An Investigation of the Contractor's Use of Bills of Quantities

  • D.W.H. Skinner

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The bill of quantities is a document extensively used throughout the building industry, and has remained substantially unaltered since the introduction of the first edition of the Standard Method Of Measurement Of Building Works in 1922. This research answers the question, what use is the bill of quantities to the contractor today?
A detailed investigation was made within one contracting company, to identify, firstly, every activity where bills of quantities are used, and secondly, the specific information used from the bill by each of those activities.
In addition to use, the research also examines the 'value' of information. A method of measuring information value, capable of recording any change resulting from different use, was developed.
The results identify the procedure which makes the greatest use of the bill, identifies also the specific information most frequently used, and name the variety of tasks which the bill serves. The results compare use and ‘value' and calculates the 'values' for specific information as well as procedures.
By considering the time scale from tender to final account, the research establishes when the greatest use of the bill occurs*and demonstrates that this use far exceeds that at the tender stage.
The results further show that disparity exists between the 'values' of individual information packages used at different times and for different purposes, indicating the need for a more appropriate structure.
Date of AwardJul 1974
Original languageEnglish


  • contractor's use
  • bills of quantities

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