Creating a Bill of Quantities is a necessary component in the planning stage of a construction project, but knowing how to prepare one can be challenging.
Bill of quantities have standardized information even if they look slightly different.
This guide will go through the basic components of a Bill of Quantities and how to use it throughout the life of a construction project.
With Flexbase, you can:
With this level of data integration and organization, creating a Bill of Quantities has become even easier.
A Bill of Quantities (BoQ or BQ) is a document that lists the total materials required to complete a construction project that have been outlined in the tender documentation.
A BoQ allows you to compare several quotes in thorough detail before you hire a contractor. This also allows you to clearly define the scope of work in a project.
The quantities may be measured in:
Before a BoQ can be completed, the design must be complete, and specification has to be prepared. The BoQ is then given to tenderers so they can prepare a price for carrying out the work.
A Bill of Quantities is usually completed by a quality surveyor, a cost consultant, or a civil engineer whose expertise is estimating materials required for a project. Even if you don't prepare the BoQ yourself, knowing what's involved in preparing one will help you better prepare for tender negotiations.
To begin, a spreadsheet can be prepared to collect the data you’ll need to create a Bill of Quantities.
Here are some categories that should be included as columns:
Be sure to label your item numbers consecutively, starting from 1. Restart the item numbers for each category or section of the build.
Something that is often found in a Bill of Quantities is a contingency sum. This refers to unforeseeable costs likely to be incurred during the contract.
There are two types of contingency sums:
First prepare a list of materials you'll need to complete the project.
After looking at the architect's plans, write a basic list of all the building materials and quantities of those materials needed.
Here’s a simple example.
If you're building a house, some items you might include on your list of materials may be:
Next, identify the unit of measurement for each of these materials. For example, if you have concrete on your list, your unit of measurement will be cubic meters (CUM).
Once you've got a list of materials, fill in the details on your spreadsheet.
For example, if you need concrete, you might list “RCC slab” for reinforced concrete slab next to item number one. In the unit of measurement, you will write “CUM” for cubic meters.
Since projects cannot always be economical and wasteless, you may want to add 15% to 20% to your material calculations to prepare for any waste during the project.
Different parts of your project are likely to be completed by different contractors or subcontractors. A Bill of Quantities is most useful to the contractor when they are separated into work sections that likely reflect subcontractor contracts.
You'll increase your organization by splitting up your list of materials into sections that reflect different categories of work.
For example, you can break down the work into categories such as HVAC installations and fire protection systems.
Some materials may fall under more than one category. If you have both framing and flooring as categories, they both may need to use the same nails. Divide the overall number of nails you estimate needing for each section. You might want to allot 60% to framing and 40% to flooring, or whatever best suits your project.
Each section will have an itemized list and a subtotal. A subcontractor will be able to look at the total of that category and be able to quickly understand what their costs will be for the project.
Here you will determine the number of man-hours it will take to finish each section of the project. The unit of measurement used will be man-hours.
This should be a conservative estimate.
People vary in how fast they work. A quantity surveyor can often estimate this based on their own experience with similar projects. But you can also talk to contractors to get an idea of how many man-hours it would take to finish each part.
Now you can make an initial cost estimate.
To find local coverage prices for materials and labor in your area, you can:
Be sure to print off a separate copy of the Bill of Quantities for your initial cost estimate. This information is not usually included in the official BoQ. However, you can use it to compare bids from other contractors.
Using the labor cost estimates, you can determine how long it will take to complete the project. A best practice is to keep this schedule loose to account for things that could cause delays such as weather.
By adding in a buffer, you're allowing yourself the flexibility you need to be able to complete the project on time.
A BoQ can be used to create payment applications as the work continues. The contractor can keep track of the quantities used each month on the form, then multiply it by the price for each item to get the invoice amount.
This also makes it easy for the owner to see progress on the project and prepare for future cash flow needs.
BoQs are prepared during the tendering process before the owner accepts a bid from a contractor. This is an important step in construction projects that allows you to compare different offers under equal terms.
Bills of Quantity are often prepared by the cost consultant or quality surveyor. This role is often taken on by the engineering firm in charge of the design. Larger companies with their own engineering staff often create their own Bills of Quantity.
This allows the scope and quantity of work to be determined by a neutral party. This also means building contractors compete under equal conditions.
Here are 9 major advantages of BoQs:
FlexBase auto-generates contracts and forms and houses them all in one, easy-to-access place for record-keeping.
Flexbase can help organize your documentation and quickly create forms that take valuable time to complete individually.
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