Few businesses can claim to be established for over 180 years – especially a consultancy firm that still remains independent and practising in the same discipline for so long. This is why Northcroft is very proud of its history in providing high quality Quantity Surveying and Construction Cost professional services, originally in the UK and now operating globally.

Deep within our archives and unnoticed for many years, we recently retrieved a document of heritage value in the practice of Quantity Surveying. It is a handwritten Bill of Quantities (BoQ) that is over 150 years old and prepared by our founder, Henry Northcroft in May 1870. It details the quantities and pricing estimates for the construction of stables in Paddington, London.

Northcroft began practising in London in 1840 and these stables would be the equivalent of a city car park in today’s busy London CBD.

There were no computers in 1870 and even the humble typewriter would not be commercially available until 1874. Therefore, multiple copies of the Bill without pricings would have been painstakingly transcribed by hand and issued to potential suppliers as part of the tendering process. The skill and accuracy of the clerk is amazing as there isn’t a single mistake and the handwriting is beautiful.

Complex computations performed without computer assistance

In today’s world of decimal currency, metric measurements and computer technologies, the complexities of the computations required to prepare the cost estimate 150 years ago seems mind-boggling. Yet the document followed the same principles Northcroft uses today when preparing a Bill of Quantities – trade by trade, material by material with a summary at the end.

The total price of constructing the stables was a significant investment for the period but the developer must have thought it was commercially viable. He must also have appreciated Northcroft’s work by agreeing to a fee of 38 pounds and 5 shillings for Henry Northcroft’s expertise. This equates to 2% of the project’s estimated cost.

Northcroft’s estimated project costs was 1911 pounds, 14 shillings and 8 pence. The winning bid was 1,955 pounds – only a 2.5% variant from Henry Northcroft original estimate, proving his expertise and accuracy was worth every penny.

The level of accuracy, diligence and expertise exhibited in Henry Northcroft’s work from over 150 years ago is still inherent in every Northcroft office.

Although the stables at Tichborne Row, in Edgware Road, Paddington were replaced by some expensive apartments many years ago, this document will always be a treasured piece of our history for future Northcroftians to cherish.

The legacy lives on

Today, Northcroft has offices across 4 continents with projects located around the world. We have been involved in many iconic buildings and important infrastructural developments for our clients who include prestige brands, multi-nationals, all levels of government as well as individual property owners.

If you value accuracy, independent advice and attention to detail, contact us to discuss how Northcroft may be able to assist you with your next project.