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Chapter2
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Chapter2
PreparationofBillsofQuantitiesandtheuseofSpecifications
1. BillofQuantitiesforCivilEngineeringWork
Thistypeofcontractincorporatesabillofquantitiestobepricedbythe
contractorandisoneofmostcommonlyusedformofcontractforcivil
engineeringwork.
AbillofquantitiesispreparedinaccordancewiththeCESMM,givingas
accurately as possible the quantities of each item of work to be
executed, and the contractor enters a unit rate against each item of
work.
QuantityxUnitRate=$TenderTotal
Item description only identifies work whose nature and extent is
definedbythecontractdocumentsasawhole,includingtheDrawings,
SpecificationandConditionsofContract.
This encourage the complete design of work prior to tender and the
cost of civil engineering work frequently depends extensively on the
shapeandlocationofthework,andtheterrain.Thisinformationisbest
extractedfromthedrawings.

Theuseofbillofquantitiesoffersthefollowingadvantages:
(a) It enables all contractors tendering for a contractor to price on exactly
the same information. The use of bill of quantities avoids the need for
allthetendererstomeasurethequantitiesthemselvesbeforepreparing
the estimate. If all tenderers have to measure the works, there is a
wastefulduplicationofeffortsandincreaseinthecontractorsoverhead,
whichwilleventuallybepassedtotheemployers/clients.
(b) The bill of quantities is prepared in accordance with the Standard
method of Measurement, ensuring that tendering contractors have a
clearconceptionoftheworkinvolved.
(c) The contractor is paid for the actual amount of work done and thus
limitstheriskbornebythecontractor.
(d) Whileprovidingafairbasisforpayment,italsoprovidesabasisforthe
valuationofvariations,whichoccurduringtheprogressofthework.

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2. ContentsintheBillofQuantities
Therearevariousformsinwhichbillsofquantitiescanbeprepared,butno
matter which format is used; there will be certain aspects, which are
commontoalltypes.

Allbillswillcontainthefollowingsections:
Preliminaries
Preambles
MeasuredWork
PrimecostandProvisionalSums
DayworkSchedule

Preliminariessection
Thepreliminariessectionusuallyplacedatthebeginningofthebill.
Preliminarieswillprovide:
Particularsofthetypeofcontracttobeusedand;
Detailsofgeneralmatters,whichmayaffectthepriceofthework.
Theitemsaremainlycomprisedofthreecategories:

(a) HeadingsofClausescontainedintheConditionsofContractforexample:
ObligationoftheContractor,CommencementofWorketc.
(b) Matters contained in Section 1 Part V of the CESMM for example: Site
Office,Hoarding,ProtectionfortheWorks,SitePhotographs,etc.
(RefertotheSection1PreliminariesoftheCESMM).
(c) Any specific matters not covered in (a) or (b) above but cover many
importantfinancialmatterswhichrelatetothecontractasawhole,and
are not confined to any particular work section, and the contractor is
giventheopportunitytopricethem.
Forexample:theClientmayrequirehisowncontractorstoenterthesiteto
dorenovationworksduringtheprogressofworksandtheMainContractor
willhavetoallowforallcostandtimeimplicationinthePreliminariesitem.

PreambleSection
Thepreambleinacivilengineeringbillofquantitiesistoindicate
Tothetenderingcontractorswhethermethodsofmeasurementother
thanCESMMhavebeenusedforanypartsoftheworksand;
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2. ContentsintheBillofQuantities(contd)
WhetheranymodificationshavebeenmadeinapplyingCESMMtomeet
specialneeds.
Example:
(i) CESMM requires that excavation in rock is measured separately but if
thereisdifficultindoingso,thentheruleofmeasurementmaybemodified
toincludeallmeasurementofexcavationinnaturalsoil.
(ii) A Preamble will be provided stating that the Contractors rates shall
includeexcavationinrockiftheyencounteredrocksduringtheexcavation
works. This method will place the risks on the Contractor but will simplify
themeasurementprocess.
ThefollowingmainpointsareusuallyincludedinaPreamble:
a) Attention is directed to other parts of the contract documents in
additiontothebills
b) The bills are prepared in accordance with the CESMM, any special
methodofmeasurementshouldbestated
c) Prices and rates inserted in the bills are full, inclusive of wastage,
overhead,profitandothersundryitems
d) Items with no price inserted will be considered to be covered by
pricesofotheritems

