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Best Takeoff software

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Takeoff, also known as material takeoff or quantity takeoff, is the process of estimating costs by calculating the quantity of material and other supplies required in construction project management before the project even begins. This estimation is then used as the structure for the cost of the project as well as for bidding on projects. 

There is a lot of data and meticulous planning involved in the takeoff process. The data required for estimating the cost include things like 

  • the area of flooring, painting, roofing; 

  • area of landscaping and the volume of material required for it; 

  • the length of pipes, wires, and cables required in a project; 

  • numbers of joints, light fixtures, studs. 

The cost estimation is not only limited to the material cost of the project but also includes the labor cost, storage cost, and operational costs.

These details may seem inconsequential. However, when taken together in a large project, these can add significantly to the cost. Therefore, it is important to meticulously plan in order to provide an accurate, or as nearly possible to it, estimation for the construction bidding process. 

Not too long ago, all these calculations were done manually. Each data computed from the project plans in a painstakingly slow manner with a significant chance of human errors. Even a slight error could result in the company losing the bid for a project. Thus, to ensure more accuracy, takeoff tools and software were developed, such as the on-screen takeoff and estimating software. They are now widely used by contractors all over the world.

Takeoff tool or software is a computer program that helps contractors with the cost estimation of a project. The best takeoff software uses the digital blueprints of the project to calculate the material counts from it. Thereby producing near accurate estimates. Oftentimes, the active takeoff tool also includes features to calculate the labor, storage, and other operational costs as well. 

A contractor simply needs to upload the digital blueprint on the paid or free takeoff and estimating software, which can be in several formats, such as PDF, Dxf, SVG, etc. The contractor then simply needs to put in a few basic data while the rest of the work is done automatically by the best construction takeoff software. This eliminates the human error factor and also speeds up the process.

Takeoff and estimating software automate and streamline the process of creating material takeoffs. It handles various activities such as extracting information about the materials required from the specification of the engineer, quantity of the said materials, and presenting it in a simplified format with the description of each. Here, the material includes not only raw materials but also prefabricated materials. It then assigns a reasonable price to each of them; thus, calculating the total material price. It also takes into account any normal losses as well as the expected rise in prices based on current trends.

  • It counts the required items from the digital plants in a simple point-click method. The advanced takeoff and estimating software also use optical recognition of the characters to count the numbers automatically. 

  • It allows the users to determine and measure the components required in the plan and the exact length of it for wiring, trimming, piping, or any such process. 

  • One of the major features is to measure the area. It allows the users to easily determine the area which would be required for various processes such as drywalling, painting, and flooring. This not only helps in estimating the cost of the material (with material management software) required but also the labor hours required to finish the task.

  • In addition to area measurement, the active takeoff software also allows measuring the volume from the given digital blueprint. While the advanced 3D best construction takeoff and estimating software can provide a visual representation of the volume measurements, the simpler 2D software includes it as a part of the notes and annotations.

The industry for plan takeoff system is rapidly growing, with more and more contractors and engineers adapting the best quantity takeoff software for preparing the quantity takeoff because of the various benefits, including the significantly low cost of using the digital takeoff tool. Even the medium and small scale contractors are turning towards it. 

Needless to say that the larger contractors and engineers, whether individuals or as a firm, use takeoff and estimating software to provide their clients with accurate cost estimates of the project before taking on a project. The software as that of the quick measure takeoff system not only helps them ascertain the cost and profit relationship but also helps their clients to understand the cost structure of the project, thereby ensuring that their money is used wisely.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of Autodesk quantity takeoff software: 2D and 3D.

The 3D quantity takeoff software allows you to have a visual representation of the plan as well as the material required as computed by it. Features such as volume measurement are available on the 3D digital takeoff system only.

However, there is not much lacking in 2D software apart from the visual representation. The 2D software charts out the data in a two-dimensional blueprint of the project. 

Apart from this, the best takeoff and estimating software can also differ according to their features, the platform that you use, the device on which it is used, as well as by the different Quantity takeoff and estimating software providers. Most of the Autodesk quantity takeoff software is developed, keeping the contractors in mind, but there are a few that allow other parties to use the automated software takeoff with ease as well.

The benefits of using Autodesk takeoff software are not limited to the faster takeoff process and improved accuracy. The other benefits include:

  • It is a cheaper alternative to manual estimation with the low pricing policies such as that of on-screen take off tool price as well as the free quantity takeoff and estimating software. More estimates can be created without any substantial increase in the cost to do so as there are free takeoff and estimating software available too;

  • Employees can be free for other operational functions rather than spending their time in meticulous calculations;

  • The blueprint can be easily uploaded on the Autodesk takeoff software, and the takeoff can be downloaded directly and submitted to the project manager

  • The process of material order is also made efficient as the contractors would not have to wait for the engineering to be completed;

  • The material requirements for the whole project can be ascertained before the start of the project; thereby, the bulk purchase is made possible;

  • The best quantity takeoff software also enables the contractors to manipulate the data in order to run several precautionary scenarios and determine the effect caused by the change in a very short time;

  • It also helps the individual processes by identifying the potential shortfalls and bottlenecks in the factory production;

  • The take off tool such as the on-screen take off system also provides correspondence within the software which can be used to send information to the engineer, manager, and other relevant people;

  • Most importantly, the estimates would be uniform irrespective of the person running it, and the process of training new members is simplified.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • No, contractors, engineers, and even the persons intending to have anything built or buy anything can use the material takeoff software to estimate the material and labor cost, provided that they have the digital plan to build the item. It can help you with estimating the cost for custom work, whole projects, or a part thereof, such as making doors or windows, fixtures, countertops, pre-manufactured products.
  • No, the software uses a database engine that eliminates the limitations allowing it to perform limitless functions.
  • The takeoff and estimating software produce only the estimated cost of the project, whereas the estimators have the expertise of the art of bidding. The software would free up their time and allow them to focus only on the important aspects rather than the mundane data.
  • Changes can be included in the estimation process easily at any step. The construction takeoff software calculates the data within minutes; thus, allowing multiple-case estimates as well as last-minute estimates.
  • The software takeoff, as such, does not require any qualifications to operate it. Any regular estimator or even the contractor can use the software such as the quick measure takeoff software with relative ease. It is also easy to train new members to use the takeoff and estimating software. Additionally, you may require a person for catalog maintenance.

Karan VasitaBy Karan Vasita | Last Updated: October 24, 2020

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