100 Abbreviations you should know as a Quantity surveyor. 2023 Updated - CostEcon

it’s important to have a strong understanding of the various abbreviations and acronyms that are commonly used in your field as a quantity surveyor. For example, you might come across the abbreviation “A.B.D.” while taking off quantities for a construction project.

This abbreviation stands for “As Before Described,” and it is often used to refer to something that has been previously mentioned in the document or in a previous measurement.

For example, if you are measuring the quantities of different materials for a building and you come across an item that has already been described earlier in the document, you might see A.B.D. next to the item, indicating that you should use the same description as before.

By knowing and understanding this abbreviation, you can accurately take-off quantities and ensure that you are using the correct description for your project.

Why do quantity surveyors use abbreviations? In this article, we will delve into the importance of these terms in the field and provide a list of 100 common abbreviations and acronyms that are familiar to quantity surveyors.

Why do Quantity Surveyors Use Abbreviations?

As a quantity surveyor, knowing and understanding the various abbreviations and acronyms used in your field is crucial to your success.

By being familiar with these terms, you can more easily communicate with your colleagues, understand technical documents, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your industry.

For example, if you come across an unfamiliar abbreviation while taking off quantities for a construction project, you might not know how to properly interpret the measurement, which could lead to errors or costly mistakes.

On the other hand, if you are familiar with the abbreviation, you can accurately take-off quantities and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget.

This is why it is so important to know these abbreviations as quantity surveyors – they play a vital role in helping you to succeed in your career.

10 reasons why quantity surveyors use abbreviations and acronyms

Here are 10 reasons why quantity surveyors use abbreviations and acronyms a lot in the construction industry:

  1. Efficiency: Abbreviations and acronyms allow quantity surveyors to communicate more efficiently with their colleagues by using shorter, standardized terms.
  2. Accuracy: Using abbreviations and acronyms helps quantity surveyors to avoid errors and misunderstandings by ensuring that everyone is using the same terminology.
  3. Time savings: Abbreviations and acronyms can save time by allowing quantity surveyors to quickly convey complex ideas or technical information.
  4. Professionalism: Using abbreviations and acronyms is a way for quantity surveyors to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in their field.
  5. Industry-standard: Abbreviations and acronyms are widely used in the construction industry, and being familiar with them is an important part of being a professional quantity surveyor.
  6. Space savings: Abbreviations and acronyms can help to save space on documents and drawings, which is especially important when dealing with large or complex projects.
  7. Consistency: By using abbreviations and acronyms consistently, quantity surveyors can help to ensure that everyone involved in a project is using the same terminology, which can reduce confusion and improve communication.
  8. Professional development: Keeping up with the latest abbreviations and acronyms in your field is an important part of continuing your professional development as a quantity surveyor. By staying informed, you can stay current with industry best practices and improve your skills.
  9. Legal requirements: In some cases, using certain abbreviations and acronyms may be required by law or regulation, such as in contracts or technical standards.
  10. Improved communication: By using abbreviations and acronyms, quantity surveyors can more easily communicate complex ideas or technical information to people who may not be familiar with the specific terms used in their field.

