Construction Cost Estimating


Bill of Quantities (BOQ) & Its Usefulness in Construction

The Bill of Quantities registers the total material cost for finishing various types of projects from a small house to a bigger shopping complex or malls even constructing a bridge.

A civil engineer or surveyor with very commanding knowledge in material requirements & their cost-effectiveness in a construction project gives you an accurate estimation of any construction cost. If you do not know the BOQ (Bill of Quantities) creation by yourself, then you must know the BOQ structure to calculate the finished product quality & cost.

1. How to Draft a Bill of Quantities?

Create an excel sheet for Bill of Quantities

You must insert different columns for description, item numbers, item rate, measurement unit, quantity, labor, and the total cost of each item.

Your item numbers will be consecutive starting from 1 & rewrite it after each category or section.

Contractors, who are bidding on a project, must fill each item rate & total cost of each item in the columns. You do not have to type any values in these columns of BOQ during drafting.

Create a material list to complete the project

Architect or Surveyor engineers must plan & write a proper list of each building materials requirement with hardware, & wiring with the amount required for each item.

  • You are in building construction. You must require bricks, concrete, flooring materials, framing materials, wiring, lighting gears, kitchen gears, and bathroom equipment.
  • You must check the standard measurement unit for each material. For example, if you inserted cement or brick, then the measurement unit will be kg.
  • You have resolved the required materials, fill those in the spreadsheet. For instance, you insert bricks in your project & list them as a red brick next to item no1. After that, you write kg in the measurement columns.
  • You can include 15- 20% in your material calculations as a wastage.

Break down your project into different sections & categories

Various contractors & subcontractors will handle various project parts. Contractors & subcontractors will know your project costs if you divide your material lists according to their sections.

  • While constructing a building, some various parts like framing, plumbing, kitchen, bath, electrical, and flooring might insert.
  • Some material might need in various parts. For instance, nails use for both framing & flooring. So you have to calculate the total nails number of both framing & flooring.

Calculate total labor requirement for complete each section

The work amount will determine the manpower to complete that work. You have to calculate approximately due to each labor working capabilities are different from others.

You can talk to various contractors to get the knowledge of the days required for finishing a particular work. A civil engineer or quantity surveyor can give you an accurate estimation due to the experience of completing a similar kind of project.

Prepare an initial budget based on the architect?s design

First, you must check the average material price & labor cost in your locality. You go to the hardware store to check the prices of each material required for your building project. You can estimate your labor cost by talking to a contractor who completes the same projects in your area.

Thus it will give you an overall estimation that will help you total money need for completing your project.

You can separately print out a BOQ copy of the initial cost estimates for your personal use. You can use it while comparing various bids given by different contractors to your project.

Scheduling a draft based on your BOQ estimation

After you have done labor estimation, you can calculate the amount of time is needed to complete your project along with some problems like bad weather, labor absentees & much more.

For instance, you need 100 man powers to build your project. You can approximately calculate contractors work 48 hours of the week with no delay. It will take 15 weeks to finish your project. But you can estimate roughly 20 -25 weeks with some delays to complete your project.

2. Quantity Surveyor Recruitment Process

Recruit your quantity surveyor as early as possible in the project

The quantity surveyor will give you a lot of help at the beginning of the project. They will provide you proper ideas & reduce risk in your project.

  • Experienced Quantity Surveyor provides you the proper project valuation that will help you deal with contractors. Moreover, a Quantity surveyor gives you a perfect BOQ to keep your contractor honest & works on the same page.
  • Most experienced Quantity surveyor roughly provides you initial cost estimation that will help you to know about the exact goal of your project depending on your budget.

Speak with your architect on quantity surveyor

You can speak with your architect about quantity surveyor. Because they have some contact with a quantity surveyor. Moreover, a lot of architectural firms use some particular firms for their quantity surveyor requirements. Sometimes you can save a lot of money if you directly hire a quantity surveyor via your contractor or any quantity surveyor firm.

Always Recruit Experience Quantity surveyor

Experienced quantity surveyor provides you perfect estimation based on your project strength or size. Because those guys will have the experience on completing similar project & knows in-out of your project quickly. Lots of quantity surveyors specialized in various types of builds so choose carefully.

  • For instance, you construct a house so you need a quantity surveyor with house building experience not warehouse building experience.
  • Quantity surveyors have detailed records with current & project building materials cost that will give you exact material cost which you will find hard if you do it on your own.

Verify the license of the Quantity surveyor

Quantity Surveyor always holds a government license which will give a proper idea of any quantity surveyor about their background, any complaint against them, number of years they are license, which agency they are currently working & much more.

Interview more than 1 Quantity surveyor

You must interview more than 1 quantity surveyor to get the perfect quantity surveyor who can fit in your project. You must ask the below 3 questions to check their knowledge as a quantity surveyor.

  • You can ask quantity surveyors about their experience & their past project result with some past project portfolio?
  • You can ask them can they give labor costs as well as material costs. Because some quantity surveyor would not do both.
  • You can ask which quantity surveyor firm that they are working at? The same firm will give a lot more personal service.

3. Evaluating Quotes from Contractors

Recruit the main contractor or oversee yourself

The main contractor would not do anything in your project. He will just supervise your building till it's finishing. He might hire some subcontractor to do the all heavy work. So it is up to you decide to choose 1 of the bellowed scenarios:

  • If you can oversee a project that will save you money for not hiring any main contractor. You can hire some sub contractor in each section of your building.
  • But you are a newbie & not enough supervising experience then it could lot of money & time. You will know it is not your cup of tea by the time you notice it is too late.

Speak to your contractor or Surveyor for an experienced main contractor

Architect & Quantity surveyors sometimes work under the main contractor in some projects similar to your project. They will give you a proper idea of which Main contractor you can hire & which one can you avoid.

Hire Contractors that fits into your BOQ

First, you must 3-4 estimations for your project. After that, you can call the contractors & brief them about your project. If they are interested then ask them about the timing that they can commit. At last, send them your BOQ.

  • The Contractors look at your BOQ. They will send their estimation of labor cost, material cost, & total cost.
  • An experienced quantity surveyor may tender the BOQ to contractors to give some estimation that you can choose.

Always choose the cheapest contractor for your project

The lowest bid always wins the day as a contractor. But you have to check the contractor?s estimation. Sometimes they make a lot of cut corners like low-quality materials or inefficient workers that will hamper your project big time. So you might hire a suitable contractor who will provide the most efficient & cost-effective estimation of your project.

Bill of Quantities (BOQ) & Its Usefulness in Construction