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6 Construction Takeoff Tips

Construction Takeoff Tips

In construction, material takeoffs are the backbone of accurate estimates. If the materials aren’t counted or measured correctly, it can lead to lost profits and schedule delays. Ensuring that all your material takeoffs are accurate is key to being a successful contractor.

What is a takeoff in construction?

A construction material takeoff is performed when you measure, count, and list the quantity of materials or equipment needed to complete a scope of work based on the project plans and specifications.
A takeoff informs both the cost and duration of a project, so getting it wrong can lead to schedule delays and lost profits. All the materials required to complete the work are counted or measured, right down
to screws and nails or the amount of caulking required.

Materials and equipment are measured and counted in a variety of ways, depending on the material/equipment and how it’s provided. Takeoffs include quantity counts, and area, volume, and length measurements. In the past, these counts and measurements were taken with a ruler and highlighter
on printed documents. These days
electronic takeoff software has made the process faster and more accurate.

Tips to ensure the accuracy of takeoffs
  1. Use a project checklist or list of standard materials for your scope of work or trade. Having
    a checklist or list of materials can help ensure that you don’t miss anything when you’re doing your counts and measurements. The items that are on your list will depend on the type of work you perform and the materials needed to complete the work.
  2. Make sure you are using the latest revision of the plans or specifications when performing your takeoff. Revisions can happen at any time, so always check the issue dates and revision numbers
    to be sure you’re on the right one.
  3. When reviewing the plans and specifications, if something doesn’t look right or you are confused about the work or the materials needed, ask the architect or engineer to provide clarification. 
  4. Use electronic takeoff tools to speed up your takeoff process and help ensure accuracy. These tools can be expensive if purchased as standalone software, so take advantage of their availability when it’s offered (as with PlanHub’s Premier program).
  5. Double or triple check your quantity counts and measurements. Whether you are doing the takeoff by hand or with the help of software, it pays to double check the quantities and measurements. Have someone else perform a takeoff and compare figures to ensure that you have counted everything.
  6. Periodically compare your material takeoffs with actual quantities used on a project. If there
    is a pattern of discrepancies, research why these are happening and adjust your takeoff process accordingly. This will help ensure that future takeoffs and estimates are as accurate as possible.
A construction takeoff example

A concrete contractor is doing a material takeoff for a slab of concrete on a commercial building. 

The contractor must include more than just the amount of concrete needed in the takeoff. The estimator must also count/measure the following:

  • Concrete forms
  • Rebar/mesh
  • Anchor bolts
  • Concrete pumping

Once all the materials have been quantified, the estimator prices each one and determines how much the total materials will cost. Then, based on the amount of material that must be installed, the estimator can calculate the amount of labor needed to pour the slab. The cost of that labor plus the cost of the materials is the contractor’s costs to perform the work.

Use PlanHub’s electronic takeoff tools to create accurate estimates

Members of PlanHub’s Premier program can quickly and easily access electronic takeoff tools to help ensure accurate estimates. Simply access the plans in Planroom, set the scale of the drawing, and then use the variety of tools to count and measure material quantities. For a demonstration of our integrated takeoff tools, request a demo today.

About PlanHub:

PlanHub is a leading provider of comprehensive bid management solutions for the construction industry. Our platform simplifies and streamlines the bidding process, connecting subcontractors and general contractors to facilitate collaboration and drive project success. With a commitment
to innovation and empowering our users, we continue to revolutionize the construction industry with cutting-edge features and a user-friendly experience.

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