MeasuredWorksBill
Themeasuredworksectionofabillofquantitiessetoutinasystematic
manner, the quantities and full description of the item required to
constructandcompletetheworkforexample:
DescriptionQuantityUnitofMeasurementUnitRate
R.Cgrade30/20Dinfdn100m3$950/m3
The level of detail at which the work is described and measured is
controlledbyasetofmeasurementrulesintheCESMM.
The rate of $950/m3is inserted by the Contractor as his price for doing
thereinforcedconcretework.

ProvisionalSums
Provisional sums are sums provided for items of works, which the
requirementisuncertainatthetimeoftenderandtheworksshallonlybe
carriedoutontheinstructionoftheEngineer.
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2.ContentsintheBillofQuantities(contd)
PrimeCostSums
Prime Cost sumsareused to obtain the nominationof subcontractors for
workswhicharedeemedtobespecialistwork.Thesesumsshallbeallowed
inthetenderdocumentasPrimeCostSums.

These are sums provided for works to be carried out by the Nominated
Subcontractor and such sums are deemed to be exclusive of any
AttendanceorProfitrequiredbytheMainContractor.

Provision is to be made for profit to the main contractor and for


attendanceontheNominatedSubcontractors,whereappropriate.

TheSMMstates:
Where prime cost sums are included in the bills for the execution of works
to be carried out by a nominated subcontractor, separate items to be
providedfor
(i)generalattendanceprovidedbythemaincontractorintheformoflump
sumsuchaselectricity,wateretc.
(ii)specialattendanceprovidedbymaincontractorintheformoflumpsum
suchasextrahorsepoweredgenerator.
(iii)maincontractorsprofitintheformofpercentage.

ExampleofPrimeCostSum
MainContractor'sProfitandAttendanceonPCSumsProfit
AllowaPCSumofHK$500,000.00fortheInstallationofLift
Allow%forProfit
AllowHK$forGeneralAttendance
AllowHK$forSpecialAttendance
ThisprofitisnormallycalculatedasapercentageofthePCSum.Whilethe
Attendance whether General Attendance or Special Attendance shall be
allowedasaLumpSum.

DayworkSchedule
Itisnecessarytomakeprovisionforadayworkevaluationofworkwhich
cannotbeassessedatbillrates.
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2.ContentsintheBillofQuantities(contd)

Examplesofworkswhicharenotsuitabletobemeasuredatthebillrates
areworkswhicharelabourintensivesuchasdemolition.
Dayworkisthemethodofvaluingworkonthe
(i)Timespentbyoperatives(Labour),
(ii)Materialsusedand
(iii)Plantsemployed,
(iv)AdditionalpercentageallowancetocoverProfit&Overhead.

Normallyalistofvarioustypesoflabour,materialandplantareprepared
forwhichdayworkratesorpricesaretobeinsertedbytheTenderers.

3. Typesofbillscategorizedbytheaccuracyofthequantities

BillofFirmQuantities
In the preparation of a firm bill of quantities, design must be completed
and drawings must be full and details available for measurement prior to
tender.
TheEngineerwillmeasurethequantitiesfromthefinaliseddrawingsand
thusthequantitiesshouldreflecttheworkinthedrawings.
The quantities are firm quantities and usually this kind of bill will form
part of the contract and the quantities should not be altered unless with
theEngineersinstructions.

