Construction Management Terms and Definitions

This Glossary represents the most common Terms and Definitions used in performing the construction management process.

This Glossary can also be found in the publication authored by W. Gary Westernoff our founder. The book is titled, "Construction Management Made Easy". A second fun book recently publised is "Construction Like Sushi" that compares the construction process with the making of sushi and features a new four part system for organizing and managing any size building construction project.

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Top Activity
1. A scheduling term
2. The smallest work unit within a project; the basic building block of a project.

The Americans with Disabilities Act which gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

(Addenda) Written information adding to, clarifying or modifying the bidding documents. An addendum is generally issued by the owner to the contractor during the bidding process and as such, addenda are intended to become part of the contract documents when the construction contract is executed.

One authorized by a client (principal) to act in his/her stead or behalf and owes the client a "fiduciary duty" (Trust). Example: Construction Manager for fee but classified as an independent contractor for tax purposes. A construction manager for fee does not have any financial responsibility whereas a construction manager at-risk does have financial risk similar to a general contractor.

An arrangement between the parties regarding a method of action.

1. A term used to describe partial construction work performed within an existing structure
2. Remodeling without a building addition.

Alternate Bid
Amount stated in the bid to be added or deducted from the base bid amount proposed for alternate materials and/or methods of construction.

Application for Payment
Contractor's written request for payment for completed portions of the work and, for materials delivered or stored and properly labeled for the respective project.

One who designs and supervises the construction of buildings or other structures.

Architects Basic Services
A recognized series of phases performed by an architect as follows: 1st Schematic Design Phase, 2nd Design Development Phase, 3rd Construction Document Phase, 4th Bidding or Negotiated Phase, 5th Construction Phase.

An individual or firm offering professional services as both architect and engineer.

Architectural Drawing
A line drawing showing plan and/or elevation views of the proposed building for the purpose of showing the overall appearance of the building.

As-Built Drawings (also known as Record Drawings)
Contract drawings marked up to reflect changes made during the construction process. It is good practice to make As-Built drawings by marking the changes on reproducible drawings such a sepias for the duplication purposes later.

1. An offer or proposal of a price
2. The amount offered or proposed. (see RFP)

Bid Bond
A written form of security executed by the bidder as principal and by a surety for the purpose of guaranteeing that the bidder will sign the contract, if awarded the contract, for the stated bid amount.

Bid Date/Time
The due date and time set by the owner, architect or engineer for receiving bids.

Bid Form
A standard written form furnished to all bidders for the purpose of obtaining the requested information and required signatures from the authorized bidding representatives.

Bid Opening
The actual process of opening and tabulating bids submitted within the prescribed bid date/time and conforming with the bid procedures. A Bid Opening can be open (where the bidders are permitted to attend) or closed (where the bidders are not permitted to attend). (see Bid Date/Time, Open Bid, Closed Bid)

Bid Price
The stipulated sum stated in the bidder’s bid.

Bid Tabulation
A summary sheet listing all bid prices for the purpose of analyzing the bid results. Bid tabulations include the required items of the invitation to bid and usually include bid amount, completion time, addenda's included, contract exclusions, bonding rate, etc. Often times, the apparent low bidder is not the low bidder. (see Bid Form )

Bid Shopper
A buyer or client who seeks to play one proposed supplier or subcontractor against the other for the purpose of reducing a purchase price.

Bid Time (see Bid Date/Time)

Bidding Documents
The published advertisement or written invitation to bid , instructions to bidders, the bid form and the proposed contract documents including any acknowledged addenda issued prior to receipt of bids.

Bidding Period
The calendar period allowed from issuance of bidding requirements and contract documents to the prescribed bid date/time. ( see Bid Date/Time)

Bidding Requirements
The written minimum acceptable requirements set forth by the owner to the contractor during bidding process. The owner usually reserves the right to reject a bid if the Bidding Requirements are not met. (see Bidding Documents)

Bond (see Bid Bond; Contract Bond; Contract Payment Bond; Contract Performance Bond; Labor and Material Payment Bond; Performance Bond; Subcontractor Bond; surety)

Bonding Company
A properly licensed firm or corporation willing to execute a surety bond, or bonds, payable to the owner, securing the performance on a contract either in whole or in part; or securing payment for labor and materials.

Budget (Construction Budget)
1. An itemized summary of estimated or intended expenditures for a given period of time
2. The total sum of money allocated for a specific project.

1. To form by combining materials or parts
2. A structure enclosed within a roof and within exterior walls housing, shelter, enclosure and support of individuals, animals, or real property of any kind.

