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Do we need bills of quantities?

My wife and I are having a new house built at Psematismenos. We bought a plot of land several years ago and are using an architect from Larnaca. We have now agreed all of the plans and are ready to issue invitations to tender. But our architect is saying that he needs to get a […]

My wife and I are having a new house built at Psematismenos. We bought a plot of land several years ago and are using an architect from Larnaca. We have now agreed all of the plans and are ready to issue invitations to tender.

But our architect is saying that he needs to get a Quantity Surveyor to prepare a Bills of Quantities before he will issue the tender invitations.

Do we really need to do this? Isn’t it something that our architect should be doing rather than us having to pay someone else?

Answer

It isn’t your architect’s job to prepare Bills of Quantities and he’ll need to engage the services of a Quantity Surveyor to prepare them on your behalf. They’ll probably cost you between 0.7% and 1% of the total construction cost of the house.

The Bills of Quantities are very important as they will be used to establish the final price you pay for the construction of the property and they will form part of your construction contract. They will also ensure that all the tenders are submitted use the same basis for pricing and will enable you to accurately compare the quotes.

If you don’t send out Bills of Quantities with your other invitation to tender documents, very few building contractors will be interested. There is also a very good chance that the tenders you do receive will be over-priced because any contractor will want to ensure that he’s covering his costs and making a profit – and if he doesn’t have a baseline to establish those costs, he’s likely to inflate his quote.

The Bills of Quantities document will probably be split into trades and work categories along the following lines:

  • Preliminary work.
  • Excavation.
  • Concrete substructure.
  • Concrete superstructure.
  • Brickwork.
  • Insulation.
  • Carpentry.
  • Metal Works.
  • Plumbing.
  • Electrical.
  • Floor and wall finishes.
  • Painting.
  • External water services.
  • External works.
  • Miscellaneous works.
  • Daywork schedule of rates.

Ensure that the Quantity Surveyor includes a Daywork Schedule of Rates in your Bills of Quantities. This is simply a list of trades, unquantified, against which the contractor inserts his hourly labour rates. These rates are used to cover any of those odd jobs of extra work that often crop up and for which payment can only fairly be made on a time basis. The rates can also give the Quantity Surveyor a means of fixing fair measured rates in case the contractor tries to charge exorbitant prices for extra work or even minor changes – a phenomenon not unknown in the construction industry in Cyprus!

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