Sections of Bills of Quantities
- Traditionally and typically, Bills of Quantities are divided into the following Bills:
- Bill No. 1 – Preliminaries;
- Bill No. 2 - Preambles;
- Bill No. 3 - Substructure;
- Bill No. 4 - Superstructure;
- Bill No. 5 - Drainage;
- Bill No. 6 - External Works;
- Bill No. 7 - Prime Cost and Provisional Sums;
- Bill No. 8 - Daywork Schedule; and
- General Summary.
- Bill No. 1 – Preliminaries;
- The substructure and superstructure may be further varied as follows:
- Bill No. 1 - Preliminaries;
- Bill No. 2 - Preambles;
- Bill No. 3 - Basement;
- Bill No. 4 - Podium;
- Bill No. 5 - Tower;
- Bill No. 6 - Drainage;
- Bill No. 7 - External Works;
- Bill No. 8 - Prime Cost and Provisional Sums;
- Bill No. 9 - Daywork Schedule; and
- General Summary.
- Bill No. 1 - Preliminaries;
Measured Works Bills
- Bills No. 3 to 6 in the first example and Bills No. 3 to 7 in the second example are Measured Works Bills because the physical work are measured and presented in these Bills.
- Measured Works Bills are usually further divided into Trade Sections arranged according to the trade sequence in Standard Method of Measurement III or the work sections sequence in Standard Method of Measurement IV, e.g.
- Excavator or Excavation;
- Concretor or Concrete Work;
- Bricklayer or Brickwork;
- External Works Bill contains items involving all trades. Therefore, it is usual to arrange items in the External Works Bill according to the type of construction, e.g.
- Site formation;
- Fence walls;
- Roads and pavings;
- Guard house;
Page layout of BQ pages
- Sample page layout of Measured Works Bill:
- Sample layout of Collection page:
- Sample layout of Summary page:
- Sample layout of General Summary page:
Page header and footer
- The positions of the project and contract titles and the company name or logo may be interchanged.
- With the popularity of computer use, it is preferred to have the filename shown to help identifying the computer file. The filename should be systematic and self-explanatory.
- Pages for Measured Works Bills have ruled columns like the following examples:
- Pages for Preliminaries, Collection and Summary pages do not have columns for quantity, unit and rate. The columns are as follows:
- The Qty, Unit, Rate and Amount columns should be wide enough to accommodate the texts and figures when typed in. The width of the Description column is more flexible.
- Bill No. 2 - Preambles do not have ruled columns because the items there are not supposed to be individually priced.
- Recent trend is to change the Preambles Bill to a Preambles Section without Bill No. Care however should be made to declare that the Preambles Section still form part of the Bills of Quantities. Alternatively, the Section should be called "Preambles to Bills of Quantities" to evident its status.
- Some of the Preliminaries clauses are lengthy and do not directly attract a price. Therefore, prices entered in the Preliminaries Bills are scattered through the pages.
- Recent trend is to move the Preliminaries clauses to the Specification and call it "Specification - Preliminaries". Bill No. 1 - Preliminaries then only contains the clause heading of the Specification - Preliminaries. The Specification - Preliminaries without column for pricing can use wider page width and this reduces the number of pages. Bill No. 1 - Preliminaries presents the prices in a more compact manner, and would be convenient and concise if the same Bill is used for subsequent payment valuation since the lengthy descriptions are left out.
Alphabetical item reference
- Traditionally, item references are given as A, B, C, D, E, etc. for items with units. The item references start from A again on every page unless the item continues from the last page.
- Headings are not referenced.
- When item A on page 3/1 is referred to, it is referred to as BQ item 3/1/A.
- Alphabetical reference system using A, B, C is easier to use since every page starts with a new sequence. When an item reference is incorrectly assigned, simply correct it and the subsequent item references on the same page. Subsequent pages would not be affected.
- However, if, after assigning the item references, items are inserted or deleted involving shifting of items over pages, alphabetical item references on more than one page would need to be re-assigned.
- This works fine before BQ are actually issued for tendering since the item references can be corrected at will. However, if, after issuing the BQ for tendering, insertion of items are required as tender amendments, then it would be undesirable to shift the positions of all subsequent items over the subsequent pages.
- If the BQ are typed by typewriters or by word processors, like in the old days, the effect might be reduced if some spaces have been reserved at the bottom of pages or if the font size and spacing are reduced to suit.
- However, with the popular use of spreadsheet, database, or BQ production software where the items are automatically tightly printed one after the other and the font sizes are standardized, insertion of items without disturbance to the positions or item references of subsequent items is impossible.
- Some people use a new page with the page number designated something like 3.2/1+1 or 3.2/1A to denote an additional page. By this method, the items on the subsequent pages can remain intact. The method requires the software used to produce BQ to be intelligent enough to deal with the additional page number, otherwise the page number will have to be assigned manually.