Building Code
The legal requirements set up by the prevailing various governing agencies covering the minimum acceptable requirements for all types of construction. (See Codes)

Building Envelope (Sometimes referred to as Building Shell)
1. The waterproof elements of a building which enclose conditioned spaces through which thermal energy may be transferred to or from the exterior.
2. The outer structure of the building. (See Tenant and Leasehold improvements for building interiors)

Building Inspector/Official
A qualified government representative authorized to inspect construction for compliance with applicable building codes, regulations and ordinances. Courts have ruled that building inspections are exempt from errors and omissions liabilities.

Building Permit
A written document issued by the appropriate governmental authority permitting construction to begin on a specific project in accordance with drawings and specifications approved by the governmental authority.

Building Process
A term used to express every step of a construction project from it’s conception to final acceptance and occupancy.

TopChange Order
A written document between the owner and the contractor signed by the owner and the contractor authorizing a change in the work or an adjustment in the contract sum or the contract time. A change order may be signed by the architect or engineer, provided they have written authority from the owner for such procedure and that a copy of such written authority is furnished to the contractor upon request. The contract sum and the contract time may be changed only by change order. A change order may be in the form of additional compensation or time; or less compensation or time known as a Deduction (from the contract) the amount deducted from the contract sum by change order.

Change Order Proposal (See Change order)
A change order proposal is the written document before it has been approved and effected by the Contractor and Owner. A change order proposal can be issued by either the contractor or the owner. The change order proposal becomes a change order only after it has been approved and effected by the Contractor and Owner.

Change Order Request
A written document issued by the owner requesting an adjustment to the contract sum or an extension of the contract time; generally issued by the architect or owners representative.

Closed Bid/Estimate
A service offered by where only invited bidders or estimators are given access to the project specific RFP (Request for Proposal) information is given access to project specific RFP (Request for Proposal) information. This option is for those seeking bids/estimates from a pre qualified and selected list of professionals or service. For security and easy access, the RFP poster receives an e-mail showing the list of bidders/estimators and links to View the RFP Details and View any Bids as they are received.This e-mail gives the poster the ability to file and track their respective RFP's using their own e-mail filing system. (see Open Bid/Estimate)

Prevailing regulations, ordinances or statutory requirements set forth by governmental agencies associated with building construction practices and owner occupancy, adopted and administered for the protection of public health, life safety and welfare. (see Building Code)

Construction Documents
All drawings, specifications and addenda associated with a specific construction project.

To assemble and combine construction materials and methods to make a structure.

The act or process of constructing.

Construction Cost
1. The direct contractor costs for labor, material, equipment, and services; contractors overhead and profit; and other direct construction costs. Construction cost does not include the compensation paid to the architect and engineer and consultants, the cost of the land, rights-of-way or other costs which are defined in the contract documents as being the responsibility of the owner. (see Soft Costs)

Construction Documents
A term used to represent all drawings, specifications, addenda, other pertinent construction information associated with the construction of a specific project.

Construction Documents Phase
The third phase of the architect's basic services wherein the architect prepares working drawings, specifications and bidding information. Depending on the architects scope of services the architect may assists the owner in the preparation of bidding forms, the conditions of the contract and the form of agreement between the owner and contractor.

Construction Document Review
The owners review of the borrowers construction documents (plans and specifications), list of materials, and cost breakdowns for the purpose of confirming that these documents and estimates are feasible and are in accordance with the proposed loan or project appraisal.

Construction Inspector (see Project Representative)

Construction Management
Organizing and directing men, materials, and equipment to accomplish the purpose of the designer.

Construction Management Contract
A written agreement wherein responsibilities for coordination and accomplishment of overall project planning, design and construction are given to a construction management firm. The building team generally consists of the owner, contractor and designer or architect.

Construction Phase
The fifth and final phase of the architect's basics services, which includes the architect's general administration of the construction contract(s).

One hired by the owner or client to give professional advise.

Cost Breakdown (see Schedule of Values)

Cost Codes
A numbering system given to specific kinds of work for the purpose of organizing the cost control process of a specific project.

Cost of Work
All costs incurred by the contractor in the proper performance of the work required by the plans and specifications for a specific project.

Cost Plus Contract (see Cost Plus Fee Agreement)

Cost Plus Fee Agreement (Cost-Plus)
A written agreement with the owner under which the contractor or the architect and engineer is reimbursed for his/her direct and indirect costs and, in addition, is paid a fee for his services. The fee is usually stated as a stipulated sum or as a percentage of cost.

1. An agreement between two or more parties, especially one that is written and enforceable by law
2. The writing or document containing such an agreement.

