeatedly face many hurdles during these operations. But, drafting a Bill of quantities cures most of the difficulties and challenges regarding the construction materials, finance, and workers. Hence, it positively assists in creating a proper document on the required items.
2. Through planning for the project
Once the budget and the required materials and labor are enlisted through the thorough analysis of specifications and design of the construction, the project becomes easier to handle. It embellishes an elaborate and complete description of the necessary materials and equipment to carry on the project.
3. Decreases the bad effects of guesswork
It introduces proper mathematical calculation for evaluating the values of each parameter to secure the successful continuation of a project. So, the entire process of the bills of quantities works on the proper calculation and not on the guesswork, and as a result, owners are less prone to face obstacles during the activities.
4. Less time consumption
If the chart of material and their respective budgets is completed, the rest of the project becomes easier and consumes a short period for execution. Bill of quantities always helps the owners and contractors to gather an idea regarding the various entities of the construction project and can work accordingly by minimizing time.
5 Steps for Creating a Bills of Quantities
Creating bills of quantities takes a few easy steps and appoint a cost consultant is very important for making the process flawless. The complete process of the Bill of quantities is performed digitally.
1. Formulate the list of Bill of quantities
It is the preliminary step for formulating a Bill of quantities and maintains the proper format to create the list. Considering the digital method of creating such a document, you need to set up a spreadsheet and introduce a few columns and rows according to your requirement. These columns and rows are present to help the cost consultants to maintain a format to focus each element of the project and their respective costs separately.
2. Draft a list of the required items
The most important step is drafting the required items for your construction project. The architect’s design must need the proper materials to become a reality. Analyzing the design and setting up the required items and their quantities is a crucial task to encounter. A cost consultant or a quantity surveyor mostly assists the owners by offering the Bill of quantities for the project.
3. Introduce sub-sections of your construction project
Sometimes working on a whole project entirely becomes difficult to maintain the quantity of the items at the right place. So, you can divide the entire project into a few sub-groups to effectively improve the workers’ and the sub-contractors working activities.
4. Predict the working hours of the laborers
Determine the total working hours of each labor to complete each sub-group and make some quick calculations to evaluate the total time required for completing the entire project. For such cases, you can take the contractors’ advice to set up the hour limit for each worker to finish your project on time.
5. Estimation of the budget
Estimation of the total budget for the materials, labor, and other activities is crucial to running your project smoothly. But, before sending the Bill of quantities to the tenderer, make sure you have a rough calculation on the probable budget to proceed with your project further.
Restrictions for Bill of Quantities
It is always advisable to create the Bill of quantities by considering a standard methodology. It is required primarily to reduce the probability of making some mistakes.
Moreover, the owners experience a lot of tantrums regarding the errors like incorrect measurement in the quantities, arithmetic errors, errors for the varying a lot of things in between the project, incorrect assumptions, errors in counting the parameters.
So, the Bill of quantities does maintain restrictions, and a small mistake in the Bill of quantities is enough to affect the operation of the entire project.
Standards for Bills of Quantities
For having an effective bill of quantities, your BOQ must follow a standard. It will be useful in avoiding different sorts of confusions and ambiguities that generally occur in BOQs. This way, it ultimately helps in avoiding disputes that often arise because of different interpretations of pricing and quantities.
BOQ for general construction works in the UK used to be prepared as per the Standard Method of Measurement 7th Edition (SMM7). It was functional till 1st July 2013. and then it was replaced with a new standard named the New Rules of Measurement.
Another standard for civil engineering works is the Civil Engineering Method of Measurement which is now in its 4th Edition (CESMM). Standard Method of Measurement also adopted the CAWS i.e. Common Arrangement of Work Sections that is popular as a standard method for categorizing the works. It also involved the categorization of work for the NBS i.e. National Building Specification-
- A – Preliminaries and general conditions
- B – Complete buildings, structures, and units
- C – Existing site, buildings, and services
- D – Groundwork
- E – In situ concrete and large precast concrete
- F – Masonry
- G – Structural carcassing, metal, and timber
- H – Cladding and covering
- J – Waterproofing
- K – Linings, sheathing, and dry partitioning
- L – Windows, doors, and stairs
- M – Surface finishes
- N – Furniture and equipment
- P – Building fabric sundries
- Q – Paving, planting, fencing, and site furniture
- R – Disposal systems
- S – Piped supply systems
- T – Mechanical heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems
- U – Ventilation and air conditioning systems
- V – Electrical systems
- W – Communications, security, safety, and protection systems
- X – Transport systems
- Y – General engineering services
- Z – Building fabric reference specification
Bill of quantities is an effective approach in construction projects where the materials, labors, and costs are determined.
Moreover, it also introduces a harmonious relationship between the owner, contractor, cost consultant, and the workers.
So, the modern era of construction has established the Bill of quantities as one of the biggest requirements to avoid misunderstanding about the materials for the particular project.