Quantity takeoff is a crucial aspect of cost estimation in construction projects. It involves accurately quantifying the materials, labor, and equipment required to complete a project. The quantity take off methods help to measure the quantities of construction materials required for a project, such as bricks, cement, steel, etc. Contractors hire estimators to get quantity takeoff services during the pre-construction phase of the construction project. In old times, estimators used manual methods for quantity takeoffs. However, we have innovative softwares today to do the same task with more efficiency. The most prominent softwares are Autodesk Quantity Takeoff, Bluebeam Revu, and PlanSwift.

In this blog post, we will discuss the quantity takeoff approaches in detail.

Understanding the Basics of Quantity Take Off Methods

Quantity takeoff is an essential aspect of construction estimating and involves the process of identifying and measuring the materials, labor, and equipment.

Here are some basics of quantity takeoff:

Plan and scope review

A review of the project plans and scope is necessary to understand the work involved and the materials required for each phase of the project.

Measurement units

It is crucial to identify and understand the units of measurement used for each item. Common units include square feet, cubic yards, and linear feet.

Material takeoff

A material takeoff involves determining and quantifying the materials required for the project. It includes concrete, steel, lumber, roofing, windows, doors, and other building materials.

Labor takeoff

A labor takeoff involves estimating the number of labor hours required for each phase of the project. This can include skilled and unskilled labor, such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and general laborers.

Equipment takeoff

An equipment takeoff detects the types and quantities of equipment required for the project. It deals with heavy machinery, tools, and vehicles.

Quality control

It is essential to review the quantity takeoff for accuracy and completeness. Errors in the takeoff can result in significant cost overruns and delays.

Importance of Quantity Takeoff in Construction

Quantity takeoff, also known as material takeoff or material quantification, is an essential process in construction that involves the estimation of the required materials and quantities. The importance of quantity takeoff in construction is significant.

  • It provides a detailed list of materials, quantities, and costs required for a construction project. It ensures that the project’s cost estimates are accurate, realistic, and transparent.
  • It supports the management of construction materials. It ensures the ordering of the right material in the right quantity and at the right time.
  • Quantity take off methods assist in project planning and scheduling. It provides a clear picture of the materials needed and the time required for procurement and installation.
  • With the help of quantity takeoffs, we can ensure the quality of construction materials. It ensures that the materials used meet the required specifications and standards.
  • Quantity takeoff is a good source to manage multiple bids. It provides a detailed breakdown of materials and quantity, which helps in preparing accurate and competitive bids.

Quantity Takeoff in Construction

Types of Quantity Take Off Methods

There are different types of quantity take off mechanisms. They vary based on the level of detail required, the complexity of the project, and the type of construction project. Some of the most commonly used quantity take off methods are:

Manual takeoff

It associates manually measuring and counting the quantities of materials needed for a project. It is a time-consuming process that requires a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.

Estimating software

This method uses specialized software to automatically calculate the quantities of materials. It can save a lot of time and effort compared to manual takeoff, but it requires some training and experience to use software effectively.

Digitized takeoff

It is a method involving using digital plans and blueprints to take measurements and calculate quantities. It can be done manually or with specialized software, and it gives more accurate and efficient results than manual takeoff.

3D modeling

It covers creating a detailed 3D model of the project and using it to calculate the quantities of materials needed. It can be more accurate than other methods and can help to identify potential issues before starting construction.

Assemblies takeoff

It deals with grouping materials and labor into assemblies, which can be quickly estimated based on historical data. It can be useful for projects that involve a lot of repetitive work, such as multi-unit residential buildings or hotels.

Quantity Takeoff Process

You can feel stuck in material while dealing with quantity takeoffs. Here is a step-by-step process to the quantity takeoff process:

  1. Review the project plans and specifications
  2. Break down the project into sections
  3. Measure the quantities of materials
  4. Calculate the material quantities
  5. Consider waste factors
  6. Estimate labor and equipment costs.
  7. Check errors in calculations
  8. Update your estimate in case of modifications


While providing various benefits, quantity take off methods also have some negative aspects. Let’s read them in the following portions.


Quantity takeoff is a time-consuming process, especially for large and complex construction projects, which can delay the project timeline.


Mistakes derived during quantity takeoff can lead to incorrect estimates, which can disturb the budget and schedule.

Limited scope

Quantity takeoff only considers the materials and resources required for the project and does not take into account other factors such as weather conditions, site accessibility, and other variables that can impact the project timeline and costs.

Dependence on expertise

Quantity takeoff requires expertise in construction estimation, and inexperienced estimators may make errors or overlook critical aspects of the project. Both can generate serious issues during construction.

Quantity Takeoff Guide


Quantity takeoff is a crucial process in construction projects as it helps to estimate the material quantities and costs needed for the project. Implementing a systematic and accurate quantity take off methods can significantly contribute to the success of a construction project. By following the best practices and leveraging technology, construction professionals can ensure that they have the necessary information to make informed decisions about material quantities and costs. This approach will lead to the successful completion of their projects.
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Q: What is an example of quantity takeoff?

A quantity takeoff is the process of determining the quantities of materials, equipment, and labor for a construction project. An example of quantity takeoff is calculating the number of bricks, bags of cement, and steel bars required to build a wall of a certain size and thickness.

Q: What is taking off in quantity surveying?

Taking off in quantity surveying refers to the process of measuring and quantifying the materials and labor required for a construction project. It involves identifying the types and quantities of materials, as well as the labor hours needed to complete each task.

Q: What is a takeoff bill of quantities?

A takeoff bill of quantities is a document that contains a list of all the materials and labor desired for a construction project. It covers detailed measurements and quantities for each item, along with their respective costs.

Q: What is the importance of quantity takeoff?

Quantity takeoff is crucial in determining the overall cost of a construction project. It helps contractors and project managers to accurately estimate the labor material, and equipment needed for the job and create a detailed budget. It helps to prevent shortages or overages of materials and resources. Additionally, it allows for better project planning and risk management, as you can locate potential issues that are possible to identify and address before construction begins.

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