Last edited 19 Oct 2020

Advantages of a bill of quantities

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

A 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 the modification of any elements of the design that may be prohibitively expensive. It can also help clarify quantities which means the correct materials can be procured in advance of the works starting.

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.

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.

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