Material takeoff is a key process for anyone involved with construction. Estimators, surveyors, contractors, and project managers use it to identify the materials required to complete a project.
Generally, taking off includes surface area, volume, and count measurements. However, some projects require physical weight when calculating costs and shipping expenses.
Identifying the Materials
Identifying all the materials required for a project involves meticulous analysis of the blueprints and plans. A thorough and precise review of the drawings enables material takeoff professionals to identify the specific materials needed, including raw materials such as sand and concrete and prefabricated items like plumbing pipes and light fixtures.
To accurately quantify the materials, the takeoff team will use standard units of measurement that are appropriate for each type of material. The most common unit of measurement is surface area, but volume and length are also used. Using these units of measurement enables cost estimators to calculate the exact amount of each type of material.
Once the number of each type of material has been quantified, the estimator will use it to create a material takeoff estimate. This is a critical step that can help ensure the successful completion of a construction project. Having the right materials on hand will enable the construction crew to start work on schedule and avoid costly delays caused by material shortages.
A material takeoff is used to produce a bill of materials (BOM) that can be used for project planning and resource procurement. The BOM helps ensure that all necessary materials are ordered in time for delivery, minimizing the risk of unexpected delays and reducing construction costs. By ensuring that the correct quantities of each type of material are ordered, the BOM helps to ensure that the project will be completed on time and within budget.
Quantifying the Materials
Material takeoff is the process of identifying and quantifying the materials required to complete a construction project. Typically, the person preparing the takeoff will review and thoroughly analyze all project documentation, including architectural and structural drawings, blueprints, and relevant specifications. They will then identify all the components, materials, and quantities that are necessary to complete the work.
Once the items have been identified, they will be quantified using standard units of measurement appropriate for each type of material. These measurements can be recorded manually with measuring tools or digitally with specialized software. Regardless of the method, it is crucial to adhere to industry standards for accuracy and consistency.
For example, a unit count is used for items like pipes and wires that are typically measured in linear length. Cost estimators will then use the unit length to calculate unit costs and develop a gross total for the entire project.
Additionally, when calculating quantities of specific types of materials, it is important to factor in allowances for material overlap and cutting losses, as well as any other potential adjustments. These variables can be determined by using a standard set of waste factors or by obtaining pricing bids from suppliers. In addition, it is helpful to reference and use a consistent unit of measurement for all calculations, as well as to cross-verify measurements with colleagues.
Completing the Takeoff
Materials takeoffs are a critical step in the cost estimation process. When performed accurately, they provide accurate estimates of the project’s material requirements and minimize rework by avoiding costly errors.
The material takeoff preparation workflow is largely the same for both manual and digital methods. To begin, the person preparing the takeoff will review all the relevant plans and blueprints for the project. These should be on hand either in physical form or loaded into the cost estimating software used to prepare the material takeoff. It’s important to review the drawings carefully to ensure all necessary information has been included. This is especially true when a preliminary material takeoff is being prepared.
Using the detailed construction plans, the material takeoff professional will identify and accurately quantify all the required materials. The quantities are then compiled and organized in a report. Depending on the type of takeoff being prepared, this data may be presented in different ways. For example, lengths (ft, m), area, and counts are common reporting formats.
A final step in a detailed material takeoff involves field verification of the installed materials to compare the actual quantities with the initial estimated quantities. This assessment offers valuable insights into possible discrepancies and provides useful data to improve future material takeoff processes. An accurate and well-executed material takeoff facilitates clear communication between project stakeholders, streamlines resource planning, and helps ensure a successful project.
Organizing the Takeoff
Material takeoffs are the first step in the process of creating an estimate or proposal for a project. A well-executed takeoff identifies materials, quantifies them, and attaches this information to a price schedule. The resulting numbers, when combined with other project-related costs and margins, create an accurate picture of the overall cost to complete the work.
Performing material takeoffs requires thorough and meticulous review of construction blueprints or plans. An estimator or team needs to examine every element on a drawing, ensuring all measurements are calculated correctly. Mistakes during this phase can lead to inaccurate takeoff estimates, which in turn can lead to costly mistakes on a construction job.
To avoid estimating errors, construction professionals should regularly invest in training and education. They should also utilize quality control checks and peer reviews to catch any errors before they have a negative impact on the construction project. Additionally, implementing standard templates and measurement guidelines can help streamline the process and improve accuracy.
Furthermore, utilizing advanced estimating tools like Kreo can help elevate efficiency and accuracy on construction projects. This AI-driven tool streamlines the material takeoff process and offers a variety of benefits, including flexibility, precision, and collaboration. It is a worthwhile investment that will save time and money in the long run.