Why you need a Material and Labour Schedule for your Project Vs a Bill of Quantity

12 Jul 2020


Prior to the commencement of any construction/ building activity, it is necessary to have a pricing and scope of works information that will guide you throughout the duration of the works. 

This pricing and scope of works information may be termed as an estimate which will compose of a Description of all individual items of works, the unit of pricing each work which may be in cubic meter, square meter, linear meter or just a sum, the quantity of each of the item of work, the rate at which that amount will be paid for (in bill of quantities, the rate is Material cost + Labour cost + a % of overhead and profit). Finally, it will have an amount required to complete each individual work item i.e. this is the multiplication of the quantity and rate of individual work items.

Generally, the major difference between a Bill of Quantity and a Material and Labour schedule costing is the “Rate at which that item of work is to be done”. In the Bill of quantity, the cost to be incurred on material, labour and a percentage for overhead and profit are all merged together as an individual rate. For a Material and labour schedule costing, the rates for the material aspect of the schedule are specifically the cost of materials and that of the labour schedule is the cost budgeted to pay that labour for that item of work.

Screenshot of Sample heading of Bill of Quantity 


Screen shot of Sample heading for Material and Labour Schedule Costing

Which is more effective?

Generally, it depends on the purpose. 

In pre-construction, pre-contract stages and in the use of certain forms of construction contracts, the bill of quantity is a good tool to helps in general cost planning, tendering, for valuation purposes either for work done for progress payments or variation works, it is also a good tool. Although it is sometimes very generic in its rates.

While for actual construction purposes, the material and labour schedule costing is super effective as it helps out in detailed planning of construction works, indicates the detailed description of work to be done, the quantities of the actual materials required (cement, sand, granite, Marine boards, 1x12 wood etc) for each item of work and the labour cost for each item and stage of work. The material and labour schedule costing is more precise in its rates.

At TheBuildingEstimator, our products cater for the entire value chain of the costing and estimating of your construction project:

The Automated Estimator – This allows you estimate for the quantities of material and labour required per item of work – concrete, formwork, painting, screeding etc.

The Budget Calculator – This allows you to quickly estimate for the total cost of construction of either your residential, commercial and fencing construction by just inputting some set parameters like length of fence, area of building, type of foundation etc. 

The Custom Estimator – allows you upload your construction drawings and we will do out a material and labour scheduled costing for your construction, starting from inception to completion.

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