Material Takeoffs service: What Is It?

What is QTO? “QTO” stands for quantity takeoff and it is basically a list of material quantities required to complete a construction project. The construction takeoff services are usually offered by professional estimators and can be outsourced from companies like QTO Estimating.

Material take-off (MTO) is a term used in engineering and construction and refers to a list of materials with quantities and types (such as specific grades of steel) that are required to build a designed structure or item. This list is generated by analysis of a blueprint or other design document. The list of required materials for construction is sometimes referred to as the material take-off list (MTOL).

Material take-off is not limited to the amount of required material, but also the weight of the items taken off. This is important when dealing with larger structures, allowing the company that does the take-off to determine the total weight of the item and how best to move the item (if necessary) when construction is completed. Get to know more about us!



One of the primary purposes of a material takeoff is to provide a detailed list of materials necessary to complete a construction project. Depending on the scale of the project and its complexity, the list of materials can be relatively short or very long. In order to prepare a material takeoff, the estimator or contractor must first determine exactly what materials are required to complete a project. This information will be pulled directly from blueprints, architectural drawings, or project plans. The individual or team preparing the estimate will consult the specifications provided by the project engineer and architect to compile a list of necessary materials. For projects where a subcontractor is preparing a material takeoff, they may refer to their own project notes to determine what materials are required.

A material takeoff seeks to provide a comprehensive list of materials for a project, as well as their associated quantities. Material takeoffs are used as a reference to understand exactly what materials must be ordered for a construction project, thus determining the quantities of materials accurately is crucial. The way that materials are assigned a quantity in a material takeoff depends on the type of material. In general, there are four types of quantities that are regularly seen in material takeoff. First, a simple count may be provided for materials that are prefabricated. These include things like light fixtures, hinges, windows, or doors. Each associated product will have a description to ensure that the exact model needed for the project is ordered, along with a number indicating how many of that particular material to order.

Second, some materials will need to be quantified using length. This is most commonly seen for materials like lumber, steel piping, molding, or ducting. Each material will have detailed length and width measurements, with some material takeoffs providing details like the total weight of the required material for shipping considerations. Third, some materials must be quantified using volume. This is useful for materials that are liquid, such as concrete or asphalt. In order to determine the volume of a required material the person preparing the estimate will need to be familiar with relevant calculations for determining volume. Lastly, some materials will need to be quantified using the area. The area is used for such things as flooring, roofing, or tile, and is often provided in the form of square feet.

There are a couple of important considerations that the person preparing the material takeoff may or may not include, depending on their needs. The first is weight. Not all material takeoffs provide the weight of materials required for a project. Weight may be necessary to include in a material takeoff because it can be used to determine shipping and transportation costs for the associated materials. While the weight of specific materials may not be relevant for smaller projects, for large projects where the logistics of getting materials to the job site can result in significant costs the weight of materials is a useful metric to include in a material takeoff.

A second component that nearly all material takeoffs include is detailed product descriptions. These descriptions are important because a material takeoff is used as a reference from which materials are ordered for a project. In order to guarantee that the correct materials for the project are ordered, each material must be described to an adequate degree. For example, if the engineer provides specific requirements for a load-bearing beam, including the size of the lumber and any special treatment it may require, this information would need to be included in a material takeoff. This is not only to ensure that the correct materials are ordered but is also necessary to ensure that the material cost estimate for the project is accurate.

Construction Estimating Services - Construction Takeoffs US


Having a full-time estimator is expensive. Outsourcing estimation means the absence of overhead costs such as benefits, computers,s, and a workspace.  Just imagine, no weekly salary to pay in those slow periods, no employee benefits, no sick pay, no vacation pay, no retirement pay… Can you see the savings adding up already?  Outsourcing not only saves your hours of training of a full-time staff member, but billable hours mean that you are only paying for the hours needed to complete the project. Additionally, looking to logistics, employees have a wide array of rights under laws.  Therefore, this opens a variety of legal claims employees can potentially bring against you for violating those rights.

Construction Material Take Off [Ultimate Guide in 2020]

It is especially true when you don’t get many orders regularly, but you still need quality take-offs from time to time. If your project requires a part-time engagement then outsourcing is an obvious choice.

It is not cost-effective to keep an estimator on staff. Using Real Estimate Service for your material take-offs will cost you less than hiring a full-time estimator and bearing all related responsibilities.