What is a bill of quantities?

A bill of quantities (commonly known as BOQ or BQ) is a document prepared by a quantity surveyor or cost consultant to define the quality and quantity of works required to be carried out by the main contractor to complete a project.

A bill of quantities also provides the main contractor with measured quantities of works as identified on the project drawings and specification.

The main purpose of a BOQ is to:

  • Standardise the process for tendering contractors to prepare a firm cost to carry out the works.
  • Provide a fair and accurate method for tendering contractors to price the project using the same information.
  • Allow the employer’s consultants to carry out a tender analysis whereby they can compare both the overall cost received and individual priced items with other tender offers.
  • Enable either the quantity surveyor or contract administrator to confirm that individual contractors have submitted bona fide tenders compliant with the tender information, that represent value for money to the client.

During the construction period the BOQ can assist the design team by:

  • Helping to determine the agreement of the contract sum with the successful tender
  • Identifying a schedule of rates for individual work items to assist with costing variations
  • Providing the basis of identifying works completed for interim valuations
  • Providing the basis for the preparation of the final account

It is important that a BOQ is prepared to a standard methodology recognised by everyone involved in the project to avoid any misunderstandings or ambiguities. A BOQ is also a valuable document during the process and settlement of any dispute resolution.

BOQs are prepared in accordance with New Rules of Measurement (NRM) which became operative on January 1, 2013 and replaced SMM7 on July 1, 2013.

See also #AskJonesMelling: What is the difference between NRM and SMM7?

This answer is a guide only. Jones Melling has a team of specialists who can advise you on whether a bill of quantities is suitable or necessary for your project.

Ask a question

Have you got a question on a property, construction or building matter?

Please complete our form below.