Ever try to bake a cake without an accurate list of ingredients and their measurements? While you might know you need flour, eggs, and butter, if you forget another crucial ingredient or put in the wrong proportions, you could have a baking disaster on your hand.
The same is true for construction projects, only on a much grander scale. A missing “ingredient” can mean lost revenue, ruined relationships, stalled projects, and blown budgets.
That’s where construction takeoffs come in, listing out the materials needed for the project along with their respective quantities and costs before you get started. The process of conducting a takeoff is important, but the value it provides entirely rests upon its accuracy. Even the most carefully prepared takeoff still poses the risk of disorganization and missed materials, though, which is why analog and manual approaches are distinctly dangerous.
Fortunately, construction takeoff software solutions can solve that problem for you. Here's what we'll cover:
Construction takeoff software is a type of technology that helps digitize and streamline your takeoffs to provide more accurate construction estimates and create more competitive bids. With tools for automation, collaboration, and digital measurements, you can improve the efficiency and quality of your takeoffs and ultimately bids.
Today, we’ll discuss why construction takeoff software is so important, five things to look for when choosing it, and the top takeoff solutions on the market today.
There exist any number of reasons to use construction takeoff software, from the financial side to the functional. Let’s take a closer look.
Accurate construction takeoffs and quantification lead to more profitable projects. Precise information about materials and costs enables general contractors and subcontractors to allocate resources effectively and produce more competitive bids.
Plus, if your solution has easy access to historical project data, it can also help inform future bids, so estimators can generate more accurately priced estimates. As you continue to use takeoff software, it collects ever-richer data about your projects and way of doing business, improving your forecasting and making for happier customers.
Achieving realistic and accurate takeoffs is essential for a successful construction planning process. By empowering teams to meet even the most challenging of deadlines, effective takeoffs play an invaluable role in ensuring projects come in on time and on budget.
The right takeoff software will allow you to optimize every part of your takeoff workflow. Whether you’re counting fixtures, calculating flooring, or measuring wall surface area for painting–or even trying to access quantifies from a BIM model to achieve tremendous time savings–using a construction takeoff software solution can speed up your tasks.
Software can further streamline the takeoff process and correlating preconstruction workflows so teams can devote more energy and resources to higher-level responsibilities. Digital solutions also reduce human mistakes, so teams can confidently proceed with the estimation process.
Plus, with real-time cloud-based document management, estimating teams can access the most up-to-date construction documents, drawings, and models at any given point in the takeoff process.
Construction takeoff software also facilitates better collaboration between estimators by breaking down data silos and enabling access to essential documents, drawings, and models.
When utilizing cloud-based takeoff software, estimators can use a centralized platform to increase accuracy and project transparency. Since everyone is working on the same platform while using, teams can stay aligned and experience fewer headaches and miscommunication issues.
All right, so exactly what should you look for when considering takeoff software? Here are five qualities you need to prioritize in your selection process.
Moving to cloud-based rather than internally hosted software is a huge time-saver. By centralizing project data, teams can improve workflows through ease of access to information. This frees up estimating resources to focus on other areas of the quantification process.
Also, with a centralized location for project data, teams can feel confident using the most up-to-date information for takeoffs. Everyone knows where to look to find the info they need, which is both handy and democratizing.
With 2D and 3D takeoffs, teams can review quantities with complete transparency to understand budget scope and trajectory. They can then leverage that data for downstream procurement, self-perform, and production workflows.
You’ll also save time creating competitive bids by performing more accurate 2D takeoffs and generating automated quantities from 3D models. These capabilities allow you to capture the most detailed quantities to ensure the best construction scope of work on your projects.
And if you don’t love rework (who does?), good news. You can now proactively avoid it by visualizing the project scope in 3D, which allows a better understanding of design intent and constructability issues. Leverage a single inventory of 2D and 3D quantities throughout the construction process for ease, transparency, audits, and best of all, peace of mind.
Competitive bids are often impacted by fluctuating material and market costs, procurement methods, construction and delivery methods, and the availability of labor resources. As the market evolves, data helps teams bring more value, insight, and reliability to the table to remain competitive.
With the right takeoff software, historical project data such as actual quantities, production time, and material costs can be used to bid more accurately on the next project. This reduces research time, improves your confidence, and assures stakeholders you know what you’re doing.
Customization is key, given how different businesses and buildings can be. The size of your business, as well as the size and complexity of your projects, dictate what you’ll need from the software. You need options with tailored features and capabilities, high ease of implementation, compatibility with your existing tools, and great value for the cost.
Therefore, good construction takeoff software must let you not only utilize your own custom classification systems but also allow you to save these settings into project templates. Project templates could include preferred measurement system settings such as imperial or metric, classification systems, as well as takeoff types, making it easier for companies to streamline the process of creating multiple projects with similar configurations faster, ensuring consistency and standardization across entire estimating teams. Regardless of their location. The customization doesn’t stop there. Good takeoff software will let you use customized formulas to generate complex quantities in both 2D and 3D, then go over them with a formula checker to ensure no errors are present.
When bidding, estimating, qualification, and cost tools are integrated, contractors can reduce risk and can make smarter decisions during the bidding process and throughout construction. That’s why you need your software to integrate with all the tools you already use. Let’s take a look at some software options that do just that.
Knowing what to look for in software and knowing which software to choose are horses of a different color, of course. Below you’ll find some of our favorite software takeoff tools to create and streamline the takeoff processes and related workflows.
Want to generate 2D takeoffs with 3D quantities from a single solution? Autodesk Takeoff helps you do just that, helping you win more bids more quickly with accurate estimates and super-refined takeoffs. It’s a fundamental tool throughout the construction lifecycle, and your workflow will never be the same.
Assemble helps extract takeoff quantities from a 3D model, which can be further organized, sorted and enriched with custom meta data to power a wide variety of downstream workflows. Now you can condition and connect BIM data to keep your projects on track, which helps with everything from the design and estimating processes to change management, tracking, scheduling, and more.
ProEst’s advanced cloud-based software combines cost estimating and digital takeoffs in a single solution. Forget measuring by hand and hoping you get it right; ProEst reduces potential errors and halves the time you have to spend on takeoffs.
If you want to keep up with the competition and ultimately deliver projects at the highest quality possible, you need the right construction takeoff software in your corner. Create takeoffs in much shorter time periods, share them with stakeholders, edit as necessary, and bid more accurately than ever.
Looking to get started and improve your takeoffs today? Learn more about construction takeoff software with Autodesk Construction Cloud.