Contract Administration
The contractual duties and responsibilities of the architect and engineer during the construction phase of a specific project.

Contract Bond
A written form of security from a surety company, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing complete execution of the contract and all supplemental agreements pertaining thereto and for the payment of all legal debts pertaining to the construction of the project.

Contract Date (see date of agreement)

Contract Documents
A term used to represent all executed agreements between the owner and contractor; any general, supplementary or other contract conditions; the drawings and specifications; all addenda issued prior to execution of the contract; and any other items specifically stipulated as being included in the contract documents.

Contract Over-run (under-run)
The difference between the original contract price and the final completed cost including all adjustments by approved change order.

Contract Payment Bond
A written form of security from a surety company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing payment to all persons providing labor, materials, equipment, or services in accordance with the contract.

Contract Performance Bond
A written form of security from a surety company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing the completion of the work in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Contract Period
The elapsed number of working days or calendar days from the specified date of commencing work to the specified date of completion, as specified in the contract.

Contract Sum
The total agreeable amount payable by the owner to the contractor for the performance of the work under the contract documents. (see Change Order)

Contract Time
The time period set forth established in the contract documents for completing a specific project; usually stated in working days or calendar days. The contract time can only be adjusted by valid time extensions through change order.

Contractual Liability
The liability assumed by a party under a contract.

A properly licensed individual of company that agrees to furnish labor, materials, equipment and associated services to perform the work as specified for a specified price.

Contractor's Option
A written provision in the contract documents giving the contractor the option of selecting certain specified materials, methods or systems without changing in the contract sum.

Contractor's Qualification Statement
A written statement of the Contractor's experience and qualifications submitted to the Owner during the contractor selection process. The American Institute of Architects publishes a standard Contractor's Qualification Statement form for this purpose.

Contracting Officer
An official representative of the owner with specific authority to act in his behalf in connection with a specific project.

Critical Path
The set of activities that must be completed on time for the project completion date to be met. Activities on the critical path have no slack time.

Critical Path Method (C. P.M.)
A planning scheduling and control line and symbol diagram drawn to show the respective tasks and activities involved in constructing a specific project.

Construction Specification Institute

CSI Master Format
The CSI Master Format is a system of numbers and titles for organizing construction information into a regular, standard order or sequence. By establishing a master list of titles and numbers Master Format promotes standardization and thereby facilitates the retrieval of information and improves construction communication. It provides a uniform system for organizing information in project manuals, for organizing project cost data, and for filing product information and other technical data.

Current Date Line
A vertical line on the chart indicating the current date.

TopDaily Construction Report
A written document and record that has two main purposes:
1. they furnish information to off-site persons who need and have a right to know important details of events as they occur daily and hourly, and
2. they furnish historical documentation that might later have a legal bearing in cases of disputes. Daily reports should be as factual and impersonal as possible, free from the expression of personal opinions and feelings. Each report should be numbered to correspond with the working days established on the progress schedule. In the event of no-work days, a daily report should still be made, stating "no work today" ( due to rain, strike, or other causes). The report includes a description of the weather; a record of the total number of employees, subcontractors by name, work started and completed today, equipment on the job site, job progress today, names and titles of visitors, accidents and/or safety meetings, and a remarks column for other job related information.

Date of Agreement
1. Usually on the front page of the agreement
2. If not on front page it may be the date opposite the signatures when the agreement was actually signed
3. or when it was recorded
4. or the date the agreement was actually awarded to the contractor.

Date of Commencement of the Work
The date established in a written notice to proceed from the owner to the contractor.

Date of Substantial Completion
The date certified by the architect when the work or a designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete, in accordance with the contract documents, so the owner may occupy the work or designated portion thereof for the use for which it is intended.

Demising Walls
The boundaries that separate your space from your neighbors' and from the public corridor.

A graphical representation consisting of plan views, interior and exterior elevations, sections, and other drawings and details to depict the goal or purpose for a building or other structure.

Design-Build Construction
When a Prime or Main contractor bids or negotiates to provide Design and Construction services for the entire construction project.

Design-Construct Contract
A written agreement between and contractor and owner wherein the contractor agrees to provide both design and construction services.

Design-Development Phase
The second phase of the architect's basic services wherein the architect prepares drawings and other presentation documents to fix and describe the size and character of the entire project as to architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical systems, materials and other essentials as may be appropriate; and prepares a statement of probable construction cost.

1. An individual part or item
2. A graphical scale representation (drawing at a larger scale) of construction part(s) or item(s) showing materials, composition and dimensions.