BillofApproximateQuantities
There are circumstances when the quantities in the bill are not firm but
approximate.
In such cases, the designs or drawings are not completed but the bill of
approximatequantitiesispreparedfortenderingpurposes.
The approximate quantities shall subject to afinal remeasurement upon
finalizationofdesigndrawings.
CircumstanceswhentousethistypeofBill:

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3.Typesofbillscategorizedbytheaccuracyofthequantities

a) Where time is the essence and the general drawings have been
formulated, and the Employer wishes to select a contractor before the
detaildrawingscanbecompleted.
In this situation, it is probable that sufficient design information is
available to enable approximate quantities to be produced to form a
bill.
b) Withworkbelowground,theavailableinformationislikelytobetoo
impreciseforthepreparationofaccuratequantities.
Thebuildingcanbeestablishedbutthedepthoffoundationsandextent
ofsoftareaswillbeuncertain.
c) Provisionalquantitiesmaybeincludedinafirmbillofquantitiesto
coverworkthatisuncertaininextentandissubjecttoremeasurement
wheretheworkiscarriedout.
Excavatinginrock,theremovalofundergroundobstructionmaybe
classifiedunderthiscategory.

4. FormatsofBills

TradeBills
Thisisatraditionalmethodwhicharisenduetothewaythe
constructionindustryhasconventionallybeenorganised.
Thetradeformatgroupssimilaritemstogethertoavoidrepetition.The
workitemsaregroupedaccordingtotradeworks.
ThearrangementofthetradesusuallyfollowstheorderintheSMM.
Forexample:
Excavator
Concretor
Drainlayer
BrickworkandMasonry
Advantage
1. ThesubdivisionoftheBQaccordingtotradesallowedtheestimatorto
quicklybreakuptheBQandsendoutsectionstotradesubcontractor
forseparatequotations.
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4.FormatsofBills(contd)

2. Moresimpletoprepareasthereislessworkingupprocessandless
repetitionwork
Disadvantage
1.Notverygoodforshowingthecostofvariouselement.

ElementalBills
Elemental bills are divided into elements that correspond to the
functionalpartofthebuilding.
The elemental bill groups similar elements together for ease of cost
planning.
Hence; trades such as Excavator, Concretor, Drainlayer, Brickwork, etc
will be replaced by headings such as Foundation, Structural Frame,
SuspendedSlabs,BridgeStructure,etc
The principal objective is to secure a precise tendering by making the
location of the work more readily identifiable and to provide a closer
linktothecostplan.

Advantages
1. Itwillbeeasiertoextractfromthebillsthetotalcostforanelemental
itemthusfacilitatetheuseofpricedBQforcostplanning.
2. Estimating can be made more accurate as items are related to a
particularpartofaproject.
3. Itprovidesmorereliableinformationforthecontractorintheirproject
managementworks
4.HelptosimplifytheworksoftheEngineerinpreparationofinterim
paymentespeciallystagepayment

Disadvantages
1. Thistypeofbillsneedmoretimeasitinvolvesaconsiderablerepetition
ofbilleditems
2. Billscanbeextremelylargeandbulky
3. Additionalexpensesduetotheextrarepetitivework

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5.OtherTypeofContractthatisusedinCivilEngineering
ScheduleofRates
A schedule of rates is similar to a bill of quantities but without the
quantities.
Inotherwords,itconsistsofalistofitemswithfulldescriptions,unitsof
measurementandunitrates.
Thistypeofcontractisnormallysuitedformaintenanceandrepairwork
wheretheextentandnatureoftheworksmaynotbeknownuntilthework
isexecuted.
Generally the contractor is required to insert the rates in the schedule
ofthelisteditemsofworks.

Description UnitofMeasurement UnitRate


R.Cgrade30/20Dinfdn m3 $950/m3
(insertedbythecontractor)
OR
The rates maybe predetermined by the Employer whereby the
contractor will then enter an addition or deduction percentage to the
listedrates.

Description Unit UnitRate %Adjustment


R.Cgrade30/20Dinfdn m3 $800/m3 (+15%)

Advantage:
(1) Theuseofthistypeofcontractisthatworkonsitecancommencewell
beforethecompletionofthedesign.
Disadvantages:
(1) Totalcostoftheworkisnotknownatthetimeoftender.
(2) Thetotalcostofaprojectisonlycalculatedbymeasuringtheworkasit
proceedsonsiteandpricingattheappropriateratesintheschedule.


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6.UseofSpecification
The specification is read in conjunction with drawings and a bill of
quantities to supply the contractor with all the necessary information he
needstosubmitatenderandtoexecutetheworks.

