DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE DRAWINGS AND THE BQ, WHICH TAKE PRECEDENT?
It is common to find standard forms of building contract, i.e. the PAM2006/18 come with the version of with and without Quantities. The general contents of these forms may have been similar but the salient difference of the form with Quantities are such that the tender has been called based upon the Quantities drawn up by the respective Quantity Surveyor QS named in the contract and shall be used as the basis for valuation and variation purposes as far as quantities are concerned, but not qualitative such as the ‘standard of quality’ compliance to the ‘approved building plans’ and as such which shall conformed to the drawings, to the ‘satisfaction of the architect’.
It came as a surprised when in most of the ‘educational and public talks’ either for the purpose of training future professional architects or otherwise, practitioner speakers whom are deemed to be ‘experts’ on the fields of ‘contract administration’ often echoed the following statement, “In the event of a discrepancy between the drawings and the Bills of Quantities BQ, in the ‘with Quantities’, BQ takes precedent over Drawings, while the ‘without Quantities’, Drawings take precedent and the Bills or the Schedule of Rates are to be treated as reference only”.
I had the privileged of discussing these matters with some ‘living fossils’ of practicing architects and their views as far as the ‘intend and purpose’ of the PAM forms are concerned, are as the followings:
Having considered such, the statement that “In the event of a discrepancy between the drawings and the Bills of Quantities BQ, in the ‘with Quantities’ contract, BQ takes precedent over Drawings, while the ‘without Quantities’, Drawings take precedent and the Bills or the Schedule of Rates are to be treated as reference only” is quite ‘misleading’.
It should be said that, “In the event of a discrepancy between the drawings and the Bills of Quantities BQ, in both forms, the Drawings take precedent over the Bills/Rates. In the case of ‘with Quantities’, any omission in the Bills shall be deemed a variation while in the case of ‘without Quantities’, any omission in the contractor’s Bill shall be of its own default not constituting a variation, unless proven, otherwise.”
It is noted that the contractor is not responsible to ‘check on the consultant’s drawings’ for error reflected as in cl.1.4 PAM2006, “[…] If contractor finds discrepancy […]”, the onus is for the architect to decide accordingly via its instruction. Cl.3.1 PAM2006 further clarified that, “[…] in the event of any conflict or inconsistencies [referring to discrepancy][…] the priority in the interpretation of such documents shall be in the following descending order […]” and cl.3.1(d) the Contract Drawings was prioritized above cl.3.1(e) the Contract Bills. Rather strange that both PAM Forms with/without Quantities have the ‘Bills’ included.
This essay is strictly for educational use only and it does not constitute ‘legal advice’ and should not be relied upon to advice clients on legal matters.
 This term has been rendered as ‘a farrago of obscurities’ by expert liked the late Prof. Vincent Powell Smith but in this context it shall mean in compliance to the ‘approved drawings’.
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