Last edited 28 Nov 2016

Preliminaries in construction

Preliminaries (or 'prelims') provide a description of a project that allows the contractor to assess costs which, whilst they do not form a part of any of the package of works required by the contract, are required by the method and circumstances of the works.

The Code of Estimating Practice published by the Chartered Institute of Building describes preliminaries as, '...the cost of administering a project and providing general plant, site staff, facilities, and site based services and other items not included in the rates”.

Preliminaries should not be confused with 'preambles' which set out things such as tendering procedures, that will not affect the contractor's price.

Preliminaries may contain:

NB The Common Arrangement of Work Sections for Building Works (CAWS) sets out detailed categorises for preliminaries. Although this system is currently undergoing considerable change, with CAWS being incorporated into Uniclass, Uniclass being replaced with Uniclass2 and SMM7 being superceded by the New Rules of Measurement (NRM). See CAWS for more information.

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This can look like a different language to lots of the people who are not in the construction field. I think the only preliminary should be to get the right contractor. If you find the right one, and can trust them, all of this stuff will be taken care of correctly.