Last edited 26 Dec 2020

Work section

Construction projects are typically broken down into basic operations (work sections) which involve undertaking tasks that are similar and therefore convenient to group as one activity. This may be for the purposes of phasing or to realise time or cost savings. The activities within one work section may be linked in terms of construction method, materials or sequence.

Each of the work sections typically involves only one main trade. It may involve work on a part of a building (e.g conservatory) or work involving a type of material (e.g brickwork, stone or glass-block walling) or a specific activity (such as site survey or demolition). When all the work sections identified are combined, they will represent the entire programme of work for the project.

The content of each of the work sections is defined by means of a schedule of basic quantities. This will allow quantification of the resources required to complete each operation.

The Common Arrangement of Work Sections (CAWS), is a classification of work sections in construction and is sometimes used to provide consistency in the arrangement of specifications and bills of quantities. For more information see Common Arrangement of Work Sections.

CAWS defines over 300 work sections which are designed to:

CAWS is divided into 23 subheadings corresponding to each letter of the alphabet (except I, O and Y). The classification is as follows:

Each of the above subheadings is further sub-classified into related activities.

For example, G: Structural / carcassing metal / timber, is broken down into:

For a full breakdown of the work sections listed from A to Z above, see Common arrangement of work sections classification.

CAWS has now been superseded for some purposes by the New Rules of Measurement (NRM). NRM 2 suggests that a work section breakdown structure for a simple project might be:

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