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Whether you are discussing project details with the contractor or working with an architect, the terminology used by those involved can feel like another language. By defining terms like the ones listed on this page, we hope to alleviate the stress you might feel when discussing construction with industry professionals. Here are some commonly used terms that you might encounter in a variety of construction situations.
A set of drawings submitted by the general contractor upon completion of project.
The process of generating and managing building data during its life cycle. Typically it used 3D, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction.
Approval from the permitting authority to occupy the building. This means that the project has been completed successfully and complies with all code, testing, and design criteria.
Client-approved proposed change(s) in contract amount, requirements, or time (outside the scope of a contract and/or the provisions of its change clause).
A form of project delivery that entails a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The CM@Risk acts as a consultant to the owner in the development and design phase but as the equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase.
A form of project delivery whereby one performs both architectural/engineering and construction under one single contract.
The process in which a cost model is produced for the project.
A term used to denote commercial buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard.
A cost-type contract where the contractor is compensated for actual costs incurred, plus a fixed fee subject to a ceiling price. The contractor is responsible for cost overruns unless the GMP has been increased via formal change order.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the leading green building rating system in the U.S. for commercial and institutional buildings. LEED evaluates whole-building environmental performance over a building life cycle, providing a method for evaluating more than just the energy use of a building.
Documentation turned over to owner consisting of maintenance, cleaning, and operating instructions on the appropriate scope items, as well as warranty information on all construction contracts.
The authorization from the governing agency (i.e., city or county) after reviewing the drawings and making their corrections/comments to be incorporated into the final set of construction documents.
All of the activities that occur prior to the start of construction, including programming, preliminary drawings, initial budgets, evaluating different construction systems for cost, efficiency, and performance, schedule planning, and the permit process.
Person who manages most of the documentation during preconstruction and construction including meeting minutes, submittal logs, change requests, budget updates, and payment applications. Also manages overall communication within the project team.
A list of minor item to be completed as a condition of Substantial Completion.
The phase of a project where various design options are evaluated and design decisions are made based on what is best for the project.
This is the approval issued by the architect of record that the project has successfully reached a level of completion with respect to scope, testing, and code compliance.
Person who works at the jobsite and coordinates subcontractors, inspections, and vendors, and is responsible (along with the Project Manager) for the overall successful completion of the project.
The quality of a state or process allowing it to be indefinitely maintained. In order to achieve sustainability, environmental, economic, and social issues must be considered in a balanced manner.