The term SOR in used in a lot in civil engineering and construction projects.
SOR is a short form of Schedule of Rates that includes a list of standard rates issued and used by various government departments to estimate and know the cost of construction based on current market rates.
What is SOR in Civil Engineering?
Standard SOR include all the items from construction material, labor, manpower, machinery, and other resources required for completing a project.
In order to determine the cost of a construction projects, two components are very important to determine:
- Quantity of each item of work
- Prevailing market rates for each item
Mostly government agencies and departments rely on rough cost estimates. These estimates are used to arrange funding for a particular project. Sometimes departments also hire consultants to do the rate analysis and prepare an estimate of work.
Application of SOR
The engineer then prepares detail blueprints or construction drawings based on specification and design of the project. After knowing the scope of work, as well as other project details; the estimators work through rate analysis to estimate the unit rate for each item of work.
For example, if you’re going to determine the rate of a per ton of reinforcement; you’ll likely include all relevant breakdown items including shifting of rebar to site, cutting of rebar, bending of rebar, and fixing of rebar at site. This breakdown is also sometimes included in the project contract to avoid any contractual issues.
Anyhow, the SOR varies a lot from one department to other and from one city or country to other. For example, the SOR for the highway or transport department will be entirely different than the public works department, or local building council.
Another use of SOR in civil engineering is to evaluate the rates of bidder during tendering stage of the project. Most Public departments and NGOs keep their SOR secret. So, before the award of work to any contractor; they ask and invite different companies to bid on the work.
The contractors then work themselves through various tender drawings and specifications to evaluate the cost of the entire project and fill the rates against each item of Bill of Quantities (BOQ). So, once the bids are collected; the department invites all parties on a particular day for the opening of bid. Afterwards, the bids are evaluated based on technical and financial standings of the companies.
All this process is to have transparency in the system. So, while evaluating the bid, the consultants or the government department use the SOR or Schedule of Rates to check if the rates submitted are reasonable.
By reasonable, it means the rates must not be too high or too low. Because if the contractor is just putting low rates for the sake of wining contract; the same party will likely be compromising on quality to earn profit and that too will not be good for the project.
These schedules of rates are prepared by government department on yearly basis and they update the rates based on current market conditions.
Steps to prepare SOR
Steps involved in preparing the Schedule of Rates (SOR):
- Collection of Data: Gather data on the cost of construction materials, labor, working environment, etc. from different sources to get an idea of the prevailing market rates.
- Determining Specification: Finalize the specifications for each item of construction, such as dimensions, finishes, etc.
- Rate Analysis: Analyze the contribution of each item of material, labor, plant & equipment, tools, scaffolding, site overheads, etc. to arrive at the market rate for each item of construction.
- Updating SOR: Update the SOR with the latest market rates and include new items of construction if necessary.
- Publication of SOR: Publish the updated SOR for all government departments to use as a standard rate for construction.
Example of SOR
|Unit of Measure
|Rate (in INR)
Please note that the Schedule of Rates (SOR) changes periodically based on various factors such as location, market trends, and local regulations.
Additionally, the items included in the SOR can vary greatly between different regions and departments.
- SOR is a standard rate for construction items used by government departments.
- It is used to arrive at the cost of construction and includes two basic components:
- Quantity of each item of work
- Prevailing market rates of each item
- Rate Analysis is used to arrive at the market rate for each item of construction.
- All government departments have to work out their estimates based on the standard SOR rates.
- SOR is updated every year and may include 500 to 1000 items.
- The process of awarding any work has to be competitive and transparent, hence tenders are invited from different bidders.
- SOR helps to compare offers/quotes from different contractors easily.
- SOR curtails the discretionary power of officers and acts as a check on their powers.