Why use a Bill of Quantities

Why Use A Bill Of Quantities?

If you want to be able to accurately predict costs on a project it can be very useful to use a Bill of Quantities (BoQ)

The best person to prepare this is a Quantity Surveyor

Having an accurate BoQ can save you many thousands of pounds on a project

This will eliminate builders just giving rough quotes and rounded up lump sum figures when they submit tender prices

Why do people use them?

It will help you resolve things if you have fallen out with your builder

It will help you understand what you are paying for

And how much each different construction activity will cost

It will give a breakdown of labour and material costs

This is very useful when sending tenders out to builders

This document can prove essential as:

  • Tenderers can calculate and come to an agreement with costs quickly
  • It provides an itemized list of tasks to be done
  • It helps create a schedule
  • A valid basis for interim payments is given
  • It helps in budgeting and cost analysis.
  • helps in providing the base of the final bill
  • Better describes the risk that exists for tenderers.
  • can help with the procurement of materials that are hard to get

Different types of Bill of Quantities

Generally there are two types of bills of quantities, Firm and Approximate

Firm Bill of Quantities

A Firm bill of quantities is used to obtain a lump sum price for a fully designed project. In this type the kind of work required is measured and described precisely, so that it can be priced more accurately. This results in tender prices that are more reliable and allows for better financial control. It is typically used for lump-sum payments

Approximate Bill of Quantities

These bills of quantities are not as concrete as firm bills of quantities. They provide a more approximate idea of the costs that will be incurred. These bills are created when there is insufficient data to support the quantities required. This information is typically used in the tender stage. Usually, when these are prepared, the design is complete, but the portions are approximated

Using a BoQ has advantages and disadvantages


  • They simplify tender analysis
  • It saves time and money that might be spent on several contractors measuring a bid for placing the tender
  • The calculation of interim payments is made a whole lot easier
  • It puts forth a clear idea of the tasks to be undertaken
  • It makes it easier to prepare the final account


  • The pre-contract stage takes a lot more time to complete
  • There can be errors in calculating the bill of quantities
  • Some requirements will make it extremely difficult to draw accurate specifications
  • Inexperience and flawed assumptions may be fatal
  • Approximations can be false, costing the tenderer a lot more funds than expected


If you need any help with this pleaseĀ contact us. We work with several experienced Quantity Surveyors who are experienced in producing a BoQ


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