6 Steps for Generating Accurate Electronic Material Take-Offs

I have never done it personally but I am assuming that takeoffs used to get done with bunch of highlighters and good old set of ARCH D paper plans…;-) Well, that definitely is a history… With today’s PDF or TIFF files and digital plan rooms, all you really need is a small space on your desk and a mouse to get complex takeoffs done.

There are different brands of Takeoff Software – On Screen Takeoff, PlanSwift, iSqFt… and lots more but that really is not the point. They ALL do the same. They allow YOU – a remote designer or estimator – to do your work with ease and zoom functions; with tools and undo’s (I wonder how they did it with highlighters); with ability to share your work instantly and anywhere in the world.

Here – in a nutshell – is how Electronic Takeoff Software works:

1)      Import Plans – use any common format file such as PDF / DWG (vector images) or TIFF / JPG (raster images). Takeoff programs can work with variety of files and you can import entire plan set (or sets) to your PC

2)      Set Scale – that is very important step and you can set each page scale individually so when you measure 100 feet on provided plan, you really get 100 ft result from your Takeoff Program.

3)      Set up materials or use predefined library – define all products that you are interested in and their characteristics such as height, thickness, price and give them color so they are easy to distinguish from each other

4)      Do the takeoff – go page by page and start drawing lines or polygons – thus getting linear or square feet of takeoff right off your screen.

5)      Utilize your results – you get itemized list of materials used in your takeoff OR you can link your Takeoff Software to MS Excel sheet and build even more complex formulas based on raw quantities that you measure. The possibilities are endless.

6)      Double-Check to ensure nothing was omitted.

1 – Sheathing Takeoff

 Electronic Takeoffs allow you to work quickly, create takeoff alternatives, copies or backups. To speed your work, you can copy and paste entire sections or full pages of your takeoff and modify its parts.

 2 – Itemized Material List

 Typically, you can get 14-day trials of any industry’s major player’s software. I would definitely recommend giving this great tool a shot. Happy Highlighting!

Martin Horak – Gould Design Inc. – European Office Manager