A construction take-off is also commonly referred to as a material takeoff (MTO), or construction material take-off. The central purpose of a construction takeoff is to provide a comprehensive list of all the essential materials to complete a project. You can get the best prices for your materials by requisitioning vendors that supply those types of materials.
Start by creating a requisition. You can do this manually, or, if you have a spreadsheet of materials you require, you can import your spreadsheet. Once your requisition is complete, you can select items from the requisition and send RFQs (Request for Quotations) to vendors who supply the materials you are looking for. When vendors return their quotes you can import the ones you select back into the requisition. From there you can convert the completed requisition into purchase orders.
To enter a requisition, navigate to [a] Payables, then [c] Requisition Entry.
If we click on the Detail tab and look at the actions, we can see that one of the actions imports a spreadsheet of requisition items. Importing a spreadsheet is much easier than manually entering them one by each. If we hover over the import action, it lets us know that we can get a spreadsheet in the correct format by using the template action in the Purchase Order screen.
Templating a Construction Take-off from a Purchase Order
If you’ve bought a similar construction take-off list before, you’ll have a purchase order for it. You can use this purchase order as a starting point to requisition a new construction take-off list. First, you’ll export it to a spreadsheet. Next, you’ll modify the spreadsheet to match your new requirements. Finally, you can import the modified spreadsheet into Abio to create a new requisition. To do this, Navigate to [a] Payables, then [e] P/O Entry.
Sure enough, there’s a template action.
It uses the current purchase order as a template. If you have no purchase orders to use as a template, you may have to create an empty purchase order as a starting point. We’re going to export a large existing purchase order to create a starting point for our requisition. When we complete the Template action, Abio reminds us that we can use this purchase order template to seed a requisition.
We’ll touch up the template to reference the job we’re requisitioning material for:
Importing a Construction Take-Off
Next, we’ll use the import action to bring the adjusted template spreadsheet into the requisition.
Your materials take-off list might come from your engineer or project manager. Cut and paste the materials into the description column and make any adjustments you need. Unless you already know which vendor you’ll be using, you should remove the vendor from the header. If you leave the vendor populated, Abio assumes you have already decided to source your materials from that vendor. If that is the case, there’s no need to issue an RFQ for those items.
Once you’ve modified the spreadsheet to accurately reflect the materials you require, use the import action to update your requisition with the materials in your spreadsheet.
The requisition populates the fields with the information from the spreadsheet. You can make any necessary changes.
Now that we have an extensive list of materials we require, let’s ask our suppliers for quotes. Use the ‘C’hange action to enable the ‘ask vendors for a quote’ button.
Select Take-Off Items
The next screen lists all the items in the requisition and lets you select which items to include in the RFQ and which vendors to send a quote to.
You can use the check box in the title to select all or none of the items, as a starting point.
We’ll start by deselecting all the items, and then selecting just the tools we think the first set of vendors can provide.
The lower part of the screen is where you select vendors to direct your RFQ to. We’ve set up a supplier type of TOOLS, and coded a number of vendors with that supplier type. That makes it easy to identify the candidates we should send this RFQ to.
Setting the supplier type to TOOLS narrows the list to only those vendors that sell tools.
Use the middle buttons to select or de-select vendors. We’ll select these vendors and send them an RFQ.
We’ll get RFQs from these four vendors.
Click on the ‘Request Quote’ button.
A Request for Quotation is printed for each vendor.
If you select to Email the RFQ, each vendor will receive a customized email with the RFQ report attached as a PDF, and a matching spreadsheet they can fill in with their prices.
The email is sent with your logo. When the vendor receives it, it looks like this.
The spreadsheet looks like this.
Vendors fill in the yellow fields, return the email, and you can either manually update the requisition with this client’s prices and delivery date, or import the entire spreadsheet into the requisition. Abio recognizes the difference between the purchase order we imported earlier and this import.
We’ll fill in some numbers and import this spreadsheet, as though a vendor had returned it that way.
They don’t stock carpenter saws, but they fill in their prices for the rest of the items. The amounts are automatically extended and totaled. They save the spreadsheet and mail it back.
We choose their RFQ, so we go back to the original requisition and again select the import action.
Abio prompts for which RFQ to import.
We select the RFQ returned by Acklands Grainger, and Abio imports their bid amounts. Note that even though this is the same action we used to import our template, Abio is able to recognize the spreadsheet as a quote being returned by a vendor, and treats it accordingly.
You can make any necessary adjustments. For instance, you may have got a better price on crescent wrenches from Sleggs. You can blank out Ackland Grainger’s price for that item, so that when you import the RFQ from Sleggs, they’ll be recorded as the vendor you’ll be purchasing crescent wrenches from. When you’ve made your adjustments press <Apply> to save the changes.
You will have sent other items on the requisition to other vendors. You can import those amounts in the same way. We’ll import the RFQ that Sleggs returned to us.
And now their items will be populated.
Item by item, you’ll be able to source the best prices on your materials list.
You’ll notice this entity has a documents tab. Abio lets you store the documents that accompany the RFQ. Click on the Supporting Documents to upload a requisition document.
If you require the client to sign off on the materials requisition, you can print off the requisition after it’s fully sourced.
Have them sign it.
And then save the signed requisition. Go to the Supporting Documents tab. First, use the ‘A’dd action to indicate you’re adding a new document, and describe what it is. To upload the document, use the ‘C’hange action, and click the ‘Select Files’ button.
Your document is now stored with the requisition.
If this client is billed with a daysheet, and the include with invoice? field is set to ‘Y’, then Abio can track back through the items on the daysheet and include this signed requisition with the billing package.
The format of the email is based on the attachment you specify on the requisition.
You can customize the email cover letter. Navigate to [a] Payables, then [u] Set Up, then [d] RFQ Attachments Entry.
The buttons along the bottom represent fields from the RFQ that you can substitute into the email.
Converting Requisition to a Purchase Order
Once vendors have agreed to a price they will sell you your materials, you can issue a purchase order to indicate your intention to purchase from them. Purchase orders can be redeemed by someone working at the job site, or shipped to head office and received there.
To create a purchase order from your requisition, select the Detail tab, Change action, and click the ‘turn that quote into a P/O…’ button. The ‘…’ lets you know that more dialog will occur before the purchase order is created.
A window displays for each unique vendor who’s quote was accepted on the current requisition.
You can fill in details and generate the purchase order.
Which leads us to our next lesson, on purchase orders.