A Bill of Quantities is prepared by Quantity Surveyors to provide an extensive and itemised trade list (including description and quantity) of each of the components or items required for a construction project.
In Australia the format and content are generally based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Method of Measurement of Building Works (ANZSMM). The ANZSMM has been prepared in agreement between the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) and the Master Builders - Construction and Housing Association Australia Inc.
The main purpose of a Bill of Quantities is to itemise and define a project so that all tenderers are preparing their price and submission on the same information.
A BOQ helps to eliminate the 'guesswork' and also minimise discrepancies in the tender documents. When preparing and measuring a BOQ, the Quantity Surveyor needs to "build the building" almost in its entirety on "paper" before the real bricks 'n' mortar construction starts. Discrepancies in the documents (i.e. the drawings stating one thing and the specification asking for another) are greatly reduced as documents across all disciplines are checked.
The preparation of a BOQ also has other advantages as well, such as:
Being a basis for assessing and recommending progress claims and payments
Helping to reduce the tender period (and its associated costs) as the tenderers then do not have to each individually reproduce their own measure
And it also provides a basis for project cost analysis, so that future cost planning efforts have reliable information to refer to
The image below is a small sample that details how an AQSA BOQ is structured (This is supported with either an excel take-off database and/or an .exf file), which links the measure to the design drawings);