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

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


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

  1. It provides a 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 & specifications as well).
  3. It gives an estimated or anticipated contract sum. (very important to the client)
  4. It provides a basis for the valuation of variation. (Variation is to be discussed in detail).


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

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

  1. Charges for a performance bond, advance payment guarantee & Workmen compensation
  2. Maintenance of the site clean
  3. The 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 items but without these expenses, there will be no project.


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. The value of measured works will be calculated by multiplication of quantities and rate.

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It is the sum that 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 commercial management purposes. It should be understood by every construction professional to deliver quality and expected the product to the client. In other words to provide value for money.

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About Raja Junaid Iqbal

Hi My name is Raja Junaid Iqbal and i am Land Surveyor by Profession but I've specialized in the field of Q,S and land development. As Professional Surveyor I engaged my self in all over the Gulf since 14 years.

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