As construction businesses navigate a number of challenges including a qualified worker shortage, rising costs, and slim profit margins, it is more critical than ever that they begin projects on the right foot, with accurate project estimates. This is where preconstruction technologies, particularly takeoff software, can have a big impact. While construction firms have benefited from takeoff software over the past few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) has recently taken these benefits to the next level.
EVOLUTION OF TAKEOFF
Traditionally, quantity takeoff relied on manual processes as estimators entered blueprint measurements into spreadsheets (or notebooks). This can be a tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone process. Digitizers in the ‘90s helped speed up the process, and even more gains were achieved once takeoff software became more commonplace in the early 2000’s.
eTakeoff launched its first electronic takeoff solution, eTakeoff Dimension, in 2004. Takeoff technology offers highly productive and increasingly accurate tools to perform takeoff directly from electronic plans. More recently, the use of 3D building information modeling (BIM) has offered estimators an even better way to visualize projects and provide early cost feedback to the building team. And now AI has delivered another significant improvement in productivity for electronic takeoff.
eTakeoff launched SnapAI in 2021, enhancing eTakeoff Dimension Premier with inherent AI capabilities. In the past, generic snap technology has enabled estimators to “snap to” points in a vector PDF, eliminating the need for an estimator to zoom into a drawing to find the most accurate corner or endpoint by hand. SnapAI adds intelligence to vector takeoff by predicting what the estimator will do next and enabling point, logical line, and polyline selection for maximum flexibility. Allowing an estimator to instantly grab an entire line’s measurements instead of having to click on each end of the line cuts electronic takeoff time in half.
SnapAI can also recognize logical connecting lines, so, when an estimator clicks on one line, the technology “hunts” for the next logical connecting line, quickly tracing building components (while showing the estimator an outline of what is being taken off) for even faster takeoff. And regardless of which takeoff method an estimator chooses (endpoint, line, or connecting lines), SnapAI delivers precise dimensions.
SnapAI is the only practical snap technology for 2D PDF takeoff and does not require any special preparation of the PDF to work. Additionally, users can switch takeoff modes during a measurement, eliminating the need to start over if underlying vector data is incomplete.
eTakeoff took its commitment to deliver the latest AI technology even further when recently announcing a new partnership with Togal.AI, a fast-growing company bringing artificial intelligence to the construction industry. The partnership integrates Togal.AI’s innovative artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies with eTakeoff Dimension. By integrating these solutions, eTakeoff is able to offer one of the most powerful and complete takeoff solutions on the market. Additional benefits of integrating AI with takeoff solutions include:
Automates the estimating process.
Togal.AI automates the estimating takeoff process, which includes measuring the size of each room’s square footage as well as wall lengths and object counts. Typically, estimators do this manually with rollers and rulers, or with a click and drag of a computer mouse. However, Togal’s algorithms can use AIA measurement standards to automatically detect, label, and measure project spaces in mere seconds. It can complete architectural floor plan measurements in minutes.
Gets even better with use.
Integrating AI with takeoff solutions provides immediate gains in time savings, accuracy, and efficiency, and it gets even better with use as projects will become more tailored to the needs of the user over time. Freeing estimators of more tedious and time-consuming tasks empowers them to be more strategic, helping their clients save money and build better jobs.
A WINNING COMBINATION
Togal.AI can analyze any architectural floor plan drawing (PDF or TIF) and boasts 98% accuracy. At eTakeoff, we are able to offer Togal’s groundbreaking AI technology along with our own SnapAI technology. SnapAI is built into eTakeoff Dimension Premier, and is focused on individual measurements, as opposed to whole drawings. Togal is designed for architectural plans, while SnapAI can deliver measurements for plans Togal is unable to accommodate and also offer an alternative when users need just a few measurements. Combining these two powerful AI technologies ensures estimators have all of their bases covered. Togal.AI will quickly deliver measurements for the whole plan and then with SnapAI additional individual measurements can be taken off, helping users improve the speed and accuracy of entire takeoffs as well as measurement work. eTakeoff is the only takeoff provider in the market offering both drawing-based and measurement-based AI technologies.
An early pioneer in the electronic takeoff software space, eTakeoff continues to innovate and raise the bar for estimating accuracy and efficiency standards. eTakeoff has long championed seamless integrations with best-in-class industry solutions to further streamline and automate the estimating process. eTakeoff has great industry reach as its products are also distributed by industry powerhouses such as Sage, Trimble, and Gordian.
eTakeoff was founded on the belief that estimators shouldn’t have to sacrifice speed for accuracy. We’ve always been at the forefront of takeoff technology, ensuring our customers have the best available tools to deliver faster and more accurate estimates. We have no doubt that AI technology in the takeoff space will continue to improve as developers and industry professionals join forces, and we look forward to what we can achieve together.
About the Author:
David Snedaker is president of eTakeoff, an industry leader in electronic quantity takeoff, delivering award-winning software with sophisticated assembly capabilities that is powerful, versatile, and easy to use. Thousands of contractors in every construction trade use eTakeoff to deliver more accurate estimates while boosting productivity by as much as 15 times over paper takeoff. eTakeoff is also led by industry veteran Curtis Peltz, CEO of eTakeoff. For more, visit etakeoff.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, May 2023
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Contractor Solutions magazine.