A construction takeoff is listing and measuring the materials needed for a project to calculate the total completion cost. The construction takeoff is the first phase in the estimation process, which involves quantifying the materials required to begin and complete the project.

construction takeoff

What is Takeoff in Construction?

In the realm of construction, a takeoff signifies the meticulous process of ascertaining the precise quantity of materials essential for a particular project. It goes by other names like material takeoff or quantity takeoff and is indispensable for contractors to formulate precise cost estimates.

Throughout a takeoff, contractors meticulously compute the amounts of diverse materials imperative for project completion. This encompasses elements such as windows, doors, fixtures, and various other components. Takeoffs may also entail measuring dimensions like perimeter and surface area to gauge the requisite amount of flooring or wall materials.

The primary objective behind a construction takeoff is to furnish contractors with an exact tally of materials prior to tendering a bid. This practice aids in averting excessive expenditure on materials that could eat into their profits.

Takeoffs can be executed either manually or through dedicated software. Leveraging software can enhance both accuracy and efficiency during the takeoff procedure.

Difference Between a Takeoff and an Estimate

As you start working in the construction sector, you’ll want to understand the distinction between a takeoff and an estimate. A takeoff is simply calculating the quantity of all materials required for a job. That is it! Takeoffs do not include any connected material costs or additional charges that an estimate may have.

Estimates apply expenses to all materials identified by the takeoff and factor in additional costs incurred by the forecast. These extra costs include travel expenses, taxes, the application of a waste factor, labor charges, and any other fees incurred while executing the job. Many contractors utilize construction cost estimating software to make their jobs easier.

Framework for a Construction Takeoff

Accurate construction takeoff and quantification result in more profitable projects. Precise material and cost information allows estimators to allocate resources better and develop competitive bids.

But what exactly is required to perform building takeoffs properly? To answer this question, we must first establish who is involved in the process and what components are needed for takeoff.

Who Completes the Construction Takeoffs?

Estimators often perform construction takeoffs to calculate material, labor, and equipment costs to provide an accurate and competitive offer.

While each job is unique, estimators frequently rely on years of experience to determine the materials needed to finish the project. They also use their knowledge from past completed projects to uncover savings. Finally, their goal is to precisely measure the materials and compute building expenses so that they can submit a winning and lucrative offer.

Larger businesses will likely have numerous estimators working on larger, more complex projects, quantifying various scopes in which they specialize. In many circumstances, estimators consult project plans, models, and documentation before compiling a list of materials.

What is included in a construction takeoff?

A construction takeoff is a high-level inventory of the materials required for the project, including quantities and pricing. Building takeoffs are comprehensive documents that define the materials needed, as well as their measurements and prices. Estimators then enter each type of material, its description, measurement, required quantity, and cost into a spreadsheet or, better yet, an estimating software.

For example, while entering the required amount of concrete for the project, the estimator may enter the following information into the construction takeoff: QTY, UNIT SQ.FT, UNIT PRICE, and TOTAL PRICE of concrete.

How to Perform a Takeoff in Construction from Beginning to End

Now that we’ve discussed what a construction takeoff is and what it does, let’s look at the processes required to execute takeoffs in construction.

Step 1: Review the Project Plans

The initial stage in the construction takeoff process is to obtain project plans and papers. These can help you visualize the project and determine which supplies to utilize and in what quantities.

If you are performing a manual takeoff, you will need physical copies of these documents to review them by hand. You can request scanned copies to upload into the software using a digital construction takeoff solution.

Estimators pay close attention to details in project documents to ensure that they have identified all documents relevant to the scope being quantified and comprehend the documented specifications.

Step 2: Count and Make a List of the Needed Supplies

As you review the project’s blueprint, begin calculating the components required to complete the project. For example, you’ll need to know how many doors, windows, and fixtures the structure would require to evaluate expenditures.

How you implement the construction takeoff will determine the particular activities you perform at this stage. If you do things the old-fashioned way, you must count manually.

Step 3: Measure the Different Components of the Project

You’ll also need the correct measurements for anything you’re making. After verifying the scale, calculate the square footage of a given room to determine the quantities of materials required to build it, whether it’s selecting the surface area for installing drywall, paint, or insulation or calculating linear footage for trims, cables, and so on.

Again, the specific technique will be determined by whether you are undertaking manual or digital takeoffs, as well as the complexity of your project. Manual operations employ a scale ruler on paper blueprints; however, construction takeoff software can create these measurements more quickly.

Step 4: Determine Quantities

Once you’ve compiled a list of project supplies and measurements, you must determine the required quantities. Take inventory of the necessary supplies and measurements of various project components, and then utilize that information to establish the appropriate quantities.

For example, if the plan asks for a 2,600-square-foot indoor area, you’ll need to determine the necessary materials to build that room and their quantities.

Step 5: Determine the Costs

The next step is determining the costs of the goods on your list. You may need to use your industry knowledge to calculate the cost of materials. Sometimes, your suppliers may have offered quotations, which you might also use.

Construction software can also make this process easier. Some digital tools include databases with up-to-date pricing information, which estimators can use to calculate costs.

When the preceding steps are completed, you can proceed with the remainder of the estimating procedure. This calculates your other expenditures and markup for a final estimate and bid.

Benefits of Construction Takeoff Software

Construction takeoff software saves your business time and money. As previously said, construction takeoffs can be done manually or digitally. The former entails physically inspecting documents and manually counting and measuring materials. The latter can improve takeoff efficiency through automation and more user-friendly features.While adopting digital tools necessitates investing in technology, today’s takeoff software provides a high ROI. To determine which strategy is ideal for your practice, examine the following.

