You can do fast quantification with a software's like Trimble structure, Revit.
Provided all your activities are finalized and the material specification too finalized.
With this software you get the estimate of all activities in seconds and this software helps to track day to day activities, changes revision made in any item like rcc drawing, reinforcement change.
This are generally a modelling software, which shows;
Total Cost - base on the input cost provided by you and item added into it.
It shows a finish product with all layers in it, say RCC with concrete, reinforcement, shuttering.
plaster layers, blockwork layers, mep layers, switches and switch boards etc.
this are the high end software's and generally use for high end projects, where all details are finalized and changes are like no change will be made to final model (as you have seen all activity clubbed and knows there is no false interactions in it. say no plumbing pipes running in window area)
In General construction
Estimate are done as follows.
A basic cost is calculated to arrive at budget where business idea still on a paper and rough plans are ready.
base on previous experience person calculates the cost per square foot which can incurs including all overheads.
this estimate varies in general in + / - 30 % (base on experience of budget making person).
Once the idea on budget get cleared.
Estimation of all activities quantity started.
we can take out quantities by measuring in auto cad or using relevant software or by manual calculations by looking at drawing.
Once the quantities are arrived, then next task is to adjust them as per each activity budget i.e. - finding the material and contractor in that budget and completing work.
and its re-verified with initial budget (if the difference is huge, the budget maker get kick on his ass for showing wrong figures and taking project to dustbin).
In estimate we can keep quantity of material constant by allowing no changes in drawing once execution is started. but cost get varies over time due to many factor.
i hope you might have got answer to your question or i may scratching on something which is not asked by you.