Direct Cost (or expense)
All items of expense directly incurred by or attributable to a specific project, assignment or task. Direct Costs, Hard Costs, and Construction Costs are synonymous. (see Construction Costs and Hard Costs)

1. A term used to represent that portion of the contract documents that graphically illustrates the design, location and dimensions of the components and elements contained in a specific project
2. A line drawing.

The length of an activity, excluding holidays and other non-working days.

TopEngineer (see Professional Engineer)

1. To calculate approximately the amount, extent or value of something
2. To form an opinion of estimated costs.

Estimate of Construction Cost, Detailed
A calculation of costs prepared on the basis of a detailed analysis of materials and labor for all items of work, as contrasted with an estimate based on current area, volume or similar unit costs. *195

A process of calculating the amount of material, labor and equipment required for a given project necessary to complete the work as specified.

TopFacility or Site Analysis
A visual inspection of a building and on-site improvements for functional or physical deterioration; prepare optional Replacement Cost Estimate for making recommendations to improve functional and physical deficiencies to increase market value; AND/OR prepare a Reserve Study over five (5) years to increase Net Operating Income (NOI) for the facility.(See Site Analysis)

Fast Track Construction (Fast Tracking)
A method of construction management which involves a continuous design-construction operation. When a prime or main contractor starts the construction work BEFORE the plans and specifications are complete. (See Design-Build Construction)

Field Order
A written order effecting a minor change or clarification in the work not involving an adjustment to the contract sum or an extension of the contract time.

Field Report (see Daily Construction Report)

Field Work Order
A written request to a subcontractor or vendor, usually from the general or main contractor, site for services or materials.

Final Acceptance
The action of the owner accepting the work from the contractor when the owner deems the work completed in accordance with the contract requirements. Final acceptance is confirmed by the owner when making the final payment to the contractor.

Final Inspection
A final site review of the project by the contractor, owner or owner’s authorized representative prior to issuing the final certificate for payment.

Final Payment
The last payment from the owner to the contractor of the entire unpaid balance of the contract sum as adjusted by any approved change orders. (see Final Acceptance)

Finish Date
The date that an activity or project is completed.

Fixed Fee
A set contract amount for all labor, materials, equipment and services; and contractors overhead and profit for all work being performed for a specific scope of work.

Fixed Limit of Construction Costs
A construction cost ceiling agreed to between the owner and architect or engineer for designing a specific project. (See Budget)

1. An abbreviation for furniture, fixtures and equipment
2. Items classified as personal property rather than real property
3. An abbreviation generally associated with interior design and planning of retail stores or office facilities.

TopGantt Chart
The schedule of activities for a project. A Gantt Chart shows start and finish dates, critical and non-critical activities, slack time, and predecessor relationships.

General Conditions
A written portion of the contract documents set forth by the owner stipulating the contractor’s minimum acceptable performance requirements including the rights, responsibilities and relationships of the parties involved in the performance of the contract. General conditions are usually included in the book of specifications but are sometimes found in the architectural drawings.

General Contractor
Properly licensed individual or company having primary (prime) responsibility for the work.

General Contracting (the traditional method)
When a prime or main contractor bids the entire work AFTER the final design, plans and specifications are complete and have been approved by the owner. (see Design-Build Construction and Fast Track Construction)

TopHard Costs (see Construction Costs and Direct Costs)

TopIndependent Contractor
One free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others and does not owe a "fiduciary duty". Example: architect, engineer, prime or main contractor, construction manager at-risk.

1. A term sometimes used to describe TI'S or Tenant Improvements.
2. Improvements can be in the form of new construction or remodel work. (see TI'S)

1.The act of indemnifying.
2. The condition of being indemnified.

Indirect Cost (or expense)
A contractor’s or consultant’s overhead expense; expenses indirectly incurred and not chargeable to a specific project or task. The terms Indirect costs and soft costs are synonymous . (see Soft Costs)

1. The act of inspecting.
2. An official examination or review of the work completed or in progress to determine its compliance with contract requirements.

Inspection for Disbursement of Funds
An independent vehicle for the disbursement and accounting of construction funds allowing construction obligations to be paid (progress payments) when work is completed, inspected and approved. Job Costs are reviewed prior to making disbursements to establish that the actual construction payments are within the confines of the original estimate confines or schedule of construction values.

Inspection List (punch list)
A list prepared by the owner or his/her authorized representative of items of work requiring immediate corrective or completion action by the contractor.

Inspection Report
Sometimes used to describe an Inspection List. (see Inspection List)

One who is appointed or employed to inspect something.

