Construction Material Takeoff – Excel Spreadsheet & Templates

Construction Material takeoff is the name given to the list of materials that are needed to build something. This term is most commonly used in engineering and construction. For any kind of residential or commercial construction project, the need of construction material takeoff can never be underestimated. It is commonly prepared on Excel spreadsheets. This list is made after looking at the blueprint of the building or the initial design. There are various material takeoff templates/formats that are followed by contractors to prepare bids for the tenders.  In the quantity take-off following attributes of the material are included:

  • Quantity of Material: Material take-off includes the amount of material needed for the complete construction.
  • Types of Material: The list contains every kind of material for example wood, steel, concrete etc. needed for the building.
  • Weight of Material: It sometimes also has weight of material like steel etc.. This is necessary for the builders and the company to know since it helps them pre-plan the methods of carrying things for building.

Material take off can be generated in a number of ways from different sources. It can also have varying amounts of accuracy depending on a couple of factors.

Video Guide to Prepare Construction Estimate Using Excel


Why Construction Material take-offs Are Used?

It is important to have material take-off at the tender stage because it gives you an idea about the whole construction process. It lets you plan for the whole cost of building and the amount of labor required to complete the task during construction.

Take-off lets you estimate the cost of building and measure how much the materials will be required for various construction activities. Moreover, it lets you arrange the needed labor and get a different kind of manpower for the installation of different kinds of materials. Since take-off also contains the weight of the material, it lets the constructor look for and get sufficient weight-carrying machinery.

Quantity Takeoff Sheet

After getting the construction material takeoff of the project, contractors can send inquires to subcontractors and suppliers to get quotations for required building materials. By getting the latest market price of materials, the contractor can prepare a budget and apply some profit margin before placing a bid for the project.

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Prepare Material Take-offs Using Existing Templates

Quantity takeoffs can be prepared manually as well as electronically on computer softwares. Manual work requires more effort and has more room for mistakes but it is the traditional way. You have to use different colored pens and markers for different types of materials. This will help you identify the different materials easily.

Even these days, people are using blueprints to make their construction take-offs. Contractors have to manually make a list of the number of items being used, the quantity of lumber to be used and light bulbs needed etc. This can be a little problematic as this can cause errors if the project is complex and the scope of work is abundant. The trade-specific estimates like masonry estimates , concrete estimates, roofing estimates or painting takeoffs can be handled easily using the estimating software available in the market. 

  • If the contractors mark extra materials, they end up estimating more cost than needed which can lead to a loss. Contrary to that, If the contractors forget to mark the required quantity of materials, it can cause the take-off to show lesser materials than needed. As a result of this, there can occur ambiguities with the labor and materials after the start of construction. Although the contractor will win the project by placing a lower bid in the end, he will suffer loss because of the underestimation of quantities during the tender stage of the project.
Electrical takeoff services

Alternatively, contractors can also use digital methods to prepare construction material take-offs. These days, a number of computer software like PlanSwift & Esticom are available in the market that allows the estimators to measure the exact quantities of various construction materials. It ensures that you do not overcount or undercount any material. In this way, you do not have to suffer from loss or less profit later in any phase of construction.

Planswift Construction Material Takeoff Software

A software of this sort can help you make a material take off easily. The PDF blueprints or AutoCad DXF drawings can be imported directly to the software. Through the on-screen digitizer tools, the estimator can mark the quantities on the drawings digitally. After completing the takeoff, once can simply export the data to an excel file. These construction material takeoff methods are easy to use and ensure the least error count. Manual work can contain errors but if you are doing the work digitally, it will help you minimize errors.

Will the material take-off always be perfect?

It is hardly likely for your construction material takeoff to be 100% accurate. There is always going to be something missing or something that has been listed incorrectly. These discrepancies may arise as a result of manual work or even through computer estimation software.

The cost of material may change in the market which will have an effect on your total estimate. You may have to spend more money due to an increase in the market rate of a material. Secondly, it is possible that some external factors like rain may damage your material. So, you will have to buy new materials to make up for that loss. Similarly, you can have issues with labor too. You might have to change the amount or managing of your carrying machinery in the later stages of development due to some unforeseen circumstances. So you should consider these scenarios before preparing a final bid for any project.

Masonry Quantity Takeoff Sheet

Despite all these factors, it is imperative to have a material take off before you start building anything or even remodeling your house. It might not be completely accurate but it will give you an estimate of costs and the number of materials required for your project. A pre-planned project is bound to profit your business in every way.

Hire Services of Professional Estimators

If you don’t have experience in quantity takeoff or don’t have time to spend on material takeoff of complex projects then you can use the services of professional estimators. QTO Estimating offers quantity takeoff services at very reasonable rates with a quick turnaround. Our estimators use the latest software and engineering judgment to prepare accurate material takeoffs for various commercial and residential construction projects. So if you want to give us a try then drop us an email.

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Download Construction Takeoff Examples, Templates & Formats

There are various formats and templates for the material takeoff of construction projects. You can also get building construction cost estimate templates from here. The formats of quantity takeoff excel sheets/spreadsheets vary from company to company. Different construction estimating companies have their own formats for material takeoff. For reference, we are sharing some of the commonly adopted templates for construction material takeoff. The excel spreadsheets you can free download and use for your material takeoff.

1. Construction Cost Estimate Template in Excel

This excel spreadsheet contains a well-formatted takeoff template for estimating all kinds of construction projects. It contains different construction trades and for each trade, you will find an option to input material quantity, labor cost, equipment cost, and get the total cost for each item. Finally, you can get the total sum of all costs for bidding purposes.


Moreover, this template can be modified easily based on your requirements. You can download it free from the link given below;

2. Construction Estimating Checklist

It is always important to have a checklist while preparing a construction estimate in order to cover-up each and every item. This ensures that you do not miss any item and increases the accuracy of your construction estimates.


This checklist contains all the CSI divisions, subdivided further into various line items. You just need to input the estimated quantities or costs for each line item and it will automatically give you the total for each trade.

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