Tasks are actual units of work to be performed, such as “Install commercial grade duplex receptacle,” depicted on the plans using common electrical symbols, and detailed in the plan legend in combination with the specifications of the construction project that are usually provided by a general contractor.
You’ll use these counts and measurements to determine your material quantity and labor units for each task in your material takeoff, which is the starting point to creating an accurate estimate and building a profitable project.
Depending on the tools available, your construction takeoff can be done with a highlighter, hand counter, and digital measuring wheel using the manual takeoff method. Or, you can acquire a cloud-based software product that allows you to quickly bid, win projects, and manage workflow, such as our takeoff software, Esticom.
Either way, you’ll begin by choosing a single task to start with. For example, with a 2’ x 4’ light fixture you’ll highlight each light fixture on the drawing while counting with the hand tally. You can go through the plans clockwise or counter clockwise, it doesn’t matter which way, but be consistent and make sure you capture each symbol depicted on the drawing.
Once you’ve taken off all items for the page, notate the task and quantity clearly on the page and move to your next task until you’ve covered everything on the sheet. Then move to the next sheet in the plan set until you’ve completed all the quantity takeoffs.
As a best practice, you’ll want to create task totals on each page, and then summarize the totals on a quantity takeoff form, usually in excel format (or the last page of the plans if you’re completing it long hand). One benefit of takeoff software is that it will automatically keep track of your counts and allow you to filter by sheet and summarize the totals. If you’re using integrated on-screen takeoff and estimating software that is all in-one like Esticom, you don’t have to move quantity takeoff data from takeoff software to an excel spreadsheet and because it’s cloud-based, you can access it anywhere, anytime, from any device. This allows you to complete the cost estimating process in less time.
Common electrical tasks, such as a duplex receptacle, have many parts. This means it’s more effective to count items as assemblies versus individual parts and then break down to required parts later when you build a bill of material. For those with estimating software, you can build these assemblies ahead of time to streamline the construction takeoff process and adjust based on project conditions.