Interior Finish
A term used to represent the visible elements, materials and applications applied to a building’s interior excluding furniture, fixtures and equipment. (see FF&E)

A list sent to a purchaser containing the items and charges of merchandise. (see Statement)

TopLabor and Material Payment Bond
1. A written form of security from a surety (bonding) company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing payment to the owner in the event the contractor fails to pay for all labor, materials, equipment, or services in accordance with the contract. (see Performance Bond and Surety Bond)

Leasehold Improvements
A term used to mean Tenant Improvements. Generally, this term is used when building in retail stores as contrasted with the term Tenant Improvements which are generally associated with office buildings. The terms are often used interchangeably. (see TI'S)

Lien, Mechanic's or Material
The right to take and hold or sell an owner’s property to satisfy unpaid debts to a qualified contractor for labor, materials, equipment or services to improve the property. (see Preliminary Lien Notice)

Lien Release
A written document from the contractor to the owner that releases the Lien, Mechanic’s or Material following it’s satisfaction.

Lien Waiver
1. An written document from a contractor, subcontractor, material supplier or other construction professional(s), having lien rights against an owner’s property, relinquishes all or part of those rights.
2. Lien waivers are generally used for processing progress payments to prime or main or subcontractors as follows: Conditional Lien Waiver, Unconditional Lien Waiver, and Final Lien Waiver.

Lump Sum Agreement (See Stipulated Sum Agreement)

Lump Sum Bid
A single entry amount to cover all labor, equipment, materials, services, and overhead and profit for completing the construction of a variety of unspecified items of work without the benefit of a cost breakdown.

Lump Sum Contract
A written contract between the owner and contractor wherein the owner agrees the pay the contractor a specified sum of money for completing a scope of work consisting of a variety of unspecified items or work.

TopMeeting Attendance Form
A form consisting of three columns (individuals name, individuals title, and company the individual represents). This form is given to all persons attending any meeting. Each person attending the meeting will complete their respective information. The date of the meeting should be included for reference.

Meeting Notes
A written report consisting of a project number, project name, meeting date and time, meeting place, meeting subject, a list of persons attending, and a list of actions taken and/or discussed during the meeting. Generally, this report is distributed to all persons attending the meeting and any other person having an interest in the meeting.

An activity with a duration of zero (0) and by which progress of the project is measured. A milestone is an informational marker only; it does not affect scheduling.

TopOpen Bid/Estimate
A service offered by where any bidder or estimator is given access to project specific RFP (Request for Proposal) information. This option is for those seeking bids/estimates from any interested professionals or service with out pre qualifying them. For security and easy access, the project poster receives an e-mail showing the links to View the RFP Details and View any Bids as they are received. This gives the RFP poster the ability to file and track the respective RFP's using their own e-mail filing system. (see Closed Bid/Estimate)

1. An individual or corporation that owns a real property.

Owner-Architect Agreement
A written form of contract between architect and client for professional architectural services.

A term used to describe an Owner who takes on the responsibilities of the general contractor to build a specific project.

Owner-Construction Agreement
Contract between owner and contractor for a construction project.

Owner-Construction Management Agreement
Contract between construction manager and client for professional services.

TopPerformance Bond
1. A written form of security from a surety (bonding) company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing payment to the owner in the event the contractor fails to perform all labor, materials, equipment, or services in accordance with the contract.
2. The surety companies generally reserve the right to have the original prime or main or subcontractor remedy any claims before paying on the bond or hiring other contractors. (see Labor and Material Payment Bond and Surety Bond)

Performance Specifications
The written material containing the minimum acceptable standards and actions, as may be necessary to complete a project. Including the minimum acceptable quality standards and aesthetic values expected upon completion of the project.

An abbreviation for Program Evaluating and Review Technique. (see Activity; Critical Path Method)

PERT Schedule
A diagram that illustrates, charts and reports a projects estimated start and completion times; and work in progress.

1. A line drawing (by floor) representing the horizontal geometrical section of the walls of a building. The section (a horizontal plane) is taken at an elevation to include the relative positions of the walls, partitions, windows, doors, chimneys, columns, pilasters, etc.
2. A plan can be thought of as cutting a horizontal section through a building at an eye level elevation.

Plan Checker
A term sometimes used to describe a building department official who examines the building permit documents.

A person who forms a scheme or method for doing something; an arrangement of means or steps for the attainment of some object; a scheme, method, design; a mode of action.

A term used to represent all drawings including sections and details; and any supplemental drawings for complete execution of a specific project.

Pre-Construction Planning and Team Building
A process used for the purpose of establishing below market dollar budget(s), overall project scheduling and design criteria; also identification and selection of the most feasible planning, design and construction team.

An activity that must be completed before another activity can begin.

