A basic takeoff refers to measurements for different areas of a construction blueprint plan. These measurements will be “taken off” the blueprint using computer programs such as Bluebeam or On Screen Takeoff. With these rough dimensions, you can start to estimate quantities of material and labor required to complete the project.
Hint: You may want to use the Spreadsheet Calculator you created previously to help with these calculations.
Determine the Sequence and Units of Measure for the Basic Takeoff
The first step is to decide the order in which you will measure elements of the plans, and the units you will use to measure them.
Step 01: Determine the Sequence for Completing the Basic Takeoff
Use the following sequence for basic takeoffs:
Square Footage of Floor Area
Square Footage of Flat Area Covered by Roof
Lineal feet of Footings
Lineal Feet of Foundation
Lineal Feet of Interior Wall
Lineal Feet of Exterior Wall
Lineal Feet of Common Wall
Lineal Feet of Garage Wall
Lineal Feet of Roof Edge
Lineal Feet of Roof Ridge Line
Door Schedule
Window Schedule
Step 02: Identify the Units of Measure for Structure Components
The units of measurement for the basic takeoff are found in the sequence above. It is vital to recognize these units because they will be used to estimate both material quantity and labor.
Calculate the space based on the exterior wall dimensions, not interior wall dimensions.
If the exterior walls of the floor area you are measuring do not form a simple rectangle, break them into simple geometric shapes which can then be measured in square feet and added together to get a total square footage.
Example
Figure 5-27 Shows a graphic of the first floor with the main floor area highlighted in light tan and the garage area in gray.
Notice that Figure 5-27’s dimensions from the takeoff in Bluebeam use the outside of the exterior walls.
Because the main floor area is a simple rectangle, the square footage will be calculated using a single equation. 36’ x 32’ = 1,152 ft2.
Step 02: Measure the Garage Floor Area
Calculate the space based on the exterior wall dimensions, not interior wall dimensions.
This process is basically the same as that for calculating the main floor area.
Based on the takeoffs in Figure 5-27 above, the area of the garage flooring is 440 ft^{2}.
Step 03: Measure the Basement Floor Area
Calculate the basement based on the INTERIOR wall dimensions.
This calculation includes the area of any storage area under a porch and any doorways formed in the concrete of the basement.
Example
Figure 5-28 Shows a graphic of the basement plans for a structure.
Notice that this figure’s dimensions from the takeoff in Bluebeam use the inside of the basement walls.
This figure shows a basement area, a porch area, and dimensions for the doorway.
The formula for calculating the total area of this figure is as follows:
Basement Area + Porch Area + Doorway Area = Total Area
(34’-8” x 30’-8”) + (9’-8” x 5’-7”) + (3’-2” x 8”) = Total Area
Step 04: Enter the Floor Area into the Estimating Worksheet
Take the numbers you calculated for the various floor areas of the plans and enter them in the appropriate cells of the BasicInfo tab in the Estimating Worksheet.
Example
The numbers calculated from the graphics in Figure 5-27 and Figure 5-28 will be entered in the BasicInfo tab, as shown in Figure 5-30.
The next basic takeoff to be completed will be the footing section. There are two distinct styles of footing; exterior wall footings and the interior grade footing.
Step 01: Measure the Exterior Wall Footings
Calculate the width, height, and length of the exterior wall footings. This is more complicated than it seems.
Exterior wall footings are usually built to a specific standard.
Residential buildings likely have standardized exterior footings that are16” wide and 8” deep (Figure 5-33).
Because these footings have the added dimension of width, they must be calculated to account for overlap between any corners. Failing to do so will result in inaccurate footing estimates because the square area of each corner will have the lineal feet measurement counted twice.
Methods for Calculating Footings
This guide will offer two different methods for calculating the length of concrete footings. Examples for each method will be demonstrated using Figure 5-34.
Method 01: Averaging the exterior and interior dimensions.
