Conceptual Estimating: A conceptual estimate is typically that first look at what a project may cost. Often very little is available in terms of plans or specifications. There may be sketches, site photos and some written quality and function that the owner requires. The scope of work is still key even though it is not well defined. At the earliest stages of design a conceptual estimate is necessary to set the first take projection of what a project will cost. Conceptual estimates can be accurate if approached correctly.