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You have been working for a couple of years at QS2301 & Associates Pty Limited, a prestigious organisation of elite Quantity Surveyors head hunted from the best students at The University of Newcastle which has a much envied reputation of turning out graduates of superior caliber. To date you have not yet been entrusted to be “job captain” on any particular project despite asking on several occasions, the opportunity has not yet arisen until today when the MD, Dr Andrew Quentin Stihlwasser (known affectionately as AQS to the staff), has come to your small office cubicle and presented you with a project for a new client and he has asked you to be “job captain”.

AQS has explained that the new client is very important to your organisation as he and his sister have a large sum of money which they wish to invest in a string of new buildings once they have built up a team of trustworthy consultants. The new buildings will include both commercial and community projects. The new client has no previous project experience and has never been involved in the building or construction industry. AQS explains that Santos Clawes has a sister who is an equal part of their business but she is rarely around as she constantly travels the world working with children.

After meeting Santos you soon understand that Santos has absolutely no understanding of any technical terms you have used and to your horror you find he does not understand why you measure quantities for buildings or prepare Bills of Quantities, as he puts it “particularly as they have no jolly pictures”. Santos has previously used a QS but did not understand what they did so he is hesitant to start on this project and wants you to explain why someone would bother to measure quantities for buildings and prepare Bills of Quantities.

Santos has engaged a QS previously on the job he wants you to take over and he is providing a partly completed and badly prepared set of bills from “Fairmont QS” all you have to do is correct the bills for him.

The client Santos, notes that he has always stuck with tradition and written down lists and doesn’t trust computers, as such he has made the request that the Groundworks trade be measured in the traditional manner and hand written so that he can see that employees of QS2301 & Associates Pty Limited are competent in the base principles of measurement and do not rely on computer tricks. You have assured Santos that QS2301 & Associates Pty Limited does not need to rely on computers and the employees are both willing and ready to display their ability for him. You assure him that the highly talented and dedicated staff has the ability to work by candle light, knee deep in water infested with eels during an extended power blackout if necessary to meet the deadlines. You undertake to provide the necessary calculation sheets for Groundworks in the traditional QS triple column method hand written and also provide the typed Groundworks BOQ prepared by “Fairmont QS” in an edited form ready to be typed, Santos is happy with this undertaking. The revised bill will be in accordance with ASMM6/ANZSMM.

It is decided between you and AQS that the best approach might be a simple approach and you decide to write Santos a business letter explaining the process and reasons for building measurement and preparation of BOQs and why there are rules for measurement. You will also set out the many ways the BOQ can be used and any advantages that could be obtained. You also wish to use the letter to point out to Santos the Quantity Surveying is much more than measuring and you will use this opportunity to market the practice pointing out all the other aspects of the profession.

The address of your employer is:

QS2301 & Associates Pty Limited

1A University Drive


The address for correspondence to the client is:

Mr Santos Clawes

1 Elf Street


You have been given authority to sign the letter for the organisation.

Santos has also provided the “Fairmont QS” bills for Concrete, Formwork and Reinforcement. These bills have to be repaired and AQS suggests that Buildsoft Global be used to do this but on screen measurement will not be used. Santos provides only the hardcopy of the bills and asks that you provide him an EOX file of the bills before the deadline. These bills also have to be in accordance with ASMM6/ANZSMM.

The agreed stages are:

Stage 1 : Groundworks and accompanying letter;

Stage 2 : Concrete, Formwork and Reinforcement. The trades are as set out in ASMM6/ANZSMM.

The  scenario  for  this  assignment  is  set  out  in the  beginning of  this.

Students are required to:

  1. Write a formal business letter explaining the context surrounding the process of building measurement and the application of rules for BOQs and ASMM6/ANZSMM.

The formal business letter is to be from your employer organisation to the previously nominated potential client based on the project scenario previously described in this document. In the formal business letter students should explain:

  • the reasons for measuring quantities and preparing bills of quantities (BOQ),
  • the reasons why rules for measurement like the Australian Standard Method of Measurement (ASMM6/ANZSMM) may be required,
  • any advantages or practical uses the quantities and BOQ may provide any of the project stakeholders at any stage throughout the project,
  • the full range of services offered by a professional Quantity Surveyor.
  1. The provided BOQ for Groundworks should be marked up in red pen to reflect the corrections to comply with ASMM6/ANZSMM. You are required to fill the quantity column of the BOQ based on your measurements.
  1. Measurement of the items necessary to complete the Groundworks trade in accordance with ASMM6/ANZSMM with calculation sheets hand written in the traditional triple column format. Calculation sheets for all relevant items must be provided. All workings must be shown.

