In the construction industry, efficiency is crucial to success. By embracing technology, you can save time and money and set your business up for growth.
Digital 2D and 3D takeoff tools speed up the estimating process with less room for error than manual measurements. They also help you win more work by providing accurate estimates to your clients.
The right construction takeoff software can significantly reduce the amount of time needed for a project, whether you’re counting fixtures, measuring flooring or estimating wall surface area for painting. Digital measurement with takeoff software allows estimating teams to focus on higher-level workflows, eliminate human error and save resources for more important tasks.
The best takeoff tools have the ability to automatically count, organize and connect quantities across multiple workflows, such as bidding, estimating, project management and planning. They provide a single source of truth for all 2D and 3D quantities, helping contractors win more work.
Takeoff solutions that offer intelligent measurement and auto-counting can help contractors complete project estimates 80% faster than manual processes. That means more time to bid on more projects, improve accuracy of estimates and deliver quality workmanship.
While larger companies may have the IT resources to host an in-house solution, smaller businesses can benefit from a cloud-based takeoff and estimating tool such as BuildXact. This makes it easy for custom home builders and specialized tradespeople to create projects, measure and estimate from any device with an internet connection. It also helps them easily calculate costs, quote projects and invoice clients. The resulting productivity gains make it worth the investment for small and medium-sized contractors looking to optimize their project management. In fact, the return on investment for these software products is often much higher than what they cost.
Takeoff software can be used as a stand-alone construction tool, but it is typically purchased together with cost estimating software to form an integrated solution. It can also be used with BIM platforms to visualize projects in 3D.
While many takeoff products allow for multiple input formats and sources, it’s important to look for a product that offers optical character recognition technology to search blueprints for text (similar to using Ctrl+F in a web browser or text editor). This feature can save significant time as it eliminates the need to manually organize files, update file permissions and send files back and forth between team members. Additionally, it can make searching for count and description information within annotations and callouts much easier.
True takeoff software will automatically count symbols such as light fixtures, conduits, fire alarms and walls to generate a complete list of quantities for the entire plan or discipline. This allows users to avoid re-counting items and increases accuracy. In addition, true takeoff software will also offer a measurement capability that enables users to measure and count lengths of items like pipes and electrical cables.
Some takeoff products include additional features that streamline the estimating process, such as revision overlays, intelligent paste logic and multi-condition takeoff. Others allow users to import existing data into the takeoff system to accelerate their workflows and improve accuracy. These types of unique features can greatly increase the speed at which estimators can produce estimates and help to ensure that they are competitive in their bids.
Many contractors use takeoff software to measure construction plans electronically instead of using pencils and rulers. Once the takeoff is complete, they will then turn to estimating software to determine the amount of materials, labor and other requirements needed for a project bid.
A cloud-based takeoff product can be accessed from anywhere, including on mobile devices. This means that multiple members of a team can work on the same project simultaneously. This makes it much easier to create a collaborative estimate. It also allows for revisions to be made instantly, which is a feature that can save contractors valuable time when it comes to producing accurate estimates.
Adding a streamlined takeoff process to your workflow will speed up the bidding for jobs. This is because a quality takeoff will allow you to estimate material costs quickly and accurately. It will help you win more jobs and grow your business!
There are a few features that you should look for in takeoff software to ensure it is the best fit for your construction business. Some of these include:
Linear and Area Measurement – The majority of takeoff tools will provide you with the ability to measure linear items on a plan and calculate quantities. This includes things like electrical conduits, plumbing runs, drywall and roofing.
Labor Calculations – Some products will incorporate helpful formulas to help calculate labor requirements, such as those for electricians and HVAC contractors. Others will allow users to identify specific assemblies used on the project and calculate the associated labor commitments automatically.
Takeoff software allows estimators to count and estimate various symbols in construction including flooring, electrical, HVAC, framing, and plumbing. These numbers are then combined to generate an itemized list of materials that can be imported directly into your estimating and bidding tools.
While different takeoff solutions have varying workflows and methods, most provide similar features that can improve the speed and accuracy of the quantity takeoff process. For example, most products allow users to count items on digitized plans using point-click methods. Some also offer advanced capabilities like auto-count, area measurement, and volume measurement to automate the counting process and reduce the chance of errors.
Once takeoff is complete, most tools also give estimators the ability to produce material/quantity takeoff reports. These lists usually include all of the required items along with counts, lengths, and volumes for each. These files can be exported to Excel or CSV and sent directly into estimating/bidding tools that the product integrates with.
When evaluating takeoff software, it’s important to consider how the solution will interact with other software that you use on a daily basis. Look for a product that seamlessly integrates with the project management, bid-management, or building information modeling (BIM) tools that you already have in place. This can significantly decrease the amount of time you spend transferring data between applications.