Measure both the exterior dimensions and interior dimensions of the footings.
Add both dimensions together and divide in half to find the average length. This is the estimated length of the footing.
The topmost footing in Figure 5-34 has an exterior length of 36’8” and an interior length of 34’.
(36’-8” + 34’) ÷ 2 = Average Lineal Feet
70’-8” ÷ 2 = 35’-4” Lineal Feet
The total lineal feet for these two footings would be 66’-4” using this method.
Method 02: Break the footings into individual pieces using Bluebeam and measure their length.
Break the footings into individual pieces that are placed on the page horizontally and vertically.
Calculate the horizontal footing by measuring to the outside of the footing the vertical footings by measuring to the inside of the footings.
Examples
Notice that Figure 5-34 shows a dimensioned plan view of the footings.
The horizontal footings on the page are dimensioned to the outside of the wall and are highlighted in yellow.
The vertical footings on the page are dimensioned to the inside of the wall and are highlighted in green.
The horizontal garage footings are measured to the basement foundation.
The leftmost vertical footing has a length of 30’ highlighted in green.
The topmost horizontal footing has a length of 36’-8” highlighted in yellow.
The total lineal feet for these two footings would be 66’-8”.
Notice how the total lineal feet for these two footings are slightly different between the two methods. In general, using Method 01 might be easier if you do not have the ability to highlight and measure areas in the plans. Method 02 is a bit more accurate and should be used if possible.
Total Calculations for Figure 5-34: Using Option 02 and the Spreadsheet Calculator you made previously, the total lineal feet of the exterior footings is 215.50 LF, as illustrated in the graphic below.
Step 02: Measure the Interior Wall Footings
Calculate the width, height, and length of the interior wall footings.
Use the same method used to calculate the exterior wall footings.
Interior and exterior wall footings are separated in a basic takeoff because they may have the same dimensions, but different requirements for reinforcement with rebar. Because of this, the cost of materials and labor per lineal foot is different for each type of footing.
Figure 5-32 shows the difference in reinforcement for interior versus exterior wall footings.
Step 03: Enter the Total Exterior and Interior Wall Footing Dimensions
The total widths, heights, and lengths of exterior and interior wall footings should be entered in the respective cells of the BasicInfo tab of the Estimating Worksheet.
The next basic takeoff to be completed will be the foundation section. There are two distinct styles of foundation; main foundation and the garage foundation. Each of these styles have different requirements for dimensions, as illustrated in Figure 5-31.
Step 01: Measure the Main Foundation
Calculate the thickness, height, and length of the main foundation.
This process carries the same complications as calculating exterior footings.
Use Method 02 from the Strategies for Calculating Footings section above.
Example
Figure 5-36 is a graphic of the foundation from the same structure used as an example for calculating footings.
The foundations which are placed horizontally on the page are dimensioned to the outside of the walls and are highlighted in dark blue.
The foundations placed vertically on the page are dimensioned to the inside of the wall and are highlighted in light blue
Using the lengths provided by the highlights, the following numbers can be added up to calculate a total of 155.50 LF of Main Foundation.
Step 02: Measure the Shallow or Garage Foundation
Calculate the thickness, height, and length of the garage foundation.
This process is similar to that used to calculate the main foundation length.
Because the two different types of foundation have different dimension requirements, they must be calculated separately. Failure to do so will result in inaccurate estimates for material and labor.
Step 03: Enter the Total Main and Shallow or Garage Foundation Lengths
The total thicknesses, heights, and lengths of main and garage foundations should be entered in the respective cells of the BasicInfo tab of the Estimating Worksheet.
The basement and pony wall takeoffs will be completed in similar fashion as the footing and foundation takeoffs.
Step 01: Identify the Different Wall Types Used in the Basement
Look at the construction plans and identify the types of walls used in the basement. Some criteria for identifying wall types includes:
Is the wall load bearing, meaning it supports the structure above it, such as a floor or roof? These types of walls have a double top plate and are framed using 2x4’s spaced 16 inches on center.