Themainfunctionsofthespecificationareto:
1)Describefullytheworkmanshipandmaterialsrequiredtocarryoutthe
contract.
The specification lays down the quality of material, standard of
workmanship, testing methods and acceptance criteria for construction
work.

2) Avoids duplication of descriptive information as full descriptions


appearinasingledocumentwhichisthespecification.
On a construction job, the descriptions of items contained in the bills of
quantitiesshouldbe
as brief as possible and with frequent references to the specification
clauses.

3)ProvidedetailsofnotincludedintheConditionsofContract
In addition to the above, the specification also contains details of any
special responsibilities of the contractor which are not covered by the
conditionsofcontract.

4)Tosupplementtheinformationinthedrawings
Itisobviouslynotpossibletoshoweverythingonthedrawings,e.g.specific
details of the way materials are jointed or fixed, details of standard of
workmanshiprequiredetc.
Nevertheless the information is important for pricing and for quality
controlandsomustbegivenintheSpecification.

ForawellwrittenSpecification,itisthereforeimportantthat:

i) The specification and drawings are complete but without excessive


duplication.Drawingsandspecificationmustnotcontradicteachother.

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6.UseofSpecification(contd)
ii)Thespecificationwritermustknowwhatisrequiredthisimpliesagood
knowledge of construction technology, both the way in which works fit
togetherandofconstructionmaterials
iii)Theinformationispresentedclearly.

7.GeneralArrangementofSpecification
(a)GeneralClauses
Most specifications for civil engineering work begin with a selection of
general clauses which relate to the contract as a whole and are not
confined to any particular trade or works section. The nature and content
oftheseclauseswillvaryfromprojecttoproject.

Anexampleofatypicalgeneralclauseisasfollow:.
Heading:GeneralRequirements
TheworkstobeexecutedunderthisContractaretobecarriedoutin
accordancewiththeConditionsofContract,Specification,BillofQuantities
andContractDrawings.
If in construing the Contract, there shall appear to be any inconsistency
between the Specification and Conditions of Contract, the Condition of
Contractshallprevail.
This clause draws the Contractors attention to the requirements of all
the Contract Documents and emphasizes that the Conditions of Contract
haveprecedenceovertheothercontractdocuments.

(b)TechnicalMaterialandWorkmanshipClauses
The specification clauses are normally followed by materials and work
clauses, which are related to the various sections of work making up the
job.

MaterialDescriptions
Considerable care must be exercised in the drafting of a specification, to
prepareclauses,whichareconcise,complete,andfreeformambiguity.
The following alternative methods of describing materials, or a
combinationofthem,canbeusedinaspecification.
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7.GeneralArrangementofSpecification(contd)
MethodsofDescribingMaterialsinSpecificationClauses:
(1) A full description of the material is given with details of desirable and
undesirablecharacteristicandappropriatetestrequirements
(2) Relevant standard reference, together with details of type or class
required.Thecontractorcanthenrefertothespecifiedstandard
(3) Name of manufacturer, proprietary brand or source of supply stated
andthecontractorcanobtainfurtherparticularsfromthemanufactureror
supplier.
(4) Provide the Prime Cost of the material with brief description of supply
anddeliveryofacertainquantityofthematerialtothesite.
Forexample:PrimeCostoftobe$2500/m2(suppliedanddeliveredtosite)

Forexample,amaterialdescriptiononbrick:
Material Description
Bricks Claybricks
Nameofmanufacturer asapprovedbytheEngineer
OrSourceofSupply
Primecost $500.00perthousand,deliveredto
site
Desirablecharacteristics Wellburnt,hard,square,clean,
sound
Undesirablecharacteristic Freefromcracks
Tests Minimumcompressivestrength
7.0Mpa.

Workmanshipclauses
Specificationclausescoveringconstructionalworkandworkmanship
requirementaregenerallydraftedintheimperativeandshouldgiveaclear
andconcisedescriptionofthecharacterandextentoftheworkinvolved.

ForexampleasinClause25:144(1):
Brickworkshallbeflushedupwithcementmortartoformalevelandeven
bedtoreceivehorizontaldampproofcourse.

