A new standard system of measurement for civil engineering quantities in Southern Africa
June 2011
A Southern African edition of Civil Engineering Standard Method of Measurement (CESMM3) has recently been published, following inputs from local industry stakeholders. It is a regional customisation of a well-established standard for the preparation of bills of quantities for civil engineering work, developed by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) (London).
The current methodology for measuring civil engineering quantities is contained in clause 8 of the SANS 1200 Standardized specifications for civil engineering construction read together with the South African Institution of Civil Engineering’s (SAICE) Civil Engineering Quantities (1990). The SANS 1200 series of standards, which were developed and last updated during the 1980s, was designed for use with SAICE’s General Conditions of Contract. In line with modern drafting requirements for documents embodied in the Construction Industry Development Board’s Standard for Uniformity in Construction Procurement, SABS has published the SANS 1921 series of standards for construction and management requirements for works contracts and most of the SANS 2001 series of technical standards for construction works. The Southern African edition of CESMM3 is compatible with these standards and is suitable for use with international, national, organizational, industry and bespoke standards and most standard forms of contract.   .  
The 2011 chair of ICE-SA, a Joint Division of ICE and SAICE, Dr Ron Watermeyer, says:
‘CESMM3 became a logical choice as a base document for the successor to the current system of measurement embedded in the SABS 1200 Standardized Specifications as it is a document founded on the same thinking and philosophy as the system that has evolved in South Africa.  It is widely used in Africa and is well understood by the international community. It is a well tried and tested document that is adequately supported by a range of comprehensive handbooks and texts.’
Peter Becker who was intimately involved in the development of the current system of measurement and under whose guidance the new system was developed, points out that:
‘in the Southern African Edition of CESMM3:
•    No reference is made to any standard form of contract as the terms and text are aligned with standard forms of contract commonly used in the region.
•    The terminology is aligned with the provisions of the CIDB’s Standard for Uniformity in Construction Procurement and South African national standards or international standards.
•    Adjustments have been made to items and terminology to reflect Southern African practices.
•    The fabrication of structural metalwork items needs to be supported by separate bills of quantities developed in accordance with SAISC’s system of measurement.  
•    Classes EA - Additional Earthworks and RA - Additional Roadworks (and items within these classes) have been introduced to provide flexibility to accommodate regional earthworks practices i.e. to enable interim operations to be measured.'
The Southern African edition of CESMM3 is suitable for use with international, national, organisational and bespoke standards using most forms of contract.

It costs R500 including VAT, but excluding postage and may be obtained from the following organisations:
Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (tel   27-011-315 4140 ),
Consulting Engineers South Africa (tel   27-11-463 2022 ),
Engineering Contract Strategies (tel   27- 11- 803 3008 ),
South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (tel   27-11-409 0900 )
South African Institution of Civil Engineering (  27- 11- 805 5947 ).