New rules of measurement

The RICS new rules of measurement (NRM) is a suite of documents issued by the RICS Quantity Surveying and Construction Professional Group to provide a standard set of measurement rules that are understandable by anyone involved in a construction project. Although principally based on UK practice, the need for a coordinated set of rules and underlying philosophy behind NRM has worldwide application.

The NRM suite comprises 3 volumes.

NRM 1: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works

NRM 1 provides guidance on the quantification of building works for the purpose of preparing cost estimates and cost plans. Direction is also given on quantifying other construction project costs which are not reflected in the measurable building work items: preliminaries, overheads and profit, project team and design team fees, risk allowances, inflation, and other development and project costs.

NRM 1 enables more effective and accurate cost advice to be given to clients and other project team members, and facilitates better cost control.

Although written primarily for the preparation of order of cost estimates and cost plans, the rules will be invaluable when preparing approximate estimates.

The rules can also be used as a basis for capturing historical cost data in the form required for order of cost estimates and elemental cost plans, thereby completing the ‘cost management cycle’.

The first edition, NRM: Order of cost estimating and elemental cost planning, published in February 2009, but several factors prompted a second edition. The opportunity was also taken to simplify and augment certain aspects of the rules. The main changes are:

  • the title has changed to the RICS new rules of measurement: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works to distinguish between capital building works and building maintenance works;
  • some revisions have been made to the logic and arrangement of the group elements, elements and sub-elements.

The second edition became operative on 1 January 2013.

NRM 2: Detailed measurement for building works

NRM 2 provides guidance on the detailed measurement and description of building works for the purpose of obtaining a tender price. The rules address all aspects of bill of quantities (BQ) production, including setting out the information required from the employer and other construction consultants to enable a BQ to be prepared, as well as dealing with the quantification of non-measurable work items, contractor designed works and risks. Guidance is also provided on the content, structure and format of BQ, as well as the benefits and uses of BQ.

While written mainly for the preparation of bill of quantities, quantified schedules of works and quantified work schedules, the rules will be invaluable when designing and developing standard or bespoke schedules of rates.

The rules provide guidance to all those involved in the preparation of BQs, as well as those who wish to be better informed about the purpose, use and benefits of BQs.

The first edition of NRM 2 became operative on 1 January 2013 and replaces the Standard Method of Measurement for Building Works (SMM), its latest version being SMM7.

NRM 3: Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works

NRM 3 will provide guidance on the quantification and description of maintenance works for preparing initial order of cost estimates during the preparation stages of a building project, cost plans during the design development and pre-construction stages, and detailed, asset-specific cost plans during the pre-construction phases of a building project, and guidance on the procurement and cost control of maintenance works.

The rules will follow the same framework and premise as NRM 1. They will also give direction on how to quantify and measure other items associated with maintenance works, but which are not reflected in the measurable maintenance work items.

NRM 3 came into effect on 1 January 2015.