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What Is a Conceptual Construction Estimate?

Conceptual construction estimating describes the practice of figuring an approximate cost or time-schedule estimate for a particular project before all details are known. Conceptual estimating takes in the big-picture view. Conceptual estimates are used primarily for budgeting purposes.

Conceptual construction estimating takes in the big-picture view.

Conceptual construction estimating describes the practice of figuring an approximate cost or time-schedule estimate for a particular project before all details are known.  Conceptual estimating takes in the big-picture view.

Conceptual estimates are used primarily for budgeting purposes. 


The Big-Picture View

Conceptual construction estimates look at the forest, not the trees.

Construction companies often get requests from potential customers for "ballpark" or "budget" estimates for projects in the early planning stages.  Many construction estimators know enough about the trade to be able to calculate satisfactory results based on past projects and experience and there are software solutions to help.


Accuracy

No

Conceptual construction estimates usually do not hold out any promises for accuracy since so many details are unknown when they are created.  Generally, these estimates tend to be above what actual costs might be unless major errors are made in conceptualizing the project.


Considerations

The big-picture view sometimes overlooks things that are important and costly.

Use conceptual construction estimates only for their intended purpose--to provide a ballpark or budgetary idea for the scope of the project in terms of cost and schedules. 

Consider various software tools for conceptual construction estimating.  When providing conceptual construction estimates, ensure customers are aware of what they are getting.

About the Author

Charlie Hare has been writing since 1970 for a large Fortune 500 company. Hare contributed to, compiled and published the quarterly "Facilities Flyers," which was distributed to over 300 employees, as one of his duties. He has submitted instructional content online since 2007, specializing in topics such as cars, home and garden, computers, and pets and animals. Hare attended Manchester Community College.

Photo Credits

  • blueprint image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com
  • blueprint image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com
  • forest image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from Fotolia.com
  • bullseye image by davidcrehner from Fotolia.com
  • f seule plage image by geronimo from Fotolia.com