ADDMORE Services

All You Need to Know About Material Takeoffs

manual and digital architectural drawings

Material takeoffs are one of the core components of construction cost estimates. They’re crucial for projects of all sizes and types and can range from being relatively straightforward to complex. For those in the AEC sector that do not regularly prepare takeoffs, the process can seem quite obscure. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know about material takeoffs.

Why Are Construction Takeoffs Necessary?

A comprehensive material takeoff generally comprises a list of every type of material including, siding, concrete, framing lumber, drywall, roofing, hardware, trim, and windows. Since you will need to procure materials for your project based on this estimate, you must hire a reliable quantity surveyor from a reputable firm to avoid ambiguity or discrepancies. Ballpark guestimates can give you leeway with materials that can be reused later, but you’ll need to pay for them upfront, which can cramp up the cash flow.

Adding a significant markup to cover the costs can price your company out of the job. An accurate construction takeoff with projected increases in material costs helps the contractor buffer in all costs while ensuring they do not incur losses. It helps protect the contractor’s bottom line and helps ensure no materials are missed, and there’s no error resulting in too little, too much, or no material at all. Simply put, an inaccurate construction takeoff can destroy a project’s profitability and timeline.

How Are They Prepared?

Material estimators and quantity surveyors used to use blueprints and drawing plans to generate takeoffs by manually calculating the volume, length, and area of various quantities for a long time. Today, CAD and other technological advancements have changed the process. Highly qualified quantity surveyors are now shifting to advanced techniques like BIM (Building Information Modeling) due to its increased accuracy. Moreover, software like AutoCAD, Planswift, and BIM have also resolved the old-age problem of productivity dips. However, it is noteworthy that, although digital takeoffs are generated using digitized tools, the accuracy is still at the mercy of human experience and knowledge. So, it’s important to partner with reliable professionals that possess the relevant skills needed for precise material takeoffs.

architectural drawing on a computer

What Do Construction Takeoffs Entail?

The document provides two types of information. First, it contains a comprehensive list of material quantities to be used in the project’s construction. Then, material costs are added. Let’s briefly learn more about the details listed in the takeoffs.

Material Quantities

Depending on the project’s scale and complexity, a list of materials needed to complete the construction process is prepared. The estimator or surveyor begins the process by determining which materials are required through information provided in architectural drawings, blueprints, and project plans. Besides the comprehensive list of materials, it also includes the associated quantities needed for project completion.

Material Costs

Material takeoffs also include a breakdown of costs of the material types and quantities enlisted in the first part of the document. Using an itemized breakdown of the costs, the estimator calculates the total material costs for the construction project.

Knowledge of industry, impeccable mathematical skills, good judgment, critical thinking, and access to the latest material values are essential for an accurate material cost estimate. Since the cost of materials can rise over time, it is recommended to include a markup on certain materials to avoid shortages during construction.  

Manual Vs. Digital Takeoff: Which is Better?

estimator calculating material costs

Creating a manual takeoff is time-consuming and more error-prone than digital material takeoff, but it is still indispensable. Digital material takeoffs utilize construction estimation cost software with quick takeoff capabilities, but they are still gaining traction in the AEC industry. Although digital takeoffs have far more benefits, especially for time-sensitive projects, schedule a consultation with us to determine the best course of action for creating material takeoffs for your projects.  

Experts at ADDMORE Services can help streamline the takeoff process with accurate values and measurements, cutting-edge software, and a checklist with the latest plans to ensure spot-on takeoffs for all your construction projects.

Connect with us to learn about our cost-efficient pricing solutions for construction cost services, takeoff estimating services, construction project management, architectural drafting services, Revit design services, quantity surveying services, contract administration, BIM modeling solutions, 2D and 3D CAD drafting services, Primavera modeling services, and a wide range of other services.

We offer outsourcing solutions to clients worldwide, but mainly in the Republic of Ireland, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and the Middle East. 

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