Last edited 05 Oct 2020

Bill of quantities software

A bill of quantities (sometimes referred to as a 'BoQ' or 'BQ') is a document, typically prepared by a cost consultant (often a quantity surveyor) that provides measured quantities of the items of work identified by the drawings and specifications in the tender documentation for a project. It is issued to tenderers for them to prepare a price for carrying out the works.

Manual estimating can be an inefficient use of time, and so cost consultants often use BoQ software packages to make the process easier and to reduce errors. Databases may already exist providing design information from a building model, and specifications, and so quantities can be calculated and tender documents generated. During the design process, new measurements can be filed and included, with the result that every item, as well as the totals, are updated automatically.

Different levels of subdivision allow cost details for super- or sub-groupings to be created, which enables easy preparation of documents focusing on specific parts of the projects. Software can enable the organisation of BoQs into different work sections, grouping homogeneous categories of work. It may also be possible to re-order BoQ's from one breakdown structure to another. For more information see: Bill of quantities breakdown structures.

A digital version of the bill of quantities can also support the calculation and agreement of variations during the construction phase.

Typically, BoQ software uses the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface, allowing the user to work on screen as though they were working on a paper document. This increases the intuitive nature of the data entry. Drag and Drop actions enable users to copy data from document to document.

Many software programs also use pricing libraries, providing consistent, accurate and well-documented rate build-ups. Item description libraries can also be used to reduce the time taken for bill capture.

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