ADDMORE Services

How Quantity Takeoff Has Become Easy and Fast

architectural drawings

Accuracy and speed have taken another leap forward. Do you recall the time when blueprints literally meant white lines or images on black or blue backgrounds with notes?

Before the era of BIM or electronic spreadsheets, desktops, and compound formulas, conventional tools like protractors, pencils, column ledger pads, graph papers, erasers, calculators, and highlighters were used for takeoffs.

The toughest part for those going the way was keeping the focus on their counts. Imagine the frustration when someone interrupts with a question or the phone rings just when you are about to grab your notepad to write the precise count, such as ’42 doors’ for a project.

Thankfully, today, estimating and takeoff software has made it easier to count as you click, allowing you to visually see whether a component is counted. Here’s how the journey towards digitization has led to quantity takeoffs becoming easier and faster than ever before.

Pre- and Post-Digitization Era: The Main Differences


Before digital takeoffs, it was difficult to measure complex volumes. It required the use of several tools along with intimate knowledge regarding how pi, diameter, and radius work in tandem. With takeoff software, it has become easier to measure whatever you highlight. This means you can stop mid-wall, mid-sneeze, or mid-sentence and attend that phone call or engage in a conversation attentively without losing your place. There is an option to choose the complication takeoff formula type, after which the software automatically calculates the surface area and volume based on built-in formulas.  

Manual takeoffs of linear measurement, for instance, require the estimator to first measure the concrete trench or wall’s length, then go back to the same areas to mark with a highlighter that the takeoff was completed. They would have to add a line to the accounting ledger sheet, go back to count, measure, and make calculations for the rebar in a column, another line for the concrete, and more lines for waste, labor, and form removals. This was not only tedious but also prone to human error. By comparison, the software enables them to count accurately as they click so that they can virtually see if everything was counted or not.

Drawing Takeoffs Once


Quantity takeoff services today utilize various options for using assemblies of multi-function takeoffs. This can include haul-offs, excavation, rebar tie wire, nails, concrete pump, formwork, concrete volume, rebar, compaction, and labor for every item. This quick setup takes only a few minutes for modern estimators, whereas the actual takeoff can be completed within seconds. Using multi-takeoff complexities to count the entire building’s columns within minutes helps justify the counts and enables estimators to produce a detailed report to show things like the number of tie wire rolls needed to complete the project.

man using a computer

Automatic Data Organization


Estimators once lived in a world of fax machines, FedEx, green accounting ledger pages, yellow legal pads, and whatnot! Everything had to be done manually. Different people would rip the spec book apart into several stacks when performing a takeoff. Folders were then labeled project-wise or as per the estimates, with more folders inside marked for detailed portions of takeoffs. Estimators had to file supplier or vendor quotes in it as well.

With no email option, they had to deal with fax papers that kept rolling up. It is truly mind-boggling to realize that today twice the volume of electronic documents is exchanged compared to paper plans. Software, hard drives, computer, and the cloud are used to receive, store, and transmit bids, plans, RFIs, photos, data, notes, and takeoffs. Estimators can sort through millions of data files within seconds instead of rummaging through the storage closet for hours trying to find those as-built drawings.

Trade the Slide Rule for Software


Let’s face it; if you want to remain competitive, it might be time to start a campfire with the old ledger sheets. Consider adapting to today’s multi-sheet, multi-user takeoff software with built-in mathematical functionality.

Don’t let an inaccurate takeoff destroy your project’s profitability and timeline. Put your calculator in the Museum of Conventional Estimating Tools and give those highlighters to your children. Join the millions using their mouse to highlight zillions of different color combinations for their takeoffs.

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


Schedule a consultation with our experts to learn about our cost-efficient pricing solutions for construction project management, construction cost services, takeoff estimating services, 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 offshoring solutions, virtual assistance, staff leasing, and outsourcing solutions to clients worldwide, mainly in the Republic of Ireland, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and the Middle East.

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