  • Save Time

Construction software such as Auto Desk Takeoff will improve every aspect of your takeoff procedure. Whether you’re counting fixtures, calculating flooring or wall surface area for painting, or attempting to get quantifiable data from a BIM model to save time, a digital solution can help.

In many circumstances, digital takeoff software can help automate some of the more laborious aspects of building takeoff. For example, AI features such as symbol detection on 2D designs can help reduce the mundane and time-consuming effort of manually removing comparable symbols such as light fixtures, outlets, columns, and doors.

Estimators are sometimes asked to create a high-level conceptual estimate for various reasons, including establishing feasibility and whether a project is worth pursuing without devoting significant effort to a comprehensive estimate. Sometimes, it’s essential to look into different material options that fit inside the project budget. Using Autodesk Takeoff’s unit cost capabilities, estimators can quickly establish an approximate budget for 2D and 3D takeoffs and see how the cost changes in their inventory as more takeoffs are performed.

Furthermore, real-time cloud-based document management allows estimating teams to access the most recent construction documentation, drawings, and models anytime. The accessibility provides a more efficient change management process, as changes are immediately visualized and accounted for when newspapers are produced.

  • Boost Efficiency

Building software saves time and the effort required to carry out particular tasks. For instance, Autodesk Takeoff has 3D takeoff features that simplify extracting values from BIM models.

Besides enhancing project visualization and pinpointing gaps, it expedites the takeoff phase, enabling teams to allocate more attention and resources to more advanced tasks.

  • Increase Profitability

Since the construction industry is known for having extremely narrow profit margins, suitably priced data is essential. Digital takeoff solutions speed up the cost calculation process and remove the costly and time-consuming requirement to print blueprints and do manual takeoffs.

Businesses are no longer required to store endless paperwork at their offices. Everything may be accessed and safely saved on the cloud at any time.

Future bids benefit from easy access to historical project data, which enables estimators to create more precise price estimates. Estimators frequently handle multiple projects concurrently. As a result, estimators can finish takeoff in a fourth of the time by reducing manual processes and rework.

  • Improve Collaboration

Large estimating teams in organizations require construction software. Using desktop-based takeoff solutions can take time and effort. Estimators cannot collaborate with other estimators on the team. They can only operate from somewhere because they must store their project files and data on their local devices.

It is challenging to make sure that everyone is using the most recent project materials and correctly accounting for all revision-related changes when there are several silos. This may lead to expensive errors that cost businesses the chance to either lose the bid or land a potentially unprofitable position.

When it comes to ensuring that all team members are always aware of the most recent information and that everyone is on the same page, cloud-based solutions like Autodesk Takeoff can make a difference.

A Better Option for Estimators

You can use construction takeoffs to gauge your projects’ profitability and success. The process must, therefore, be as effective as practical. This is precisely what Autodesk Takeoff helps you and your teams to accomplish by offering robust tools that enhance takeoff accuracy, speed, and teamwork.

Make use of the software’s 2D and 3D takeoff features to rapidly and thoroughly comprehend the scale of your projects. Many estimators can examine and complete duplicate project files for 2D and 3D takeoff, providing a coordinated working environment. You can produce more complex values and increase your confidence in your calculations by using Autodesk Takeoff formulas. Both 2D and 3D takeoff results can generate rough budgets and conceptual estimates by applying unit costs.

Moreover, Autodesk Takeoff is a single data environment that centralizes your teams, documents, and data. With the program’s help, estimators and other project participants may communicate more successfully and provide estimates of the highest caliber.

Autodesk Takeoff is a member of the Autodesk Construction Cloud family and functions in tandem with other high-end products like Autodesk Build and Autodesk BIM Collaborate to facilitate team communication throughout the project lifecycle.

Challenges in Construction Takeoff

Construction takeoff problems vary depending on the unique project and conditions, but some common ones include:

  • Accuracy

Ensuring that the amounts and measurements are correct is critical for project planning, budgeting, and procurement. Inaccuracies can result in cost overruns and material shortages.

  • Adjustments and Revisions

Changes and amendments are sometimes made during the planning and pre-construction stages of a construction project. It might be challenging and time-consuming to keep track of these changes and modify takeoff quantities accordingly.

  • Stakeholder Collaboration

Accurate takeoffs necessitate excellent communication and coordination among all stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and suppliers. Miscommunications or delays in receiving needed information may interrupt the process.

  • Material Availability and Pricing

The availability and pricing of building supplies can change owing to market conditions, supply chain interruptions, or geopolitical concerns. Estimators must stay current on market changes and adjust takeoff quantities and cost estimates accordingly.

Labor Costs and Productivity

Accurate labor cost and productivity estimates are critical for generating realistic project timelines and budgets. However, estimating worker productivity can be difficult due to skill level, weather, and site-specific restrictions.

Regulatory Compliance

Complying with building laws, zoning restrictions, environmental criteria, and safety standards complicates construction takeoffs. To avoid potential legal or regulatory difficulties, estimators must ensure their takeoff estimates are by applicable norms and standards.

Time Constraints

High project deadlines can pressure estimators to complete takeoffs rapidly, increasing the likelihood of errors or oversights. Meeting project deadlines while maintaining quality requires balancing speed and precision.

Cost Estimation Accuracy

Construction takeoffs serve as the foundation for cost estimation; therefore, any errors in takeoff amounts might lead to inaccurate cost estimates. Estimators must strive for precision to prevent underestimating or overestimating project expenses, affecting project profitability and viability.

How To Be Overcome These Challenges

To address these issues in construction takeoff services, it is critical to invest in extensive training for estimators in the use of takeoff software and building plans. To efficiently manage revision, develop professional procedures and workflows, as well as change management protocols. Open communication among stakeholders is encouraged, with the use of digital collaboration tools to speed up information flow.Continuously review and improve processes in order to increase efficiency and accuracy over time.