The Development of Estimating and Quantity Takeoff Tools

Quantity EstimationPrior to the advancement of quantity take off inputs, estimators spent much of their time counting columns, windows, and doors on each construction project. Many protested that they did not obtain their degree to devote themselves to calculating all day and were looking for an adaptable and highly flexible cost estimating program that would decrease the time they spent calculating.

Early Efforts at 3D Quantity Take Off Solutions

Various authoring solutions started offering 3D object-oriented design tools that claimed to be able to estimate solutions and quantity take off inputs as an offshoot of the model. However, some of these early solutions failed because of poor processing capability. Software developers also failed to understand that the goal of an estimator was to finish several important tasks in any given take off.

The tools used for quantity take off have come a long way since then. The introduction of the 3D quantity take off models was a godsend, giving estimators the ability to immediately calculate the total surface area of interior walls on a given floor of a huge building, without digitizing every wall, increasing productivity to between 80 to 90 percent.

Current Challenges of Estimating and Quantity Take Off

For big construction businesses, project portfolios are very diverse. This presents a challenge as multiple inputs demand separate tools. For instance, general contractors with 2D and 3D plans should perform a hybrid of 2D and 3D quantity takeoffs. These tools often operated independently of the estimating program and ultimately required the estimator to study multiple systems that have varying user interface workflows.

Another challenge is redundancy and complexity. Programs that rely on a cost library specific to the take off tool need both the cost library for 2D and 3D takeoff solutions. In other words, someone must update the price in all-cost libraries for every material price update.

Thankfully, the technology is rapidly progressing. From simple paper plans to today’s process of 3D quantity takeoffs input, the advancements in technology aim to remove all these challenges. The availability of sophisticated, purpose-built estimating platforms with integrated cost analysis features for all models have become instrumental in assisting construction managers and general contractors improve efficiency, win more contracts, and raise profitability before, during and after construction.