Construction Glossary – Dictionary

Common language improves productivity and quality though enhanced communication of customer expectations.

Abrade Scrape or wear away by friction
Abrasive Surface Tile A slip-resistant floor tile.
Absolute Zero Theoretical lowest possible temperature, at which all molecular motion ceases.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Annualized Total Cost of building operations per building per gross area = Rate per square foot
Service Level Agreement,SLA An SLA sets out in detail the services to be delivered under a contract between a provider and its client. It clarifies the measures of acceptable service that will be used, as well as any penalties to be applied if acceptable levels are not achieved. Often used in conjunction with key performance indicators.
2d Analogous to painting or hand drafting. The architect’s equivalent to word-processing. 2D computer graphics deal primarily with geometric entities (points, lines, planes, etc.). Blueprints, construction documents and anything output (or drawn on) paper are 2D.
3d Analogous to sculpture. Prior to computers, architects manually constructed perspectives and physical (cardboard, Foamcore, balsa) models to represent a project’s design concepts. Today computers have automated concept visualization. These 3D graphics can be exported to rapid prototyping systems to create physical models. 3D computer graphics rely on much of the same programming as 2D computer graphics.
4d Building Information Model with the addition of time (virtual building model with scheduling).
5d Building Information Model with time and construction information additions (virtual building model with cost and project management).
a acre, ampere
A area, area square feet, ampere
A&E architect-engineer
A/C Air conditioning
A-21 Circular A-21, Principles for Determining Costs Applicable to Grants, Contracts, and Other Agreements with Educational Institutions, published by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (
AAALAC American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care.
AAP Aquatic Acidification Potential
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
Abatement (1) The encapsulation or removal of building materials containing asbestos to prevent the release of and exposure to asbestos fibers. (2) In lumber industry, the amount of wood lost as waste during the process of sawing or planing.
abat-jour A sloped opening in a roof or wall designed to direct daylight downward.
Abattoir A slaughter house; a sturcture where animals are butchered for food
ABC aggregate base course, Associated Builders and Contractors
ABC extinguisher A fire extinguisher suitable for use on type A, B, and C fires.
A-block A hollow masonry unit with one closed end commonly used at wall openings.
Above Ground Tank A large above ground vessel used for the storage of liquids
above-grade subfloors A floor above ground level, but with no headroom below.
Abrams’ law The rule stating that with given materials, curing, and testing conditions, concrete strength is inversely related to the ratio of water to cement. Low water-to-cement ratios produce high strengths.
Abrasion Wearing away by friction.
Abrasion Resistance Ability of a surface to resist being worn away by rubbing and friction.
abrasion resistance index A comparison of the abrasion resistance of a given material to that of rubber. The index is applied principally to aggregate handling equipment.
Abrasive A substance used for wearing, grinding, cleaning, or polishing by rubbing or grinding.
Abrasive Coatings In closed coating of paper no adhesive is exposed, as surface of paper is completely covered with abrasive; in open coating, surface of backing paper is covered with regulated amount of abrasive, exposing the adhesive; space between the abrasive grains rces loading and filling when sanding gummy or soft materials.
Abrasive Paper Paper with an abrasive surface; sandpaper, emery paper; garnet paper.
ABS Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene; a plastic used for piping; has high resistance to impact, heat, and chemicals.
ABS Pipe A plastic pipe sold in 10 and 20 foot lengths in various diameters for plumbing stacks and drains; used primarily for drain lines.
Absolute Humidity The density of water vapor per unit volume of air.
Absolute Pressure The pressure measured by a gauge plus a correction for the effect of air pressure on the gauge (l4,7 psi at sea level).
Absolute Temperature Temperature measured from absolute zero.
Absolute Viscosity A method of measuring viscosity using the poise as the basic measurement unit; this method utilizes a partial vacuum to induce flow in the viscometer.
Absolute Volume The volume of an ingredient in its solid state, without voids between individual pieces or particles; in the case of fluids, the cubic content occupied; in concrete, it is the eactual volume occupied by the different ingredients determined by dividing the weight of each ingredient in pounds by its specific gravity times the weight of one cubic foot of water in pounds; example, the absolute volume of one sack of cement equals 94 divided by 3,15 times 62,4 equals 0,478 cubic feet.
absorbent (1) A material that has an affinity for certain substances and attracts these substances from a liquid or gas with which it is in contact, thus changing the physical and/or chemical properties of the material. (2) A substance that attracts and holds large quantities of liquid.
absorber plate That part of a solar energy system that collects the solar energy.
absorption (1) The process by which a liquid is drawn into the pores of a permeable material. (2) The process by which solar energy is collected on a surface. (3) The increase in weight of a porous object resulting from immersion in water for a given time, expressed as a percent of the dry weight.
absorption air-conditioning An air cooling and dehumidifying system powered by solar or other energy collected on absorbing plates.
abstract of bids A list of the bidders for a sealed bid procurement indicating the significant portions of their bids.
