Standard Method of Measurement of Building Works

The standard Method of Measurement provides a uniform basis for measuring building works and embodies the essentials of good practice but more detailed information than is demanded by this document should be given where necessary in order to define the precise nature and extent of the required work.

RICS is responsible for revising it. SMM provides quantity surveyors with rules of measurement for building works to assist with completing bills of quantities for obtaining a tender price for a building project.  It gives guidelines as to what should be measured for various parts of the construction process. It allows for estimators to measure works in a standard format for easy preparation of a Bill of Quantities and easy comparison of tenders.


SMM is used throughout the world by quantity surveyors and building surveyors.  It represents a consistent method for measuring building works and good practice.  This key source is also an essential resource for trainees and students studying surveying.

The most recent edition is the seventh, revised in 1998, and referred to as SMM7.

Traditionally the systems followed a procedure of:

Taking off – In the first step of taking out quantities, the measurements are taken off from the drawings and entered on measurement sheet or dimension paper. The measurements to be taken out would depend upon the unit of measurement. For example, in the case of stone masonry in superstructure, length, thickness and height of the walls above plinth level would be taken out from the drawings and entered on the measurement sheet, whereas, in the case of plastering only the lengths and heights of the walls would be entered. Obviously, the unit of measurement in the first case is cubic meter and that in the second case is square meter

Squaring – calculating and totaling the lengths, areas and volumes of the dimensions

Abstracting – collecting the totals from the dimension paper on to an abstract to produce a final total for each individual description

Billing – Process of writing or drafting bill of quantities descriptions and presenting the quantity for each descriptions.