This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol2", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
All "extras" are extra only beyond the cost of rough brickwork first measured, unless otherwise described.
Subheadings should be repeated at the top of each page of the Bill, followed by the word (Continued). Underline all headings and subheadings.
Subheadings adopted for convenience in "abstracting " have already been noticed. The following are adopted in the Bill in the order given:-
"Facings," with further subheadings of the several kinds of facings, see example above; "Drains in all trades."
Under this heading is billed first the cube Portland stone, including hoisting and fixing at various heights as previously explained, and then the labours upon it. "Portland stone and all labours." Under this heading is billed the Portland stone, which has been measured including labours. Follow in a similar manner with separate headings for any other kinds of stone.
The only items usually billed under a subheading in this trade are those of centering, namely, "Centering; including all necessary struts."
"Floors and Skirtings," "Sashes and Frames" "Doors and Framings," Thicknesses," "Architraves and Mouldings," "Stairs in Deal," Sundries in Deal." Separate subheadings for various kinds of hard wood should follow the similar subheadings in deal. "Ironmongery of the best description, including screws and fixing to deal," "Ironmongery of the best description, including brass screws and fixing to hard wood." "Brass Ironmongery, including screws and fixing to deal." "Brass Ironmongery, including screws and fixing to hardwood."
"Two oils on iron after fixing," "Knot, stop, prime, and paint four oils on wood," "Knot, stop, prime, and paint three oils on wood, and grain and twice varnish," "Four oils on Keene's cement." These descriptions should, of course, be varied to suit the circumstances.
The foregoing list gives the principal subheadings, but whenever repetition in the Bill can be saved by this means a subheading followed by a description should be adopted.
Sometimes a description only will suffice, as, for example, in the Plumbers Bill: - "The following cocks to be Lambert's best high-pressure screw down."
In transferring the items from the Abstract to the Bill, care should be taken to notice if any item has been abstracted out of order, and to bill it in its correct place. Should an item get billed out of order, arrow it in to its right place in red, and the lithographer will make the correction.
The method of billing is to write each item in the Bill with its proper description, and then cross it through in black ink on the Abstract. The person who checks the bill should tick each item in the Bill in red as he finds it on the Abstract, and then cross through the item in the Abstract in red; as each sheet of Abstract is finished, look very carefully down each column to make sure that no item has been missed, and tick the bottom of the column in black. The checker in turn follows the same course, ticking in red all as shown below (see Fig. 51), the dotted lines representing red ink.
Be careful in making the crossing through lines not to obliterate any of the figures, especially the totals.
Notice that the looped lines on the deduction mean that the item is transferred to another place on the Abstract, and the straight lines on the main item mean that it has been transferred to Bill.
Next to the accuracy of the figures, the most important consideration in billing is the clearness and accuracy of the descriptions. It must be remembered that estimating usually has to be done under pressure of time, and the descriptions should be such as to convey definitely, to the mind of the Contractor or his estimating clerk, what and how much he has to do, and the information should be conveyed to him in the most concise form possible. Avoid all ambiguity, therefore. Items are frequently so described in a Bill of Quantities as to leave considerable doubt in the Contractor's mind as to what is intended to be included in the description, and the use of the word "including" will often make the meaning clear, as, for example:-
Glazed stoneware sink, size 3'. 0" X 1'. 9" x 7" deep, and fixing on and including half- brick bearers in cement.
Or, if the bearers are not included but are merely mentioned in the description to show the method of fixing, make the intention clear, as follows:-
Glazed stoneware sink, size 3'. 0" x 1'. 9" x 7" deep, and fixing on half-brick bearers (elsewhere measured).
In a long description it is sometimes necessary to say what is elsewhere measured, as, for example, (bearers elsewhere measured).
Be very careful in using the word ditto that there can be no mistake as to how much of the previous description it includes. Where an item varies in some respect from the previous one, it is often better to use the words "all as last described, but," etc., as, for example:-
Deal cased frames of \ 1" inside and outside linings, 1 1/4" pulley stiles, 8/4" back lining, with beads and parting slips, and 3" oak sunk, weathered, and check-throated sills, and 2" ovolo moulded sashes, double hung with Samson patent lines and brass-faced axle pulleys, with steel axles and brass wheels and bushes and iron weights, the frames grooved all round for finishings .......
Do. do. all as last described, but divided into small squares with 1" ovolo moulded sash bars . .
Where there are several varieties, as sometimes occurs in the case of sashes and frames, it is often necessary to refer to one or two of the main varieties by letter (see "A" and "B" in the last example), and then to describe those varying from these as: "Deal cased frames, etc., all as 'A,' but," etc., or "all as ' B,' but," etc., as the case may be.
When repeating an item, always repeat its dimensions.
1" x 9" ovolo moulded skirting and grounds fixed to partitions
1" x 9" ditto ditto and ditto, but plugged to walls. . .
Where items are billed run, always place the lesser dimension first in the description, as above, - never 9x1 inch ovolo moulded, etc. This facilitates observing the proper order as previously described.
Never use abbreviations in the Bill.
Having dealt briefly with all the processes necessary to produce a complete Bill of Quantities, a few words of advice to the beginner will perhaps not be out of place. First, as to scales; never use a scale with more than one scale on it, and let that be a single reading one. Nothing is more likely to lead to errors in measurement than the use of a scale which reads from both ends, and as the dimensions are never checked, errors are not likely to be discovered until the job is settled up. An ordinary architect's scale with a different scale on each edge is all very well for its purpose, because if the draughtsman were to attempt to use the wrong edge he would immediately discover his mistake; but in measuring rapidly from a drawing and writing the dimensions down there is little or nothing to call attention to the error.
Where dimensions are figured, always use them in preference to scaling, but see that they are workable, and that they agree with the scale generally. Where dimensions follow naturally, as in the case of the linings and architraves of a door or window, measure only the main item as described under "Taking-off," and make the necessary calculations "on waste" for the remaining items.
Before starting to take off, have a good look through the drawings, and compare them and see that they all agree. Follow the chimney breasts up from floor to floor, see that there is room to get the flues up, and notice if any corbelling over is necessary for extra width. When the breast on an upper floor is wider than that below there is often a difficulty in getting the flues past the floors without the corbelling showing in the room below.
Read carefully through the Specification before starting to "take off," and notice if it differs from the drawings in any respect.
Before starting to "take off," prepare a sheet divided into two columns for "Notes and Queries" and "Replies." Make the notes and queries as they occur, and submit them to the Architect for settlement. If they are of a nature to keep until the "taking-off" is completed, one interview will settle the lot, but any important queries which may affect other items should be settled as soon as possible.
When "taking-off" openings, it is advisable to make some kind of mark in pencil on the drawings to show what openings have been dealt with, but make it as neatly as possible, with a soft pencil, as Architects often complain of the state of the drawings when returned from the Quantity Surveyor. One of the simplest ways of marking openings is to put a line right across the opening when you have deducted the brickwork, a line across the outside end of the first line when you have deducted the facings, a line across the middle when you have taken the sash and frame and finishings, and a line across the inside end when you have deducted the plaster, as in Fig. 52.