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The College of Estate Management 2013

Paper 1409V4-0

Measurement of roofs and upper floors

1. Generally
2. In situ concrete upper floors
2.1 Concrete
2.2 Reinforcement
2.3 Formwork
2.4 Steel beams
3. Timber upper floors
4. Timber and concrete flat roofs
4.1 Generally
4.2 Timber construction
4.3 Concrete construction
5. Flat roof coverings
5.1 Asphalt coverings
5.2 Built-up felt roofing
5.3 Lead
6. Pitched roofs
6.1 Mensuration
6.2 Slating and tiling
6.3 Profiled sheet roofing
6.4 Construction of timber-framed pitched roofs
6.5 Trusses
6.6 Eaves and rainwater goods
6.7 Openings for chimney stacks, etc.

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1 Generally
The measurement of upper floors and of roofs has been grouped together in this paper
as flat roofs are measured in a similar way to upper floors. Pitched roofs are
considered separately.

2 In situ concrete upper floors

The measurement of in situ concrete upper floor slabs is split into concrete,
reinforcement and formwork.

2.1 Concrete
In situ concrete floors are quantified in cubic metres and, according to the RICS New
Rules of Measurement: Detailed Measurement for Building Works (NRM2), are
included with horizontal work. The thickness must be stated in one of two bands:
less than or equal to 300mm, or greater than 300mm. Horizontal work of the same
classification may be aggregated together without the need to identify that which is in
floors and that which is in beds, though the option is available to do so, if the takeroff thinks that it will assist the estimator.
Other standard methods of measurement (SMMs) may classify concrete differently.

2.2 Reinforcement
Bar reinforcement is measured lineally and quantified for billing in tonnes with bars
of different diameters kept separate. The tonnage is calculated using the lengths and
known weight of the bars in kg/m.
In many cases, where reinforcement is to be billed in detail, the engineer will provide
a reinforcement/bar bending schedule with the lengths of the bars in each reinforced
concrete component identified, along with shape codes and bending dimensions in
accordance with BS 8666:2005. Most shape codes have a mathematical formula
which uses the bending dimensions and the diameter of the bar to simply calculate the
length of the bar.
Where a schedule has not been provided, reinforcement quantities will need to be
calculated from the drawn information taking account of any bends, cranks, anchors
or hooks in the bar. Example calculations of the additional lengths of an anchor and a
hook are shown in Figure 1.

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Formation of the anchor and the hook require 5 and 9 the diameter of the bar to
be added to the overall length of the bar. Twisted or deformed bars are commonly
used to increase the bond between the steel and the concrete and these do not
generally require anchors or hooked ends.
Bars over 12m long should be given separately and the length should be stated.
Fabric reinforcement is measured superficially and its weight and fabric reference
included in the description. Strips required in one width, e.g. tension strips over
beams, are separately identified with the width stated.
Note that the volume of reinforcement in a structure is ignored for the purposes of
calculating the volume of concrete.

2.3 Formwork
Formwork is measured on the actual surface of the concrete which has to be
supported. Formwork may be made from a variety of materials including plywood
and steel, but the nature of the formwork is at the contractors discretion unless a
special finish on the concrete is required, in which case this is identified. Sometimes,
for practical reasons (e.g. lack of access making it impossible to remove once the
concrete has cured), the lining material is required to be left in position and in these
cases it should be given as a separate item. The classification of formwork given in
NRM2 should be noted and also the rules for formwork to soffits of horizontal work
which require the thickness of the concrete being supported to be stated and propping
heights over 3m to be given in stages of 1.5m.
The reinforced concrete slab is usually supported at intervals on either reinforced
concrete or steel beams.
Separate formwork is measured to the attached beams or upstand beams stating the
shape and, if not square or rectangular, the dimensions.

2.4 Steel beams

Steelwork supporting concrete floors is usually of simple design. The sections are
designated by giving the universal beams nominal size in mm and the weight in kg/m
(e.g. UB 254 146 37, where 254 146 is the nominal depth and width of the
beam in mm and 37 is the weight in kg/m). There are usually several weights in
each nominal size and the exact widths and depths of the beams vary according to the
weight. This must be borne in mind when calculating the concrete in a beam casing
and the formwork, although, as with reinforcement, no deduction is made from the
volume of concrete for the space occupied by the steel beam. Steelwork is quantified
in tonnes.
In Figure 2, there is a difference of 16mm between the depths of the top and bottom
weights of the 457mm 152mm universal beam.