QS2301 & Associates Pty Limited

1A University Drive



For the Attention of: Process and reasons for building measurement and preparation of BOQs and why there are rules for measurement

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in our services regarding reviewing your project and the undertaking that involves taking the measurements for you and other works. Like discussed before, our company is committed to making sure your project is delivered in time and with quality undertaking. For this to happen, we would like to bring you up to speed with certain things that needs to happen, especially when generating the price for construction and making sure you have a quality work at the end. Our letter to you would dwell on the following:

  • The reasons for measuring quantities and preparing bills of quantities (BOQ),
  • The reasons why rules for measurement like the Australian Standard Method of Measurement (ASMM6/ANZSMM) may be required,
  • Advantages or practical uses the quantities and BOQ may provide any of the project stakeholders at any stage throughout the project,
  • The full range of services offered by a professional Quantity Surveyor.

These are tenets that we believe will enable us come to an understanding as far as quantifying and measurements are concerned.

Measurement in the basic of definitions, involves three components, measurements of level, dimensions and uncertainty. The magnitude is categorised under the level measurement, dimensions involves the units that are used, and the uncertainty is the precision, which includes tools of measurement and the units (this is not that common). Measurement on site takes place by a use of tape measure, though at this stage, the measurements are involved in producing the preliminary and the working drawings for the site. So, at our capacity as quantity surveyors, our measurements take place after the drawings have been prepared by the architect. The architectural drawings must have the dimensions on them, that will help us visualise the project and therefore give a somewhat accurate pricing. While taking the quantity, our concern is to ensuring that accurate results are obtained that will not harm you financially.

Measurement taking and valuation are key undertakings since they are the reasons underpinning the building budget and a key link between the design and the cost. In a project like yours, the process of measurement should not be overlooked, since this as a part of our quality output, regard this stage as tool to achieving quality. It is this moment that I would like to list some of the important benefits of measurements.

  • There may be a determination of a building budget at the initial stages of the contract is able to be achieved.
  • The quantities of work are known when measurement takes place at the initial stages. This helps establish the work that is going to be done, so that accurate quantities are taken care of in a comprehensive manner and a technically accurate way.
  • Measurement can be used to determine the inadequacies and adequacies of the building budget
  • Measuring process leads to generation of bills of quantities for the purposes of tender opening, or competitive bidding carried pout by the contractors.

Those majorly are the reasons why measurements are taken, on site and our company usually takes the best of our workers to make sure precision takes precedence.

Client requirements

After measurements have been taken, the next thing that usually takes place is quantity take offs, then bills of quantities. Quantity take offs. This is where the recording of the dimensions or quantities or any form of measurements occurs. After take offs, bills of quantities get prepared by us to now provide the measured quantities of the items and this time, these measurements also take care of the works involved. Still while using the drawings, architectural drawings, we are able to know the quantities that are required, and through our experience, know the prices of the work involved (labour quantities) to be able to come up with the total cost that shall be spent. Bills of quantities shall help you in knowing the rough estimate you will spend on construction (since a lot of things might change which executing the construction) the materials quantities that you shall buy from the supplier, and the amount of labour at every stage of construction. this will help in planning the finances, and will create an easy time in preparing the cash flow of the project, which tells when and how much payment is required at each time.

The bills of quantities will be beneficial to you in the following ways:

  • The analysis of tender is simplified when the bills of quantities is prepared.
  • It creates an easy time when scheduling how to pay the workers, and materials while construction is progressing
  • The variations, and liquidated damages can be calculated through the bills of quantities. Where the liquidated damages are a certain amount agreed upon by both parties (the contractor and you the client) that can be paid once each of the parties breaches any part of the contract agreement. And variation is the extra work that the contractor will have done that were not on the bills of quantities or additional to the work that was estimated by the bills of quantities.
  • The final account, that the accountant prepares, will be easily prepared once the bills of quantities is prepared.
  • When you want to do an asset management, (managing your assets or the investment), bills of quantities makes asset management easy, so that when doing the maintenance schedules, or when you want to insure your premise, or replace any damaged part, it becomes easy when you have the bills of quantities.
  • For the taxation, like filing returns and other taxation-related works, it is easy when the asset is valued and part of the is made possible by preparing the bills of quantities.
  • When the data of the cost of the project is captured by preparing the bills of quantities, future feasibility and estimates of the cost planning becomes easy.
  • Bills of quantities gives a comprehensive and a clear statement of the work that is in progress.

