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General Contractor

General Contractors need to quantify all aspects of a project, from site work, to roofing and everything in between. A GC needs the flexibility to do a quick SqFt takeoff or a detailed item by item takeoff depending on the project. Accuracy is a key part of creating a final budget and speed is critical in an increasingly competitive market place. eTakeoff is the perfect tool to aid the General Contractor with all aspects of their estimate. eTakeoff allows you to view the plans with powerful zooming and scrolling capabilities. You can switch between drawings instantaneously, while quickly measuring counts, lengths and quantities. These measurements can be displayed in an infinite variety of colors and patterns to identify the type of construction or the materials used. Measurements from multiple plan sheets can be easily totaled or combined in calculations. The quantities can be quickly transferred to spreadsheets or other estimating applications making your work efficient and accurate. With powerful auditing tools you can be sure that there are no missing items or miscalculations resulting in a detailed, accurate and efficient estimate.

Testimonials

Anthony S. Jones, BOSSCo, Inc. Lockbourne OH

“I am performing ten times as many takeoffs and proposals as I was before. I am doing $500K or bigger projects in a couple of days instead of weeks.”

Anthony S. Jones
BOSSCo, Inc. Lockbourne Ohio

Tom Bannon, The Lombard Company, Alsip IL

We are a general contractor that performs between $20 to 30 million in primarily public sector work in the Chicago Metropolitan area annually. We are signatory to the carpenters and laborers union, and we rarely self-perform any work, except when the terms of the contract require some percentage of work to be self-performed.

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We have been using eTakeoff, the Premier version for about 3 years. I generally will take off all the Division 2 work including Selective Demo but not mass grading. We also use it to take off structural concrete, masonry, drywall and framing, painting, windows and doors, Flooring, exterior wall coverings (dryvit, composite wall panel, and curtain wall), Roofing, blocking and flashing, and Division 10 work. If time allows, I will do counts on VAVs, and other HVAC equipment, Light fixtures, toilets, lavs and urinals.

The only things I fix hard labor cost to are selective demo, doors, frames and hardware, blocking installation, casework and casework installation, Trim and trim installation, and Division 10 installation. I assign unit prices to the other work to ascertain my anticipated cost for those portions of the work and use the quantities derived from the takeoffs to check scope as the sub prices come in.

Aside from the user-friendly interface, the lighting quick rate at which the drawings load, the intuitive zoom and scroll drawing manipulation; these are the features I like best in no particular order:

  • C- Click the tangent point on a curve, then somewhere near the center of the arc, and then the other tangent point, press C and the program, draws a line and calculates the length of the curve.
  • Drawing Compare- Did that useless architect send out revised drawings and not cloud any of the changes he made? That never happens. Use “drawing compare” and overlay the new sheet over the old one to see the changes by comparing the different colored layers.
  • F2- Allows you to rename the drawing filename from something like “skidmoreacad031212-1.pdf”to “003 A1.11 Basement Plan” right on the page while you are looking at the title block.
  • Pattern search- Want to find, for example, all the Keynote 22s on a page- highlight “22” in the legend and start a search. In a few seconds all, or almost all, the Keynote 22s will be highlighted.
  • Drawing links- create an Icon on a plan view near a section tag. Click the icon and it snaps to the section even of it’s on another sheet.
  • Open a separate drawing page. The 35 partition types are on one sheet. And the floor plans are on others. Open the page with the partition legend on one monitor, and do the takeoff on the pages without the legend on the other. Use the highlighter or colored rectangle annotation to highlight the partition types you’ve completed. Flip the drawings back and forth between the monitors with a mouse click as needed.
  • Continue takeoff on another drawing- That sidewalk that starts at the dorm and continues for 3 blocks and 3 pages to the campus. Use this feature to get the total sf/cy/mesh/sand or gravel bed/ for the whole sidewalk length without stopping and starting a new takeoff on each page.

One measurement can yield 16 tons of information– for example if I measure a parking lot, one “trace” yields: Square Feet of BAM, binder, and surface, Square yards of BAM, Binder, Surface, Tons of BAM, Binder, Surface, Cubic yards of Stone, Tons of stone, gallons of Tack coat, SF/SY of Fabric. If I chose to, I could also calculate curb length, CY of concrete for the curb, LF or tons of rebar, quantity of Joint bars, number of expansion joints, tons and CY of stone required for curb leveling, but for reasons that are my own, I take off the curbs separately.

Constant updates, great support, and a partnership between user and programmers unlike any I have ever experienced.

If there is a bug, or a program enhancement that will make the product better, eTakeoff issues an update that notifies you when you open the program, that a new version is available. You don’t have to experience a problem then go to the website to find a hotfix or patch. Or endure the problems waiting for the annual or semiannual release that fixes them.

The support staff is extremely knowledgeable and can help with either technical issues or setting up formulas within the worksheets to help you get the results that you want. Plus there are beau coup training videos on YouTube.

Do you have a suggestion for the program? Submit it though the forum and they will actually try and incorporate it in the program if it makes sense. To date, I’ve had had a couple of my suggestions incorporated in the program. I have never seen a company more responsive to their users than the folks at eTakeoff.

eTakeoff does not provide a database of cost, which suits us fine. Other estimating programs that provide those databases cost 10 times more than eTakeoff cost, and the prices included in those programs never match the regional and market realities.

Additionally, with so much of the industry being commodity driven, the prices are obsolete almost as soon as they’re published. One also has to sort through a lot of prebuilt assemblies and other items that are seldom if ever used in pricing the work we bid. For example, we don’t bid residential work, so why pay for 10,000 residential unit prices that we never use and worse, have to sort thru all 10,000 items every time we need to find some item that is important to us.

eTakeoff is not idiot proof. To effectively use the program, at least the premier version, you should have a good background in Excel and understand the rules for algebraic iteration, because the manner that formulas are set up in eTakeoff are very similar (but not identical to) the way they get set up in an Excel worksheet.

 

Tom Bannon
The Lombard Company, Alsip Illinois

Michael Krehlik, General Industries, Charleroi, PA

I am a Senior estimator for a general contractor in south western PA. I first learned about eTakeoff from McGraw Hill and signed up for the free 30 day trial. Having used other on screen takeoff programs, I found eTakeoff to be very user friendly and after about a week of using the program and some initial support from eTakeoff’s support team, we decided to buy the software package.

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Since we do a large amount of design build projects we often only receive a basic footprint of the building with no scale attached. eTakeoff makes it very easy to set custom scales, all I need is a dimension and I can quickly and accurately takeoff the concrete, asphalt paving, site work and building area using the custom scale setting. I found that once I had built my customized traces that I most commonly use, I am able to quickly do my takeoffs and copy the quantities from the measurement list to my excel pricing sheet. This saves a lot of time by not having to type things twice.

I also have found their support staff to be very user friendly with timely response. I have recommended this product to some of my sub-contractors as well. Since most of our drawings are now in PDF format it saves them time and money in printing cost when I email them drawings for a project to bid. So if you are looking for ways to cut your estimating time and save money also, then I would highly recommend this product.

 

Michael Krehlik
General Industries, Charleroi Pennsylvania

Add Ons

General Contractor Add-on from CSP Construction Technology

A powerful set of traces and extensions from CSP Construction Technology designed for the General Contractor. This set of tools can be cloned and modified and makes use of: What is this? How do I want to measure it? What other description text do I need? And, how much do I want to charge for this? It is based on eTakeoff Dimension’s Custom Measurement List capability.

Click here for more information.