Numeric item reference
- An alternative to alphabetical reference is to use numeric reference in the form of 1, 1.1, 1.1.1 continuously through the same Trade Section. "3.2/" in the following sample is used to represent the Bill No. Headings are also referenced. When the first item is referred to, it is referred to as BQ item 3.2/1.1.1.
- Numeric reference system requires items over all pages to be consecutively referenced. Therefore greater care is required to ensure correctness. If a reference is incorrectly assigned, all subsequent references of the same level will need to be assigned again.
- If, after assigning the item references, items are inserted or deleted involving shifting of items over pages, the references of subsequent items of the same level would need to be assigned. For example, if item 3.2/1.3.3 is a newly inserted item, then only the original items from 3.2/1.3.3 onward would need to be re-assigned a reference. Of course, if Heading 3.2/1.3 is a newly inserted item, then all the original headings and items from 3.2/1.3 onward would need to be re-assigned a reference.
- The problem of shifting of items over pages or the need for additional pages as described for alphabetical reference system cannot be eliminated with numeric reference system. However, since numeric reference system does not use the page number as part of the complete reference. The page on which a particular item appears is less significant. This would be useful when exchanging BQ on computer files. The item references remain unchanged irrespective of the page width or depth. Numeric item references would also be convenient for data processing.
Item references according to the Standard Method of Measurement
- Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement of the United Kingdom requires the item references to follow the references used in the SMM.
There are two styles of writing descriptions. The traditional way is to write it in the natural style of the language, e.g. Concrete Grade 10/20 in 75 mm blinding layer. Such style can be extremely flexible.
The other way is to build up the descriptions from small tokens, e.g. Concrete ; Grade 10/20 ; blinding layer ; 75 mm. Such tokenised description style is the result of the adoption of standard phraseology for BQ production by computer. Takers-off are presented with choices of tokens on the menus on computer screens to select for building up the complete description. Tokenised descriptions help enhance the uniformity of descriptions and help data-processing because the descriptions are structured. However, they are not natural to read and may sometimes be cumbersome for simple items. " ; " with a space before and after is usually used to separate tokens. This would have significance when sorting the descriptions by computer. " ; " beginning with a space will be sorted before "; " without a space.
Extra over or extra for
- Extra over items are measured when additional work is required on part of a principal item and it would be tedious or artificial to split the principal items into two: one with the additional work and one without the additional work.
- The volume, area, length or number of these extra over items are included in the measurements of the quantities of the principal items in which they occur and the prices for these items are to be extra only over the prices of the items in which they occur. In other words, the quantities of the principal items would not be reduced by reason of the measurement of the extra over items.
- Examples of extra over items are:
- Extra over excavation and disposal (measured Cube) for breaking up and removing pavings, surface concrete and the like (measured Super or as an Item);
- Extra over concrete in beams and slabs (measured Cube without deduction of the volume of the haunching) for a stronger grade of concrete in haunching at abutment with columns or walls (also measured Cube);
- Extra over common brickwork (measured Super without deduction of the area with facings) for facings (also measured Super);
- Extra over stone walling (measured Cube or Super without deduction of the volume or area with facings) for facings (measured Super);
- Extra over roof tiling (measured Super without deduction of the area of the double courses) for double courses (measured Run);
- Extra over wood block flooring (measured Super without deduction of the area of the border) for border (measured Run);
- Extra over timber doors (measured Super without deduction of the area of louvred openings or enumerated) for forming lourved openings (enumerated);
- Extra over tiling (measured Super without deduction of the area of special tiles) for tiles rounded on one or two edges or special tiles at angles or corners (measured Run or enumerated);
- Extra over plumbing and drainage pipework (measured Run without deduction of the length occupied by fittings) for fittings like bend, tees, junctions, etc. (enumerated).
- The general pattern to write extra over items is: "Extra over principal item for additional work". However, if it is clear as to which are the principal items, the expression may be simplified to "Extra for additional work". Generally items using this simplified expression follow closely behind the principal items. The principal items may not necessarily be a single item but may be a group of items where the extra over work is the same. For example:
- Expressions like "Extra only over principal item for additional work" and "Extra over the last item for additional work" can also be used.
- Expressions like "Extra over for additional work" are not preferred.
- Where items are to be described in ranges, a short form is used, for example:
- "0 - 0.10 m2 opening" means opening not exceeding 0.10 m2 in size;
- "1.50 - 3.00 m deep" means exceeding 1.50 m but not exceeding 3.00 m deep;
- "75 - 150 mm girth" means exceeding 75 mm but not exceeding 150 mm girth.
- "exceeding" means greater than.
- "not exceeding" means less than and equal to.
- The descriptions should be adequate to cover ancillary work or service which are not deemed to be included for in the unit rates by the Preambles.
- Headings are used for grouping of items of similar elements or constructions to simplify the length of descriptions. As a rule, if there are two or more consecutive items of very similar descriptions, they should be put under a heading. The heading should cover the repeating portions of the descriptions. Compare the following first four items written with or without headings:
- Notice that a short line precedes the last item above to signify that the heading to the preceding items no longer apply to this item.
