Methods of measurement for bills of quantities

detail, or can use fewer items, many of which are ‘inclusive’. A common example of an inclusive item used on pipelaying contracts is – ‘Manholes Type A complete’ – measured by number of, which means as Type A shown on the contract drawings including concrete walls and roof, step irons and iron access cover etc. all as specified. But for other types of work detailed listing of items might be required to allow for possible variations and adjustments to the work shown on the drawings. On a large project, a considerable amount of detail is inevitable, not only because many different types of work will be involved, but also different circumstances or locations for similar types of work will apply.
When items are inclusive a tenderer has to ensure he has allowed for all such subsidiary matters in his price. He takes a bigger risk with his price for inclusive items than if the various details were separately itemized because, if by error he omits to allow for some work included, his resulting underprice is multiplied if more of that item is ordered. Hence his rates may be high for an ‘inclusive’ item and this affects the employer also, since increased quantities of that item may result in a disproportionately increased payment by the employer.
The choice of method of measurement for civil engineering work in the UK lies between using the civil engineering standard method of measurement (CESMM) as described in the next section; or using some different method; or using the CESMM for some types of work and a different method for the rest of the work. Where the standard method is used it must be followed, and any departures from it must be clearly stated in the preamble to the bill or in item descriptions. If the standard method is not used at all, Clause 57 of the ICE
Conditions must be amended and the method adopted must be clearly defined.
The standard method itemizes work in considerable detail and therefore reduces the risks to both parties when admeasurement of the work takes place. There are also computer programs devised to assist billing and pricing by the standard method and this may be of use to tenderers’ estimators who are familiar with the method. But the CESMM is complex, producing much detailed itemization of the works. Hence it is common to adopt the standard method for some work, and a different method for other work to reduce the number of items required. This different method usually comprises items of an inclusive nature.
For overseas contracts CESMM is seldom followed. Instead methods may conform as much as possible with the local practice used by the local state or public authorities.