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by Forrest Burnson,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: August 19, 2015


Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Construction Takeoff Software?
Common Reasons for Buying Takeoff Software
Top Software Benefits
Key Considerations

What Is Construction Takeoff Software?

Takeoff software allows contractors to measure construction plans (i.e., blueprints and drawings) electronically instead of the conventional method using pencils and rulers. Most systems will support the on-screen takeoff method, or the use of a digitizer pen.

Performing a digital takeoff

Performing a digital takeoff using OnCenter Software

The software can be purchased by itself, or as a stand-alone system. However, it’s often purchased together with cost estimating software, which allows contractors to determine costs of materials and cost of labor, after determining the volume and quantity of materials that are needed (using a takeoff tool). Finally, there are cases when an organization will purchase a complete construction software suite to perform all needed functions including estimating, accounting and job costing and project scheduling and project management.

Common Reasons for Buying Takeoff Software

There are two common scenarios we hear from contractors researching construction take off software. First, the majority use manual methods and want a faster, more accurate way to produce estimates. Second, they need to replace an existing system because the technology is out of date or it’s too expensive to maintain.

Regardless of their current situation, most companies implement these systems for the following reasons:

  • Speed up and simplify the takeoff process
  • Produce more accurate bids and estimates
  • Reduce resources (e.g., avoid printing plans)
  • Create more professional proposals

Top Software Benefits

In our recent Construction Estimating Software Benchmark Report, we asked contractors to share their opinions on the top benefits and features in takeoff and estimating software. More than 50 percent of companies highly agree that process standardization, speed and accuracy are top benefits of using takeoff and estimating software.

Top estimating challenges


To see a full list of benefits, along with top estimating challenges and priorities, visit our 2012 benchmark report.

Key Considerations

During your research you should consider the following:

  • Does the system meet your feature and functional requirements? For example, does it support onscreen takeoff for measuring PDFs digitally? Does it provide digitizer integration?
  • Does it have capabilities to support your trade? For example, earthwork, sitework and excavation contractors should identify systems that: measure cuts, fills and volumes; measure square footage and lineal feet and support 3D takeoff.
  • Can it integrate with your other construction applications, such as estimating, job costing or project management?

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