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As defined in BS 41: 2005

Building in ends of steel joists as the work proceeds is deemed included with the
brickwork and blockwork.
The following examples show a typical measure for a simple, reinforced concrete
floor. No screed or floor covering is taken and it is assumed that these are to be
measured in the Finishings section. It is important to make sure that this is the case
and dimensions should be annotated to record assumptions.

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3 Timber upper floors

Structural timbers are not normally exposed to view in the completed building and are
therefore assumed to be sawn on all faces unless otherwise stated. They are also
assumed to be nail-fixed unless otherwise required. Timber floor joists are measured
as lineal items.
The measurement may be set out as shown below:

It is good practice to arrange billed timbers in order of thickness and, to facilitate this,
the thickness has been given first in the descriptions.
Timbers required to exceed 6m long in one piece must be so described and the length
stated. Usually this is not necessary and an intermediate joint may be taken, the type
of joint depending on the function of the member. If the joint is bolted, the bolts must
be enumerated, but the labours to fabricate the joint and any holes are deemed to be
Trimmer and trimming joists are usually 25mm thicker than the common joists. The
joists are initially measured across the opening and are later adjusted for the opening
and for the thicker trimming joists. The trimmer should be measured the full length,
including the tenons, for which an addition of 150mm should be made. Ground-floor
joists are not normally trimmed as the ends of the joists abutting the hearth are
usually supported on a fender wall.
The order for taking off follows the construction: plate or hangers, joists, strutting
(measured through the joists), boarding, adjustments for hearths and stairwells.
The method of supporting upper-floor partitions must be considered as it may be
necessary to allow for double joists underneath them if they run parallel with the

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Drawing No MBW 1/5/1a

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4 Timber and concrete flat roofs

4.1 Generally
Flat roofs are constructed and measured in a similar way to upper floors. They do
need a fall to be introduced in order to discharge rainwater into gullies or outlets. For
timber roofs, the fall is usually created by timber pieces, called firrings, splay cut
along their length, being placed on top of the joists before the boarding is fixed. For
concrete roofs, the fall may be achieved by casting the concrete slab with a slopping
top surface, although a tapering screed is more often used, as this is more easily laid
to a fall.

4.2 Timber construction

The boarding is measured superficially and described as flat roof boarding to falls
stating the surface treatment after laying. Firring pieces shall be given in metres and
described as supports, stating the width and average depth. The plates, joists, strutting
and hangers are all measured as before.
You should examine your SMM for the rules regarding other timber roof components
such as gutter boards.

4.3 Concrete construction

Concrete roof slabs are measured in the same way as the upper floors described in
Section 2.

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5 Flat roof coverings

5.1 Asphalt coverings
This may be either natural rock asphalt or artificially made from ground limestone
and bitumen. The asphalt is often laid on an underlay, which should be included in
the description. Special attention must also be drawn to plans of each level, plant and
restrictions on siting of asphalt heating pots. The principal items are as follows:


20mm asphalt roofing, over 500mm wide; laid to 5 falls on felt underlay; in two
coats; to timber boarding

20mm asphalt vertical fascia 150mm high; to brickwork; with solid water check roll
dressed into joint at top and splayed bottom edge

Point asphalt skirting in cement mortar

Code horizontal lead flashing 200mm gt lapped 100mm at joints and including
welted edge

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5.2 Built-up felt roofing

This consists of alternate layers of felt and bitumen, normally either two or three
layers of felt being used. The felt is marketed in rolls and is specified by the weight
(usually of a 10m-long roll). The top layer may be mineral surfaced or the roof may
be covered with stone chippings.
Felt roofs are measured superficially, stating the number of layers, base, underlay and
method of fixing and any surface covering. Forming laps and welts is separately
measured lineally, but any additional felt sheet needed to form the lap is deemed
included in the area measured.

