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Concrete Takeoff Advice for Contractors and Estimators

In order to be profitable, you need to nail your takeoff when you estimate your next concrete job. You will either overestimate or underestimate the project if your material takeoff measurements and calculations are incorrect.

Your material cost estimates will be impacted if your quantities aren't comprehensive and exact, which will also have an immediate influence on your labor cost estimations.



What is a concrete Takeoff?

A takeoff is a comprehensive inventory of all material required, along with their quantities, based off the design and Specifications. A concrete takeoff would list all the necessary formwork, reinforcement and concrete, their compressive strengths, and their required quantities, which is normally measured in cubic meters.


Review Plans & Specs

Ensure accurate measurements and takeoffs by carefully reviewing the plans and specifications to avoid using inaccurate construction costs when compiling your bid. To accurately bid on a project, precise dimensions and measurements must be obtained. In order to submit a comprehensive bid, accurate measurements can be gathered with the help of digital takeoff software like PocketQS.


 Sometimes the project documents will state that you shouldn't scale the drawings, but instead use the written dimensions that are given in the requirements. This frequently happens when using electronic documents since printing drawings that have been enlarged or shrunk in size might lead to the scale being off, which would be detrimental to your bid.


Ask the architect for clarification if you're unsure where to take your measurements from.

Look for any discrepancies between the drawings and the specifications, any omissions of information, and anything else that seems odd as you go over the plans and specs. For instance, the project documentation may not require a vapor barrier for the building's slab on grade, or the foundation walls may mention 15MPa concrete, however in reality, it should be double that. Once more, if something appears to be incorrect, speak with the architect or engineer to get the right information.


Understand the Scope

The scope of work is specified in the project documentation, and if you are the general contractor in charge of the entire project, you will probably conduct takeoffs for each trade to verify the accuracy of the estimates and bids provided by your subcontractors.

If you're a concrete contractor, you must examine the plans and specifications to ascertain the extent of the concrete work necessary for the project. When submitting a bid to a general contractor, carefully read the bid invitation to make sure you are offering only the services they are requesting, which may be more or less than you had anticipated.

For instance, you want to make sure the general contractor isn't outsourcing the site preparation if you're used to doing it when conducting concrete construction.


Check the Scale

Make sure to record the scale on each design sheet and whether different scales are being utilized for various details on the same sheet before beginning your concrete takeoff measurements. You will require this information so that you may accurately calculate your measurements and materials.

If you're physically taking off the concrete, you'll have to keep note of the scale for each section separately. When utilizing digital takeoff software, you can adjust the scale to guarantee that the measurements it calculates automatically are precise.


Take Your Measurements

Once you have examined the plans and specifications, confirmed the scope, and documented or established your scale. The time has come to begin taking measures. This entails printing out the necessary plan papers for manual takeoffs, together with the scale ruler, colored pencils, and highlighters.

To obtain measurements for the area using a digital takeoff solution, simply point, click, and drag your mouse to obtain the length and width or linear feet depending on the materials you are taking off. For concrete projects, takeoff software may significantly speed up the process of gathering measurements and doing calculations.


Calculate Materials

You may start calculating how much material you'll need once you have all of your dimensions and counts, after which you can start pricing. Multiply the length by the breadth of the area you measured, then multiply that number by the height, or thickness, to determine the volume of concrete you'll require (L x W x H)

Once more, if you're utilizing a digital takeoff solution, it will perform all of these calculations for you. You can also include your unit prices to determine your overall material costs based on your takeoffs. Whether you calculate material prices manually or digitally, be sure to receive the most recent pricing from your supplier. Recently, price volatility has been a source of concern, therefore it's crucial to not assume prices will remain the same for the duration of the job.


Double-Check Your Work

Check your measurements and calculations again after finishing your takeoff. To be sure everything was measured accurately and all your calculations for material amounts and prices were done correctly, it never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes to review or spot-check.

Even while it could seem like a hassle at first, after you've incorporated it into your workflow, it will significantly raise the caliber of your bid submission.


Your estimates and bids are built on the foundation of your takeoffs. You can calculate the precise quantities required for all of your material and supplies using accurate takeoffs. They must also estimate the amount labour and equipment needed for your concrete project. If takeoff details are missed or measurements are inaccurate, you could either overestimate the project and lose the bid or underestimate it and run the danger of winning a project that won't be lucrative.


You can get precise measurements for your estimates by using takeoff software like PocketQS, as it can save a substantial amount of time compared to manual takeoffs.



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