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What is a Bill of Quantities?


A bill of quantities (BoQ) is essentially a very long, carefully prepared shopping list for the parts and labour needed.

The precision of a BoQ comes at a considerable cost because additional professional services are required to compile and administer it. It is a powerful tool for maintaining cost- control but it requires you to employ a quantity surveyor, who may not otherwise be needed.

Bills of Quantities are usually prepared at the expense of the client, but from the time the BoQ is prepared, all changes to the design can be quantified with absolute precision. The construction budget can be controlled more precisely because changes and additions to the project can be defined.

On small projects, like domestic renovations, the BoQ is not an essential document. Architects can prepare designs based on rough estimates of construction cost, and in such circumstances, the exact cost of the building will be defined by the builders who tender prices for their services. The cost of preparing a pricing document is therefore paid by the main contractor.

Bills of Quantities add greatly to the precision of the contract administration process, and are essential where numerous parties seek detailed accounts of expenditure, say for example, where the client is a company with numerous shareholders.

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