AC air-conditioning, alternating current (on drawings), armored cable (on drawings), asbestos cement
Academic Discipline (Coding) A listing of the two-digit level program codes published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in 2002 and implemented for data collection by NCES in 2004. For definitions and more detailed descriptions and codes, consult the Classification of Instructional Programs: 2000 Edition, published by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, and available at
Academic Program An instructional program leading toward an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctor’s, or first-professional degree or other formal award or resulting in credits that can be applied to one of these degrees.
Academic Year The period of time generally extending from September to June; usually equated to two semesters or trimesters, three quarters, or the period covered by a 4-1-4 calendar system.
acceleration (1) An increase in velocity or rate of change. (2) The ordered or voluntarily expedited performance of construction work at a faster rate than anticipated in the original schedule, the purpose of which is to recapture project delay. This is accomplished by increasing labor hours and other resources. (3) The speeding up of the setting or hardening process of concrete by using an additive in the mix. The process of acceleration allows forms to be stripped sooner or floors finished earlier.
accent lighting Fixtures or directional beams of light arranged so as to bring attention to an object or area.
acceptance Compliance by an offeree with the terms and conditions of an offer.
accepted bid The proposal or bid a contractor and an owner or owner’s representative use as the basis for entering into a construction contract.
access (1) The means of entry into a building, area, or room. (2) A port or opening through which equipment may be inspected or repaired.
access control system Computerized building security equipment, such as badge readers, designed to protect against unauthorized entry into buildings or building zones.
access door or panel A means of access for the inspection, repair, or service of concealed systems, such as air-conditioning equipment.
accessible That which is easily removed, repaired, or serviced without damaging the finish of a building.
accolade Ornamental treatment over an arch, doorway, or window formed by two ogee curves meeting in the middle.
accord and satisfaction A legal term referring to an agreement between parties to a contract whereby one accepts payment in the compromise of a dispute, claim, or change proposal. Typically this term is used concerning a mutual release of responsibility for a claim. See also settlement.
accouplement (1) In architecture, the pairing of pilasters or columns, as in a colonnade or buttress. (2) In carpentry, a tie or brace between timbers.
ACEC American Consulting Engineers Council
ACGIH American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
acid-proof floor A floor that resists deterioration when exposed to acid.
acoustical correction Special planning, shaping, and equipping of a space to produce the optimum reception of sound for an audience.
acoustical metal deck A metal decking that includes a sound-absorbing material installed at a small additional cost per square foot.
acoustical partition A term applied particularly to movable, demountable, and operable partitions with sound-absorbing characteristics.
acoustical products-baffles & blankets A flat sound deflector or obstruction designed to reduce sound transmission. Or a material in sheet form used for reducing sound transmission.
acoustical tile A term applied to modular ceiling panels in board form with sound-absorbing properties. This type of tile is sometimes adapted for use on walls.
acoustical window wall Double-glazed window walls with acoustical framing. This type of wall system is used particularly at airports.
acrylic adhesives Any of numerous thermoplastic or thermo-setting polymers or copolymers of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, esthers of these acids, or acrylonitrile, used to bond materials.
active solar energy system A system that primarily collects and transfers solar energy using mechanical means that are not powered by solar energy.
activity In CPM (Critical Path Method) scheduling, a task or item of work required to complete a project.
activity duration In CPM (Critical Path Method) scheduling, the estimated time required to complete an activity.
actuator In hydraulics, a motor or cylinder designed to convert hydraulic energy into mechanical energy.
ACUB Army Compatible Use Buffer
acute toxic chemical A substance that has immediate, but not necessarily permanent, adverse effects on health.
AD access door, air-dried, area drain, as drawn
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
ADA Standards for Accessible Design As an adjunct to the Americans with Disabilites Act, a set of standards that establish minimum technical requirements for the design and construction of buildings and facilities. Their intent is to increase the level of accessibility in the built environment, in existing facilities as well as new construction and alterations.
ADAAG Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines
adamant plaster A quick setting gypsum plaster usually applied over a base coat of plaster.
