A preliminaries bill lists items which apply to the contract as a whole, suchÂ as insurance of works, offices for the resident engineer, provision of laboratory,Â surveying equipment, transport, telephone and tests on materials or theÂ works. The units of measurement will be appropriate to the type of item,Â lump sum, or per week or month, or per number of tests, etc. Sometimes anÂ item needs to be split into two parts, such as a lump sum for provision of theÂ engineerâs site office, with a second item for its maintenance per week orÂ month. Such items listed by the engineer in the bill must be supported byÂ descriptions in the specification stating exactly what the contractor is to provide.
See Fig. 15.1 which shows part of the first page of a preliminaries billÂ drawn up according to CESMM.
The engineer may list temporary works the contractor has to provide, such as access roads, a temporary sewage treatment plant and similar. The listing of such temporary works permits the contractor to put a price to them, which may be to his advantage. Insurance is costly, so that if a tenderer prices this Â item, he can be reimbursed his expenditure on it as soon as he shows evidenceÂ of obtaining it. He does not have to wait for its reimbursement as he wouldÂ have to if he spread the cost over the constructional items. Also, a priced itemÂ for such as the site sewage treatment works to be provided by the contractor isÂ of advantage to the employer, since payment for such works can be withheld if
the plant is not as specified or does not work properly. However, the pricing of Â a tender is in the tendererâs hands and he does not have to put a price to any ofÂ the items listed by the engineer in the preliminaries bill. He can mark themÂ âincludedâ meaning the cost of meeting the item requirements is included in hisÂ bill rates for the construction items, or he may enter a low figure.
A tenderer may sometimes add an item which is not in the list set out in theÂ preliminaries bill. For instance, he might wish to separately price some especiallyÂ expensive temporary works equipment, such as steel shuttering. However,Â the employer may have laid down in the Instructions to Tenderers that ânoÂ items shall be added to the bill of quantitiesâ. The employer can refuse to considerÂ such a tender; but if it is the lowest tender received the employer mayÂ decide nevertheless to consider it. This depends on the rules under which theÂ employer himself operates, such as the standing rules of a public authority, orÂ government regulations. Normally, however, an extra item or two added by aÂ tenderer in the preliminaries bill would not be taken as invalidating a tender.
Some contracts specifically allow this by writing in the preliminaries bill âOtherÂ items added by contractorâŠâ. If a tenderer does add such items they should beÂ discussed at tender negotiation stage to agree how they should be paid. ForÂ example, payment of a lump sum for steel shuttering might need to be agreedÂ as a certain percentage on delivery, the balance on completion of its use.
The ICE standard method of measurement of 1985 recognized that items ofÂ the foregoing kind could be added by tenderers. It called them âmethodrelatedâÂ items, though they are not confined to construction methods butÂ include organizational measures as well. The CESMM, 3rd edition, lists overÂ forty such matters that a tenderer can add, covering such as â accommodationÂ (offices, stores, canteen, etc.); services (water, power, site transport, welfare,Â etc.); plant and temporary works of many kinds, âsupervision and labourâ,Â and also permits a tenderer to add other method-related items not in thoseÂ listed. All such method-related items have to be priced as lump sums, definedÂ as either fixed or time related. If fixed, the lump sum is only payable whenÂ the work itemized is completed. If âtime-relatedâ the payments are spread outÂ over the time taken to achieve completion of the work covered by the itemÂ (see clarification in Section 16.4). Clearly some items, such as supervision, siteÂ transport, welfare, should not be designated as âfixedâ as there is no definableÂ time when they could be said to be completed, other than the end of the contract.
A tenderer has to define exactly what any item added by him covers,Â and whether it is fixed or time-related. Figure 15.2 shows some typicalÂ method-related items entered by a tenderer.
Division of items in the preliminaries bill
The standard method has five main divisions or categories of items that can
be put in the Class A preliminaries bill:
1. âcontractual requirementsâ (bond and insurances);
2. âspecified requirementsâ;
3. the âmethod-related chargesâ referred to above which the tenderer is to insert;
4. âprovisional sumsâ;
5 and 6. âNominated sub-contractsâ, which include work done on site, and
work, such as manufacture, done off site respectively.
The âspecified requirementsâ (2) cover accommodation and services for theÂ engineerâs site staff, tests on materials, etc., and a range of temporary worksÂ that the engineer might wish to itemize.
The difference between temporary works the engineer itemizes as âspecifiedÂ requirementsâ under Division 2 of the Class A bill, and the temporary worksÂ which a tenderer adds as âmethod-relatedâ items under Division 3 should beÂ noted. The former have to be fully specified by the engineer in the contract;
the latter do not, being left to the tenderer to describe. Thus if the contractorÂ is required in the specification general clauses to construct some temporaryÂ access road, then if the engineer itemizes it as a âspecified requirementâ in DivisionÂ 2 the details of it must be fully described in the specification or contractÂ drawings. If the engineer does not know how the access road should beÂ constructed because he does not know what traffic the contractor will put on it,Â then he should not itemize it in Division 2 but leave it to the contractor to addÂ in Division 3 as a method-related item, if he so wishes.
It is important to follow the standard method requirements exactly, or problemsÂ of interpretation leading to claims from the contractor may arise. Of courseÂ the contract can expressly state that items in the Class A Preliminaries Bill areÂ not drawn up in accordance with the standard method; but then care has to beÂ taken to define what each item entered covers so there is no ambiguity.
Problems with Civil Engineering Standard Method ofÂ Measurement
The whole concept of payment for temporary works as set out in CESMM canÂ be called into question, as it creates potential ambiguities. The engineer mayÂ choose not to itemize any temporary works under âspecified requirementsâÂ because he leaves such works for the contractor to decide. But the contractorÂ may maintain that the list of temporary works given in CESMM A.2.7 (such asÂ traffic diversion, access roads and de-watering) entitles him to payment forÂ those works on the same principle as â when an item which CESMM lists forÂ measurement is found missing â the item has to be added to a bill (see end ofÂ Section 17.2). To avoid this ambiguity the preamble to the bill should state thatÂ Class Aitems shall be measured only to the extent they are included in the contractÂ at the time of the award; thus fixing the temporary work items measured.
Another difficulty arises with method-related items. CESMM clauses stateÂ that a method-related charge does not bind the contractor to use the methodÂ defined (Clause 7.5); is not subject to admeasurement (Clause 7.6); and is not toÂ be increased or decreased for any change of method adopted by the contractorÂ (Clause 7.8). But when the engineer orders a variation of some permanentÂ work, the contractor may claim that bill rates for similar work do not apply,Â because the temporary works associated with that work have changed butÂ the method-related item of charge remains fixed. This can raise debatableÂ issues concerning method-related charges which are defined as not subject to Â admeasurement and they need bear no relationship to actual methods theÂ contractor uses.
Under ICE Conditions (Clause 14(7)) the engineer is only required to stateÂ why a proposed method by the contractor fails to meet the contract requirementsÂ or would be detrimental to the permanent works. It is left to the contractorÂ to decide what method he will adopt to gain the engineerâs consent.
Hence, if the engineer has no reason to specify a particular method, he shouldÂ avoid mentioning any lest this be interpreted as a âspecified requirementâ asÂ discussed above. Also acceptance of a method-related item in a contract doesÂ not imply the engineer has given his consent to the method stated. The preambleÂ to the bill may need to make this clear.