How to get construction pricing

How to get construction pricing for a bill of quantities

Price rates for a bill of quantities come from

  • Labour
  • Plant
  • Material costs

Construction pricing – Labour costs

The unions negotiate labour rates within the construction industry.

The Building and Allied Trades Joint Industrial Council is an annually agreed voluntary wages and payment scheme negotiated between the FMB and UNITE the Union. Members may use the scheme entirely or as guidance and are not bound to follow it. We know many members choose to go beyond the agreed BATJIC rates.

The prime cost of daywork rates based on the BATJIC Agreement June 19th 2023 to June 16th 2024

For annual updates, use this link to the Federation of master builders agreement. Labour updates and download page

Advanced craft £19.41
Intermediate craft £16.63
Adult general operative £14.67

The rates are the amount the employer will charge per hour per worker on that pay scale to cover wages and direct the employer’s obligations. This sum does not include overhead costs, administration, materials, supervision, etc.

Contractor labour built up rates.

The table below details the construction and working rule agreement 2023/2024, plus contractor overheads and costs added to the basic rates.

Daywork rates

Advanced craft £23.94
Intermediate craft £20.94
Adult general operative £18.82

Estimating rates

As an estimator, I round these up to allow for a small margin of error. It is best to be on the right side of costs.

Advanced craft £25
Intermediate craft £22
Adult general operative £20

Sub-contract labour

You can access labour-only contractors. The rate you will pay will depend on the labour quality and the labour supply and demand at the time.

Construction pricing – Plant costs

The best way to estimate plant costs is to download a plant hire company’s prices or search for your local plant hire companies and call them.

Construction plant can be broken down into large plant, small plant and small tools. There are companies that specialise in each category. Below, you will find some examples of companies so you can see what you are looking for.

Large plant hire resources

Small plant and tool hire resources

Small plant purchase resources

Construction pricing – Material Costs

The best way to obtain accurate and competitive material prices is to send enquiries to the suppliers using the information from your quantities takeoff and the architect’s specifications. Below are some examples of typical suppliers for various construction materials. It pays to get at least three prices for each category; prices vary quite a lot.

Builders merchants will supply a large number of products and will obtain requested product quotations. Builders merchants are in the middle of the supply chain. More competitive prices can be achieved by going to manufacturers directly.

Some manufacturers will only supply to builders merchants as their distribution strategy, but not all. For example, you will get better prices from a quarry for a full load of stone than your local builder’s merchant.

The list below will get you started with some supplier suggestions. Every project is different, with different specifications. The links will give you an idea of what to look out for in your local search for suppliers.

Builders merchants – Aggregates, cement, drainage, plaster products, paint, small tools, sheet materials.

Quarries – Sand, gravel and crushed rock.


Ready mix concrete – Concrete

Reinforcement steel merchants – Rebar, cut and bent steel and mesh reinforcement.

Precast concrete – Paving, kerb stone, concrete drainage, retaining walls, lintels

Steel stockholders – Structural steel

Timber importers – Softwood, hardwood, sheet materials

Joinery manufacturers – Doors, windows, staircases, kitchen units.

Drainage specialists – Plastic drainage, clay drainage, concrete drainage.

Plumbing merchants – Plumbing and heating products

Electrical wholesalers – Electrical products

More estimating lessons

A very simple set of estimating lessons to get you started. Everything you need to know to take off quantities, then pricing them. The lessons are short and to the point. I hope you find them useful.

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