Substructure Taking-off List

Taking off quantities is a key skill demanded of a quantity surveyor. Substructure taking-off involves all measurement work up to and including the damp-proof course. It includes a variety of trades such as clearing site, top soil removing, excavation, concrete work and masonry works.

Here is a list of Substructure Taking-off according to SMM7

Site preparation

  • Removing trees and shrubs
  • Lifting turf
  • Top soil/removing/preserving


  • Reduce levels/disposal of excavated material
  • Excavating trenches/disposal of excavated
  • material/filling/surface treatments

Working space

The SMM7 Measurement Code states that because working space is no longer measured in detail this
information is provided to enable contractors to make their own allowance based on this and the other information provided. (See SMM7 for more information D20.6.1)

Earthwork support

  • To sides of reduced level/sides of trenches


  • Foundations
  • Beds/formwork/damp-proof membrane

Masonry Brick walls/facings

  • Forming cavities
  • Filling to cavities
  • Damp-proof courses

Taking-off list for the substructure of a building together with the unit of measurement and the SMM references.

Taking-off List Unit SMM Reference
Clearing site vegetation m2 D.1.1
Removing trees and stumps Nr D.1.2
Excavating topsoil for preservation m2 D.2.1
Disposal of (Depositing) topsoil m3 D.8.3.2
Excavating to reduce level m2 / m3 D.2.2
Disposal of spoil m3 D.8.3
Excavating pits m3 D.2.4
Excavating trenches width > 300 mm m3 D.2.5
Excavating trenches width < 300 mm m D.2.6
Work below water level (E/O Item) m3 D.3.1
Work below ground water level (E/O Item) m3 D.3.2
Breaking up obstructions m3 D.4
Filling to excavations m3 D.9.1
Working space allowance to excavation m2 D.6
Earthwork support m2 D.7
Disposal of surface & ground water Item D.8.1/2
Levelling & compacting bottom of excavation m2 D.10.4.3
Concrete in foundations m3 E1.2
Deduct Filling to excavation (volume of foundation) m3 D.9.1
Add Disposal of excavated material off site (-ditto-) m3 D.8.3.1
Formwork to foundations m/m2 E2.1
Reinforcements to foundation t (Kg) E3.1/2/3
Brickwork/block work in foundation m2 G1.1
Projections in brickwork/block work m2 G1.2
Rubblework in foundation m2 G2.1
Projections in rubblework m G2.5
Deduct Filling to excavation (volume of foundation) m3 D.9.1
Add Disposal of excavated material off site (-ditto-) m3 D.8.3.1
Damp proofing course m/m2 H.2.1/2.1
Levelling & compacting ground m2 D.10.4.1
Filling to make up levels (Hardcore bed) m3 D.
Compacting & blinding surface of hardcore bed m2 D.10.4.1
Damp proofing membrane (Horizontal) m/m2 H.2.1/2.1.1
Damp proofing membrane (Vertical) m/m2 H.2.1/2.2.1
Concrete beds or slabs on ground m3 F1.3
Topsoil adjustment to outside of foundations m3 D.

Example taking off for substructure

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