There’s a lot of common terminology that gets thrown around in the construction industry. We went over a number of them in our previous article but there are still so many to uncover. If you’re ready to learn 16 more key construction terms then this is the post for you — let’s dive right in!
16 Construction management terms
- Addendum: Any documentation (drawings, specifications, etc.) issued during the bidding process to modify, clarify, or complement the information outlined in the bidding documents. Addenda become part of the contract documents upon awarding of the contract to a firm.
- Back Charge: A charge against a contractor’s contract for costs incurred by another party that should have been incurred by the contractor. A back charge typically takes form in a deductive change order. For example, if the contractor in charge of fire sprinklers damaged a wall using a boom lift, that contractor may incur a back charge from the drywall contractor for the repair work.
- Bid: A binding offer made by a contractor to do the scope of work specified in the bidding documents at a certain price. This offer must be in accordance with the plans and specifications of the project and the terms and conditions stated in the offer.
- Bulletins: The new drawings or specifications that are issued (usually by the architect or lead designer) to the contractor after its contract award. These may be a result of RFIs, an Owner’s request, errors/omissions, or a reviewing agency request.
- Commissioning: The process of testing and verifying the intended behavior of the building systems, such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical, life safety, lighting, etc. This is generally conducted by the contractor in tandem with the facility management team in order to ensure that the building staff are prepared to operate and maintain its systems and equipment.
- Contingencies: The cost provisions in the project budget that make allowance for oversights and unforeseen circumstances associated with the project. Depending on the nature of the contract, the contractor may require Owner’s approval to draw funds from contingencies.
- Core & Shell: A term that refers to the base construction of a building. This includes its structure, cladding, and vertical systems, such as MEP utility risers, stairs, and elevators, as well as its finished common areas, such as lobby and restrooms.
- Field Order: A work order issued to a contractor by the Owner or General Contractor to perform work not included in the contract. The contractor will then be entitled to a Change Order for the extra work. Field Orders are used to expedite work in an emergency or crucial situation, when there is no time to compile and approve a Change Order request.
- Fit Out: A term that refers to the interior construction of a building to make it suitable for occupation. This could include distribution of MEP services, ceiling systems, finishes, furniture, lighting, etc.
- Liquidated Damages: An amount of money that the contractor would owe the owner in the event of a breach of contract. These would typically get calculated by a formula such as $10,000 per day that substantial completion is delayed.
- OAC Meeting: A meeting held at a scheduled time (generally weekly or biweekly) between the Owner, the Architect, and the General Contractor. This meeting covers general project management topics, such as safety, scheduling, procurement, RFIs, Submittals, Change Orders, Design Changes, etc. The General Contractor is usually responsible for leading the meeting and distributing the meeting minutes.
- Preliminary Notice: Documents notifying other parties that they are working on the project. They’re often required to preserve mechanics lien rights. But even when not required, they provide invaluable transparency and communication.
- Rough-In: The initial stage of the wall framing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing installation. This includes all of the components that won’t be seen after the completion of the project. All trade rough-ins must generally be inspected prior to insulation and application of finishes.
- Schedule of Values: The breakdown of a contract amount into sub-items and sub-costs for identifiable construction elements. This is usually used as the basis for submitting and reviewing progress payment.
- Substantial Completion: A milestone in construction projects defined as the stage when work is sufficiently completed in accordance with the contract documents. This indicates that the Owner can now utilize the building or facility for its intended purpose. Only minor works, such as punch list items, will ordinarily remain after reaching substantial completion.
- Take Off: An estimation of the quantity of material required to complete a certain scope of work.
That does it for this list of valuable construction terms you need to know. These definitions should come in handy while you’re out in the field and contributing to your projects. If there are any other terms that you regularly come across and would like us to focus on, don’t hesitate to let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep an eye out for our next list!