Asee peer logo

Impact of Quantity Takeoff Software on Student Performance in a University Construction Estimating Course: A Case Study

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Construction Materials and Technologies

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.700.1 - 24.700.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Jake Smithwick Arizona State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Jake is a PhD student in the Del E. Webb School of Construction at Arizona State University. Jake's research studies the processes by which public institutions deliver their capital projects through best value procurement. He has assisted research sponsors execute best value projects since 2002 and is currently the lead project manager and researcher for the Minnesota and Northern Midwest Regional efforts. Jake has supervised the procurement and risk management of over 100 best value projects, totaling $275.5M in the areas of construction, software services, healthcare insurance, and dining services. He also developed a risk minimization and documentation system that monitors the annual performance of over 3,000 different projects for a waterproofing manufacturer. Jake created the structure and managed the first ever best value implementation in the commodity services sector, on Arizona’s Tri-University Furniture Contract. The awarded vendors have documented the service and delivery of 1,200 furniture projects, totaling $19.5M, and 96% overall performance (on-time, on-budget). Jake possesses a BS in Computer Information Systems and a MS in Construction Management. Jake is concurrently pursuing a PhD in Construction Management and a Master of Public Administration (MPA).

visit author page

author page

Joshua Jason Mischung Arizona State University - Performance Based Studies Research Group

author page

Kenneth Timothy Sullivan Arizona State University

Download Paper |


Utilization of Estimating Software in a University Construction Course: A Case Study The use of technology in the construction industry has been increasing, and hasdramatically improved over the past several years. Consequently, this new technology is alsostarting to be used in the classroom, albeit at a delay from the industry’s adoption of particularsoftware. However, an industry person’s and a student’s use and perception of the software ismuch different. Industry people may have years of experience that provide them with theintuition to know what the correct solution is to a problem. They generally use software as away to decrease task completion time and become more profitable. A student, however, does nothave this experience: their knowledge of a particular task or construction activity is based solelyon the pedagogy of academia. Therefore, assessments based on a student’s proficiency withsoftware may not measure their overall capability as a construction professional. The authors conducted a study of an undergraduate estimating course at a majoruniversity in the U.S. Several previous studies were reviewed, and found that comparative dataon student performance was not included. This exploratory paper isolates student performanceas a result of using estimating software. Student performance is a combination of several factors:variance from the actual takeoff quantities, student satisfaction with the software, and time tocompletion. This approach is unique from previous studies due to its reliance on quantitativedata (versus just qualitative observations). The authors’ general research methodology was designed to gather as much comparativedata as possible. First, the class of approximately 35 students was divided such that their overallperformance in the class up to this point (all assignments prior to introducing the takeoffsoftware) was nearly equal. Each group completed two timed assignments (Lab 1 and Lab 2)within a two hour period. Group A completed Lab 1 using the takeoff software, and Group Bcompleted the same lab with manual takeoff (calculators, rulers, hard copy plans). At thecompletion of the allotted 45 minute time limit, both groups switched. Group A completed anew assignment (Lab 2) using manual takeoff, and Group B completed it with the software.Both labs required students to calculate total concrete and rebar for select footings and slabs onthe plans. The results showed that for simple takeoff tasks, student completion time and accuracywas nearly the same between both groups and both labs. The paper provides further insight onthe integration of technology in the classroom, and provides recommendations for educators onpotential best practices. Instructors may find marginal benefit utilizing software, butattentiveness must be given to student understanding on more complex tasks.

Smithwick, J., & Mischung, J. J., & Sullivan, K. T. (2014, June), Impact of Quantity Takeoff Software on Student Performance in a University Construction Estimating Course: A Case Study Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20592

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015