Last edited 09 Dec 2020

What is a final account?


In construction contracts, a final account is an agreed statement concerning the amount of money to be paid at the end of a building contract by the employer to the contractor. For more information see: Final account.


Who prepares a final account?

Quantity surveyors generally prepare final accounts, in the manner that is best suited to the particular project, with the original contract sum as the starting point. Whilst the contract may give the employer the responsibility for preparing the final account, the best approach is generally for both the employer's quantity surveyor and the contractor’s quantity surveyor to work together to produce an agreed account.

Both the employer (or the employer’s representative) and the contractor sign the final account statement to signify that the final account figure represents the full and final settlement of all claims etc. The settlement of the final account will trigger a final account statement and ultimately, enable the contract administrator to issue the final certificate.

Objectives when preparing the final account include:

Final account preparation guidelines

Under the terms and conditions of the contract, the contractor is generally required to provide the quantity surveyor with all documents necessary for the final account preparation not later than six months after practical completion. Within three months of receipt of these documents, the quantity surveyor is to prepare and ascertain the final account sum and send this to the contractor.

The bulk of the final account will generally consist of measured work priced at the original billed rates. If the contractor’s quantity surveyor has reason to doubt the accuracy of any of the original billed items, they can make a request to the quantity surveyor for that work to be measured on-site.

The adjustment of the contract sum in the final account normally falls under several relevant items, although the quantity surveyor must have regard to all the matters listed in the standard form of contract and conditions

The following are key items to be deducted:

The following are key items to consider incorporating in the final account:


All relevant items must be shown separately in the final account, and the net amount of each variation and amounts due to each nominated subcontractor and nominated supplier listed. When preparing the final account, the employer's quantity surveyor should give the contractor’s quantity surveyor the opportunity to be present when measurements and details are taken or recorded, so that the document is prepared in full liaison with the contractor to avoid the possibility of disputes.

Delays in the settlement of the final account represent additional cost to the contractor and in the majority of cases the employer is anxious to know their ultimate financial commitment. The project manager and the quantity surveyor have a contractual responsibility under the contract to keep to the date stipulated in the contract for completion of the final account, and the contractor should give every assistance in the prompt provision of subcontractors' and suppliers' accounts, agreement of measurement and prices, and the supply of all necessary supporting data.

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