General

4 steps to start a project with Buildertrend Takeoff 

An illustration of a computer with a blueprint

You just received building plans, and it’s time for you to sit down and start measuring. Rulers in hand and pencils at the ready, you sit down to start your calculations. But every time your pencil hits paper, the phone rings and you have to break focus. 

“[Manual takeoff] is very laborious, it takes a lot of time to put those together … anybody that’s done that before is probably having flashbacks of how terrible it is,” jokes David Livingston, estimating and takeoff specialist, on an episode of “The Better Way.”

Doing everything by hand takes a lot of work. You’re double-checking calculations and making sure you measured that wall just right. But with all things done by hand, it’s prone to human error.

Digital takeoff software, like Buildertrend, prevents inaccuracies and rework. Formulas and calculations are done in one place without the need for scratch paper. This decreases the possibility of pressing the wrong button when adding or subtracting.

We’ll discuss how using construction takeoff software can set up your projects for success.

How does takeoff software work? 

Takeoff software is used in the preconstruction phase of building. The purpose of the takeoff step is to determine the amount of materials and how much it will cost. As digital measurements are completed, values are automatically uploaded to estimates and the total is adjusted.

Before software, you’d have to sit down with your blueprints and calculate all your costs. The process took up a lot of time and required confidence in your math.

A step-by-step guide to starting a project in Buildertrend Takeoff

Follow the four steps below as you launch a project in our takeoff software.

1. Upload blueprints

Using a digital takeoff solution allows you to skip the rulers and scratch pad. All you need to do is upload your blueprints to the platform and use the in-platform features to determine what materials you’ll need and what it’ll cost.

From a proposal or estimate, select Launch Takeoff. When starting your takeoff, you can upload blueprints directly to Buildertrend. If files are over 50 MB, you’ll have to upload the file to Takeoff. If you’re unable to find the Launch Takeoff button on the Estimate feature, follow this guide about Takeoff integration.

2. Scale your pages

Before you start measuring, make sure to manually set the scale of the blueprint – doing so ensures accuracy. Set the measurement type as well as the page scale method. When setting the scale, use a measurement of over 20 feet if possible.

When setting the measurement type, you can choose between imperial and metric. The capability of both allows you to switch between types. 

“In Canada, part of the construction process is done in imperial, but I learned concrete is done exclusively in metric,” recalls David. “[A customer] uploaded a page of his plan for his foundation. Part of it was in imperial for everything besides the concrete, then everything with the concrete was scaled in metric and output in cubic meters instead of cubic yards.”

Once measurements are entered, click on a starting point on the blueprint and pan over to the end point. Doing this will set the scale of your plans.

3. Start measuring

After a scale of the page has been set, you’re ready to start measuring using a feature called assemblies. These are preset calculations that determine the total quantity output. Take measuring a wall, for example. With the assembly chosen, all of the materials are taken to account including the studs and plates.

“The process of doing [assemblies] manually is just awful. Sitting there with a calculator. Not only does it take more time, but then you risk a lot of inaccuracies in making a little mistake,” explains David.

There are three measurement types within assemblies:

  • Area: Total dimensions of a space including pitch and degree of a roof 
  • Linear: Single measurements such as length of walls, footing, structural beams, etc.
  • Count: Calculate the totals for plumbing fixtures, windows, doors, etc.

4. Confirm your estimates 

Through the takeoff process, all measurements are kept on the platform and costs are adjusted. This means if something changes in the plans, you can alter measurements or update values as you go. There’s no need to go back and recalculate for a single difference.

As you’re completing these measurements, remember to refresh the estimates page to see the most up-to-date numbers. If your totals look correct, export your estimates into your proposal. 

Construction management software keeps your projects in line

Launching a takeoff by hand requires a lot of time and confidence. Removing the need to sit down with a ruler and calculator saves you from spending hours with your head down. Take back that time and use it for building.

On top of simplifying takeoffs, Buildertrend helps keep all your construction work on one platform. You can schedule your crew, update your clients and pay your subs without a single phone call.

Ready to see takeoff in action? Schedule a demo today.

About The Author

Borin Chep

Borin Chep Borin Chep is a content marketing specialist at Buildertrend.

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