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QS Masterclass—

Measurement

· EXCAVATION AND EARTHWORK MEASUREMENT

Getting started
This is not intended to be an exhaustive example on groundworks measurement but aims to cover the
common items encountered measuring a building substructure, although the same rules apply for
external surfacing. The method of measurement is SMM7 and the basic principle is that the net volume
is measured; any allowance for bulking, compacting, overdig etc is covered by the estimator in the rates.

Ideally you will have:


· design information for the new structure
· survey of the existing site
· soil report

Clearing the site of vegetation is measured in square metres; any trees or stumps to be removed are
enumerated stating the girth of the trunk in stages as D20.1.1-2.1-3

The next stage is to bring the site to the formation level of the construction; this is the structural slab
level minus the overall construction thickness. Having calculated the formation level this must be
compared with the existing levels under the building footprint minus the thickness of any topsoil required
to be set aside. At this point it should be possible to establish if the site needs to be excavated, filled or
both from the comparison of the formation and existing levels. If the site requires both excavation and
filling then the ‘cut and fill’ line should be plotted where the formation equals the existing level.

Calculating the average level


The building footprint on the existing survey should be divided into a regular grid of levels and the
average level calculated as shown using the timesing factors for the number of times each level appears
in the grid.

* * * * *
102.80 103.15 103.06 103.08 103.10
* * * * *
102.75 102.80 103.02 103.06 103.09
* * * * *
102.72 102.80 102.85 102.90 102.95
* * * * *
102.70 102.72 102.78 102.85 102.90

GF Partnership Limited, 53 – 55 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1RZ t: 01234 353900 www.gf-partnership.co.uk
QS Masterclass—
Measurement

Excavation & earthwork measurement.../continued

1x 2x 4x
102.80 103.15 102.80
102.70 103.06 103.02
103.10 103.08 103.06
102.90 102.75 102.80
103.09 102.85
102.72 102.90
102.95
102.72
102.78

Nr of levels 102.85 Nr of levels Nr of levels


Totals: 411.50 4 1029.15 10 617.43 6

Timesing factor: 1 2 4

Adjusted total: 411.50 4 2058.30 20 2469.72 24

411.50 4
2058.30 20
2469.72 24
Average
TOTAL: 4939.52 ÷ 48 = 102.91
Level

With the average level calculated minus any depth of preserved topsoil the average excavation or filling
to reach the formation level can be calculated.

Measuring different items


· Topsoil which is required to be preserved is measured in square metres stating the average depth
and its disposal is measured in cubic metres stating the location of the disposal
· Reduced level excavation is measured in cubic metres using the average depth as calculated above
stating the maximum depth as D20.2.1-4
· The volume of excavated material is measured as disposal either on or off site as required by the
design.
· Filling is measured in cubic metres using the average thickness as calculated above stating the
average thickness as D20.10.1-2 and the nature of the material D20.10.1-2.1-3
· Compacting the bottom of the excavation and the surface of the filling, including any blinding, are
measured in square metres as are any other surface treatments required.
· Disposal of surface water and ground water should both be included as Items.

GF Partnership Limited, 53 – 55 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1RZ t: 01234 353900 www.gf-partnership.co.uk
QS Masterclass—
Measurement

Excavation & earthwork measurement.../continued

Depending on the information available about the site, the following items might need to be measured;
· Hard surface paving to be broken out, this is measured in square metres as extra over the
excavation stating the thickness.
· Any other obstructions to be broken out are to be measured in cubic metres, also as extra over.
· Contaminated material arising from the excavation disposed of off-site; measured in cubic metres
· Excavation of active material, toxic/hazardous material (type stated) and work below the ground
water level shall each be measured in cubic metres as extra over.
· Work next to existing services measured in metres as extra over stating the type of service.

Measuring excavations
Having brought the site level to the formation it then remains to measure the excavation for the
structural work below this level. The measurement is grouped under the following classifications
· Basements and the like
· Pits, stating the number
· Trenches width not exceeding 300 mm wide
· Trenches width exceeding 300 mm wide
· Pile caps and ground beams between piles
· To bench sloping ground to receive filling

Calculate the level at the bottom of the structure i.e. blinding bed, plain concrete foundation, or hard-
core bed for foundations, ground beams, pile caps, and lift pits etc.

Collect together similar items, trenches of the same width and depth, pile caps of the same size and
depth as shown below. Include grid references where appropriate to identify the dimensions.

Trenches 450 x 900 600 x 900

1/A-J 14.80 3/A-D 8.20


2/A-M 16.40 6/A-D 8.20
M/1-4 8.45 C/1-4 8.45

Total: 49.40 24.85

Pile Caps 1200 x 1200 x 900 1500 x 1500 x 900 2400 x 2400 x 900

4 6 1
4 10
6

TOTAL: 14 16 1

GF Partnership Limited, 53 – 55 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1RZ t: 01234 353900 www.gf-partnership.co.uk
QS Masterclass—
Measurement

Excavation & earthwork measurement.../continued


Take-off all the items under each classification, measured in cubic metres, stating the maximum depth as
D20.2.2-8.1-4. The volume of excavated material is measured as disposal either on or off site as required
by the design. Compacting the bottom of the excavation is measured in square metres.

Measuring earthwork support and working space


Earthwork support is measured in square metres and is required to the sides of all excavations except;
· Where the face is less than 250 mm high
· Sloping faces where the angle of inclination is less than 45 degrees
· Excavations which abut existing walls, piers or other structures

The types of excavation are all grouped together and classified initially by depth stages as D20.7.1-3 and
then by distance between faces as D20.7.1-3.1-3. From the dimensions for the excavation it should be
possible to calculate the length and depths for each side of the trenches; girths and depths of pits and
pile caps etc. to arrive at the total area of earthwork to be supported.

Other than plain earthwork support, the following need to be measured as separate items if relevant:
· Curved
· Below ground water level
· Unstable ground
· Next to roadways
· Next to existing buildings
· Left in

It should be noted that earthwork support below ground water level and to unstable ground is measured
to the full depth of that excavation and not just the area which is below the water level or in the unstable
ground.

Certain forms of construction require access to the outside face of the work in the excavation i.e.
formwork, rendering, tanking, and where the face of the excavation is less than 600mm from this
construction, working space has to be measured. Working space is measured in square metres and is
classified as to;
· Reduced levels, basements and the like
· Pits
· Trenches
· Pile caps and ground beams between piles

The area is calculated by multiplying the girth of the formwork etc. by the depth of the excavation from
formation level .

GF Partnership Limited, 53 – 55 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1RZ t: 01234 353900 www.gf-partnership.co.uk
QS Masterclass—
Measurement

Excavation & earthwork measurement.../continued

Measuring filling
The void between the new structure and the face of the excavation will need to be filled. This is
measured in cubic metres stating the average thickness as D20.9.1-2. The type of material is stated as
D20.9.1-2.1-3.

If the filling is material arising from the excavations then the corresponding volume needs to be deducted
from the item for disposal of material off site. For work in trenches the volume is calculated using the
length of the trench, the depth from top of concrete foundation to formation level and the width of the
trench minus the thickness of the wall, or whatever construction. Filling to pile caps and the like is
calculated on a similar basis.

This should conclude the measurement of the excavation and earthworks section.

© GF Partnership—November 2008

GF Partnership Limited, 53 – 55 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1RZ t: 01234 353900 www.gf-partnership.co.uk