Commercial Management

New Rules of Measurement (NRM): A Beginners Guide

Written by:

CappKind Cost Management



Introducing the New Rules of Measurement (NRM)

In the world of construction, precision and uniformity in measurement are the cornerstones of successful projects. Enter the New Rules of Measurement (NRM), a comprehensive set of guidelines meticulously crafted by the Quantity Surveying and Construction Professional Group and published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

At its core, NRM offers a standardised approach to measurement, setting the stage for precise estimation, cost planning, procurement, and whole-life costing in construction. By adopting the NRM methodology, industry professionals lay the foundation for consistency, benchmarking, and the prevention of disputes.

NRM is more than just a singular document; it’s a suite of three volumes, each tailored to specific aspects of the construction lifecycle.

NRM1: Order of Cost Estimating and Cost Planning for Capital Building Works


NRM1 is the foundational document in the NRM suite, serving as the cornerstone for order of cost estimating and cost planning in capital building projects. Its primary purpose is to provide a structured methodology for estimating the costs associated with construction works. NRM1 helps professionals in the construction industry to develop comprehensive cost plans from the early stages of a project. It lays the groundwork for accurate cost forecasting, ensuring that projects stay within budget constraints.

NRM2: Detailed Measurement for Building Works


NRM2 represents a significant advancement in the world of construction measurement. It has replaced the Standard Method of Measurement, seventh edition (SMM7), as the go-to resource for detailed measurement in building works. NRM2 is the heart of the NRM suite, offering a comprehensive set of measurement rules for preparing bills of quantities (BoQs) or schedules of rates. Its scope goes beyond just measurement; it also addresses the quantification of non-measurable work items, contractor-designed works, and risks.

NRM3: Order of Cost Estimating and Cost Planning for Building Maintenance Works


NRM3 is the third instalment in the NRM suite and is specifically tailored for building maintenance works. It addresses the unique challenges and requirements associated with estimating and planning for maintenance, repair, and conservation projects. NRM3 is designed to ensure that maintenance costs are accurately forecasted, allowing organisations to budget effectively for the ongoing care of their built assets.

With this trio of documents, the NRM suite equips professionals with the knowledge and tools required to navigate the complexities of construction projects, from initial estimates to ongoing maintenance, all while promoting a culture of standardisation and collaboration within the industry.

The Synergy Between NRM, ICMS, and the RIBA Plan of Work

The New Rules of Measurement (NRM) doesn’t exist in isolation; it’s part of a broader ecosystem of industry standards that work in harmony to enhance efficiency and consistency across construction projects.

NRM and ICMS: A Global Perspective

The International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) is a principle-based international standard that lays out a framework for classifying, defining, measuring, recording, analysing, and presenting construction project life cycle costs globally. It promotes uniformity and transparency, transcending international boundaries.

NRM1, aligns seamlessly with ICMS. By using NRM1’s elemental work breakdown structure, bills of quantities (BoQs) produced under NRM can be mapped to ICMS. This mapping ensures that construction cost data can be analysed and compared consistently on a global scale. Whether your projects have local or international reach, NRM and ICMS work in concert to establish a common language for cost analysis and reporting.

NRM2 employs a similar recommended Work Breakdown Structure as NRM1, albeit at a more granular level of detail. This compatibility enables NRM2 to also be aligned with ICMS, further enhancing its versatility and global applicability.

NRM and the RIBA Plan of Work: A Project Lifecycle Framework

The RIBA Plan of Work is a widely recognised framework in the UK construction industry. It organises the management and design of building projects into several key stages, from initial concept to final delivery. The RIBA Plan of Work offers a structured approach to project management and design, ensuring that key milestones and decisions are made at the appropriate stages.

NRM is designed to seamlessly integrate with the RIBA Plan of Work. It aligns cost estimating and cost planning stages with the RIBA Plan of Work’s various stages. This alignment ensures that cost estimates and plans are prepared at the right points in the project lifecycle, enhancing decision-making and budget control.

Benefits of Implementing NRM

The adoption of the New Rules of Measurement (NRM) offers a multitude of benefits that resonate throughout the project lifecycle.

Cost Control and Accuracy

NRM empowers construction professionals to establish precise and comprehensive cost plans from the earliest stages of a project. By providing a structured framework for estimating costs, NRM1 ensures that budgets are developed with accuracy and foresight. This level of control allows for better financial planning, reducing the risk of cost overruns and ensuring that resources are allocated efficiently.

Consistency and Standardisation

One of the primary strengths of NRM lies in its standardisation of measurement and costing practices. By adhering to a common methodology across projects, professionals can ensure consistency in documentation, measurement, and reporting. This standardisation streamlines communication between project stakeholders, minimising misunderstandings and disputes.

Benchmarking and Performance Evaluation

NRM facilitates benchmarking, enabling professionals to compare costs and performance across projects. This data-driven approach allows organisations to identify areas for improvement and optimise their construction processes. By assessing historical data, they can set realistic performance expectations for future projects.

Effective Procurement

NRM aids in the procurement process by providing a structured format for bills of quantities (BoQs) or schedules of rates. This clarity ensures that procurement professionals can easily evaluate and compare bids from contractors, fostering fair and competitive procurement practices.

Global Applicability

In an increasingly globalised industry, NRM’s compatibility with international standards such as the International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS) ensures that construction professionals can work seamlessly across borders. This global perspective opens doors to new opportunities and markets.

NRM in a Changing Industry Landscape: Adapting to Modern Challenges

The construction industry is in a constant state of evolution, driven by technological advancements, sustainability imperatives, and changing project management paradigms. In this ever-shifting landscape, the New Rules of Measurement (NRM) plays a pivotal role in adapting to and addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by these transformations.

Integration of Digital Technologies

As the construction industry embraces digitalisation and Building Information Modeling (BIM), NRM seamlessly integrates with these technological advancements. NRM’s structured measurement and costing methodologies align with the digital data requirements of BIM, ensuring that project data remains consistent and accurate throughout the design and construction phases. This synergy between NRM and BIM enhances collaboration, minimises errors, and maximises the potential for efficient project delivery.

Sustainability and Environmental Considerations

Sustainability is no longer an optional consideration but a fundamental aspect of construction projects. NRM provides the necessary framework to account for sustainability-related costs and impacts. This includes the ability to estimate and manage the costs associated with sustainable building materials, energy-efficient systems, and environmentally friendly construction practices. NRM’s adaptability to sustainability metrics ensures that professionals can incorporate environmental considerations into their cost planning and decision-making processes.

Emphasis on Lifecycle Costing

Lifecycle costing, which accounts for the total cost of a building or asset over its entire life, is gaining prominence. NRM3, specifically designed for building maintenance works, supports organisations in accurately estimating and planning for ongoing maintenance and lifecycle costs. This approach ensures that built assets remain viable and cost-effective throughout their lifespan.


At its essence, NRM represents a commitment to precision and uniformity in measurement—a cornerstone of successful construction projects. By adopting NRM, industry experts establish a standardised approach to measurement, paving the way for precise estimation, cost planning, procurement, and whole-life costing. The benefits of implementing NRM are numerous, from enhanced cost control and consistency to effective procurement practices, benchmarking, and global applicability. It empowers construction professionals to make informed decisions and fosters a culture of standardisation and collaboration.

Written by:

CappKind Cost Management


Commercial Management
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