From supply chain issues and the rise of material costs to labor shortages and increasing project complexity, construction companies will have to navigate many challenges well into the foreseeable future. That’s why having the right preconstruction strategy is more important than ever. And proper planning is the best way to mitigate risk and set projects up for success before breaking ground.
Estimating teams play a critical role in successful planning. Through a streamlined quantity takeoff process, estimators can accurately determine what materials to source and the quantities required for a project. Accurate estimates not only lead to more work, but they also improve project outcomes by reducing the risk of rework, schedule delays, and budget overruns.
However, performing takeoffs using manual tools like paper plans, highlighters, and spreadsheets increases the likelihood of issues like human error and miscommunication. Manual processes are also inflexible and take more time, which means you’re more likely to get left behind by faster-moving and forward-thinking players.
So how exactly can you improve quantity takeoffs? It starts with choosing the right technology.
According to the latest Global Construction Survey by KPMG, contractors and owners indicated that “adoption of technology” is the second most important factor that can influence their success or failure in dealing with disruption.
At Autodesk, we recognize the importance of getting projects off on the right foot. It’s why we introduced Autodesk Takeoff as part of Autodesk Construction Cloud just over one year ago to help minimize the drawbacks that come with manual processes to help you digitize the takeoff process to produce more accurate estimates.
Autodesk Takeoff is our cloud-based quantification software that allows estimators to create 2D and 3D takeoffs from a single platform. This paves the way for faster and more accurate takeoffs, so contractors can focus on generating competitive bids.
Customers that have already invested in and adopted the solution have generated tremendous value so far. Join us as we look back at their journeys with the tool over the past year.
Windover Construction, a general contractor headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, implemented Autodesk Takeoff to improve efficiency and collaboration between its estimating and VDC teams. Prior to adopting the solution, Windover had a disjointed workflow between the two teams, which hindered their ability to work together and create accurate takeoffs quickly.
Autodesk Takeoff allowed the firm to have a common data environment where VDC and estimating teams could collaborate. The VDC team can share an enriched 3D model with estimators, who can then work with 3D quantities instead of doing a 2D takeoff alone.
“For years, we’ve been trying to bridge the gap and eliminate redundancies from doing a 2D takeoff from a 3D model. Autodesk Takeoff facilitates information flow by eliminating data silos to produce efficient workflows for our projects to develop detailed estimates from enriched 3D models while saving time,” says Kevin Hansen, Vice President of Preconstruction and head of the Estimating team at Windover Construction. “And not only that, but Autodesk Takeoff allows us, as estimators, to focus on what matters, providing a greater level of expertise to our clients.”
With Autodesk Takeoff, Windover's estimating teams can access 3D data in real-time without the need to download or upload models. This allows the team to view pricing and costs easily and to create accurate estimates more quickly.
Windover's adoption of Autodesk Takeoff saved them up to 30% in estimating time. Teams experienced even more time savings of over 50% by embedding BIM data to complete quantity takeoffs faster.
“For years, we had that data in Revit, but putting the data directly into Autodesk Takeoff is transforming the way we quantify, estimate, and plan our projects. Having all data connected in one ecosystem builds on Windover’s purpose of automation and taking the proper steps to streamline our preconstruction workflow to ensure high-quality deliverables on every project. With the use of connected BIM data, we can reduce waste to build efficient, prefabricated modular construction for our clients,” says Amr Raafat, Vice President of VDC and Technology at Windover Construction.
Ireland-based Carroll Estimating supports contractors and developers to understand their tender and construction costs better. The company focuses on providing estimating services to help clients secure tenders and projects more effectively. Technology plays a key role in the firm’s processes and day-to-day operations.
As Patrick Carroll, Director at Carroll Estimating puts it, “We know that continually evolving and investing in the best technology solutions out there ensures we can provide the most accurate numbers in a timely manner to nurture our relationships. We thrive on repeat business and that comes with the quality of work we provide."
