Last edited 08 Oct 2020

Common mistakes in 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 the drawings and specifications in the tender documentation for construction works.

It is very important that bills of quantities are prepared according to a standard, widely recognised methodology. This helps avoid any ambiguities or misunderstandings and so helps avoid disputes arising through different interpretations of what has been priced.

However, there are some common mistakes that can be made in the bill of quantities. These include:

There can also be errors made in the pricing, such as:

  • Incorrect understanding of the work method.
  • Past performance used to assume future productivity.
  • Inexperience of the estimator.
  • Ignoring the relationship between items of work.
  • Changes that are made late in the process.
  • Inaccurate assumptions regarding items in the BoQ.
  • Arithmetic errors.
  • Differences in currencies not considered.

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