Imagine you want to bake a cake. The first thing you’d do is to make a list of all the ingredients that are needed for the baking. You not only make the ingredients list but also you’d determine how much quantity of these ingredients would be required. Likewise, a quantity takeoff is the ingredients list in the construction. 

To start any project, ensuring that all materials are delivered to the construction site on time is crucial. This will only happen if you have a detailed list of all materials and equipment.

That is where quantity takeoff comes into play; a list of estimated quantities that are required for the specific projects. 

This blog article will explain to you “what is quantity takeoff” and provide all the useful information that you need to know about this topic.

Quantity Takeoffs In Construction

Over the years, the world of construction has witnessed numerous transformations and has significantly evolved. Thanks to technological advancements. One of the most popular evolutions of this advancement is quantity takeoff.

In construction, quantity takeoff is the process of getting an estimation for material, labor, and equipment that is needed for the completion of a project.

All in all, it does not include the cost of the construction project, it only quantifies the labor and resources to complete any construction project. 

Understand the quantity takeoff with a simple example. Imagine you want a quantity takeoff for your school building construction. You would only consider the physical material that is needed to construct your building like cement, steel, concrete, etc. 

With this, you also determine how large a workforce you would need. In short, quantity takeoff only estimates the quantity of material for the construction without considering its costs.  

Additionally, according to the Dictionary of the Construction Term, the quantity takeoff is, “the method to estimate the quantities for a project including plans, or drawings, which are then added in the bill of the quantities (BOQ).”

The Importance of Quantity Takeoffs

The quantity takeoff is an important step of the construction process that makes or breaks the success of the project. It is a vital step in the cost estimation process. Quantity takeoff enables builders to get a detailed material list to enhance and strengthen the estimation process. Have a look at the points below to get to know the importance of quantity takeoff.

  • Cost Tracking 

It is easier to track the exact construction cost with accurate quantity takeoff as you have a clear picture of the cost that you need for the project. The accurate quantity takeoff helps the estimators to manage their budget and avoid overruns. Once you know the exact cost for the material, labor, and equipment for your project, then you’ll get room for any unexpected budget during the construction.

  • Better Communication With Clients

Everything in the construction boils down to the cost. In construction projects, clients always want to save their money in any possible way. Accurate cost estimates boost communication that keeps clients updated. This accurate cost estimation will only be possible with a good material takeoff report. In short, material takeoff is a way to win clients’ trust and boost communication with them.

  • Winning More Bids

To win more bids, you must ensure that you thoroughly research the cost estimates of your project and offer an upper hand cost against your competitors. The efficiency of a cost estimator is reflected in getting a detailed material takeoff that eventually ends up in winning more bids. Quantity takeoff may look tiresome at first but this is the key to winning bids. 

  • Manage Your Time

Quantity takeoff impacts the budgetary decision of the project and the client’s decision in the contractor selection. Selecting a reliable contractor is a tedious task but if a good material takeoff report is provided then it’ll save a lot of time for the clients. An accurate material takeoff avoids overruns and aids the project to run seamlessly. 

Methods of Quantity Take-off in Construction

You can collect measurements for preparing takeoff for your estimates in two ways: 

Methods of Quantity Take-off in Construction

  • Manual Takeoffs

It is the traditional method for quantifying materials. When a construction estimator computes a material takeoff without the help of any software, he prepares it manually. At the most basic level, manual takeoffs involve reviewing the scope of the work and requirements that are provided in the project’s drawings and documents. 

The estimator takes the information from these documents and evaluates the exact work measurements that are needed to build a structure. Also, the estimator must be able to read project plans and match them to the specifications.

  • Digital Takeoffs

Digital takeoffs are prepared with the help of advanced computer applications and database applications, but they are not widely used in the digital industry. Digital takeoffs are  better due to their speed and efficiency. 

With the usage of digitizers and electronic devices, measurements are taken from the drawings and input devices and processed through the computer programs. Digital takeoffs contain intricate processing and need skilled technicians to process cost-based results in software.

