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CostCertified – How to Perfect the Takeoff in Construction Estimation

CostCertified – How to Perfect the Takeoff in Construction Estimation

An estimator must know the types and amounts of each item needed to complete a project before submitting a bid or starting work on it. This ensures an accurate evaluation of the costs and requirements for the materials and gives a general notion of the labor costs involved in the exterior remodeling construction or installation of those components.

How to Build the Accurate Material Takeoff

A critical phase in estimating is takeoff, often known as material takeoff (MTO). A skilled builder should be able to calculate the materials required for a little one-off building mentally. However, larger construction projects need a more involved process.

It is essential to conduct the process carefully to obtain the most accurate approximation feasible. In addition to providing you and your client with a precise estimate, this can help the job go more smoothly on the ground by ensuring that your team or contractors have everything they need.

What To Add Up

In essence, the takeoff should establish the number of materials needed to complete the project, construction, or structure. This excludes the project’s real elements, such as tools and equipment, which are also required to finish the job.

This could apply to raw materials like concrete, wood, or sand and prefabricated objects like bricks, wires, pipes, and lighting fixtures.

Besides numbering the pieces, the MTO should specify the type of material required. For instance, this may refer to the steel grade or the kind of electrical cable.

Different remodeling contractors could have various needs when it comes to assembling their equipment. For example, a roofing specialist will use different materials than a concrete building, but the basic ideas are mostly the same.

Four fundamental types of measurement are necessary before the majority of construction projects can start.


The quantity required for each distinct item will need to be counted by the estimator. These can be the number of light fittings necessary for a specific building or the number of studs needed to finish the project.


For some items, like cables and pipes, length is the primary unit of measurement. Although additional measures, such as diameter, will also be required, this information will be provided along with the type of material required. You may need to include extra room when measuring electrical cable for components such as drops for switches, receptacles, and panels.


A surface area measurement is required for some materials. This could be an estimate of the amount of flooring, cladding, or paint needed for a particular project.


Volume measurements may be required for some materials, such as how much asphalt is used per yard or how much concrete is required to build a foundation.

There are two main categories of takeoffs:

Manual Takeoffs

Many construction design professionals still use outdated paper blueprints and plans, but it is still possible to do an accurate takeoff from them.

However, the estimator needs to be able to read blueprints and plans to provide an accurate estimate for the type of work (general building plans, electrical and plumbing schematics, etc.). These will include diagrams showing the project’s dimensions as well as a variety of symbols and remarks that may list the many types of supplies required.

To distinguish between the many items and types of material listed in these plans, use colored pencils, pens, or markers. Since creating paper designs can be expensive and time-consuming, many estimators do their estimates using innovative technology. If you’re still using paper, you might have to use a translucent plastic overlay to annotate the blueprint covertly.

To get the specific material costs for each component, enter the quantities and materials into spreadsheets or use some preprinted forms and files.

Digital Takeoffs

Although manual takeoffs can give an accurate estimate, they can be challenging and time-consuming. Measurement, counting, and calculating errors may also result if you make them.

Many businesses are producing digital blueprints more regularly. Other takeoff software alternatives can be used to streamline and partially automate the takeoff process.

Although the functionality of these programs may vary, they all fundamentally allow you to view blueprints and enter the relevant measurements and data in a digital format. Some systems can be combined with a tool for generating quotes or bids to produce a single process.

Using your counts and statistics, you can now calculate a takeoff figure. Using trade market pricing, you may provide a rough estimate of the cost of the necessary materials (often adding in a modest buffer for price variations). If you have the required time and motion data, you can estimate the project’s scope to project an estimated labor estimate as well as other related costs.

With this guidance, you should be able to begin your remodeler project and master the MTO. An accurate estimate is crucial while working on a construction project. Utilize these suggestions to approach your new development in the most economically feasible manner.

CostCertified offers software for Residential Construction Estimating, Home Building, and Remodeling. Send quick, very precise estimates for residential construction or exterior remodeling, and let your consumers engage with each estimate in real time!




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