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How Tech Can Help Construction Blog Feature

The Power of Digitizing Quantity Takeoffs

When quantity takeoff workflows are simple and accurate, entire construction projects go more smoothly—here’s how technology can help. 

When you’re searching for ways to drive extra value for your construction business, you don’t always have to focus on major adjustments. Changing one step in the construction planning process can deliver advantages that last for the entire job.

Improving your approach to quantity takeoffs is one such impactful move. When you add technology to your quantity takeoff and cost estimation workflow, contractors gain speed, accuracy and convenience.

Considering how many external variables can have an impact on construction costs and material budgets, it’s important to increase savings and efficiency wherever possible. When elements such as unpredictable material availability or inflation eat into your bottom line, an improved quantity takeoff process can be vital.

What’s the importance of effective quantity takeoffs?

Quantity takeoffs take place during the bid and planning stages. Getting them right can set your firm up for success. Perhaps the clearest way to see the advantages of strong quantity takeoff performance is to compare and contrast high-quality processes vs. mistake-prone methods.

Accuracy means no surprises: An accurate and comprehensive technology-enabled quantity takeoff allows contractors to make clear plans for their jobs and estimate costs more accurately. A mistake during takeoffs may lead to surprise costs that harm the job’s profitability.

Efficiency enables more bid submissions: Firms can simply submit more bids when key parts of the bid process—quantity takeoffs included—are faster. Increasing the number of bids helps contractors win more jobs.

Collaboration with other departments keeps jobs on track: The efficiencies created by improved takeoff processes can extend throughout an entire project. Clear communication of data between office staff and field crews allows every department to spend less time coordinating and more getting ahead on their work.

The combination of precision, speed delivers better outcomes

Contractors can’t afford to use slow and manual takeoff processes due to the need to hit bid submission budgets and maximize employee contributions. But this speed can’t come at the expense of accuracy, as a takeoff mistake can lead to wasted dollars.

The right takeoff solution for construction organizations can deliver both greater accuracy and speed. Technology that makes heavy use of automation is the answer.

How does the takeoff process impact bid accuracy, job speed and more?

Quantity takeoff processes start during the bid process. Not only will it determine if a contractor wins the job, but how profitable it will be. A contractor that has put in the effort to bolster quantity takeoffs and estimations gains lasting advantages.

High-quality proposals are key to both impressing clients and protecting the bottom line. A bid prepared on a quick timeline, but with meticulous and accurate estimate figures for all needed materials, is well positioned to win more business.

The precision of all the figures in those proposals can have an enormous impact on budgeting. A mistake caused by imprecise manual processes may seem small on paper, but could lead to the contractor spending too much on materials or quoting too low a price to the client. In either case, the financial hit from that one issue could add up to more than the cost of the software.

A more efficient, digital takeoff process can have another important effect on companies: With fewer hours needed to prepare accurate bids, employees can perform other value-adding work. This allows contractors to get more from workers without increasing staff.

Contractors that are ready to replace their paper-based quantity takeoff calculations with digital tools can start seeing these changes immediately. Introducing the software to the takeoff and cost estimation workflow has numerous benefits.

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How do software, automation impact quantity takeoff performance?

What does a technology-infused takeoff process look like? Adopting this model means using new tools to replace some of the manual takeoff tasks and paperwork that can slow companies down or increase the risk of human error.

Quantity takeoff software enables employees to work directly with documents such as PDF plans, then export the amounts directly into spreadsheets.

Why is this process so much better than a more manual takeoff approach?

Easy-to-use, accurate estimation methods: Specialized digital systems that allow users to perform takeoff calculations with minimal clicks offer power through their ease of use. Not only are they faster and more efficient to use than legacy methods, but their specialized algorithms also limit the risk of human error, which could prevent major cost estimate mistakes.

Consistent, repeatable workflows: Digital takeoff software allows employees to complete the exact same actions whenever they launch a new bid. This helps them stay consistent and deliver a high level of accuracy and efficiency. Platforms that support custom tool sets allow contractors to build their own unique practices into these repeatable actions.

Data transfer between software tools: Performing material quantity takeoff and estimation practices in a low-automation or paper-based workflow involves adding extra steps when it’s time to input figures into a spreadsheet. Automating this process gives employees time back in their days and takes out another potential spot where human error could occur.

Communication between departments: When information about materials, quantities and amounts is generated and stored digitally, it’s easy to share that content throughout the organization. Workers on the jobsite can have the accurate material takeoff figures directly from the software.

Bid packages clients approve of: Bids generated with digitally calculated quantity takeoff data can be assembled more quickly and with greater accuracy than if they were created using legacy methods. This ability to hit deadlines and deliver precision helps contractors win more jobs.

In an era when construction organizations are feeling the need to modernize their workflows, industry-specific tasks such as material quantity takeoff processes shouldn’t be left behind. Upgrades to contractors’ methods can deliver tremendous value.

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How do you get started with improved takeoff workflows?

Improving takeoff workflows can be part of an overall modernization push. This works best when the software used for quantity takeoff and estimation processes is closely integrated with other construction technology tools and general applications such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Finding a software platform built for the construction sector is the surest way to improve quantity takeoff performance. This is a more direct method of improving construction workflows than purchasing a general-purpose software tool and modifying it to conform to the demands of the construction bid process.

Bluebeam delivers fast and accurate material takeoff performance, allowing users to work in PDF plan documents through simple point-and-click actions, then output the results directly into spreadsheets. This level of automation and precision can deliver the edge your business needs to win profitable bids.

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