Some blog readers have read my bio and noticed: "Scott recently accepted the position of Engineering Project Manager for our DWF-based quantity takeoff application that is under development." They want to know what is quantity takeoff?
Professors Kevin R. Miller and Thomas H. Mills have written a paper with some interesting background material called Teaching Paperless Detailed Quantity Take-off and Estimating. Quantity takeoff is an activity performed by General Contractors, Subcontractors, Cost Consultants, and Quantity Surveyors as part of the construction process. It involves counting the number of items associated with a particular construction project, determining the associated materials and labor costs, and formulating a bid (or estimate) as part of the bidding process. Quantity takeoff is also applied to the pricing process.
Today the quantity takeoff process is typically done manually using a printout, a red pen, and a clicker. A digitizer is often used for taking measurements from paper. Autodesk is seeking to streamline the process electronically using DWF. Imagine if software could answer questions like: "How many doors do I need for the 3rd floor? What fire ratings do they require? How many square feet of carpet do I need?"
A key market driver in the building industry is the concept of the Building Information Model and leveraging data throughout the construction life cycle. Creating a quantity takeoff solution extends customer investment in digital design data to other project members such as estimators. Providing a solution that generates a set of takeoff elements (counts, measurements, conditions that affect cost) enables estimators to more quickly and more accurately perform takeoff for bidding or pricing.
Carl Bass' Autodesk University 2005 presentation is available for download. You can select a large or small Windows media file based on your available bandwidth:
Autodesk U Large WMV (465MB)
Autodesk U Small WMV (147MB)
At 40 minutes into the presentation, Jonathan Knowles and Carl provide a demo of quantity takeoff. This gives you a sense of how data can be culled from a DWF file as the basis for creating a bid or price.
DWF files are published by all of Autodesk products. Creating a solution that allows customers to perform project-critical tasks such as takeoff allows users outside of the original design team to benefit from digital design data. This is made possible by the geometry and metadata in a DWF that can be counted and/or measured. Autodesk's takeoff solution will do for quantity takeoff what Autodesk Design Review did for the design Review process. So Autodesk's takeoff solution will provide another example of DWF going beyond the paper.