What Is A Quantity Takeoff?

Construction workers surveying a site

The construction industry is a highly competitive business where the easiest mistakes to make can end up costing thousands of dollars for your organization. Accuracy is a necessity, and a company that can’t reliably offer it 100% of the time is at a disadvantage to everyone else when it comes to handling bids, contracts, and projects. As any project manager can tell you, this is especially true of construction budgets, and by extension, quantity takeoffs.

So what exactly is a quantity takeoff? The experts at Max Takeoffs like to describe it simply as “the process of estimating the quantities of materials for a construction project.” 

Estimating construction quantities is quite a complex process, but the purpose they fulfill is simple. Every construction project, from the largest multi-million dollar proposal to the smallest shack renovation, needs to know how much money is expected to be spent on the materials necessary to get the job finished. A mismanaged contractor estimate can potentially cripple any project, so it’s important that material costs are accurate from the beginning.

Quantity takeoffs go by other names, including:

  • Construction takeoffs
  • Estimating takeoffs
  • Material takeoffs
  • Quantity surveying
  • Material estimating

No matter what an organization decides to call them, quantity takeoffs are all about the physical material. Other needs like labor, insurance, permits, equipment, or overhead are not accounted for in a quantity takeoff — those are handled by other estimates and other departments.

Manual Quantity Takeoffs

Back before computers were easily accessible to the public, estimators did all of their work by hand. Depending on the size of the project, this process could take anywhere from several days to several weeks. This form of manual quantity takeoff was a painstaking routine that required the estimator to make complex calculations based off of physical drawings or blueprints, hopefully with the help of a calculator. Comparing how quantity takeoffs are done today with the way they were done in the past, you can imagine the amount of hours that were wasted doing such complicated work almost entirely by hand.

With the introduction of computers into the mix, the work of quantity takeoffs got much easier for estimators to deal with. Software such as Excel allowed estimators to make calculations on demand and more efficiently than ever before. Quantity takeoffs became a much simpler (and accurate) process for everyone involved, as computing allowed for time normally spent on estimating to be used in other areas of a project.

Digital Quantity Takeoffs

 

It was only a matter of time before software was designed to specifically tackle material takeoffs. CAD-based programs became available in the late 1980s, and they soon evolved to include sophisticated and speedy takeoff software that could do the job much more efficiently than a person could ever hope to.

These days, instead of relying on an operator to calculate everything, all that is required is a human to enter the data into the software; after that a computer can accurately do all the rest. Of course, getting an error-free estimate will always depend on the operator entering the primary information correctly, but for the most part the burden of expecting a fallible human brain do all of the estimation work dependably and with complete accuracy has been erased.

Quantity Takeoffs In The Modern Age

Despite having all of these digital tools to help contractors estimate construction takeoffs, they are still complex and involved processes that require training, practice, time, and a whole lot of patience. When accuracy needs to be ensured, many companies are not willing or able to rely on manual takeoffs, especially on larger projects where a miscalculation can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even in the case of digital takeoffs, there is still the human factor to take into consideration, and money spent training someone to enter data into a computer program can probably be better spent elsewhere in any given organization.

When your company relies on accurate quantity takeoffs, but you don’t have the manpower, time, or training to do the job right, where can you go for help?

Rely On Max Takeoffs for Efficient And Accurate Quantity Takeoffs

When you partner with Max Takeoffs, you’re relying on a company that has the experience you need to get your project cost estimations done quickly, efficiently, and accurately. With each project, our team carefully examines your plans and quantifies all the materials you’ll need to ensure your success, on time and on budget.

Submit proposals faster, get better results, and win more projects with help from Max Takeoffs. To submit a proposal to us, please request a quote. We’ll respond back to you as soon as possible and let you know what the next step will be.

For more information on our takeoff service, contact us today. Well be glad to answer any questions you might have!

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