What Is Quantity Takeoff in Construction?
Jan 24, 2022
Quantity takeoff is an in-depth estimate of all the inputs required for a construction project. This provides the foundation for determining costs by itemizing how much material and labor will be needed. Like many elements of the construction industry, technology has paved the way for faster and more accurate calculations.
What is quantity takeoff?
A quantity takeoff is an early part of the bidding process that defines the amount of work that will be required for a given project. A quantity takeoff includes the material requirements for a project, as well as the f labor and equipment needed to complete the work. It does not, however, include the construction costs, it only quantifies the work and resources needed to complete a project, not how much it will cost. A takeoff simply focuses on the amount of work and resources necessary for the job.
Consider a quantity takeoff for building a concrete foundation. You would need to account for the physical materials, like the reinforcing materials and concrete. You’d also calculate the number of hours or days required of the crew and equipment. The project estimates would only include the quantity of how much is needed—not the costs involved.
A number of people could be involved with a quantity takeoff, including contractors, architects, and engineers. It’s an early step in figuring out the scope and cost of a project. Once a takeoff is complete, a construction cost estimator uses the information to create a budget or proposal for the project.
There are several common terms you may hear during the takeoffs process of a construction project, including:
- Construction takeoff
- Material counts
- Estimating takeoff
- Material estimating
- Quantity surveying
Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably to mean the same thing: a quantity takeoff.
Manual takeoffs vs. digital takeoffs: What’s the difference?
There are two approaches to quantity takeoffs in the construction industry: a manual and a digital process.
- The manual approach requires the estimator to look at physical blueprints and measure all of the materials and surface area for the project. It takes a good deal of experience and precision to accurately estimate the materials and labor with this approach. Additionally, the process is quite time-consuming.
- A digital approach, on the other hand, offers a better chance to gather accurate data for your quantity takeoff. Takeoff software typically has the ability to read blueprints and other design documents. Then it automatically gleans the materials required for the project. These automated construction estimators significantly reduce the risk of error.
One downside is that estimating labor with digital software is limited. Some elements may have labor estimates attached, but only in the most advanced software. Plus, this feature isn’t available for all tasks, making manual calculations necessary for at least some parts of the takeoff.
Whichever approach you choose, be sure to double check the estimates, even with a digital takeoff. It’s hard to completely replace on-the-ground experience and knowledge.