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what is a construction takeoff

The success of any construction project relies on a number of factors. Among these factors is construction takeoffs. A construction takeoff gives the client and contractor a clear picture of the costs associated with the construction project.

The cost estimates for materials and every little aspect of construction depend on the size and scope of the project. Construction takeoffs can be relatively simple or very sophisticated; besides, the construction process depends on a successful construction takeoff.

Therefore, it is essential to start by addressing what a construction takeoff is, how it works, and what it entails.

What is construction takeoff?

take offs construction plans

While the word may seem and sound familiar, it is crucial to define what it entails, especially for people who are new in the construction industry. Basically, a construction takeoff gives an estimator a detailed breakdown of all the components necessary for the completion of a construction project.

Construction take offs are also known as takeoff, construction material takeoff, and take-off. However, all these names refer to the same thing.

A construction take off is not just crucial for new projects. During renovations and project extensions, a detailed construction takeoff is necessary. To create a construction material takeoff, every single aspect of tools required for project completion must be listed.

It is an estimator’s job to ensure that every single component is included in the takeoff. Construction takeoffs must entail all the raw materials. Once all the materials required are listed, then the estimator proceeds to quantify these materials.

Quantifying and listing the prices of the materials helps come up with a construction cost estimate before the construction work begins. First, the estimator creates a quantity takeoff, which is the list and quantities of materials required.

 Accuracy is one of the core pillars of a good construction takeoff, without which the project encounters challenges. The material take-off must cover all the materials, down to the nails. Besides all the information that a construction process entails, creating a construction takeoff is daunting and time-consuming.

First, the estimator must study the blueprints or schematics in detail and come up with a quantity takeoff list. After listing the materials, their costs and quantities, then the estimator can prepare a construction takeoff.

Essentially, a construction takeoff is the total material takeoff for a project, which includes the costs. Therefore, construction takeoff is crucial in the estimating process.

What a construction takeoff entails?

What a construction takeoff entails?Construction takeoffs are very straightforward. Basically, an estimator will itemize every material for the completion of a construction project and assign the correct prices. As a matter of fact, a material takeoff is more complicated than the construction takeoff.

However, the complexity of construction takeoffs depends on the project. For a simple project, a contractor or estimator may create a material list in a short time. However, when it comes to complex projects, being thorough must be implemented.

In some cases, it may require the estimation by a team of estimators since it’d be overwhelming for one person. Today, thanks to digital technology, construction takeoff is easier with the use of construction estimating software.

One of the main challenges when coming up with a construction takeoff is knowing what to put in it. First of all, the takeoff must include all the materials that will be needed during construction. More than the material list, there must be an indication of the type of materials as well as their sizes and quantities.

After materials, the construction takeoff also includes a list of prefabricated components like tiles, windows and light fixtures. For raw materials like lumber and piping, the lengths and sizes must be provided. Roofing and flooring are quantified in the area while concrete is quantified in volume.

Manual construction takeoffs are time-consuming since the estimator must manually calculate complex equations. The pricing specifications on a construction takeoff must always be in line with current market values to ensure an accurate estimate.

If there are particular materials requested by the architect or engineers, they should also be included in the takeoff.

Determining material costs is one of the most daunting parts of construction estimation. Without correct prices, the project runs the risk of running over the budget, which could delay the project completion. Accuracy of the estimates also ensures that a project is profitable to the client and the contractor.

To determine material prices, the estimator contacts and considers bids from material suppliers. It is possible that an experienced estimator might have the costs of standard materials with them. However, it is vital to check those price estimates with material suppliers.

While the takeoff includes the list of materials required for the project, it will not include the number of nails as are necessary for the entire project, or the amount of screws. Certain items cannot be itemized in the usual fashion; therefore, the best approach for this has a rough estimate.

What a construction takeoff doesn’t entail?

Besides knowing what to include in a construction takeoff, it is also essential to know what not to include. First, construction takeoffs don’t include the labour required for the completion of a project. While labour costs are vital to the project, the construction takeoff doesn’t focus on that.

Other costs that will impact the project are included in different stages of the estimating process but not in the construction takeoff. For instance, equipment cost estimates, rental and operational costs are not part of the construction takeoff.

Types of construction takeoffs

What a construction takeoff entails?

There are different types of construction takeoffs:

depending on the type of construction project. Usually, a subcontractor will have a different construction takeoff that won’t be the same as that of the general contractor.

While these takeoffs are different, they follow the same process to create. Besides the takeoffs done by contractors and subcontractors. There are two other types of construction takeoffs, the digital and manual takeoff.

A manual construction takeoff is the longest existing type. The estimator, in this case, has to read the blueprint, list each material and type of material as well as important considerations. After that, the estimator proceeds to assign prices. 

While this sounds easy, the process is long and tedious. It is also prone to human error due to miscalculations and omissions when counting materials. It is easy to miss the mistakes in a construction takeoff when it is done by hand. The exhaustion from the process also compromises the effectiveness of an estimator.

Digital construction takeoffs, on the other hand, have many benefits. To start with, a digital takeoff is completed in a construction estimating software platform. Therefore, it is less time consuming and reduces the margins for error.

With a digital construction takeoff, the data is automated and makes it easy to track and complete calculations. However, different platforms offer different features. Some digital takeoff software will allow the estimator to upload the blueprint and the platform extracts a comprehensive list of all the materials required. 

With that done, the estimator only needs to make adjustments to the list and estimates to account for damages and material waste during construction.

After the adjustments, the estimator then goes back to the platform to apply prices to each of the items. Through digital construction takeoff software, the platform access databases with price estimates and creates the costs for the materials.

Another upside of digital takeoff software is that a contractor can adjust material prices depending on current market trends. The software can account for market fluctuations. With the prices set and markup applied, the estimator can then export the data in different formats.

To sum up

Simply put, a digital takeoff is much simpler than a manual takeoff. Saving time in construction is important because changes in weather can derail the project completion. Through a construction takeoff, contractors don’t have to waste their time coming up with reports on materials.

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