An essential part of producing a detailed cost estimate for a construction project involves determining total material costs. A construction material takeoff is used by the estimator or contractor to understand what materials they need for a project and how much those materials will cost. Producing a construction takeoff by hand is a time-consuming process that requires a high degree of skill and extensive experience. Although material takeoffs have been traditionally produced manually, today’s estimators and contractors can produce digital takeoffs. Digital takeoffs are produced with the assistance of construction takeoff software. There are many advantages that construction takeoff software offers during the production process for a material takeoff.
How Takeoffs Work
These days, the construction industry is rapidly migrating towards using digital blueprints and takeoff software. Although there are many different software options, in general they operate the following way:
Using the software’s pre-built materials database, you’ll select your materials, items, and assemblies. The software creates your estimate by:
• Opening your digital plans in the software
• Perform your takeoff digitally using your computer mouse to measure project area and count symbols on your blueprint . The software will calculate the amount of materials needed based on assumptions you have defined as specific to your particular project. No calculator or ruler needed! In this way, you will save time and increase the accuracy of your measurements with blueprint takeoff software as opposed to using older and more drawn-out methods of calculation.
The takeoff we send you is in Microsoft Excel and will have the item, the quantity, the unit of measure and the location. We organize the takeoff in a number of estimating formats such a CSI, by cost code or construction phase. We can utilize your estimating spreadsheets by inputting the quantities into the correct item codes and cost codes. We can list the items by location as well, which is a built-in audit trail.
Our developers build custom software programs for rapidly calculating quantity and assembly takeoffs by aggregating and analyzing models, and we integrate measurement tools that effectively eliminate costly mistakes with features like cost optimization dashboards, 3D model views, cross section analysis, superior error detection, building material analysis, and model proofing.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
When it comes to improving quantity takeoffs on your projects, consider the broad scope of how these enhancements fit into your long term business goals. Identify how much money and time you expect to save when new processes and technology to improve the estimations. With measurable data to back up your case, you can start implementing the above processes that help set up project success from the start.