Every region in the world has rules and regulations as far as measurements and preparation of the bills of quantities. These standards ensure that there’s uniformity in the measurements of the building works so that there is consistency and a yardstick that will ensure that best practices are adopted. Once these practices are adopted to and adhered to the latter while measuring quantities, disputes can be avoided.

Adopting a standard also helps in allowing the development of familiarity that makes measurement becomes quicker and easier. It provides a system that is clear for structuring other information related to the project and cross-referencing of the information in specifications with the ones of the bills of quantities. Standards when adopted provides rules of what should be included in each item in the bills of quantities. When standards are adopted the units of measurements of each item are specified, such that there where m, m2, m3, tonnes, Kg, etc. In Australia and New Zealand, the standards are well defined in the Australian Standards Method of Measurement of Building works (ASMM) and Australian and New Zealand Standards Methods of Measurements (ANZSMM) of building works (NZIQS, 2018). They are meant to set the rules of measurements and standard propriety items that shall be measured appropriately to the practice of the manufacture’s practice. The dimensions are standardised to all the Australians and New Zealand contractors of the measurements of girths, mass, thicknesses and other information relevant to assessment of the items to be used on site.

Measurement and valuation process

That is why, in working on your estimates and measurements, these rules and regulations shall be adhered to ensure that there’s uniformity of works in the country.

The key services that are going to be offered to you at this point, will require the input of a quantity surveyor. Quantity surveying as a trade involves costing and cost management together with contractual issues which involves the supply chain. As a client, you stand to benefit from the services of a quantity surveyor, in that you or the stake holders get advised on the cost implications of your project. Such advices offered by the quantity surveyors have a lot to do with project’s strategic planning, where they affect the decision of the client on whether to build or not, and if the client decides to proceed with construction, to what extent are they able to build. The advice also touches on how the cost affects the value of the construction, including quality, function, comfort, aesthetics etc.

Quantity surveyors monitor and give an update of the initial estimates and the obligations of the contracting firm even as the project progresses, and they take note of the additional works which count as variations at the end of the works. Under the conventional procurement systems and in the project, where the quantity surveyor is not the lead consultant, the other team members, including you the client, must rely on him and ensure they furnish him with valuable information that allows him prepare accurate estimates that meaningfully contributes towards completing the construction successfully (Marsh, 2003). Whether the procurement system is the conventional one described here or the modern one (that allows the quantity surveyor to be comes the lead consultant) the quantity surveyor is a key figure to the successful project completion. Under the private public partnership (PPP), which doesn’t include your project, the roles and relevance of a quantity surveyor has been enhanced is geared towards quality service delivery, that means that in this project, the quantity surveyor is important for the undertaking (Anavhe & Olanrewaju, 2008).

In the recent times, the awareness on accountability and transparency can’t be lauded enough by many stake holders, especially in construction industry (Towey, 2017). That means that quantity surveyors are competitive, and you as a client who deserves honesty and transparency requires the services of a quantity surveyor, so that nothing passes you by because the quantity surveyor is more than just your third eye. Since the bills of quantities that we have highlighted its benefits earlier, will only make sense and be followed religiously and faithfully if there’s a quantity surveyor on site.

In the concluding remarks of this letter, I would like to bring to your attention that manging a projection from the time of design through the operational stage, to when the site is handed over to you, requires a company or a body that is knowledgeable of all stages of constructions (measuring of quantities, financial implications and the technical aspect of the project). Throughout the project’s life, we promise to be with you every step of the way, offering you or the stake holders the best of advices regarding the financial prospects project. It is key that I bring to your attention that our company has the best brains, and expertise that have dealt with more complex projects to the end, we have faced pitfalls and challenges that have sharpen our skills as far as quantity surveying is concerned, and so we are positive that we shall deliver your project in the way it need to be delivered.

Kind regards


Anavhe, J. P., & Olanrewaju, A. A. (2008). Services that quantity surveyor provide in Nigeria. In Proceedings: International conference on project management (ICoPM) 18 – 20 November, 2008,. . Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Organized by the University Malaysia.

Marsh, C. (2003). Building Services Procurement. London: Spon Press.

NZIQS. (2018). Australian & NZ Standard Method of Measurement 2018. Retrieved from New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS):

Towey, D. (2017). Construction quantity surveying: a practical guide for the contractor's QS. London, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

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