The last two decades have seen quite an evolution of quantity takeoff tools – vital elements of construction projects. Gone are the days of roller balls and paper plans; today, it’s all about technology reaching the shores of planning and estimation.
The significant changes experienced by quantity takeoffs resulted in more accurate results and easier lives for contractors and estimators. After all, no one enjoys spending too much time counting windows, doors, and columns.
Recently, companies dedicated to takeoff services developed cost estimating software and other flexible solutions, which dramatically altered the construction management, but these are just a few of the changes experienced by the construction management field.
How far has it gone?
The Challenges of Today’s Quantity Takeoff
Project portfolios are more diverse than ever, especially for the larger construction firms. Most contractors deal with a growing number of model-based projects, with some of these still based on 2D plans. Even 3D models still miss out on important construction components.
Regarding multiple inputs, separate tools are necessary for 2D and 3D takeoffs. Separate takeoff tools, on the other hand, require estimators to understand multiple systems.
The 3D Revolution
3D object-oriented design tools surfaced and promised to estimate solutions and takeoff better. Interested contractors that looked at the models discovered that quantities of 3D solutions resulted in design-centric models. It’s beneficial, but not too focused on construction.
Contractors also realized that 3D fell short in providing viable solutions. The best they could do is offer simple bills of materials, which does not do much good for production rates and labor costs.
These early tools failed due to poor capability and also failed to understand the essential tasks estimators need to accomplish.
Fortunately, technology advancements continue to overwhelm the market, which eliminates the unnecessary complexity. The best tools combine takeoff and estimating solutions to assist estimators with more efficient systems, and more profitable projects.