What Is a Take-Off in Construction?

February 17, 2024

A take-off in construction is the process of studying a blueprint and project plans to determine all the materials needed to complete a project. This information is then used in the estimating and bidding processes to calculate cost estimates. Takeoffs are a necessary first step for nearly all construction projects and help ensure accurate estimate development and project success.

Takeoffs can be completed manually or digitally. Contractors and subcontractors often complete manual takeoffs, as they are familiar with the process and have the expertise to do so. Digital takeoffs, on the other hand, are completed in a software program that helps speed up the data management and reduces the likelihood of human error by ensuring that all quantities have been counted accurately.

Typically, both raw materials and manufactured fixtures are included in a construction takeoff. The former is comprised of building products that are utilized to construct other building features, such as concrete, steel and doors. The latter is comprised of items that are installed in a completed project, such as lights, cable and ductwork. For both types of materials, estimators must measure their dimensions and unit figures to ensure accuracy.

To determine prices for each material, estimators must obtain bids from suppliers. Depending on the scope of a project, this can be time-consuming. However, it is necessary to avoid inaccurate costs and ensure that the best pricing is secured for the project. The takeoff process also does not include labor costs, which are calculated in other stages of the estimating process.

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