Theoretical Examples

  1. To make documents and drawings more concise and easier to understand:
  • “CSA” (Concrete, Stone, Aggregate)
  • “M.E.P.” (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)
  • “S.S.” (Stainless Steel)
  1. To quickly and accurately convey technical information:
  • “I.D.” (Inside Diameter)
  • “O.D.” (Outside Diameter)
  • “P.I.D.” (Piping and Instrumentation Diagram)
  1. To improve efficiency and save time:
  • “Ditto” (Repeated from a previous entry)
  • “T.O.” (Take Off)
  • “W.O.” (Work Order)
  1. To keep documents and drawings organized and easy to understand:
  • “A.B.D.” (As Before Described)
  • “I.O.” (In Order)
  • “N.E.” (Not Exceeding)
  1. To convey information clearly and efficiently to colleagues and clients:
  • “D.W.” (Drinking Water)
  • “H.P.” (Horsepower)
  • “Q.S.” (Quantity Surveyor)
  1. To conceal specific details of materials from non-professionals:
  • “H.P.G.” (High Pressure Gas)
  • “L.P.” (Liquid Propane)
  • “P.P.E.” (Personal Protective Equipment)
  1. To accurately communicate complex information:
  • “M.I.” (Mineral Insulated)
  • “P.I.D.” (Piping and Instrumentation Diagram)
  • “S.I.” (System International (units of measurement))
  1. To keep documents and drawings consistent and easy to follow:
  • “I.F.” (Indicated Floor)
  • “L.F.” (Linear Foot)
  • “R.P.” (Reference Point)
  1. To more easily manage materials and cost estimates:
  • “C.M.” (Construction Manager)
  • “M.O.” (Make and Offer)
  • “P.O.” (Purchase Order)
  1. To facilitate clear and efficient communication with clients and colleagues:
  • “G.C.” (General Contractor)
  • “M.F.C.” (Moisture, Fire, and Chemical resistant)
  • “V.A.” (Veterans Affairs)

Practical Examples

Let’s say a quantity surveyor is working on a project that requires reinforcing a concrete slab with steel bars. They might use the abbreviation “TB” to indicate that the steel bars should be placed at the top and bottom of the slab. For example, they might write “10mm TB” in the specification document to indicate that 10mm steel bars should be used at the top and bottom of the slab. Using the abbreviation “TB” helps the quantity surveyor to communicate more efficiently and clearly with their colleagues and clients, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and that the reinforcement is installed correctly.

As a quantity surveyor, you are working on a project to renovate an existing building. You are responsible for preparing a detailed list of the materials that will be needed for the project, including various types of plumbing pipes and fittings. In order to make the list more concise and easier to understand, you might use abbreviations and acronyms to refer to the different types of pipes and fittings. For example, you might use “PVC” to refer to polyvinyl chloride pipes, “CPVC” to refer to chlorinated polyvinyl chloride pipes, and “FIP” to refer to female iron pipe fittings.

This allows you to convey the necessary information clearly and efficiently to your colleagues and clients who are familiar with these abbreviations while concealing the specific details of the materials from non-professionals who might not understand them. By using abbreviations and acronyms in this way, you can more easily communicate complex information and keep the materials list organized and easy to understand.

100 abbreviations and acronyms that you might encounter as a quantity surveyor, with their meanings