Method of Takeoff



Manual Takeoffs Prepared by expert estimators  Time-consuming method as it requires time to put numbers by hand
Used as a good check for digital takeoffs Lower accuracy as compared to digital takeoffs
Digital Takeoffs Higher accuracy as compared to manual takeoffs Hard to scan the drawing
Don’t need special knowledge as the manual does  It takes data from drawings so it can be sometimes wrong

For more detailed information: Quantity Takeoff Methods

Types of Quantity Takeoffs 

The quantity takeoff process depends on the project’s scope and complexity. However, there are three primary types of quantity takeoff, and each of these is used for a distinct purpose in the construction project. 

Preliminary Quantity Takeoff:

This type of quantity takeoff is carried out at the start of the project. Preliminary takeoffs provide rough calculations of the materials that are needed to develop the project understanding. This type of quantity takeoff contains high-level architectural drawings with minimum specifications.

Detailed Quantity Takeoff:

When the project is more defined and drawings are more elaborated, then detailed quantity takeoff is conducted. In general, this type of takeoff encompasses a comprehensive analysis of plans, specifications, and layouts. Moreover, detailed takeoff helps to quantify the accurate materials required for the completion of the project. Detailed material takeoffs enable accurate estimation and resource planning. 

As-Built Quantity Takeoff 

As-built quantity takeoff is conducted once the construction is completed. It involves calculating actual quantities of the material that is used in the construction and comparing it with the initial estimated quantities. This assessment helps to identify any deviations and provides valuable data for future projects.

Difference Between Materials and Quantity Takeoff

Difference Between Materials and Quantity Takeoff

To calculate the cost and resources required for the construction process several techniques and tools are used. Material takeoff and quantity takeoff are two important techniques that are also used in the construction estimation process. These terms refer to methods used to determine the materials and quantities needed for the project. 

  • Material Takeoff

Material takeoff is the process that involves the identification and calculations of the materials that are required for the construction project. This document contains the list of all material types along with their quantities, and costs.

Material takeoff starts with reviewing the construction drawings. After reviewing drawings, and identifying and quantifying materials, the estimator will calculate the cost required for these materials.

  • Quantity Takeoff

Quantity takeoff is very similar to material takeoff but its primary focus is on the labor and material quantity required for the completion of the project. It involves breaking down the project into individual tasks and calculating the cost for each one. 

This process also begins with reviewing the project drawings of the building that is being constructed. After reviewing the project drawing the estimator will identify all the tasks for the project. In the end, the estimator will quantify the total material and labor needed for the completion of the project. 

What Measurements are Required for Quantity Takeoff?

It’s math to do for quantity takeoff. Preparing quantity takeoffs requires sharp research skills, practical experience, and knowledge of the industry. Surveying is a key skill that helps estimators generate quantity takeoff reports based on real information. A good takeoff report includes the following components:

  • Total Unit Count

The unit count must be accurate to proceed with any construction project seamlessly. This unit count includes the number of all materials that are required during the construction of the project like light fixtures, flooring material, pipe fitting, and other interior items. Unit cost is an easy task to do in quantity takeoff.

  • Linear Lengths

The total lengths of the steel, pipes, and lumber must be included in the quantity takeoff report. Unit length is used to figure out the value of the total unit size of these materials.

  • Surface Area Measurements

The total surface area is another way to estimate the total material cost at the time of preparing cost estimation. Material like stone and roofing cannot be itemized and priced in units. The total surface area measurement is needed to quantify these materials. 

  •  Weight of the Materials

Some materials like steel are not quantified in length or number so the weight of these materials is added to the takeoff material list.

Quantity Takeoff Software

In the age of technology, quantity takeoff evolved beyond manual methods and introduced various takeoff software that offer professionals the advantages of speed, accuracy, and collaboration. 

According to the survey, the quantity takeoff software saves on average 30% time in estimation. These software are designed to streamline the quantification process, enhance accuracy, and provide an efficient way for project management. There are various software that are used to make quantity surveying efficient. 