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8.ClassificationofSpecification

(1)StandardSpecification
These are specification devised by experts in their fields in the
government departments and consulting engineering firms and they are
acceptedasauthoritativebytheconstructionindustry.
InHongKong,someparticularauthoritiesforeg.ASD,Housing
Authority, Civil Engineering Department has comprehensive standard
specificationwhichwillbeissuedforeveryproject.
These standard requirements establish a uniformity of administrative
proceduresandqualityinmaterialandworkmanshipforconstructingtheir
projects.

(2)ParticularSpecification
Standard specification is unable to provide all of the requirements
neededforaspecificcontract.
To fill this gap, another set of specification called the particular
specifications are prepared by the specification writer for the specific
project.
Theparticularspecificationclausespresentrequirementsapplicableonly
tothatspecificcontract.
This is often achieved by amending the standard specification by adding
tothem,deletingfromthem,ormodifyingthem.
The combined use of the above two specifications enables the speedy
readinessofspecificationsuitabletotheproject.

9.TypesofSpecification
1)PerformanceSpecification
Performance specifications are sometimes called End Product
SpecificationsorEndResultSpecifications.
Theyspecifystandardsandcriteria,andtheendresultstobeobtained.
Performance specification does not normally prescribe dimensions,
materialsormethodsofmanufacture,instead,thedesiredquality;function
andothercharacteristicsoftheproductarespecified.
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9.TypesofSpecification(contd)
By specifying the performance requirements, it becomes the
responsibility of the contractor to select the materials and methods to
achievetheendresult.

Advantages:
(a)Somecontrolofdesignpassestothecontractor.
(b)Manynewideasareencouraged.
(c)Newmaterialsorcomponentcanbeincorporated.
(d)Contractorusesmethodsorplantfamiliartohimself
(e) Period for design may be reduced as helpful in eliminating lot of
detailedinstructionsforconstructionprocedures.

Disadvantages
(a) Comparison of tenders is less certain due to variation in contractors
specification.
(b) Cost of project may await tenders, as Engineers guide prices may not
apply

2)ProprietarySpecification
It restricts products to be manufactured in accordance with a defined
methodorsystem
An Engineer will after many years in business, acquire first hand
knowledge on the performance of various products and items of
equipment.
He utilises this knowledge to guide him in specifying projects. He will
specified certain methods, or products or item of equipment by its brand
name,manufacture.
Sometimes,inordertoavoidanychanceoffavouritismandminimisethe
restrictiononcompetition,thephraseequalandapprovedisusedinthe
Specification.

Advantages
a)TheEngineerexercisesmaximumcontrol
b)Alltendersareonthesamebasis
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9.TypesofSpecification(contd)
c)CostofprojectbasedontheEngineersmethodorspecifiedproprietary
systemofproducts
d)EnsureEngineersfamiliaritywiththedesign

Disadvantages
(a)ThespecifiedmethodmaynotbefamiliarisedbytheContractor
(b)Reducedtheopportunityforotheralternativeswhichmaybemorecost
effective
(c) There may be time where is it impossible or impractical to make an
exhaustive study within the design period to draw up a list of proprietary
system

3)DescriptiveSpecification
Descriptive specifications are most common in civil engineering
constructionworks.
This type of Specification will provide detailed description of required
materialsandtheirpropertieswithoutspecifyingbrandnames.
It will also provide construction details and the desired quality of
workmanship.
Descriptive specifications are sometimes called Material and
WorkmanshipSpecification.

Advantages
(a)Controlcanbeimposedonbothqualityandperformance
(b)Contractorcanusematerialandequipmentfamiliartohimself
(c)Commonbasishasbeenprovidedforcomparisonoftenders
Disadvantages
(a)Costofprojectcanbeaffectedlargelybythematerialorequipment
usedbytheContractor
(b)Greatersupervisionisneeded.

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10.FormatofSpecificationforMaterial
Inspecifyingformaterial,therearetwoformatswhichareinuse:

1)CloseSpecification
A close specification is one which the description of material is so
detailedthatonlyoneproductcanqualifyforuse.
A specification provided by the Manufacturer is usually a closed
specification,or
Incaseswherebythecontracthasspecifiedformaterialstobeprovided
byNominatedSupplierisalsoaclosedspecification.
Its purpose is to ensure that only construction products of a desired
qualityareprovidedbytheContractor.
However,closespecificationwillreducecompetitioninprices.