Preliminary Drawings
1. The drawings that precede the final approved drawings.
2. Usually these drawings are stamped or titled "PRELIMINARY"; and the "PRELIMINARY" is removed from the drawings upon being reviewed and approved by the owner.

Preliminary Lien Notice
A written notice given to the property owner of a specific project by the subcontractors and any person or company furnishing services, equipment or materials to that project. The notice states if bills are not paid in full for the labor, services, equipment, or materials furnished or to be furnished, a mechanic's lien leading to the loss, through court foreclosure proceedings, of all or part of the property being so improved may be placed against the property even through the owner has paid the prime contractor in full. The notice explains how the owner can protect himself against this consequence by 1. requiring the prime contractor to furnish a signed release by the person or firm thus giving the owner notice before making payment to the prime contractor or 2. any other method or device which is appropriate under the circumstances. The state of California mandates that a Preliminary Lien Notice must be given to the property owner not more than 20 days after starting the work on the specific project.

Pre-qualification of prospective bidders
A screening process wherein the owner or his/her appointed representative gathers background information from a contractor or construction professional for selection purposes. Qualifying considerations include competence, integrity, dependability, responsiveness, bonding rate, bonding capacity, work on hand, similar project experience, and other specific owner requirements.

Prime Contract
A written contract directly between a prime or main contractor or subcontractor for work on a specific project.

Prime Contractor
1. Any contractor having a contract directly with the owner.
2. Usually the main (general) contractor for a specific project.

1. The leading participant of professional practice.

Professional Engineer
One who is professionally engaged in a branch of engineering.

An ordered list of events to take place or procedures to be followed for a specific project.

Progress Payment
A payment from the owner to the contractor determined by calculating the difference between the completed work and materials stored and a predetermined schedule of values or unit costs. (see Schedule of values; Unit Costs).

Progress Schedule
A line diagram showing proposed and actual starting and completion times the respective project activities. (see Activity)

A word used to represent the overall scope of work being performed to complete a specific construction job.

Project Cost
All costs for a specific project including costs for land, professionals, construction, furnishings, fixtures, equipment, financing and any other project related costs.

Project Directory
A written list of all parties connected with a specific project. The list usually includes a classification or description of the party (i.e..., Owner, Architect, Attorney, General Contractor, Civil Engineer, Structural Engineer, etc.); name, address, telephone and FAX numbers opposite their respective classifications or description. It is particularly important that the emergency or after hour telephone numbers are included. These numbers should be kept confidential if requested by the respective parties.

Project Manager (Project Management)
A qualified individual or firm authorized by the owner to be responsible for coordinating time, equipment, money, tasks and people for all or specified portions of a specific project. (see Construction Manager)

Project Manual
A organized book setting forth the bidding requirements, conditions of the contract and the technical work specifications for a specific project. (see Specifications)

Project Representative
A qualified individual authorized by the owner to assist in the administration of a specific construction contract.

Project Site (see Site)

Property Inspections and Reports
A limited visual inspection to identify the general features and major deficiencies of the property. Any area not exposed to view, is concealed, or is inaccessible is not included in this inspection.

A written offer from a bidder to the owner, preferably on a prescribed proposal form, to perform the work and to furnish all labor, materials, equipment and/or services for the prices and terms quoted by the bidder. ( see Bid)

Proposal Form (see Bid Form)

Purchase Order
A written document from a buyer to a seller to purchase materials, services, equipment or supplies with acceptable purchase terms indicated.

Punch List (see Inspection List)

An individual or firm with a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his/her abilities to identify and solve or resolve problems associated with a specific subject matter or project type.

TopRecord Drawings (see As-Built Drawings)

Release of Lien
A written action properly executed by and individual or firm supplying labor, materials or professional services on a project which releases his mechanic's lien against the project property. (see Mechanic's Lien)

Reimbursable Expenses (or Costs)
Amounts expended for or on account of the project which, in accordance with the terms of the appropriate agreement, are to be reimbursed by the owner.

Replacement Cost Estimate
A cost of constructing a building or structure that would have similar utility, but constructed with modern materials, current building standards, design and layout less depreciation. A land value and cost of on-site improvements can be added if desired.

Resident Architect
An architect permanently assigned at a job site who supervises the construction work for the purpose of protecting the owner's interests during construction.

Resident Engineer (inspector)
An individual permanently assigned at a job site for the purpose of representing the owner's interests during the construction phase. (see Owner's Inspector)

1. An abbreviation for Request for Information.
2. A written request from a contractor to the owner or architect for clarification or information about the contract documents following contract award.

