BILL OF QUANTITIES:
Counting your Construction Cost
Bill of quantities (BOQ) is literally the quantities of different materials required for a construction project. For the cost conscious layman it should actually be the starting point of his project. A causal discussion with a quantity surveyor (the professional trained to draw up a BOQ) should be able to give a rough idea of how much the cost would be. He will possibly hedge his comments starting that it relies on a number of factors and the; layman should take note of these factors. One of such factors will be the quality of the soil in the area he/she wants to build.
Generally the less compact the soil, the more money would go into putting in a solid foundation to carry the weight of the building, if you want to know the cost implications of a building a bungalow on the land vis-à-vis one story building you can make an informed estimate rather than assumptions which bear no resemblance to reality.
Having the various factors which can impact on a building cost in mind the you can give a brief more in line with your pocket to the architect who is to draw building design. Generally three things impact on the cost of construction;
The size of the structure,
The finishes to be used and how intricate the design is. Even a layman will accept that a three story building is likely to cost more than a two story building, likewise if you use expensive materials the building cost will be higher than if shipper materials are used.
What may be readily apparent is that the more intricate and complex a building design is, it could significantly add to the cost. Arches, decorative columns etc. do not come cheap.
Once the architectural drawings are available, the BOQ can be prepared if copy of the drawings are given to a quantity surveyor. He prepares the bill of quantities based the on the drawings which gives the client a clue of the cost implication. If after the BOQ is prepared and the cost is beyond the budget of the budget of client the costs too high then a quantity surveyor can sit with the client to reduce the cost because BOQ gives the full information that can allow for amendment; for instance at a sitting a quantity surveyor can advise on how client can down size the project. This advice might be on the quality of finishes to be used which may not require any change in the architectural drawing bit if the advice hinges on size or intricacy of building design, if the layman does not want to end up with a project he cannot complete, another visit to the architect may be required which will require changes which again should be cost against using another BOQ.
Aside from alerting you on the total cost of the project, the sectional cost of different stages of the project-foundation cost, ground floor cost, decking or slab, roofing cost etc. also become apparent, helping the layman to plan his cash flow. Obviously some stages, for example casting the floor slab cannot be broken further and the would-be landlord had to find the entire cash (or get trade financing from the contractor) for that septic the BOQ also guide in negotiating with contractors.
If a contractor’s quote substantially less for a section or the entire project then it is either your quantity surveyor does not know what he is talking about or it is the contractor in the dark or the contractor simply does intent to complete the job. There was the cash of layman supervising his own project. A quote the contractor gave him, he would slash by 25%. Once the contractor deduced this he quote a very high figure, the client would slash it by 25% but even at that the contractor was getting well over the normal charges for what he was doing! While the owner thought he was smart, because he did not have the right figures which BOQ would have given him, he was just cheating himself. Working without a BOQ on your project because you want to save costs is definitely a false economy.