These days, most estimators have computers perform their estimating process to some degree. But even with the latest technology at their fingertips, many still insist on using paper takeoff sheets to do their initial takeoff. Then they total everything up and enter it into the computer – so many feet of ¾” EMT, so many couplings, so many feet of #12 THHN, etc. This does have a certain benefit of being familiar and comfortable, and at least the computer handles the price extension and totaling, which is certainly one of the most annoying parts of performing a manual estimate. However, we should examine what might be overlooked using this method.
First of all, labor is not being adjusted to account for such things as multiple wires in the same conduit or installation adjustments (less labor to run conduit on bar joist, etc.). If we perform the same takeoff in IntelliBid, the Auto Labor Factoring feature adjusts our labor for conduit mounting height, conduit length, floors above grade, etc., to provide a far more accurate result. Sure, you can get close using paper takeoff sheets, but you’ll have to do a lot of manual adjusting (and maybe a bit of guessing as well) to come up with a labor estimate as accurate.
Another thing that can be missed when using the takeoff sheets is the associated materials and labor that go into a particular takeoff. For example, let’s say we take off 50 receptacles on our takeoff sheet. Most estimators who work this way will put a flat material cost and labor unit on the receptacle and be done with it. But wait! What about the branch wiring and all the hardware? Can you call your supply house and order something like “all that other stuff for the receptacle”? Of course not. You have to make up a whole material stock list, essentially doing the takeoff again.
Try this, take off the same receptacle as an assembly in IntelliBid. If you open the Devices Flush library and select
1G Flush Receptacle with Branch > MC Cable > Metal Stud/Bar Joist Ceiling > 20A Commercial Grade, you can select the type of device plate, plaster ring depth and 12/2 MC cable.
Now look at the entire list of materials that IntelliBid gave you all at once. Can you order those from the supply house?
Absolutely! Is there anything on this list that you didn’t have in your manual takeoff? Probably. But, by taking the receptacle off directly in IntelliBid you’ve achieved greater accuracy and consistency, and you completed the takeoff in far less time.