What is Material Takeoff in Construction?

What is Material Takeoff in Construction?

A construction takeoff is an important stage in calculating the expenses of a project. Contractors and project managers use blueprints to calculate the quantity and size of materials and supplies required for a project. Cost estimates, project proposals, and supplier order forms are all based on this information.

Traditionally, quantity takeoff is done with printed plans, rulers, calculators, and pencils. On the other hand, contractors may find that creating takeoff data and pulling specific information from project plans is a time-consuming operation. Companies have developed takeoff software to simplify and improve this process for modern contractors.

How to complete a material takeoff?

A takeoff can be completed in one of two ways:

Traditional manual takeoffs

Traditional takeoffs involve examining a paper plan and determining the quantities of each material based on it. The first step is determining the drawing’s scale, which could be 1:100 or 1:50, for example. Then decide what you want to measure first and locate it on the blueprints. Then count or measure the drawing; a scale rule will come in handy in this procedure. A scale rule is a special triangle-shaped ruler with extra measures corresponding to different drawing scales.

Digital takeoffs

A lot of estimating has moved to spreadsheets and software since the advent of computers. To complete material takeoffs, there are various tools and applications available. Dimetris software is at the simple end of the scale.

Traditionally, taking this information out of project blueprints has been done by hand using rulers, pencils, and calculators. As you can imagine, this process can be very tedious and challenging to do accurately.

Digitizers have helped estimators speed up and enhance the accuracy of the takeoff process. A blueprint digitizer, for example, is a handheld pen-like tool that monitors lengths as you drag it across blueprints to help you measure lengths more accurately.

Over the past few decades, these tools have proven beneficial to contractors, but more recently, computer technology has helped to digitize the process, increasing speed and accuracy.

What Is Construction Takeoff Software?

Computer systems that assist users in extracting material counts and estimates from digital blueprints are referred to as construction takeoff software. Takeoff software frequently includes tools for generating cost and labor estimates.

Takeoff software frequently refers to digital blueprint formats. The software will support the most common blueprint file types, such as SVG, DXF, DWG, and PDF or picture files.

Estimators can then point, click, and drag information off the project designs using digital representations of blueprints rather than manually computing numbers and measurements, which is prone to inaccuracy.

The software provider will determine the specific workflows and methods for extracting this information from the prints.

What are units of measurement for a construction takeoff?

Depending on the type of material, several units of measurement are used. Some of the most common units you’ll come across include:


The number of individual products or items needed. To figure out how many maintenance hole bases, covers, and frames you’ll need, count the number of manholes depicted in the design.


It is simplest to measure the needed length for some materials, such as ducting and drainage pipes or electrical cables. If you measure drainage run on the site drawings and find it to be 296 meters long, divide it by the pipe length (e.g., 6 meters), and you’ll need 50 pipes – a complete package.


You probably already know that the area of a surface is calculated by multiplying the width by the length. This measurement method can be helpful in a variety of materials, including paint, plaster, and flooring. It’s also used with another multiplier to speed up the counting process. If you know you’ll need 120 bricks per square meter, multiply the area in square meters by 120 to figure out how many bricks you’ll need for one brick-wide wall.


For materials like concrete or sand, volume calculations may be necessary. To figure out how many cubic meters or feet you’ll need, multiply the length by the breadth by the depth.

Free Takeoff Software

There are various free takeoff software packages available, but their capabilities are more limited. Some may limit the number of projects you create, while others provide fewer capabilities than more sophisticated paid alternatives. On the other hand, a free takeoff solution may be all you need, depending on the size and needs of your company.





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