Nzangi Muimi

What is a Dimension Paper in Quantity Surveying?

A dimension paper is very useful stationery for quantity surveyors. Especially in the traditional practice of manually reading or scaling dimensions from a drawing, a dimension paper is used to record these dimensions in a recognised form.

It is a specially ruled paper where dimensions are recorded by the quantity surveyor while performing quantity take-off.

The use of computers in quantity surveying has automated most of the bill preparation processes. Therefore, you will find less use of dimension paper in modern quantity surveying practices.

However, this does not mean it is entirely decommissioned. They are still being used to supplement the on-screen computer-aided take-offs.

In colleges and universities, the dimension paper is very common, as the training there focuses first on the basic principles before introducing students to more advanced and automated BIM-based quantity surveying processes.

Parts of a Dimension Paper

A dimension paper has two faces; the front and the back face. These two faces are referred to as dimension sheets. Each dimension sheet is split into two identically ruled parts. Each ruled part consists of four columns as illustrated below:

Sample dimension paper showing the labelled columns.
Sample dimension paper format showing the labelled columns.

Let us see what each of these columns represents:

  • Column 1 is called the “timesing column”. This is where multiplying figures are entered when there is more than one of a particular item being measured.
  • Column 2 is called the “dimension column”. This is where actual dimensions are entered as scaled or taken direct from drawings. There may be one, two or three lines of dimensions depending on whether the dimension being recorded is linear, square or cubic.
  • Column 3 is called the “squaring column”. This is where the length, area or volume is obtained by multiplying together figures in the timesing column and the dimension column is recorded, ready to transfer to the abstract or draft bill.
  • Column 4 is called the “description column”. This column is for entering written descriptions of each measured item. The right-hand side of this column is used to accommodate preliminary calculations, sometimes termed “side-casts”, and other basic information needed in building up the dimensions.

This right-hand side of the dimension’s columns when used to record side-casts is referred to as “waste”.

The left-hand side of the description column is sometimes accommodating locational notes. These describe where the measured item is located in the building and are often found inside a bracket.

Knowing how to use the dimension paper is an essential skill to guarantee accurate quantity take-offs. I have an upcoming tutorial series on quantity take-off and bill preparation on my YouTube channel. Subscribe now to be the first to know when I publish the video series.

In Conclusion

We have seen that a dimension paper is very useful in performing the traditional quantity take-off. Even with the advent of on-screen take-offs, it is still relevant and is continually being used both in academia and practice.

Also, its specific format serves to organise quantity take-off information in a universally recognised way. This helps to standardise the process and allows people to seamlessly collaborate on the same project.

I hope this article has been helpful to you. If so, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.


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