Bill of Quantities Advantages and Disadvantages – BOQ

What is bill of quantities (BQ)?  According to RICS New Rules of Measurement: NRM2 ” A bill of quantities means a list of items giving detailed identifying descriptions and firm quantities of the work comprised in a contract.”  It provides almost exact measured quantities and works descriptions identified in the drawings and specifications of the project.

Bill of quantities (BQ or BOQ) is prepared by the client’s quantity surveyor or cost manager. The quantities are measured in number, length, area, volume, weight or time. BOQ helps to contractors get an itemized list of materials, equipment, and labour (with their costs) required to build new projects, maintain, or repair existing structures.

Bill of quantities may be prepared using different types of standard methods of measurement depending on the work categories such as building construction and civil engineering projects. The main standard methods of measurement are currently using:

  • NRM1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works.
  • NRM2: Detailed measurement for building works (replacing the Standard Method of Measurement, seventh edition SMM7).
  • NRM 3: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works.
  • CESMM4: Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement, Fourth Edition.

There are a number of cuntries developed their own Standard Method of Measurements similar to United Kingdom’s SMM7. Similar guides are published in Australia, Ireland, Canada, Sri Lanka, Hongkong, France and many other countries.

Advantages of bill of quantities

Preparing bill of quantities has many benefits and drawbacks.  The main advantages of bill of quantities are:

  • Simplified tender analysis.
  • It saves the cost and time of several contractors measuring the same design in order to
    calculate their bids for competition.
  • It helps to calculation of interim valuations and progress payments.
  • Valuing of variations orders
  • Bill of quantities helps to prepare final account
  • Asset management which means BOQ provides data for asset management of the completed projects, life cycle cost, maintenance schedules, general insurance and insurance-replacement costs.
  • Taxation.
  • Priced bill of quantities database details will assist future feasibility estimating and cost planning.
  • It  provides an extensive and clear statement of the work to be executed;

Disadvantages of bill of quantities

  • It increases the cost and design period in the pre-contract stage.
  • Estimating practice
  • Bill of quantities errors
  • Alternative procurement methods


Bill of quantities format

BOQ is in tabular form which contents item no, description, unit, quantity, rate and amount in different columns.

Bill of quantities sample format

Bill of quantities sample format

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