What is BOQ? – Purpose, Importance, Advantages, Disadvantages

What is BOQ?

BOQ stands for Bill of quantities that is the narrative of various work items giving the description, quantities, and rates units. 

Bill of quantities is prepared in a tabular form like the abstract of the estimated cost of the detailed estimate, but the rate and amount columns are left unfilled (Blank). 

The rates and amounts are filled up and totalled this gives the estimated cost. 

It is primarily intended for inviting tenders and provided to the contractors to fill up the numbers and amounts. 

On acceptance of the tenders, rates and amounts are compared and entrusting the work is finalised.

Purpose of BOQ

  • For standardising the tendering process
  • For providing a clear and precise method to value the project
  • For enabling consultants to analyse prices of various individual items and overall costs.
  • For assisting quantity surveyor in verifying that individual contractors have submitted genuine tenders compliant with tender information.

Importance of BOQ

  1. It facilitates all contractors tendering for a contract to price on precisely for the same information. 
  2. By providing the quantities to tenderers, bill of quantities gives a basic idea of the project.
  3. BOQ describes the scope of the work to be completed. 
  4. BOQ offers an evaluated or predicted contract sum. (very important for the client)
  5. It provides the best basis for valuation, tender comparison and contract comparison. 
What is BOQ?


BOQ parts may vary depending upon the project size and as per the practices. Generally, it contains measured works, Preliminaries and Provisional sums. The contract sum will be computing to these three items.


In the construction industry, preliminaries refer to as the indirect cost for the project execution. Still, these are the costs which are necessary for construction projects. These costs mentioned separately are challenging to distribute these costs amongst measured works—examples for preliminaries listed below.

  1. Charges toward advance payment, performance bond, guarantee & Workmen compensation.
  2. Site cleaning and Maintenance 
  3.  The necessity of site office, site stores and accommodation of staff.
  4. Cost for the management staff of the project Engineering professionals like Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, etc.
  5. Prices for safety and drawing.

From the above instance, it is clear that these costs can’t be distributed to the item of work. But without these expenses, we can’t complete the project.


Measured work is the real or estimated work that will be executed to complete the project. The outputs may be measured in various units. They may be in running meter, square meter, cubic meter, number, item & etc. Amount of estimated works will be calculated by multiplying quantities and rate.


A provisional sum is an amount for undersigned work during the tender, and it will be adjusted after the project’s execution.

In brief, BOQ is very much essential for commercial management objectives. Every construction professional should follow it to deliver quality and expected outcome to the client. In simple words, to give value for money.

Format for preparing BOQ

BOQ is prepared in tabular form which contains items description, Quantity, Unit of measurement, Unit rate and amount. The basic format of BOQ is as follows.

what is BOQ?

Process of Preparation of BOQ

Taking off Quantities:

In this step, detailed drawing and its specification thoroughly examine the elements necessary for BOQ preparation.


In this step, the accurate description of a particular work is presented to define and explain the work being done.

Working Up:

This step involves the recording of every measurement needed into a sheet known as the TDS Sheet. The number column (multiplier column) number of repetitions of the same work are recorded. Dimensions like length, width & depth are noted in the dimension column. While in the Sum column, we multiply the previous elements to get the work’s total quantity.

Advantages of BOQ

Provide work details

BOQ contains all the items which are necessary to complete the project with their quantities. Hence it gives a fair idea of the work & items needed.

Assist in evaluation & comparison.

Since the bill of quantities provides us with the quantity/number of items required for the project; hence, we can evaluate it thoroughly. We can invite the tenders and compare the contractors based on each item. Therefore we can get the most suitable deal.

Problem Identifier

If we know the work extent with each item’s details, we can identify the problems that will affect the project in the future and be equipped to handle them in advance.

Assist in project planning

Planning is a primary part of every project. Bill of quantities has an essential role in project planning. As the items with their quantities are listed, half of the planner’s work is already done. The planning engineer needs to allot the sources with their continuation, and the planning sheet will be prepared.

 Allow identifying the supplier.

BOQ helps to know the items and quantities; thus, it offers us a lot of time to identify the supplier and negotiate them. Consequently, we can save a significant construction cost.

Avoid guesswork

Suppose the BOQ is not available. In such a case, the professional will have to quote it only on guesswork. But, BOQ doesn’t allow guesswork & gives essential information necessary for the project’s smooth running. It comprises the preliminary description of all assignments with a whole list of the materials used. Thus it provides a clear view to the contractor to complete the job.

Define time duration

It will function as a vital tool in the management of the project. With the help of BOQ, the material can be supplied on time, increasing the work speed results in the project’s completion within the time.

Help in reducing construction cost

In the construction project, time and cost are directly correlated to each other. If we complete the task within the time, it will save money automatically. 

 Provide better project management

The most significant advantage of the bill of quantities is it offers effective management of work. It would be clear for the administration to be fully conscious of the items, human resources, suppliers, time duration, etc. 


It offers full transparency because all items with their quantities are specified. Hence everything becomes transparent automatically, which eliminates the chances of misleading practices.

Disadvantages of BOQ

  • If the estimator is inexperienced, it may be misleading.
  • BOQ must be prepared correctly; otherwise, large arithmetic errors may prevail.
  • It is only suitable for the usual procurement system.
  • BOQ preparation lengthens the documentation process, which may increase the project cost. A qrcode could be the solution; it may provide quick access to detailed information about specific building materials, equipment, or installation instructions.
  • A tenderer may neglect the specification like workmanship specifications, pricing only following the BOQ, which may lead to underpricing, and the resulting risk of inadequate performance as contractors try to bypass losing money.

Also, Read

Bar Bending Schedule(BBS) – Importance, Advantages, Preparation

How to Calculate Cement, Sand and Aggregate Quantity in Concrete?

How to Calculate Brick, Cement and Sand For Brickwork?

Rate Analysis For Cement Plaster

Leave a Comment