Built-up bitumen felt roof covering over 500mm wide; in three layers of kg felt;
laid to 5 fall; staggered joints; first layer nailed to softwood boarding with
galvanised clout nails and the upper layers continuously bonded with bitumen;
treating surface with bitumen and covering with stone chippings

Extra over for:


forming laps; 50mm

forming welts; 75mm long; bitumen sealed

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5.3 Lead
Sheet lead for roofing is specified in accordance with BS EN 12588:2006 using
colour codes (green, blue, red, black, white, orange) representing sheets of various
thicknesses and weights. Previously, code numbers were used (38) representing the
approximate weight of lead sheets in lbs/ft. These equate with the colour codes and it
is still common to see lead specified with code numbers (e.g. code 5), although the
weights will be given in kg/m. Sheets of each thickness are available in various
lengths and widths depending on supplier and requirement.
Lead roofing is usually laid in single layers directly onto the base material. Horizontal
joints are generally lapped and vertical joints are often rolled over a timber former.
Lead roofing is measured superficially with the formation of all laps, welts, drips,
seams and rolls measured extra over in metres.

In the final description, it should be noted that although wedging the flashing is
deemed to be included, there was a specification requirement to wedge at 1,200mm
centres which needed stating. Raking out the joints of the brickwork and pointing is
deemed to be included.
Copper, zinc and aluminium roofs are measured using the same measurement rules.

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6 Pitched roofs
The measurement of pitched roofs may be divided into coverings, construction, eaves
finishings, rainwater goods, and adjustments for chimney stacks and the like. The
coverings are often taken off first so that the surveyor becomes familiar with the
general shape and geometry of the roof before dealing with the more detailed
measurement of the structural timbers.

6.1 Mensuration
The first measurement required is the slope length and this is calculated as follows
according to the information given on the drawing:
1 If the span and rise are given, use Pythagoras theorem

2 If the span and pitch are given, use trigonometry



The slope length is then used to find the area, which for a gabled roof is twice the
product of the length and slope:

Area = 2 L S

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If the ends of the roof are hipped, the area of covering is the same as that of a gabled
roof having the same plan, dimensions and rise. This simplification method only
applies if the ends have the same angle of slope as the sides.


s EBC and DBC

the s are congruent

Similarly s EAC and DAC are congruent


= span
= slope length
= 90


the area of the two triangles omitted from the gabled roof is the
same as the area of the hipped end if the slope angle is the same.

This principle may be applied to more complex shapes as follows. In both cases, the
area of the hipped roof is the same as the sum of the areas of the two gabled roofs,
assuming the same plan dimensions and pitch. Beneath the covering, the structures of
these roofs will be very different in arrangement as are the labours required to form
ridges, hips and valleys.

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The length of hips and valleys may be found graphically if the drawing is to a
sufficiently large scale, or alternatively it may be calculated. It must be emphasised
that these methods can be applied only if the roof slope is constant.
1 Graphical method

2 Calculated

If the angle of slope of the hip is different from the main roof area, the areas for the
deduction from the main roof and the addition for the hip will need to be calculated

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6.2 Slating and tiling

The main area is taken first and the description must include all the particulars given
in Section 18 of NRM2. The underlay and battens are included in the description of
the slating or tiling but any boarding is measured separately. This has the same area
as the coverings and is therefore anded on after the principal item. It should be
noted that if the coverings are vertical they must be given separately.
The additional labours are then measured lineally in a consistent order which should
be adhered to. It is convenient to measure first the boundary work items such as the
abutments, eaves, ridges, verges, valleys and hips. This is also the order in which the
items are listed in NRM2.
Undercloak courses at eaves or verges (formed of a second layer of cut tiles under the
top layer), bedding and pointing in mortar, cutting and forming angles and
intersections at abutments are deemed to be included with the coverings, but
leadwork and associated items would be taken separately at this stage.
The number of metal soakers is obtained by dividing the length of the abutment by
the gauge of the slating or tiling. Typically, the dimensions of the soakers are found
as follows:

Length = Lap + Gauge + 25mm

Width = 100 + 50 = 150mm

Flashings are measured linear stating the profile as required in accordance with clause
17.5 and the description should include wedging into grooves, etc., giving a
dimension diagram if thought appropriate.
Valleys may be lined with lead or, in the case of tiled roofs, with valley tiles, for

The valley tiles bond in with the general tiling and the cutting and bonding is deemed
to be included.
Hips may be covered with capping tiles, or mitred or finished with hip tiles which
bond in with the general tiling in the same way as the valley tiles described above.
Cutting tiles and felt to hips is included with the hip item.
Cutting to the top edge at the ridge is deemed to be included with the slating or tiling.