Is the wall framed to provide a place to install insulation? These types of walls are framed using a single top plate with a stud spacing of 24 inches on center.
There are two types of basement walls that must be measured and estimated separately. They include Basement Bearing Walls and Basement Insulation Walls.
Basement Bearing Walls
These are framed in the basement or on the foundation to support the floor system.
Walls to frame out the various basement rooms are included in this category.
Pony walls (shorter walls that sit on top of the foundation to complete the basement wall structure) are also included in this category.
Basement Insultation Walls
These are walls framed around the inside of the foundation to provide a structure for installing insulation and wall finishes.
Figure 5-39 Shows the basement walls of the project used as an example in this guide.
The actual construction of each wall type can best be determined by referencing building sections or wall section detail drawings. Most often notes and annotations will detail the wall construction similar to what was previously shown when calculating the footing and foundation walls. Figure 5-40 Shows and expanded section view of the footing and foundation wall section shown in Figure 5-33. The view shows the addition of the basement insulation wall.
Step 02: Measure the Height and Length of the Various Basement Walls
Calculate the height and length of the Basement Walls.
This process carries the same complications as calculating exterior footings.
Use Method 02 from the Strategies for Calculating Footings section above.
Example
Figure 5-41 is a graphic of the basement walls from the same structure used as an example for calculating footings and foundations.
The Insulation Walls are highlighted in pink, and the Bearing Walls are highlighted in blue.
Notice that the various walls include blocks so that the corners where two walls join are not counted twice.
Using the lengths provided by the highlights of the Bearing Walls, the following numbers can be added up to calculate a total of 63.75 LF of Basement Bearing Walls.
The Interior Walls subsection of the basic takeoff is comprised of walls that use different materials in their construction.
Step 01: Identify the Different Wall Types in the Interior of the Structure
There are three types of walls in the Interior Walls category that must be estimated separately.
2x4 Interior Walls
These walls are found inside the exterior walls and are built on the floor structure of 2x4 studs.
2x6 Interior Walls
These walls are found inside the exterior walls and are built on the floor structure of 2x6 studs.
2x4 Tall Interior Walls
These walls are found inside the exterior walls and are built on the floor structure of 2x4 studs.
These walls are taller than the height of the exterior walls and are typically found with vaulted ceilings.
Step 02: Measure the Height and Length of the Various Interior Walls
The total lengths of main and garage foundations should be entered in the respective cells of the BasicInfo tab of the Estimating Worksheet.
Step 03: Enter the Measurements of the Various Walls into the Worksheet
The total lengths and heights of 2x6 Exterior Walls, 2x4 Garage Walls, and 2x6 Common Walls should be entered in the respective cells of the BasicInfo tab of the Estimating Worksheet.
The roof subsection of the basic takeoffs is comprised of three quantities which are, square footage of flat roof area, lineal feet of roof ridge, and lineal feet of roof edge.
Step 01: Identify and Measure the Flat Roof Dimensions
Identify the flat roof dimensions.
The footprint of the roof is used to calculate the roof dimensions, not the actual area of each sloped side of the roof.
This number includes all of the roof area, including overhangs.
Be careful to identify any sections of roof that are covered by the overhangs of other roof sections. They still must be accounted for when calculating the total flat roof area.
Example
Figure 5-46 Shows a dimensioned roof plan.
Notice that the roof plan does not show a small area of the garage roof that is under the main roof. This roof area is equal to the distance of the roof overhang multiplied by half of the roof width. This is highlighted by the area outlined in red.
Step 02: Segment the Flat Roof Area and Calculate the Dimensions
Figure 5-46 above is already segmented into multiple areas that can be entered into the Spreadsheet Calculator and added up to find the total flat roof area. (Figure 5-47)
The total flat roof area of the structure in Figure 5-46 is 1,779.45 SF.
