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Bill of Quantities Explained

A bill of quantities is an estimate of the amount of materials needed for a construction project. It’s best created by a professional cost consultant and depends on complete documentation.

It is prepared after the design is completed and a specification has been made. It helps tendering contractors in pricing work by providing a standard method of measuring and makes it easy to compare contractor proposals.


If you’re planning a large project, you need to prepare a bill of quantities to get the best possible prices for your materials. A BoQ is a detailed list of the costs associated with every item in your construction project. Using a BoQ will help you estimate your budget with accuracy and eliminate unwanted rework. It will also make the tender adjudication process more efficient and reduce waste of time and money.

A good bill of quantities will include the following sections: The list of items and their unit prices. A breakdown of the cost of labor, equipment, and other ancillary items. It will also show the total cost for each item, calculated by multiplying the quantity by the unit price.

Another important feature of a good BoQ is the description of the work to be done. It should be written clearly and in an understandable language, so that a contractor can quickly interpret it. It will also identify any items of work that cannot be directly identified from the drawings. This will allow contractors to prepare the correct work order and avoid unnecessary delays.

It is important to prepare a BoQ early in the design phase to ensure that all the relevant information is included. Using a BoQ will improve the accuracy of contractor proposals, which makes it easy for the project owner to compare them and select the most competitive proposal. It will also prevent miscommunication between the project owner and contractor, which can lead to disputes and claims.

Units of Measure

Regardless of the type of construction project, it is important that bills of quantities be prepared according to a standard methodology. This will help to eliminate any ambiguities or misunderstandings and reduce the likelihood of disputes over pricing. In the UK, for example, bills of quantities are generally prepared in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement 7th Edition (SMM7) or New Rules of Measurement (NRM), which replaced SMM7 on January 1st, 2013.

Units of measurement are important for any bill of quantity because they establish a consistent terminology that will be used throughout the project. These terms are typically based on industry norms and physical reality, but they may also be influenced by culture and language. For instance, the term “each” is often used when describing an indivisible item such as a screw, resistor or computer chip. However, this word has different meanings in different parts of the world and can create confusion between parties.

When preparing a bill of quantities, start by identifying the items you will need to build. Next, prepare a spreadsheet with the items and their unit of measurement. For example, if you need concrete, use the unit of measurement for cubic meters (CUM). You should also add a contingency sum to allow for waste in the building process. This will ensure that you have enough material to complete the project without incurring unnecessary costs.


Bill of quantities is a pricing document for construction work that is prepared by Quantity Surveyors using the drawings and specifications of a project. Its primary purpose is to provide tendering contractors with a standard document on which they can price their works and submit a fair and accurate tender. It also helps to avoid misunderstandings and ambiguities in the pricing process.

To prepare a good bill of quantities, the Quantity Surveyor must have sufficient time to complete the design and documentation schedule before the tendering period. It is important to make sure that the Bill of Quantities reflects the complete scope of work on the project. Otherwise, it may be inaccurate or difficult to read. Inaccurate bills of quantities will have a significant impact on project estimating, material ordering and more.

The first step in preparing a Bill of Quantities is to break the project down into work packages or subcontractor packages. This is often done by analyzing the project’s drawings and the schedules of work. Once the breakdown is completed, the Quantity Surveyor will measure and estimate the quantity of each item of work.

Once the bill of quantities is prepared, it can be used to compare contractor proposals. The Bill of Quantities will show all the materials, labor and costs that are required to complete the work. This will help the owner determine which contractor offers the best value for their money.


Bill of quantities (BoQ) is a document that contains information on the amount of work, materials and their costs in a construction project. It is generally prepared by a quantity surveyor or cost consultant and provides tendering contractors with an accurate estimate for the work. This allows them to price their quotes accurately and makes it easier to compare them. It is also a requirement for tendering contractors to submit in order to bid on the project.

The preparation of the BoQ involves taking off the measurements from the working drawings and preparing them in a standard format that is easy to read. The BoQ is then issued to tendering contractors so that they can determine a price for the works. This helps to keep the bidding process fair and transparent and prevents corruption in the construction industry.

Depending on the project, the BoQ may include a number of different rates. These rates may be based on the materials costs, labour and equipment or on a percentage of overheads and profit. The item rate is then multiplied by the total contract sum to calculate the final tender price.

A BoQ can be used for many purposes, including material scheduling and construction planning. It can be particularly helpful in the case of a construction project that is being done on an accelerated basis. It can help ensure that the project finishes on time and within budget. It can also help reduce the likelihood of a dispute with your contractor over payments or variations. It can also make the process of obtaining finance quicker and simpler by providing clearer details about your project.