Free download - construction take off list example

Right above, you can download a free and comprehensive construction take off list that we recently did for a client. This was done for a GC that required all the structural and architectural items / divisions to be taken off. Keep reading below to see how to perform a similar takeoff for your construction business.


I like to start a takeoff with the walls first. It has most of the items that go into the project and is also more complex. Also, having more energy at the start, I like to tackle the difficult part first.

I then tend to takeoff floors including foundation, followed by ceiling and then finally exterior finishes and roofing. But its completely up to you and your preferences.

Creating Assemblies

The key to taking off the walls quickly is to create assemblies. It means using a single condition / measurement to takeoff all the items in the wall or at least as many as makes sense.

For example you could create the following assembly: Interior wall 2x4 @9' high / 1/2" gypsum board 1 layer each side / Batt insulation / Paint finish. Then proceed to measure the length of all the walls that have the exact same assembly.

Managing Assemblies

The assembly method only works if the detailing / differentiation required is low. For example if you want to quantify each color of paint separately and there are a lot of colors used, it would make more sense to just takeoff the paint separately using only paint conditions and removing them from the assembly conditions.

Floors / Ceilings

The assembly method for floors / ceilings is typically not as useful as the walls. This is because floor finishes usually need to be taken off separately as a lot of different finishes are used. Also, if wooden framing is used in floors, the framing needs to be taken off separately as well.

However, you will generally need to takeoff the entire ceiling area even if its to measure the slab and / or the insulation.

For Floors, it would help if there is a finish schedule. If not, then you need to raise an RFI which asks for flooring type breakdown by area. For example ceramic tile in bathrooms, carpet in bedrooms and LVT in Living / Dining. With this information you can take off bedroom, bathroom and Living / Dining areas separately as they will get different flooring finishes.

For ceiling if only one type of ceiling finish is used then you don't need an RCP. But if there are multiple ceiling finishes then an RCP will be required and you will need to takeoff ceiling finishes with separate conditions. 

Exterior Finishes

This is generally quite straightforward. However, many times trims and other items required will not be called out on the drawings. For example siding requires trim at doors and windows, exterior and interior corners, roof wall junctions, finish transitions etc.


There are mainly two types of roofs. Flat roofs and sloped. Please see my post on how to do a roofing takeoff for sloped roofs. 

Flat roofs require a very different estimate. That is because the roofing material extends all the way up and over the parapet for small parapets. For taller parapets / walls they will extend only upto a certain height.

Converting Measurements into Quantities in Excel

The measurements you make, need to be converted into a material take off list. For example: 21 feet of 2x4x8' lumber wall at 16" o.c. is = 21/1.33 = 16 2x4x8' studs . You also need to add extra studs for junctions, Jack and king studs, top and bottom plates and mid blocking (if needed). Let's say all that comes to 25 2x4x8' studs.

Converting each measurement into material quantities will give you a quantity takeoff list like the one below 👇 which you can download.

Quantity Takeoff List

Adding or including waste

For a deep dive on adding waste see my post on how to create a comprehensive takeoff list. Here I will just mention that there are different types of waste and all of them need to be included in the estimate.

Let's say you measure 195 sf of floor area which needs 2'x2' tile. Now unless the room is a rectangle with dimensions exactly divisible by 2 you will need to cut the tile at the edges to make it fit. Which means the sf of tile you will need is greater than 195 sf. Lets say it comes to 223 sf.

So, you estimate you need 223 sf of tile. But the tile comes in boxes of 100 sf. Now, you need to change your quantity to 300 sf.

I think the above example shows how important it is to think about waste in making your takeoff list accurate.

Adding Labor

The job of the takeoff list is to create line items where labor is required. The contractor / project manager is the best judge for how much labor is required /sf /ft /ea. The takeoff list gives the quantity of the item which can be multiplied by labor cost / quantity.

Last word

Taking off construction quantities accurately is perhaps the biggest determinant of the success of your construction business. This will ensure you win bids and make profit on them.

With the help of specialized estimating software it is more easier than ever to create takeoff lists faster with more accuracy. Please do make use of them if you aren't already.

However, the most important step is to create a feedback loop of comparing your takeoff list to the actual usage on the construction site. This practical knowledge is what makes experienced estimators crucial to the health of every construction business.

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