Estimating Tips for On Screen Takeoff

Estimating Tips for On Screen Takeoff

In the course of our day to day activities we work with a variety of estimating software, and On Screen Takeoff is one that we see often at client sites. OST is estimating system “agnostic”, that is, it  works just as well for companies using Excel as it does for companies using Timberline Estimating, WinEst, and US Cost Success. OST is an efficient takeoff utility, but I find some companies taking extra time with each takeoff because they don’t know how to use some of OST’s built-in time saving tools. Here’s a couple tips that will save you time using On Screen Takeoff:

  1. Use Layers, and assign nearly all Conditions to Default Layer. Then create and use just a few additional Layers. I recommend creating “Layer 2” and “Layer 3”. (I’m personally not a fan of Layers named for Interior Walls, Exterior Walls, and other Condition-based Layers). Then assign some Conditions to these alternate Layers, as needed to clearly differentiate elements when the Takeoff screen gets cluttered. It’s an easy matter to switch the Layer assigned to a Condition temporarily to either isolate, or show its relationship to other current conditions. (Simply doubleclick to open the Condition, and choose a different Layer).
  2. Use Style Sets, and save frequently-used Conditions to Style Sets, to Masterformat-based Condition Types. This allows you to import selected Style Set(s) to a new bid, instead of re-inventing the wheel for each new bid. Using Masterformat Level 2 as Condition Types neatly organizes the Takeoff by spec section, far more useful than the default alphabetical order.

One Comment

  1. Chris Slocum July 17, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Barry,
    Came across your post and thought I would write you to give you a different take on layers. I have my master DB broken down to follow csi to 5 characters and I use a layer for each, assigned when I create or copy a condition. Typically, I work with all layers visible, but since I do all the trades, I find it really handy to shut off the ductwork later to measure HAVC piping when both appear on the same drawing. Data gets too cluttered. Send me a tip and I will respond in kind! I own 2 seats since 07.
    Best regards,
    Chris Slocum

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