Taking off quantities key success factors

Taking-off quantities is not rocket science, never-the-less many quantity surveyors from undergraduates to seasoned professional have difficulty in mastering taking-off protocols.

Taking off is used by quantity surveyors when preparing tender documents as well as estimators when putting together bids. In a nutshell; taking-off quantities involves measuring and describing the many items of labour and materials necessary for the completion of a construction project and arranging them in a standard format understood by all those involved in the industry.

To carry out taking-off successfully it is necessary to have

A sound understanding of technology.

If you do not understand how the construction project is to be built, then you cannot produce a quantity take off.

An ability to interpret drawings and digital data.

An ever-increasing amount of data used by quantity surveyors when taking-off quantities is in digit format including Building Information Models.

The vision to embrace technology.

A large proportion of taking-off is now carried out using software programmes, saving time and money and is a long way from the labour-intensive approaches to taking-off used for some many years.

Ability to interpret standard guidance

An ability to read and interpret the standard guidance for taking-off quantities, such as New Rules of Measurement 2 published by the RICS.

An understanding of traditional measurement conventions.

Even though software can produce standard taking-off descriptions, be familiar with the conventions behind the standard descriptions.

An appreciation of the uses for taking-off

From preliminary estimates to measuring variations to producing final accounts.


Although many commentators have questioned the relevance of taking-off skills in today’s construction industry, it remains a core skill. At some point in the design, planning and construction of a project someone will need to take-off quantities.

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