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Bill of Quantities - Everything You Need to Know

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Generally, the Bill of Quantities (BoQ) is drawn-up by the quantity surveyor (employer’s consultant) with construction information provided by the design team. The primary purpose of a BoQ is to ensure all tenderers are provided with a standardised document to price and submit a fair and accurate tender. To a large extent the BoQ is used in post tender works for the preparation of interim valuations, to assist with variations and the final account etc.

What is a Bill of Quantities?

  • A Bill of Quantities (BoQ) is a detailed and itemised pricing document. It is a reflection of the work to done abstracted from the design team’s drawings, specification and any other documentation in respect of.
  • The BoQ is set out in accordance with a standard method of measurement.
  • The BoQ is created and issued as part of the tender documentation, thus providing detailed information for the tenderer to submit an accurate estimate.
  • The BoQ provides sufficient information for the tenderer to price everything necessary to carry out the works, e.g. manufacturing and delivery of materials, plant, labour and any other associated costs on top of this. A detailed BoQ will also set out the out the terms and conditions of the construction contract and itemise the work involved.

So, the BoQ helps tenderers to calculate construction costs and to follow a fair and effective system for tendering. Having a solid and accurate tender and cost estimate will allow for a significantly improved construction process. The work will be carried out on a less confrontational basis, the client will be satisfied, and any potential wastage and surprises along the way will be reduced.

Why is it important?

A BoQ helps contractors produce an accurate and fair tender. Having this as a standard document ensures that competing contractors price the items of work on the same basis. Thus, reducing the risk of ambiguity through, addendums, omissions or misunderstandings.

Though the adjudication process the quantity surveyor is able to analyse the competing contractors’ BoQ on an itemised rate for rate basis.

A BoQ can also be used after the tendering process. Contractors use the document for material scheduling, construction planning, cost analysis and cost planning.

The BoQ defines the extent of the work that needs to be carried out and also provides the estimated contract sum. Thus, it is a very useful document for contractors and clients alike. Having a solid BoQ also makes quantifying the works much easier and more transparent. This is something that needs to occur during the procurement process of any project to get accurate prices or to value the work for payment.

Producing an effective BoQ is therefore essential for a successful bidding process. Getting this process right can help contractors to provide a better service, as well as win over more clients.

Preparing a Bill of Quantities

Preparing a BoQ is a process that includes several steps. The quantity surveyor or cost consultant will usually prepare it during the pre-construction phase.

The process includes:

  • Obtaining the design team’s drawings and specifications.
  • Understanding the type of contract to be used and all the associated terms and conditions.
  • Taking off quantities from the drawings.
  • Draw up a Bill of Quantities using the information from the specification and measurements from the drawings.
  • The Bill of Quantities should be set out in accordance with a standard method of measurement.

Using construction estimating software is incredibly useful for formatting and organising the categories within your BoQ. This will help to group tasks that still need to be completed. For example, contractors can easily import their Bill of Quantities into Candy, manually add in items, allocate trade codes, and price bill items using plug rates, split plug rates and free format rate sheets. By using software, contractors can also ensure that their BoQ layouts are consistent and have all the necessary columns.

Final Thoughts

To submit bids efficiently and accurately, it’s important to ensure the Bill of Quantities pricing and tender adjudication process is right. Having an accurately priced BoQ will eliminate unwanted rework, wasted time, and unnecessary expenses. This will mean winning more bids and overall, happier clients.

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