                                1. A.B.D. – As Before Described
                                2. N.E. – Not Exceeding
                                3. CSA – Concrete, Stone, Aggregate
                                4. Ditto – Repeated from a previous entry
                                5. D.W. – Drinking Water
                                6. GF – Ground Floor
                                7. H.D. – Heavy Duty
                                8. H.P. – Horsepower
                                9. HPG – High Pressure Gas
                                10. H.W. – Hot Water
                                11. I.D. – Inside Diameter
                                12. I.F. – Indicated Floor
                                13. I.O. – In Order
                                14. Ddt – Deduct
                                15. I.S. – Inside Surface
                                16. L.F. – Linear Foot
                                17. L.H. – Left Hand
                                18. Dia. – Diameter
                                19. M.E.P. – Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing
                                20. M.F. – Male Fitting
                                21. M.O. – Make and Offer
                                22. O.D. – Outside Diameter
                                23. P.I.D. – Piping and Instrumentation Diagram
                                24. P.M. – Project Manager
                                1. P.O. – Purchase Order
                                2. P.P.E. – Personal Protective Equipment
                                3. P.S.I. – Pounds per Square Inch
                                4. Q.S. – Quantity Surveyor
                                5. R.H. – Right Hand
                                6. R.P. – Reference Point
                                7. R.R. – Railroad
                                8. S.C. – Square Cut
                                9. S.I. – System International (units of measurement)
                                10. S.O. – Switch Outlet
                                11. S.P. – Service Pipe
                                12. S.S. – Stainless Steel
                                13. T.B. – Top and Bottom
                                14. T.D. – Top Diameter
                                15. T.I. – Tenant Improvement
                                16. T.O. – Take Off
                                17. T.P. – Tap Point
                                18. U.P. – Utility Pole
                                19. E.O. – Extra Over
                                20. V.F.D. – Variable Frequency Drive
                                21. P.C. – Prime cost
                                22. W.G. – Working Group
                                23. W.I. – Water Inlet
                                24. W.O. – Work Order
                                25. A.O. – All Others
                                26. A.P. – All Purposes
                                27. A.R.V. – Automatic Recirculating Valve
                                28. B.M. – Benchmark
                                29. B.O.Q. – Bill of Quantities
                                30. B.R.C. – British Reinforcement Company (mesh manufacturer)
                                31. C.F. – Cubic Foot
                                32. C.M. – Construction Manager
                                33. C.O. – Cut Out
                                34. C.P. – Control Point
                                35. C.P.M. – Critical Path Method
                                36. C.R. – Compressor Room
                                37. C.V. – Control Valve
                                38. D.B. – Decibel
                                39. D.D. – Design Drawing
                                40. D.G. – Diesel Generator
                                41. D.N. – Diameter Nominal
                                42. D.O. – Differential Outlet
                                43. E.F. – Elevator Fan
                                44.  Galvd. РGalvanized
                                45. E.O. – Emergency Outlet
                                46. F.A.P. – Fresh Air Process
                                47. F.C. – Field Connection
                                48. F.F. – Finish Floor
                                49. F.I.P. – Female Iron Pipe
                                50. F.O.B. – Free on Board
                                51. F.P.I. – Feet per Inch
                                52. G.C. – General Contractor
                                53. G.F.C.I. – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
                                54. G.P.M. – Gallons per Minute
                                55. H.C. – Heat Conduction
                                56. H.I. – Hardware Items
                                57. H.P.A. – High-Pressure Air
                                58. H.V.A.C. – Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
                                59. I.C. – Insulating Cement
                                60. I.F.C. – Intermediate Frequency Current
                                61. J.B. – Junction Box
                                62. K.F. – Kilofeet
                                63. K.G. – Kilogram
                                64. K.L.F. – Kiloliter per Hour
                                1. K.V.A. – Kilovolt-Ampere
                                2. L.B. – Pound (weight)
                                3. L.C. – Letter of Credit
                                4. L.E.D. – Light Emitting Diode
                                5. L.F.M. – Linear Feet per Minute
                                6. L.L. – Low Lead
                                7. M.A. – Male Adapter
                                8. M.F.C. – Moisture, Fire, and Chemical resistant
                                9. M.H. – Manhole
                                10. M.I. – Mineral Insulated
                                11. M.M. – Millimeter
                                12. M.R. – Motor Rating


Abbreviations and acronyms play a vital role in the construction industry, particularly for quantity surveyors. These shortened forms of words and phrases allow professionals to quickly and accurately communicate complex information, improve efficiency, and save space on documents and drawings.

Some common abbreviations and acronyms that quantity surveyors might use include “A.B.D.” (As Before Described), “N.E.” (Not Exceeding), “CSA” (Concrete, Stone, Aggregate), and “T.O.” (Take Off).

It is important for quantity surveyors to stay up-to-date with the latest abbreviations and acronyms in their field and to use them consistently to ensure clear and efficient communication with colleagues and clients.

By mastering the use of abbreviations and acronyms, quantity surveyors can more effectively manage materials, cost estimates, and other important aspects of construction projects.

I hope you found this article helpful in understanding the importance of abbreviations and acronyms in the field of quantity surveying.


Since childhood, I have always been captivated by the process of construction and the creation of the built environment. This passion, combined with my love of mathematics, quantitative reasoning, and logical thinking, led me to pursue a career in Quantity Surveying. As someone who is both a proficient writer and an avid reader, I am excited to continue exploring this field and contributing to the industry through my skills and knowledge.

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