2)OpenSpecification
An open specification is worded in such a way that the products of
various Manufacturers are acceptable, provided that they can meet the
specifiedfunctionandqualitystandards.
It allows substitution by specifying materials followed by wordings such
asapprovedequal.
It is useful when cost savings is possible or when the availability of
materialisuncertain.
This type is usually often used in Government contracts where open
competitionispreferred.

SourcesofWritingforSpecificationWriting
Informationforuseincivilengineeringspecificationscanbeobtainedfrom
avarietyofsources.Theprincipalsourcesofinformationareasdescribed:

(1)PreviousSpecification
Inthemajorityofcases,specificationforpastprojectsisusedasabasisin
thepreparationofanewspecificationforajobofsimilartype.

When looking for a previously prepared specification, one should be


selectedtocommensuratewiththemagnitudeofthefutureproject.

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10.FormatofSpecificationforMaterial(contd)

Forexample:aconcretespecificationforadamconstructionwouldnotbe
appropriatetouseforconstructionofasimplebuilding.

Theuseofpreviousspecificationexpeditesthetaskofspecificationwriting
but care must be taken to bring the specification clauses to date by the
incorporation of the latest developments and techniques for the work
concerned.

Inaddition,clauseshavetobemodifiedtosuitthedesign,constructionin
thecurrentjob.Generally,detailswhicharenotapplicableareomittedand
toinsertinformationonadditionalfeatures.

(2)ContractDrawings
Thedraftcontractdrawingswillbepreparedinadvanceofthespecification
andthesewillshowthecharacterandextentofthework.
The specification writer will extract a considerable amount of information
from the drawings and will work systematically through them when
compilingthespecification.

(3)EmployersRequirement
The employer or client often lays down requirements in connection with
the project and these will probably need to be incorporated in the
specification.

Typicalrequirementsofthiskindaretheprogrammingoftheworksasto
provideforcompletionofcertainsectionsofworks,takingofprecautions
soastominimizeinterferencewithexistingfacilitiesetc.

RequirementsofthisnaturewillbereflectedintheGeneralClausesofthe
specificationandshouldbetonoticeofthecontractorstheymayresultin
increasedcost.

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10.FormatofSpecificationforMaterial(contd)

(4)SiteInvestigation
Some of the information inserted in a specification will arise from site
investigation such as information on soil conditions and water table level
andsiteclearancework.

Thecontractorshouldbesuppliedwithanyrelevantinformationtoreduce
therisksandthenumberofuncertainfactorsinhistender.

(5)BritishStandards
The use of British standard in the specification clause permits a
considerable reduction in the length of clauses relating to materials and
componentsandproducts.

Italsoeliminatesthecontractorfromreadinglengthydescriptiveclausesin
the specification. The standards are prepared by the British Standards
Institution which is the approved body for the preparation of a national
standard covering methods for tests, terms, definitions, standards of
quality,ofperformance,dimensionsetc.

British Standards prescribe the recognised standards of quality and of a


great value in drafting specification as they reduce the amount of
descriptiveworksyetatthesametimeensureagoodqualityproduct.

(6)CodesofPractice
Specificationclausessometimesrefertorelevantcodesofpracticeto
ensuregoodstandardofconstructionandworkmanshipwithouttheneed
forlengthyspecificationclauses.

CodesofPracticecoverdesign,constructionandmaintenanceaspect.Their
contents are widely known and recognised as a mean to secure improved
standardsofworksintherespectivefield.

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10.FormatofSpecificationforMaterial(contd)

(7)TradeCatalogues
Whenmaterialsofproprietarybrandsareusedinajob,referenceisoften
made to the manufacturers catalogues for specifying the necessary
informationinthespecification.

Thisprocedurewillshortenthelengthofthespecificationclauseandatthe
sametimeensuredtheuseofaspecificmaterialwithwhichtheEngineers
familiarandinwhichhehasfullconfidence.