Preliminaries in Construction.

29 Jun 2020


Construction projects are usually priced using a bill of quantities (BOQ) which composes of a pricing schedule – Material, Labour, plant and sometimes overhead and profit cost required to carry out all the individual items of works in that particular project. BOQs are always tailored and unique to a particular project. 

Preliminaries in the general outlook are those works or tasks required to be carried out to allow a free and undisrupted schedule of the main and actual works to take place in order to meet your projected deliverable.

Say for example, if there is a residential project to be constructed, to achieve this project, certain statutory obligations or planning requirements will be required by the authorities in the area of construction. Also, to allow the undisrupted work schedule, certain site services such as electricity and water will need to be provided for the actual works.

If the location of the construction is not very accessible, temporary site access will need to be provided. All these tasks carried out to allow a safe and undisrupted working environment for this project are called Preliminary Items.

Preliminary items are a part of the BOQ for the proposed project which tenderers or contractors are required to be priced which are separate from the trade items. 

Preliminary Items are usually composed of the following headed items:

  • Preliminaries Particulars – project and contract details, works, goods & materials by others, contractual obligations and liabilities etc.
  • Plant, tools and vehicles.
  • Scaffolding
  • Site Administration and Security.
  • Transportation
  • Protection of the work
  • Water, lighting and power
  • Telephone
  • Site access, Temporary roads, hard standings and crossings etc.
  • Temporary accommodations
  • Traffic regulations
  • Safety, health and welfare.
  • Maintenance of public and private roads
  • Clearing/ carting away – removal of dirt and rubbish
  • Control of noise and other pollution
  • Statutory compliance and obligations
  • Surety and performance bonds
  • Insurances
  • Shop drawings, coordination and record drawings
  • Progress photographs and reports
  • Schedules, charts etc. showing the progress of work and activities
  • Cleaning, clearing and Handover.

Preliminaries are divided into three categories:

  1. Initial Cost
  2. Running/Recurring Costs
  3. Final Costs

The initial and Final costs are routinely a fixed cost which are paid at the commencement and at the completion of the project. While the running/recurring costs are added all together and spread evenly over the duration of the project work.

In the case of a delay which leads to additional time or a prolonged contract, claims for additional preliminaries may be tendered by the contractor which is essentially a loss and expense claim as provided for under the relevant contract clause of whatever form of contract is being used.

“For loss and expense to be admissible, it cannot be costs arising from indirect, remote, consequential or contributory causes”.


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