Bill of Quantities(BOQs)
A BOQ can be thought of as an item list for a construction project, with all the quantities inserted by a client whose rates have to be filled up by the contractor or bidder, measured as rates or price per item. These items can be measured in number, length, volume, area, weight, time, etc. Bill of Quantities or BOQ or BQ is a key piece of document that is used in tendering in the construction industry to list all components needed in a construction project such as materials, laborers, parts, etc. A BOQ is typically designed by a cost consultant usually, a quantity surveyor(QS) who excels in abstracting project-specific items from drawings and specifications in the tender documents.
The list of items included in a BOQ is taken from a standard method of measurement, either referenced from a previous project or with the designer’s experience. Each item’s total quantity is estimated from the tender’s drawings usually prepared by the design firm. Most of the time, a BOQ contains a variety of materials and labor-related quantities and resources that help contractors in estimating the cost of a project in order to prepare an appropriate bid for the project. BOQ helps tenderers to calculate construction costs for their tender and the tendering contractors to price the same quantities. Since there is already a standard measurement basis set for the components by the tenderers, the contractors do not need to estimate quantities from the drawings and specify themselves on a new measurement basis, thus providing a fair and accurate system for tendering. The contractor’s crew has a tendering team that includes an estimator, who prices up the bill by inserting appropriate rates or prices against each of the items. The number of items and their quantities depend upon the magnitude of the project.
Earlier BOQs were prepared on sheets of paper, which has now been almost abolished since all government and private tenders now provide these items listed in excel sheets, and which have to be submitted in the same format and not in any other file formats such as pdf or word file. BOQs can be prepared for construction, repair and demolition works and is widely advantageous because of their consistency and straightforward process for inspecting and collating tenders.
Collating tenders becomes much easier when BOQs are used because BOQs contain the same items and only the tenderer’s price differs, which can be compared with requisite standard measurement. As BOQs contain the prescribed items, it is possible to collate overall cost and individual quantities directly with the tenderer’s offers, providing a precise assessment of which parts of the BOQ can offer good value, which ultimately results in better negotiations. An effective BOQ can be prepared when the designing professional has access to every detail of the project along with standard industry prices for all items.
All items included in a BOQ cannot be measured using a single template or standard, but different sets of items or individual components can be directly or indirectly configured to be measured with a specific template. For example, the number of bricks used in a construction project can be estimated as pieces per square unit or volume unit, whereas the amount of cement has to be measured as kilograms per square or volume unit. Majorly there are only 6 types of templates that can be modified to prepare BOQ for almost every type of requirement.
The 6 types of BOQ templates are:
The Format of BOQ is given below in the standard sequence:
A BOQ has to be prepared meticulously by assessing past experiences and present industry conditions. The steps involved in preparing a BOQ are as follows-
- Conclusively the preparation of a BOQ can also be summed up in three simple steps namely, taking off quantities, adding descriptions to all quantities, and working up or recording every measurement required into a sheet known as a TDS sheet.
Bill of Quantities in the current construction industry are being used as two types, that are:
1. Firm Bill of Quantities- To compute a lump-sum cost of a completely designed construction project, a firm bill of quantities is used. The work that has to be done is calculated and explained accurately, i.e., the cost of work can be calculated precisely, due to which the tender prices should be authentic and a proper financial restrain should be possible. The firm bill of quantities forms a good basis for evaluating the cost of the changes that may be necessary to the works defined in the tender documents.
2. Approximate Bill of Quantities- As the name suggests, an approximate bill of quantities or provisional bill of quantities is prepared when there is insufficient information to prepare it at the tender stage or when there is no need for a firm bill of quantities. It has flexible provisions for re-measurement of quantities in case of any changes in the items description or on completion of the project. In an approximate bill of quantities, the amount of work that has to be done is complete whereas the number of items being used is approximate. Thus a quantified format of rates of all items are provided in the tenders and not a lump-sum amount. This BOQ may seem cost and time-efficient on the surface but there are additional variations along with more than one re-measurement process, that can increase the overall administrative costs and this may be one of the major drawbacks related to approximate bill of quantities.
Advantages of Bill of Quantities(BOQs)
The preparation of BOQs and the regular updating of the quantities being used can help in managing the construction project more efficiently. Construction project management can be easily performed nowadays using project management tools that have been specifically devised to make the construction process more smooth and efficient. Powerplay application proves to be an allrounder in construction project management that can be easily handled by all employees, clients, and contractors specific to a construction project. There are many applications out there for this purpose globally, but Powerplay is India’s first construction project management application that can be used to manage almost all types of construction projects going on in the country.
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