Home » What is Material Takeoff in Construction: A Complete Overview

What is Material Takeoff in Construction: A Complete Overview

by Muhammad Zubair

Evidently, the most important and valuable document in the estimation documents is material takeoff reports. It is the core component of construction estimating services and the key to a successful construction project. Resultantly, it is essential for you to understand the processing of material takeoff service providers. It is famous that project planning often takes more time than the construction itself. This is why you need to know everything about the material takeoff. Hence it is the most complicated and time-consuming job. Here in this article, we have provided you with every information related to material takeoff for your assistance. Follow the article to know more.

What is material Takeoff Services in Construction?

It is a technique that estimators use to determine the exact quantity of the material requirement for the construction project. The service can be project-specific and also called material takeoff and quantity takeoff. Somehow, the entire cost estimation depends on material estimations. This is because a slight problem in material estimation can cause issues in the final cost. Material takeoff service providers can perform it on their own hands (Manually) or by using different software. However, hiring a skilful material takeoff company for the task is essential if you want to avoid any budget disturbance.

  • Why is it important?

It provides a more accurate estimation of the material’s type, quantity and quality. It also assists the contractor and subcontractor with the total cost of those items before starting the construction. The contractor can add a manual markup to get updated about the material consumption during the process. Moreover, it is essential to convince the client to win the bid because of the final report. The final report includes two types of information: the list of items required for the material and the cost of each material. This helps the client to understand each aspect of estimation.

Key Elements of Material Takeoff in Construction

Material Takeoff Services can be a simple or complex task depending on the type and scope of the project. Material Takeoff specialists use several techniques to find the quantity. Following are some general steps that they follow:

Detail View of Plan

The material takeoff services provider views the entire plan of the client. They measure the calculations of sketches and drawings for better understanding. In blueprints, they note the following specifications:

  • Volume: A cubic yard or feet value to find the quantity of sand, gravel or paint required for the floor, walls or roof. It is because of the amount of paint and concrete used to cover the floor and walls in cubic shape, so the volume will give the best value.
  • Area: To find out the entire surface area of the construction place, the estimator calculates the area of the location. It includes the total area of walls, roof, floor and yard. You want to know how much flooring material you need; you must know the area of the floor.
  • Count: The number of tangible items such as doors, windows and cabins can be found by counting. That’s why it is called count.
  • Length: For several materials, such as wires, pipes and cables, you need to find the required length of the material.

After taking all these measurements, the material takeoff service providers visit the documents to see what type of material the customer desires. They perform the following steps to examine the documents.

  • They visit the project plans frequently to clear all the ambiguities from the prior information.
  • Conduct blueprint examination to mark the material type on requirements on the maps.
  • Conduct a construction site survey. A construction site survey is necessary for the examination of the project location. Sometimes, the place requires cleaning or some pre-construction work to get ready for the new construction. Moreover, the water, energy supply, and drainage system must be checked before starting the work. It is important to conduct this survey because cleaning and repairing also consume a portion of materials. If you have yet to include that in your estimation, it can cause issues.

Quantification of Materials

To quantify the building material, the specialists sometimes use prior data. However, there are two ways to generate material takeoff:

●     Generate material takeoff manually

Traditionally, material takeoff specialists use manual techniques to get the material estimation. However, construction trends are changing frequently, and everyone is bending towards technological advancement to increase their work accuracy. Manual takeoff can be useful for simple and small-scale projects. But still, there is a chance of human error, which can affect the accuracy, especially if it is a complex large-scale construction project. Moreover, one of the most significant disadvantages of manual work is the time taken by it because the estimator has to calculate the values by hand.

●     Generate Material Takeoff by using Software.

With the help of modern and efficient software, takeoff services have become easier and easier for specialists to generate. The software streamlines the entire project and calculates the total amount of materials required for it. They automate the entire process by optimizing the work speed of most consuming areas of takeoff estimation. Software tools can vary according to the type of project or requirement of the client. However, generally, the takeoff provider uploads the blueprints into the material takeoff software and extracts the calculations of length and width. Then, they estimate the quantity and cost of the material according to the blueprint values.

Final Report

The procedure of material takeoff looks simple in mind. However, it is quite complicated and includes all the necessary items required for the material. The complexity of the report carries all the relevant data on the number and types of materials along with the excluded items and the reason for replacing or removing them. The comprehensiveness of the report can be seen by reviewing the following details given to them.

  • Quantity of Material

A detailed list of all the necessary items to complete the project. The list can be short and to the point or long and complex, depending on the scale and type of the project. Sometimes, the specialists also add the excluded items and reasons for excluding them. Furthermore, they also mention the replacements of the excluded items, if any. They add references from the relevant construction projects and suggest the quality of the material.

Similarly, the quantity of the material is also provided in the report. The estimator considers all four types of calculations, such as count of the tangible items, length of the pipes and wires, volume for pain and concrete and area of floor, roof and walls. Consequently, in some reports, the weight of the material is included according to the needs of the project. Moreover, the client can request a customized report for your project.

  • Cost of Material

The second main information in the takeoff report is the cost of material. The material takeoff companies have a specialist who can break down the entire quantity list and calculate the cost of each item according to its requirements. They know the market trends and fluctuations in prices. They try to allocate a general price to the item to reduce the effect of inflation and fluctuation. This is because there is always a probability that the prices can be changed at the time of bidding or during the process on the construction site.

Significance of Material Takeoff Services in Construction

Material takeoff services are very important to win the bids and avoid any disturbance at the construction site. Here, we have discussed some of the significant features:

1.      Accurate Cost Estimation

In any cost estimation process, the most complicated task is material estimation. It is evident that the most resource-consuming area in a construction project is material and human resource. The cost estimators have to pay extra attention to the type and quantity of materials, which can complicate their actual work to a great extent. This is why material takeoff specialists assist the cost estimation process by providing detailed and accurate material takeoffs. With their precise values, it becomes easy for contractors and estimators to allocate a flexible amount to each aspect of the project.

Read More: Best construction business to start in USA

3.      Project Schedule

With estimated type, quantity and quality of materials, information about vendor and manufacturer and cost of the materials, it became extremely easy to schedule the project accordingly. If you know all that information previously, you will need less time on the construction time. You can avoid delays due to poor planning or unavailability of any material, which are generally the main reasons behind delays. On the other hand, they do not need to allocate time to material and resource requirements because it is already done.

Technology Uses for Material Takeoff Services

There is software that can provide takeoff services. The material takeoff service providers can access all these commercial and efficient software. The software such as Planswift and RSmeans are given below for your knowledge:

  • Planswift: General contractors and estimators use this software to find the material cost. You can easily drag and drop labor and material in the software to find the cost. It is a specified software for the accommodation of contractors.
  • QuoteSoft: It is a quality software for plumbing and HVAC estimations. They perform a comprehensive material takeoff for the project.


Material takeoff services are like the backbone of the modern construction business. It will keep you from falling into any budget complication and delay on the construction site. If you are looking to get the services, you can contact any material takeoff services company or independent material takeoff service provider.

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