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6.3 Profiled sheet roofing

Profiled sheet roofing and cladding systems are available in numerous profiles and
various sheet or panel sizes depending on the manufacturer. Sheets may be
manufactured from metal sheet, fibre-cement, plastic, glass reinforced plastic (GRP)
or other composite materials. They may be single skin or dual skinned with insulation
filler and may be supplied unfinished, galvanised, anodised, painted or coated
depending on the product and material. The sheeting is measured superficially and
described in accordance with Section 21 of NRM2. Special fitments such as eaves
filler pieces, barge boards and ridge cappings are measured lineally. Roof lights and
the like are enumerated as extra over the roof covering in which they occur if they are
a component part of the roofing system, otherwise they are measured separately. A
typical description for traditional fibre-cement sheeting could be:

Fibre-cement corrugated sheet roofing; 40 pitch; 150mm end laps and one and a
half corrugation side laps; fixed to purlins at 900mm centres with 6mm dia
galvanised hook bolts and polypropylene washers

Or, for modern profiled composite panels:

Composite panel roof cladding; 30 pitch; outer panel 0.8mm gauge; HPS200
colour-coated; HCFC free insulated core; 0.4mm embossed lining panel with
polyester paint finish; fixed to purlins in accordance with manufacturers

6.4 Construction of timbered-framed pitched roofs

The carpentry for the construction of timber-framed pitched roofs includes the wall
plates, common rafters, hip and valley rafters, ridge, purlins, struts, hangers, ceiling
joists and trusses and is measured in accordance with Section 16 of NRM2.
The dimensions of the wall plate should be checked to see if any lengths are over
4.2m and if so, an allowance should be made for joints. This is not a requirement of
the method of measurement but is based on marketable lengths of timber. The only
timbers required to be kept separate by NRM2 are those exceeding 6m in one
continuous length (16.1.1.x.9).
It is often necessary to measure bedding to roof plates where the brickwork is
deducted for the volume of the plate. The method of calculating the number of rafters
is as follows:

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An example for a gabled roof

Inner face of
wall to centre
of end rafter






400 )12.390
31 + 1

= 32

The extra rafter is added because the result of the calculation 12.390 400 gives the
number of spaces between rafters. One final rafter must, therefore, be added for the
last in the sequence. This gives 32 pairs of rafters; therefore do not forget to twice
the quantity for both slopes.
An example for a hipped roof

In this case it is better to divide the overall length of the roof by the rafter spacing and
deduct one to obtain the number of pairs of common rafters.
It may be assumed that the jack rafters in the hips require the same total length of
timber as the common rafters of a gabled roof on the same plan dimensions and slope,
i.e. aa = bb + cc.
If there is a rafter at the centre of the hipped end this must be added as extra because
this takes the place that would be occupied by the ridge in a gabled roof.
All structural timbers are measured lineally and all holes and labours (e.g. for forming
notches, joints, mortices and tenons) are deemed to be included.

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Metalwork such as straps, shoes, hangers and bolts are enumerated. For example:

50 10mm mild steel strap 850mm girth; holed for 12mm dia. bolts


12mm dia. bolt 190mm long with head and nut; 2 nr 50 50 3mm plate washers;
2 nr 64mm bulldog plate timber connectors

6.5 Trusses
Because there is the opportunity to manufacture them off-site, and owing to their
speed of erection, trussed rafters are now commonly used in roof construction,
combining rafters and ceiling joists in a single component with intermediate truss
members providing additional support and stiffening. In Section 16 of NRM2, roof
trusses and the like are to be described and enumerated as engineered or prefabricated
items. Unless a manufacturers standard size is specified using a catalogue reference
or similar, a dimensioned diagram may be the best way to describe the item.
Proprietary trusses and trussed rafters are built up of light timber sections which are
joined together by means of nail plates or plywood gussets. These fixings are deemed
included in the truss.

6.6 Eaves and rainwater goods

Fascia and barge boards are measured lineally in accordance with Section 16.4. All
ends and mitres are deemed to be included in the items to which they relate.
Gutters and rainwater pipes are measured on the centre line over all fittings which are
enumerated. Any painting is normally anded on after these items.

6.7 Openings for chimney stacks, etc.

No deduction is made for holes or voids in roof coverings not exceeding 1m. For
holes and voids not exceeding 1m, the work to form the opening and any boundary
work is deemed included with the covering, but it is measurable for those larger than
Separate flashings, soakers and the like which are not part of the roof covering are
measured next and, lastly, the roof timbers are adjusted.