Step 03: Estimate the Lineal Footage of the Roof Ridge Line
The roof plan in Figure 5-46 Can also be used to determine the lineal footage of roof ridge line.
Three ridge lines are shown: the main roof ridgeline, the garage roof ridgeline, and the front porch ridgeline.
The length of both the main roof and garage ridge lines can be determined from the dimensions.
To determine the length of the front porch ridgeline, add the 5’-10 ¼” roof edge distance to the roof run to find the total length.
In this case, the span of the roof is 12’-1 ½” and the run would be half of that distance, or 6’-0 ¾”. The total length of the front porch ridgeline would be:
5’-10 ¼” + 6’- 0 ¾” = 11’- 11”
Figure 5-48 Shows the lineal footage of roof ridge line entered into the spreadsheet calculator.
Step 04: Estimate the Lineal Footage of the Roof Edge
The lineal footage of roof edge is a little more complicated than the other two roof basic takeoffs.
This takeoff follows the edge of the roof around the building, and includes both the horizontal roof edges and sloped roof edges.
Example
Figure 5-49 Shows the East Side elevation of the example structure used in this walkthrough and highlights the roof edges in red.
Calculate Horizontal Roof Edges
The single horizontal roof can be determined from the 6’-3’ dimension.
Calculate the Sloped Roof Edges
First, identify the Roof Slope.
The roof slope in Figure 5-49 is shown as 6:12.
The slope length of the roof is a triangle that is half of the roof span.
Next, identify and measure the each Roof Span.
The smaller garage span is measured at 22'-0".
The larger house span is determined by calculating the garage and the addition width of the house. This gives the roof ridge of the house a span of 32'-0".
Next, calculate the Run of each roof edge.
The Run of a roof is the length of a horizontal line that would form a right triangle with a vertical line from the highest point of a roof edge and the roof slope.
An easy way to calculate the Run of a roof is to divided the Span in half.
The run of the smaller garage Span in Figure 5-49 can be calculated as follows:
22’- 0” ÷ 2 = 11’-0” Run
The larger house Span is determined by calculating the garage and the additional width of the house. This gives the roof ridge of the house a span of 32'-0". The run can be calculated as follows:
32’- 0” ÷ 2 = 16’- 0” Run
Next, calculate the Rise of each roof edge.
The run and the roof slope ratio can be used to calculate the vertical roof rise.
Multiply the run by the slope ratio, which is given in Figure 5-49.
The garage roof rise can be calculated by the following:
6/12 Ratio x 11’-0” Run
Or
½ x 11’- 0” = 5’- 6” Rise
The main house roof rise can be calculated by the following:
6/12 Ratio x 16’- 0” Run
or
½ x 16’- 0” – 8’- 0” Rise
The run and rise of each section can be put into the spreadsheet calculator and used to calculate the slope length. This is shown in Figure 5-50.
Calculate the total roof edge using the Run and Rise dimensions.
Entering the Run and Rise dimensions into the spreadsheet calculator should calculate the Hypotenuse of each triangle.
These Hypotenuse lenths will be the roof edge lengths.
Example
The total roof edge on the side of the house shown in Figure 5-49 would be equal to the sloped roof edges of the house multiplied by two, and one garage sloped roof edge.
Also add the horizontal run of the side of the front porch.
The three sloped lengths are added the horizontal length to calculated the total length of the roof edge on this side of the house. The total would be as follows:
17.89’ + 17.89’ + 12.3’ + 6.25’ = 54.33’
This total would be added to the totals for the other side of the roof to find the total length of roof edge. In the case of the example, this would be 186.00 LF.
Step 05: Enter the Roof Takeoffs into the Worksheet
The square footage of the flat roof area and the total lineal footage of the roof ridge line and roof edge should be entered in the respective cells of the BasicInfo tab of the Estimating Worksheet.
For example, the inputs for the Roofs basic takeoff for the example structure is shown in Figure 5-52.