One tool that's been especially helpful to the team is Autodesk Takeoff. Carroll Estimating trialed the tool in early 2021 to explore options that combined 2D and 3D quantification capabilities in one solution.
The move to Autodesk Takeoff allowed Carroll Estimating's teams to exponentially speed up their processes. As an example, they worked on a project that required a takeoff for 400 doors with more than 20 doors that had different specifications.
Previously, the team would've spent a day on the task, but with Autodesk Takeoff, they were able to complete the takeoff in less than a minute.
“The efficiencies for our team and our clients are what really stand out to us. Another example is the time it now takes to price structural floors – previously this may have taken half an hour and now we can do it in a matter of seconds,” says Patrick.
Autodesk Takeoff also enhanced the firm's collaboration practices. Carroll Estimating can work with architects and designers using real-time data, which leads to more transparency and highly accurate estimates. It's also made them more competitive in the marketplace thanks to the platform's 2D and 3D capabilities.
“For us as a team, working with more 3D models has opened up our marketplace. Previously, we were primarily doing jobs that had 2D drawings, but now we’re able to work on more complex and bigger jobs as the solution improves our productivity,” says Patrick. “We’re also still able to takeoff more regardless of whether they are 2D or 3D models as we’re working from the same environment.”
DPR Construction is committed to exceptional client service, evidenced by its 90% repeat business.
As one of the largest general contractors in the nation, DPR has a robust preconstruction team with resources across the globe. To increase collaboration across teams and streamline its quantification process, they were eager to adopt a cloud-based quantification solution. With Autodesk Takeoff at the helm, DPR's estimating and self-perform teams can easily and efficiently share data to improve the takeoff process.
"The ability to interact with multiple estimators across a project — regardless of location — allows our teams to collaborate in real-time and to monitor how a takeoff package is progressing within the larger project scope,” says Prashant Sharma, Senior Estimator at DPR.
Autodesk Takeoff supports models from Autodesk Revit, enabling DPR’s Virtual Design and Construction team to upload models directly, thereby eliminating the risk of data loss. With the ability to produce 2D and 3D takeoffs from one solution, DPR can provide more accurate estimates across its projects and make it easier for its estimators to get acclimated with using 3D quantification.
“Simultaneously working in 2D and 3D in one application can help estimators quantify project scopes more efficiently. We are discovering that this capability in Autodesk Takeoff may be a supplemental benefit to our quantification process.”
- Jourdan Trice, Corporate Services, Preconstruction Technology Integration at DPR
The best tools aren’t developed in a vacuum. That’s why our product team works closely with our customers to understand their pain points and create solutions that solve real-world needs.
Here are some of the recent enhancements to Autodesk Takeoff:
Takeoff Snapshots: Use Autodesk Takeoff to preserve essential information, including sheets and/or models along with associated takeoffs and inventory within a project. You can access saved snapshots to view earlier versions of takeoffs and inventory for specific milestones of events. These stored references give estimators confidence in their work, by citing key takeoff details.
IFC Support: You can now use IFC models in Autodesk Takeoff for your 3D quantification workflows. This capability has been widely requested by our international users, so we’re proud to include it in our latest release.
Symbol Detection: Powered by machine learning, the Symbol Detection feature in Autodesk Takeoff minimizes the mundane and tedious tasks of individually taking off similar symbols. By offering the dynamic connection between the instances for review and the symbol on the screen, you can dive in and evaluate the results in the context of the 2D sheet before accepting them. Plus, with assisted machine learning technology, Autodesk Takeoff doesn’t duplicate counts when running symbol detection on a revised drawing. It intelligently identifies previously detected symbols and notifies you of any new instances that have been added to create a highly efficient takeoff experience.
Watch Symbol Detection in action:
These features and stories are just the beginning. At Autodesk, we partner with our customers to capture and apply their feedback into releasing features that deliver the most value and ROI to the industry.
Take a closer look at Autodesk Takeoff to see how it can help you level up your quantification workflows to provide more accurate estimates and takeoffs across your projects.