What is a Material Takeoff in Remodeling Construction Management

A Material Takeoff in Construction Management is an Estimation Tool

Like every business, construction has a list of terms that are used to communicate between those in the industry. This jargon is often thrown around on the job site and depending on your experience, it can get confusing, especially if it's language used by a particular specialty trade.

One term that is used and understood by all trades in the construction industry is a “material takeoff.” If you're a homeowner undergoing your first major renovation, or you're building a new custom home, you'll need to understand this term.

Let's take a look at what is included in a material takeoff and why it's an important term to understand as a homeowner when dealing with design-build remodeling firms or general contractors.

The Material Takeoff in Construction Management

A material takeoff is a construction management tool used to estimate the materials that go into a new or remodeled home. As a homeowner seeking a remodel or building a new home, it is important to understand the role of a material takeoff in construction management. 

Basically, a material takeoff is a list of all of the building materials that are needed to construct your new home, or complete your renovation project. If you are working with a contractor, the list can come from a variety of sources and trades. If you're working with a design build firm it is often generated in house as part of the construction management process.

A good material takeoff will list items like hardware, framing materials, concrete, roofing, siding insulation, drywall, trim, windows and doors. It should also include items like light fixtures, feet of cable needed, plumbing, and any other materials specific to your project.

Why A Material Takeoff is Important

These lists are used by your contractor in order to receive quotes and for the construction management of your project making sure materials delivered to the job site on time, and in the order they're needed.

It also help them to figure out what material costs will be and allows them to prepare an estimate for the homeowner of what it will take in terms of labor to get these materials properly installed and functioning. While a materials takeoff is important in the bidding process, and in the preparation of a proposal for the homeowner, they do not always reflect the true costs of a project.

Learn More About The Design-Build Process

Complexities in design, materials prices and shifts in the market can effect the accuracy of the takeoff. It is basically a simple process of estimating, as close as possible, the materials you'll need. As the homeowner, it's your job to review and understand the takeoffs with your construction manager in order to sign off on your project.

Creating A Takeoff

There are various ways of creating a material takeoff. Many design build firms and general contractors are still estimating jobs by reviewing blueprints and counting each outlet box, run of wire, switch, and panel of drywall. Unfortunately, manually estimate materials can lead to issues and mistakes if an item is missed, or a quantity needed is accidentally doubled. Though it doesn't seem like a big deal, missed items can lower profitability, and doubled items can result in a bid that is too high.

Today, software tools are available that can make the job of creating a takeoff much easier. These programs can automate many of the processes that go into creating a takeoff for a customer. While these systems are more complex, they allow your builder to provide a more accurate picture of the costs including labor and materials, involved in your project.

As the homeowner, it's your responsibility to understand what your project entails and what the costs will be. While no material takeoff is 100% accurate as situations may change during the building process, they are the best way to maintain and control your budget when working with a builder.

The material takeoff is an important element of your proposal. It will give you an idea of the process involved, clearly list the items necessary to complete your project, and help your contractor to arrive at a budget for your project. When vetting potential contractors, make sure to ask for and closely go over a materials takeoff list as a part of the decision making process.

Before hiring a builder, make sure to sit with them and go over the material takeoff. Look for items like vinyl or wood siding, PEX or copper plumbing, hardwood or composite flooring, blown-in or batten insulation. This list will not only give you an idea of costs, but it can also inform you of the quality of materials and workmanship going into the construction of your home or renovation project.

Always work with a qualified builder who will provide you with a materials list as a part of your estimate. The quality of materials along with the quality of workmanship can help to ensure you are getting the best possible outcome for your next project.

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.