Last edited 09 Aug 2018

Advantages of a bill of quantities

The bill of quantities (sometimes referred to as 'BoQ' or 'BQ') is a document prepared by the cost consultant (often a quantity surveyor) that provides project specific measured quantities of the items of work identified by the drawings and specifications in the tender documentation.

The bill of quantities is issued to tenderers for them to prepare a price for carrying out the works. The bill of quantities assists tenderers in the calculation of construction costs for their tender, and, as it means all tendering contractors will be pricing the same quantities (rather than taking off quantities from the drawings and specifications themselves), it also provides a fair and accurate system for tendering.

At some stage in a project’s procurement process, regardless of the type of contract being used, the works will need to be quantified in order to obtain prices or to value the extent of the work and variations to issue payments. A good and accurate BoQ makes this process much easier and more transparent, and removes the reliance on guesswork. Before construction begins, the BoQ can inform the project budget and inform the modification of any elements of the design that may be prohibitively expensive. It can help clarify quantities which means materials can be procured in advance of the works starting.

Consistency is another advantage of using a BoQ. It saves time in terms of analysing and comparing the bills since they will follow the standard format and measured information, providing a consistent basis for obtaining competitive bids. This means the client can focus more attention on the different quality considerations. For tenderers, it helps create a low-risk and low-cost tendering environment, which encourages the submission of competitive bids since the risk is better understood and defined.

A BoQ can provide a clear and extensive statement of the work that is to be completed, as well as a reliable base for budget control and accurate cost reporting. It enables the preparation of cash flow forecasts and provides a basis for the valuation of variations, the preparation of interim payments, and the final account.

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