Quantity Take-Off Methods

Quantity Take-Off Methods
for the Civil Engineering PE Exam

Quantity Take-Off Methods

Quantity Take-Off Methods require detailed measurements of a building’s components, materials, and construction labor to determine a scope of work required and a cost estimate of the construction project. The Quantity Take-Off values are typically measured and calculated by building construction estimators using the construction documents, building plans, and specifications to determine the scope and cost estimate.

Quantity Take-Off Methods on the Civil Engineering PE Exam will generally test your ability to measure and calculate various building materials or components such as:

  • Building Materials
    • Roofing
    • Walls
    • Flooring
  • Site Development
    • Soil cut and fill
    • Landscaping
    • Hardscaping
  • Structure
  • Foundations
  • Interior construction
    • Partitions
    • Doors
    • Specialties
  • Interior Finishes
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
  • Plumbing
  • Fire Protection
  • Electrical
  • Lighting
  • Communications

Helpful resources in preparing for Quantity Take-Off Method questions are:

  1. Learn Civil Engineering –  further instructions and guidance in answering Quantity Take-Off Methods as well as several practice problems.
  2. Detailed Cost Estimating – a PDF excerpt from The Architect’s handbook of Professional Practice.
  3. Cost Estimation – the Project Management for Construction website.
  4. Cost Estimating – the Whole Building Design Guide website, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences.
  5. Glossary of Construction Cost Estimating – Wikipedia glossary of terms related to construction cost estimating.

The ability to know which unit of measure is needed and to calculate various quantities is a must-have skill for these types of questions.

For example:

  • Earthwork – measured in cubic yards
  • Concrete – measured in cubic yards
  • Masonry – measured in number of bricks or blocks
  • Mortar – measured in cubic feet
  • Lumber – measured in board feet (Board feet = (thickness x width x length) ÷ 144)
  • Roofing, Siding, Flooring, etc. – measured in square feet
  • Structural Steel – measured in pounds or tons

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.

To Your Success …

Jeff Setzer, PE
Quantity Take-Off Methods

For additional resources to help you prepare for the breadth portion of the Civil Engineering PE Exam, go to



If you have any questions or comments while preparing, please do not hesitate to contact me.
I’d also appreciate any feedback you have on this post.

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Quantity Take-Off Methods


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