MarielleroundMarielle Price • 

If you’re new to the construction industry, I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are quite a few terms and acronyms that are regularly used while out in the field. It’s important to have a firm grasp on what each of these terms mean, so we at Fieldwire wanted to make sure we provided some clear descriptions for all of the jargon you need to know. Here are a few to get you going!


Top 15 Construction Management Terms:

  • 3 Week Look Ahead: The schedule that is published each week by the general contractor that outlines what is occurring in the next 3 weeks of the project. This is broken down into small, actionable tasks, as opposed to the main project schedule (which is the overall timeline).
  • As-Builts: The common term for marked up floor plans (usually in red ink) showing how installation differed from the original design drawings. As-builts are usually created for utilities and in-wall systems that aren’t directly visible. The formal term for as-builts is “Record Drawings.”
  • Change Order (CO): A change to the original contract scope of work, resulting in either an increase or decrease in project costs and/or schedule. This could be issued by a client to the general contractor or the general contractor to a subcontractor.
  • Close Out: A phase that encompasses the end of a project. This consists of punch lists, O&M manuals, as-builts/record drawings, warranties, and the overall completion of project work.
  • Contract Drawings: The conformed set of drawings that represents the entire contract scope.
  • IR: This stands for “Inspection Request,” which is a form required by independent third party inspectors to confirm an installation detail or method. Often used for work such as welding, anchoring, and concrete pours.
  • O&M Manual: This stands for “Operations and Maintenance” manual, which is an instruction guide to running and servicing the building. The O&M manual is given to the owner at turnover.
  • PPE: This stands for “Personal Protective Equipment,” which is basically the proper attire for the job. Such equipment often includes a hard hat, hard-soled boots, reflective vest, safety glasses, long pants, and a shirt with at least 6” long sleeves.
  • Procurement Log: A spreadsheet that tracks how long it will take for certain materials to be delivered on-site, especially those with long lead times. It tracks when the submittals for these materials need to be approved so that they can be ordered for fabrication and delivery. Some examples of items that may be on a procurement log are structural steel, HVAC equipment, lighting fixtures, and custom cabinetry.
  • Project Schedule: The contract timeline for the duration of the project, usually in Gantt chart format showing relationships and the critical path (what items are driving the overall schedule). It is generally composed of long duration tasks, sorted by scope and location, as opposed to the 3 week look ahead (which is very detailed and short term).
  • Punch List: A list of all items that need to be fixed before the building or project can be turned over to the client. Punch list items are also known as snags or deficiencies, and include things like paint scratches, damaged siding, cleanup, etc. This process comes at the end of the project after a preliminary walkthrough of the job site. The final punch list is usually tied to a cost withheld from the contractor until it is completed and verified.
  • QA/QC: This stands for “Quality Assurance/Quality Control,” which is the formalized process of confirming proper installation methods and materials on-site.
  • RFI: This stands for “Request for Information,” which is a formal question to the design team, client, or general contractor that will likely affect the contract scope, drawings, and/or specifications. The response to an RFI acts as a contract change and could result in a change order.
  • Specifications: The instruction manual that is paired with the contract drawings. It includes information such as installation procedures, product brand requirements, and testing requirements, to name a few. It is separated out by CSI (Construction Specification Institute) divisions, generally starting with 01 00 00 through 33 00 00.
  • Submittal: A document that is prepared by the installing contractor that indicates the products and locations that will be procured and installed. The document will need to be approved by the architect (and other applicable design team members), as well as the general contractor and client. An example of a submittal would be a cut sheet of the sink that will be installed in the bathrooms.

Hopefully these definitions have established a solid foundation for all the industry lingo you’re bound to hear (and start using yourself). If there are others we’ve missed or that you’d like further clarification on, please let us know by emailing them to

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