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Basic things you should know about Bill Of Quantity (BOQ)


The survival of any business is heavily depend on the success of commercial management. When it comes to commercial management in construction industry, Bill of Quantities (BOQ) is the term which brings attention of every construction professionals and stakeholders.

It is one of the communication tool which connects the parties (Client, consultant & contractor) of construction project. Keith defines, BOQ is a schedule which categories, details and quantifies the materials and other cost items to be used in construction project. It is important to know that, direct costs & indirect costs are to be considered for complete cost of the project which are covered in different parts of the BOQ.

Generally BOQ is in tabular form which contents description, unit, quantity, rate & amount in different columns.

Sample BOQ Document, PDF

Sample BOQ Document, PDF

Description column provides a brief explanation of what to be done. For example, in the first item, the 32mm diameter CPVC pipes should be laid for cold water services in 20 bar operating pressure. Specification & drawings are other two important items to be analyzed in detail for clear understanding. Here the term engineer means the consultant for the project.

The Importance of BOQ

BOQ shall be used in every phase (pre-contract & post-contract) of the project but need of BOQ differs based on different contract agreements & project. The major usages are listed below.

  1. It provides basic idea of the project by giving the quantities to tenderers.
  2. It defines the extent of the work. (But it should be identified in line with drawings & specification as well).
  3. It gives estimated or anticipated contract sum. (very important to client)
  4. It provides a basis for valuation of variation. (Variation is to be discussed in detail).

The major Parts of BOQ

Parts of BOQ can be varied according to the project size as well the practices. Generally it has measured works, Preliminaries & Provisional sums. The contract sum would be addition of these three items.


In construction industry, preliminaries is known as the indirect cost for execution of project but these are the costs which is very much vital for the construction activities. The reason for these cost mentioned separately is it is very difficult to distribute these cost amongst with measured works. The examples for preliminaries listed below.

  1. Charges for performance bond, advance payment guarantee & Workmen compensation
  2. Maintenance of the site clean
  3. Requirement of site office, site stores & staff accommodation.
  4. Cost towards the project management staff (QS, Project Manager, Engineering professionals)
  5. Charges for drawings & safety

From the above mentioned examples, it can be understood these costs cannot be distributed to work item but without these expenses there will be no project.

Measured works

It is the actual or estimated work will be carried out to complete the project. The works have been measured in different units. They are liner meter, square meter, cubic meter, number, item & etc. Value of measured works will be calculated by multiplication of quantities and rate.

Provisional sums

It is the sum which is allocated for the undersigned works at the tender time. It will be adjusted after the execution of the project.

In summary BOQ is very much important for the commercial management purposes. It should be understood by every construction professional to deliver a quality and expected product to client. In other words to provide value for money.

Written by Gowrinath  ©




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