Edward Skoyles

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Edward Skoyles (14 March 1923 – 30 July 2008) was the first quantity surveyor employed in the UK to research costs and practices in the construction industry. He did his research from 1960 until 1984 at the Building Research Establishment. Among his research projects was developing a new type of tendering for construction projects called operational bills.[1][2][3][4] He also started the study of the actual amount of waste in the construction industry,[5][6][7][8] and investigated the varying methods of cost estimation practices used in different countries.[9][10] His contributions are still widely discussed in the academic literature particularly upon operational bills,[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] and building waste[18][19]

Operational bills[edit]

Tendering in the UK construction industry is traditionally based upon Bills of quantities in which the estimation of costs is based on the combined cost of materials, building plant and labour in the completed works. Edward Skoyles proposed a new form of tendering, operational bills in which such tendering was based around building tasks.[1][2][20][21] This allowed for the separate costing of materials, plant and labour. This offered several advantages including a more accurate ability to cost a proposed project, better communication between design and production and ease in creating critical-path analysis for the contractor.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] A refinement of this was "bills of quantities (operations)” in which the operations are described in terms of the rules of the standard method of measurement rather than labour and materials.[3][4] Priced-activity schedules of the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract are a modern descendant of operational bills.[22]

Building waste[edit]

Traditionally, the estimates for normal waste on construction sites has been 2.5-5%, however, empirical observational research done by Skoyles on 280 sites found that this underestimated it by roughly half—equivalent annually to the materials needed to build a town the size of Colchester.[5][6][7][8] Further considerable variability existed between sites suggesting an opportunity for improvement.[7][8] This work led to allowances for materials waste to be more accurately allowed for in cost estimates. As Fellows and coauthors note his work was important since: "It is interesting to postulate the possible consequences of an estimate including only one-half of the requisite materials wastage allowance, especially during a period of slump, when small profit margins prevail … anticipated profit [of 2%] is almost entirely eroded".[18] Further, this research highlighted the need for improved education in site practices: "In the constructions industry, Skoyles was the first to recognize that the problem of material wastage was more dependent upon the attitudes and behavioral tendencies of individuals involved than upon the technical processes employed".[19]


  1. ^ a b Skoyles ER. (1966) Examples from operational bills OCLC 61861509
  2. ^ a b Skoyles ER. (1967) Preparation of an operational bill. Building Research Station ISBN 978-0-85125-019-9 OCLC 271085985
  3. ^ a b Skoyles ER. (1968) Introducing bills of quantities: (Operational format). Building Research Station. OCLC 61864680
  4. ^ a b Skoyles ER. (1969) Examples from bills of quantities (Operational format). OCLC 43131569
  5. ^ a b Skoyles ER. Materials wastage: a misuse of resources. Building Research and Practice, CP 67/76, Oct. 1976. OCLC 18228749
  6. ^ a b Skoyles ER. (1978) Site accounting for waste of building materials, BRE Current Paper CP 5 /78, London: HMSO. OCLC 4953995
  7. ^ a b c Skoyles ER. (1981) Waste of building materials, BRE Digest Number 247, London: HMSO. OCLC 35383817
  8. ^ a b c Skoyles ER. Skoyles JR. (1987) Waste Prevention on Site, Mitchell Publishing, London. ISBN 0-7134-5380-X
  9. ^ Skoyles ER. (1982). Waste and the estimator. Chartered Institute of Building OCLC 61865272
  10. ^ Skoyles ER. (1985) International Building Practice Routledge, ISBN 978-0-419-11770-4
  11. ^ a b Shanley LF. (1970). Report on pilot project on operational bills. An Foras Forbartha (Irish National Institute for Physical Planning and Construction Research) ISBN 978-0-9501356-0-1
  12. ^ a b England Symposium on Operational Bills (1967). Symposium on Operational Bills discussion. Report on a Symposium on Operational Bills held at the Building Research Station, 8 March. ASIN B000X8332G
  13. ^ a b Royal Institute of Surveyors (Republic of Ireland Branch) (1970). The bill of quantities and the operational bill: Seminar, Dublin, March. An Foras Forbartha (Irish National Institute for Physical Planning and Construction Research) ISBN 978-0-900115-01-1
  14. ^ a b Lal H. (2002). Quantifying and Managing Disruption Claims. Thomas Telford. ISBN 978-0-7277-3165-4.
  15. ^ a b Dmaidi, N. (2003). The State of the Art in Integration of Cost and Time Models Archived 29 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. An-Najah University Journal of Research. 17(1). 99-122.
  16. ^ a b Ashworth, A. (2002). Pre-contract studies: development economics, tendering and estimating. Edition: 2. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-632-06472-4 p.332.
  17. ^ a b Jaggar D. Ross A. Smith J. Love P. (2002). Building Design Cost Management. Edition: 2. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-632-05805-1 pp147-148
  18. ^ a b Fellows, R. Langford, D. Newcombe, R. Urrypp. S. (2002). Construction Management in Practice. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-632-06402-1 pp.180-181
  19. ^ a b Hellingsworth, B. Best, R., de Valence, G. (2002). Design and Construction: Building in Value. Butterworth-Heinemann ISBN 978-0-7506-5149-3 p. 266
  20. ^ Skoyles ER. (1970). Bills of quantities, or the operational bill? Architects' Journal (28 Jan.) 233-240.
  21. ^ Skoyles ER. (1981). Production orientated tendering: a resume and re-examination for the early eighties of the issues involved. Quantity surveyor, 37, (6) 110-113.
  22. ^ Potts, K. (2008). Construction Cost Management: Learning from Case Studies, Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-44286-2