1. An abbreviation for Request for Proposal.
2. A written request from the requestor (usually the owner or a contractor) to a contractor, design professional or subcontractor for an estimate or cost proposal. The RFP usually contains a specific scope of work. (see Bid) (see Closed Bid/Estimate) (see Open Bid/Estimate)

Roll Out
A loose term used to describe the rapid succession (completion) of similar projects over a given time period.

TopSafety Report
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 clearly states the common goal of safe and healthful working conditions. A Safety Report is prepared following a regularly scheduled project safety inspection of the specific project.

A plan for performing work or achieving an objective.

Schedule of Values
A statement furnished by the contractor to the architect or engineer reflecting the portions of the contract sum allotted for the various parts of the work and used as the basis for reviewing the contractor's applications for progress payments. *455

A preliminary sketch or diagram representing the proposed intent of the designer.

Schematic Design Phase
The first phase of the architect's basic services in which the architect consults with the owner to ascertain the requirements of the project and prepares schematic design studies consisting of drawings and other documents showing the scale and project components for the owner’s approval.

1. A chart, a diagram, or an outline of a system being proposed
2. An orderly combination of related construction systems and components for a specific project or purpose.

Scope of Work
A written range of view or action; outlook; hence, room for the exercise of faculties or function; capacity for achievement; all in connection with a designated project. (See Performance Specifications)

Slack Time
The flexibility with non-critical jobs that allows their start dates to be adjusted without affecting the project completion date.

The place where a structure or group of structures was, or is to be located (a construction site).

Soft Costs
Soft Costs are cost items in addition to the direct Construction Cost. Soft Costs generally include architectural and engineering, legal, permits and fees, financing fees, construction Interest and operating expenses, leasing and real estate commissions, advertising and promotion, and supervision. (see Construction Cost)

A detailed, exact statement of particulars, especially statements prescribing materials and methods; and quality of work for a specific project. The most common arrangement for specifications substantially parallels the CSI (Construction Specification Institute) format. (see CSI)

Special Conditions
A section of the conditions of the contract, other than the General Conditions and Supplementary Conditions, which may be prepared for a particular project. Specific clauses setting forth conditions or requirements peculiar to the project under consideration, and covering work or materials involved in the proposal and estimate, but not satisfactorily covered by the General Conditions. (See General Conditions)

Standard Details
A drawing or illustration sufficiently complete and detailed for use on other projects with minimum or no changes.

Standard Dimension
A measurement unique to a specific manufactured item.

Standards of Professional Practice
A listing of minimum acceptable ethical principals and practices adopted by qualified and recognized professional organizations to guide their members in the conduct of specific professional practice.

Start Date
The date that an activity or project begins.

A copy or summary of any account covering a stated period. (See Invoice)

Statute of Limitations
The period of time in which legal action must be brought for an alleged damage or injury. The period commences with the discovery of the alleged damage or injury; or in construction industry cases with completion of the work or services performed. Legal advise should be obtained.

Stipulated Sum Agreement
A written agreement in which a specific amount is set forth as the total payment for completing the contract. (See Lump Sum Contract)

Structural Design
A term used to represent the proportioning of structural members to carry loads in a building structure.

Structural Systems (frames)
The load bearing assembly of beams and columns on a foundation. The beams and columns are generally fabricated off site and assembled on site. Other systems such as non load bearing walls, floors, ceilings and roofs are generally constructed within and on the structural system.

1. Something constructed
2. A building put together based on specific plans and specifications.

An abbreviation for Subcontractor.

A written form of agreement between the prime or main contractor and another contractor or supplier for the satisfactory performance of services or delivery or material as set forth in the plans and specifications for a specific project.

A qualified subordinate contractor to the prime or main contractor.

Subcontractor Bond
A written document from a subcontractor given to the prime or main contractor by the subcontractor guaranteeing performance of his/her contract and payment of all labor, materials, equipment and service bills associated with the subcontract agreement.

To subcontract all or a portion of a contracted amount.

Substantial Completion (see Date of Substantial Completion)

A proposed replacement or alternate offered in lieu of and represented as being equivalent to a specified material or process.

The supporting part of a structure; the foundation.

An individual or firm having a written contract with a subcontractor to perform a portion of the work.

Sub-surface Investigation
1. A term used to represent an examination of soil conditions below the ground.
2. Investigations include soil borings and geographical laboratory tests for structural design purposes.

1. One that succeeds another
2. A scheduled activity whose start depends on the completion of one or more predecessors.

The part of a building or other structure above the foundation.

1.The act, process, or function of supervising construction materials, methods and processes for a specific project
2. Hands on field direction of the contracted work by a qualified individual of the contractor.