- If there may be confusion as to the end of the application of headings, words like "(End of ALL PROVISIONAL) " may be used.
- It should be noted that the heading and the description can be read together as if they are one complete description. The word "to" is essential for this continuous reading.
- Some people omitted the word "to", the meaning would remain unchanged, but the continuous reading is interrupted.
- In cases where the heading and description cannot be read continuously, it is preferred to repeat the subject matter in the description. Compare the following examples:
- The first level of headings may be called Main Headings and the lower levels of headings may be called Sub-headings.
- Headings where applicable are repeated on the beginning of each page and finished with the word "(Cont’d) "
Singular and plural
It is usual to write headings in plurals and write the principal subject of the descriptions in singular sense and the ancillary items in plurals. In the above examples, "Screeds" in the headings is a plural while "Screed" in the descriptions is singular. "Beam" in "sides and soffit of beam" is singular, while "sides" is a plural and "soffit" is singular to signify that for a typical beam, there are two sides and one soffit.
- Descriptions of measured items usually do not end with a full stop. Descriptions of Preliminaries, Preambles and note items are given full punctuations.
- Headings which are supposed to read continuously with the descriptions are traditionally ended with ": " or ":- ". However, recent trend omits to use them.
- The Standard Method of Measurement may require that further information as to quantities be given in the descriptions. Such information may be given in the following manners:
- Some people call the secondary quantities in brackets a "trigger".
- Items in Bills of Quantities within the same Bill or Trade are to be sequenced according to the following rules:
- According to sequence required by the Standard Method of Measurement such as the Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement of UK.
- In case of no specific requirements in the SMM, headings are given according to the sequence of construction.
- Items under the same headings are sequenced according to the units in the order of: Item, kg, m3, m2, m, No.
- For the same units, items are sequenced from the cheapest to the most expensive.
- The usual units of billing are:
- kg - for items given by weight;
- m3 - for items given by volume;
- m2 - for items given by area;
- m - for items given by length;
- No. - for items given by number;
- Item - for items not given by quantities but to be priced as a lump sum price.
- An alternative way to say some of the above is:
- m3 - for items given Cube;
- m2 - for items given Super;
- m - for items given Run or for lineal items;
- No. - for enumerated items.
- Cube, Super, Run, No. were used with the imperial system of units. However, some people still use them for metric system since they are less prone to typing errors than m3, m2 and m.
- The following should be noted:
- "kg" begins with "k" not "K";
- "Item" is capitalized;
- "Super" can be abbreviated to "Sup. ";
- "Nr" or "Nr. " can be used instead of "No. ";
- "Pair" and "Set" may sometimes be used;
- "Manday" or "Hour" may be used for Dayworks items;
- "t" or "MT" may be used for metric tonne;
- "Note" may be used for note items.
- Quantities should be given to the nearest whole units. In case a quantity is too small to be a whole unit, it should be given as one. Better still, the unit of measurement should be reviewed to see whether an alternative unit is more appropriate to reflect the smallness of the item, e.g. enumerated instead of given Cube.
- Extreme care should be exercised during tender analysis to ensure that an item of very small quantity would not be priced at excessively high rates in expectation for major increase in the quantities through variations.
Rate only items
If an item is to be a rate only item for obtaining rate only without quantity, the word "Rate Only" should be inserted in the quantity column against the item.
Rates and amounts
- The column width of the Rate and Amount columns should be wide enough to allow for the figures to be given to two decimal places.
Extending the total
The Amount column is also called the "Extension" column. Multiplying the quantity and rate to give the amount and entering the amount is called extending the total.
Casting down the total
- Totalling the extensions to arrive at the page total is called casting down the total.
Carried forward / brought forward
- Carrying the running total from one page over to the next page is usually signified by the words "Carried forward" at the bottom of the first page and the words "Brought forward" at the top of the second page against the left hand side of the figure carried, as follows:
- The words may be simplified to "C/F" and "B/F" without the figures as follows:
Carrying the total
- Carrying the page total to the Collection page and to the Summary page is called carrying the total.
Style and consistency
- There can be equally workable but different styles to present the format of and descriptions in Bills of Quantities. However, it is very important that within the same set of Bills of Quantities, the style and descriptions used must be consistent throughout. If the same kind of work appearing in different sections of the Bills of Quantities is given different descriptions, it may lead to claims. Consistent style will ease the reading and understanding of the Bills of Quantities and improve the quality of the Bills of Quantities.
Model bills and past BQ
- Office Model or Standard Bills or BQ of past similar projects should be referred to for descriptions. They can also serve as useful check-list for any missing items.
The folllowing are discussions regarding BQ format in Mainland China
- 单项、单位、分部工程量清单可使用相关的编号，例如1.2.3代表第1 单项、第2单位、第3分部。
- 每页內的項目独立序号，例如：A, B, C；