How Quantity Take off Has Become Fast and Easy

How Quantity Take off Has Become Fast and Easy

Time flies but leaves the shadows behind. Just like how the rapid pace of today’s technology has left behind the conventional tools- right alongside graph paper, column ledger pads, pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, triangular scales, colored pencils, colored highlighters, dividers, and protractors.

Do you recall the time when – earlier in the century, when blueprints were blue or on a black background with notes, images and lines were white? Today, drawings are viewed on our computers in the office or the go with our mobile devices and pads or BIM for modeling and determining takeoff quantities and drones to supply data points for maps.

Down the memory lane

Speed and accuracy have taken another leap forward. Before the era of desktops, electronic spreadsheets and compound formulas, there were the days of pencils, highlighters, notepads, and calculators. The hardest part for those still going the way is to keep the focus on your counts! Just when you grab the notepad to write down a count like “32 doors,” the phone rings or someone stops by with a question.

Then there is the issue of knocking sleep with more coffee on the desk. Today with takeoff and estimating software you can count as you click, so you can visually see if those doors are counted or not.

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Before and After Digitization

Before digital takeoff, measuring complex volumes was difficult. Now with the takeoff software, you measure what you highlight, meaning you can stop mid-sentence or mid-wall—or even mid-sneeze—and have that conversation without losing your place. There now exist options for you to choose the type of complicated formula takeoff, and the software automatically calculates the volume and surface area based on built-in formulas.

quantity takeoff


Today, quantity take-off services use various options for using assemblies or multi-function takeoff, accounts for a great leap forward. This can include excavation, haul off, compaction, rebar, rebar tie wire, formwork, tiebacks, nails, concrete volume, concrete pump and labor for each item. For the modern estimator, this quick setup takes about a few minutes, and the actual takeoff takes seconds.

Organize Data Automatically—Minus the Fax Machine

Manual takeoff in the old days wasn’t pretty. Estimators have been in an era of FedEx, fax machines, yellow legal pads, and old green accounting ledger pages and what not! What truly boggles the mind is that now we receive twice the volume of electronic documents compared to paper plans.

Estimators can sort through millions of pieces of data in seconds, instead of rummaging through the storage closet for hours trying to find the as-built drawings, which at the end suffices.


Perhaps the only old school, paper takeoff item to miss is the cheat sheet, which was a checklist for keeping you focused during takeoff. If you haven’t transferred your old checklists and processes to the digital world, you could skip right over something. Estimators also had the convenience of flipping quickly between sheets in a set of plans, visualize the entire sheet and flip back again. With takeoff software, if you see nothing highlighted, then you know you missed it.

Though the times have changed what doesn’t change is the complexity of take-offs, that makes it a challenge all estimators enjoy to take up, isn’t it?