Supplemental Conditions (See Supplementary Conditions)

Supplementary Conditions
A written section of the contract documents supplementing and qualifying or modifying the contracts general conditions. (See Conditions of the Contract)

An individual or firm who supplies and/or fabricates materials or equipment for a specific portion of a construction project but does not perform any labor on the project. ( see Vendor)

Surety (see Bonding Company)

1. An abbreviation for a contracting method called Time and Materials
( 2) A written agreement between the owner and the contractor wherein payment is based on the contractor's actual cost for labor, equipment, materials, and services plus a fixed add-on amount to cover the contractor’s overhead and profit.

Tenant's Rent able Square Feet
Usable square feet plus a percentage (the core factor) of the common areas on the floor, including hallways, bathrooms and telephone closets, and some main lobbies. Rent able square footage is the number on which a tenant's rent is usually based.

Tenant's Usable Square Feet
The square footage contained within the demising walls. (see Demising Walls)

TI'S (Tenant Improvements)
TI'S is a term used to define the interior improvements of the project after the Building Envelope is complete. TI'S usually include finish floor coverings; ceilings; partitions; doors, frames, hardware; fire protection; HVAC consisting of branch distribution duct work, control boxes, and registers; electrical consisting of lighting, switches, power outlets, phone/data outlets, exit and energy lighting; window coverings; general conditions; and the general contractor’s fee. The cost of tenant improvements are generally born by the tenant and the costs of tenant improvements will vary with every building, and with tenant requirements. (see Work Letter)

Time (as time of the essence associated with a construction contract)
A provision in a construction contract by the owner that punctual completion within the time limits or periods in the contract is a vital part of the contract performance and that failure to perform on time is a breach and the injured party is entitled to damages in the amount of loss sustained.

A term meaning any individuals normal billing hourly rate is increased by a multiple of 1.5 following predetermined normal working hours.

Timely Completion
Completing the work of the contract before the date required.

Time of Completion
The date or number of calendar or working days stated in the contract to substantially complete the work for a specific project. (see Date of Substantial Completion)

A written document used to identify information being sent to a receiving party. The transmittal is usually the cover sheet for the information being sent and includes the name, telephone/FAX number and address of the sending and receiving parties. The sender may include a message or instructions in the transmittal. It is also important to include the names of other parties the information is being sent to on the transmittal form.

Travel Time
Wages paid to workmen under certain union contracts and under certain job conditions for the time spent in traveling from their place of residence to and from the job.

TopUnderwriter's Laboratories Label (UL)
A label on a product or manufactured item showing the material is regularly tested by, and complies with the minimum standards of the Underwriter's Laboratories specification for safety and quality.

U. B.C. (Uniform Building Code)
The Uniform Building Code is one of the family of codes and related publications published by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and other organizations, such as the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which have similar goals as far as code publications are concerned. The Uniform Building Code is designed to be compatible with these other codes, as together they make up the enforcement tools of a jurisdiction.

Uniform System (see CSI Format)

Unit Price Contract
A written contract wherein the owner agrees to pay the contractor a specified amount of money for each unit of work successfully completed as set forth in the contract.

Unit Prices
A predetermined price for a measurement or quantity of work to be performed within a specific contract. The designated unit price would include all labor materials, equipment or services associated with the measurement or quantity established.

TopVerbal Quotation
A written document used by the contractor to receive a subcontract or material cost proposal over the telephone prior to the subcontractor or supplier sending their written proposal via mail or facsimile.

One that sells materials or equipment not fabricated to a special design.

The successful performance of the entire scope of the project being performed for a specific construction project including labor, materials, equipment, and other associated items necessary to fulfill all obligations under the contract.

Working Drawing
A drawing sufficiently complete with plan and section views, dimensions, details, and notes so that whatever is shown can be constructed and/or replicated without instructions but subject to clarifications. (see Drawings)

Work Order
A written order, signed by the owner or his representative, of a contractual status requiring performance by the contractor without negotiation of any sort.

Work Letter
A written statement (often called Exhibit B to a lease or rental agreement) of the specific materials and quantities the owner will provide at his own expense. The work letter defines the building standards, including the type of ceiling , the type and number of light fixtures, the size and construction of the suite-entry and interior doors. Building standards define the quality of tenant spaces. Generally, a Work Letter is associated with the leasing or renting of office space by a tenant within a Building Envelope. (see TI'S and Building Envelope)

Restrictions of areas or regions of land within specific geographical areas based on permitted building size, character, and uses as established by governing urban authorities.

Zoning Permit
A document issued by a governing urban authority permitting land to be used for a specific purpose.


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