  • CostX

CostX is one of the most popular construction estimation software. It is a powerful tool that provides estimating and takeoff services. It includes 2D takeoff, 3D Bim takeoff, workbooks, and subcontractor comparison. In this software, you can build customizable cost reports and bills of quantities of materials. 

  • PlanSwift

PlanSwift is the best quantity takeoff software. With this tool, you can get accurate estimates for your construction project. Moreover, you can download the free trial version of this software. It also has a drop-and-down feature that enables you to manage labor and material assemblies. This takeoff tool is the best fit for small businesses. 

  • PriMus TAKEOFF

This is the most accurate quantity of takeoff software. This software extracts the measurement data directly from the drawing files and provides exact takeoff measurements. You can add and edit CAD drawings to the takeoff measurements. 

  • Revit

Revit is another popular quantity surveying BIM software for Autodesk. This software helps you to take data from your 3D drawing models. Revit automatically creates quantity measurements for the door, windows, or other materials and provides you with the essential data at the initial stages.

  • AutoCAD

The majority of the people from the construction industry are using this software for drafting. You can use this software for seamless quantity takeoff surveys. This software is the most suitable for getting overall project information.

Tips for Effective Quantity Takeoff

Tips for Effective Quantity Takeoff

Quantity takeoff is essential for the success of the construction project. By following best practices, professionals can ensure that the quantification process is reliable, efficient, and aligned with the project goals. You can follow the below-mentioned quantity takeoff tips to streamline the project effectively.

Double-checking Measurements and Calculations

Accuracy begins with thoroughness. Minor errors in the calculations and measurements can affect the whole project. Always check the measurements and calculations to identify any errors before they impact the project. Use consistent units of measurement and convert them into proper units if needed.  

Coordinating with Project Stakeholders

Effective coordination and collaboration are the keys to preparing an accurate quantity takeoff, as this is not a task of one person. You must involve different stakeholders like engineers, architects, or contractors for effective collaboration. Moreover, you have to involve experts from different disciplines to ensure accurate quantification. 

Checking Quality Control

Implementation of quality control checks can catch errors in the quantity takeoff process. A thorough insight can identify the mistakes that might have been overlooked. Also, you can create a checklist to make sure that all the steps are followed correctly.

Keeping Record of Document Changes

The construction industry often undergoes various changes and revisions. Record all the changes and revisions you have made in the original drawing or project plan. With this, you must maintain a version control system to keep track of the revisions. Additionally, make sure that all team members use up-to-date drawings.

Utilizing Technology Wisely

The construction industry has evolved and it is crucial to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies. Digital takeoff is the advanced method to make the quantity takeoff accurate and efficient. You must utilize this technology wisely and take proper training to maximize its benefits. 

Construction professionals can get accuracy and precision in quantity takeoffs by implementing these strategies. 

Final Thoughts

We hope now you get the answer to this question “What is quantity takeoff?”. Quantity takeoff is crucial in effective project management, proper resource allocation, accurate cost estimation, and streamlined project timelines.

This process comprises reviewing project documentation, identifying materials, calculating waste, and organizing data for effective planning.

As the construction industry evolves, so too do the quantity takeoff professionals’ practices. They must utilize technology advancements, stay updated with industry trends, and implement best practices. No matter how complex the construction project is, you can get accurate and effective quantity takeoff by following these tips. 


The Benefits of Accurate Quantity Takeoffs?

Accurate quantity takeoff allows construction takeoff professionals to generate precise and detailed budgets, mitigate the risks of overruns, and avoid unexpected financial burdens.

What is the difference between material takeoff and quantity takeoff?

In material takeoff, the estimator quantifies all the materials that are required for the project. On the contrary, quantity takeoff involves quantifying all the material, labor, and equipment for the construction project. 

What Is Bill Of Quantities in construction?

A Bill of Quantities (BOQ) is the list of all the materials, labor, and equipment that are required to complete the project. It is usually prepared for the larger construction project. 

How Does Quantity Takeoff Impact Project Budgeting?

Quantity takeoff has a huge impact on project budgeting as this document ensures that the project budget is not overestimated or underestimated.


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