Adaptation Index or Adequacy Index (AI)/Programmatic Index (PI) A comparative inter/intra sector metric/benchmark expressed a value from 0.0 to 1.0 that indicate the
program/mission-based condition of a facility. AI is calculated by dividing the total value of deferred physical
programmatic/adaptive requirements (PR) by the current replacement value (CRV) (i.e., AI=PR/CRV).
Program-based or programmatic requirements are facilities-specific needs that are established to meet the
mission of the facility or organization, inclusive of evolving technological, programmatic or regulatory demands.
Taking an educational science laboratory as an example, while an existing lab may have zero physical
deficiencies the configuration and equipment (fume hoods, lighting, computer networks, etc.) may not be
suitable for current teaching methods. All of the physical, program-related needs therefore have a cost to
remedy and are considered as programmatic deficiencies. Similar to physical deferred maintenance, deferred
programmatic requirements are those current needs that are not funded in the present fiscal year. Additionally,
the facilities-specific programmatic requirements may include items such as space, configuration, adjacency,
security, etc.
Adaptation/Renovation/Modernization The improvement, addition or expansion of facilities by work performed to change the interior alignment of
space or the physical characteristics of an existing facility so it can be used more effectively, be adapted for
new use, or comply with existing codes. Includes the total amount of expenditures required to meet evolving
technological, programmatic or regulatory demands
adapter Any device designed to match the size or characteristics of one item to those of another, particularly in the plumbing, air-conditioning, and electrical trades.
Added value Providing enhancements to a contract through innovation and efficient use of resources.
addendum A document describing an addition, change, correction, or modification to contract documents. An addendum is issued by the design professional during the bidding period or prior to the award of contract, and is the primary method of informing bidders of modifications to the work during the bidding process. Addenda become part of the contract documents.
additional services Professional services provided by the architect or engineer of a project which were not included in the original
additive A substance that is added to a material to enhance or modify its characteristics, such as curing time, plasticity, color, or volatility.
additive alternate A specific alternate option for construction specifications or plans that results in a net increase in the base bid.
addressable system An advanced fire alarm or security system that provides for easy monitoring, remote testing, and quick location of an alarm condition.
Adequate Facility/Structure/Space A facility/structure/space that is fully capable of supporting its current use without modification or repairs
(beyond currently funded routine maintenance) and has an acceptable level of reliability.
adhesive Generally, any substance that binds two surfaces together. In construction, the term is used principally in the wallboard and roofing trades.
adiabatic A condition in which there is no heat gain or heat loss.
adjusted base cost The total estimated cost of a project after adding or deducting addenda or alternatives.
adjuster A representative of the insurance company who negotiates with all parties involved in a loss in order to settle the claim equitably. An adjuster deals with the policyholder, repair contractor(s), witnesses, and police (if necessary), and acts as a middleman between these parties and the insurance company.
adjusting nut A threaded nut used for alignment of an object. Often coupled with a locking nut to secure it in position.
adjusting screw A screw used for alignment of an object. Often coupled with a locking nut to secure it in position.
adjustment The determination of: (a) the cause of a loss, (b) whether it is covered by the policy, (c) the dollar value of the loss, and (d) the amount of money to which the claimant is entitled after all allowances and deductions have been made.
adjuvant (1) Any agent added to another substance to increase its effectiveness. (2) A nonpesticidal substance added to a pesticide to enhance its physical or chemical properties.
Administratively Equal Institution Separately organized, or independently administered site or campus with its own full administration and records system within an institutional system. This institution may report to a system office but does not report to any other institution.
adobe An aluminous clay used to make unfired brick.
adobe brick A large, roughly formed, unfired brick made from adobe and straw.
adsorbent A material that has the ability to extract certain substances from gases, liquids, or solids by causing them to adhere to its surface without changing the physical properties of the adsorbent. Activated carbon, silica gel, and activated alumina are materials frequently used for this application.
adsorption The process of extracting specific substances from the atmosphere or from gases, liquids, or solids by causing them to adhere to the surface of an adsorbent without changing the physical properties of the adsorbent.
advertisement for bids Published notice of an owner’s intention to award a contract for construction to a constructor who submits a proposal according to instructions to bidders. In its usual form, the advertisement is published in a convenient form of news media in order to attract constructors who are willing to prepare and submit proposals for the performance of the work. See also bid call.
AE, AEC, AECFM Abbreviations for Architect/Engineer, Architect/Engineer/Contractor. Architect/Engineer/Contractor/Facility Manager
AEC Army Environmental Command
aecXML Architects, Engineers and Contractors Extensible Markup Language. An exchange language dealing with transactional data normally exchanged in construction and business-to-business documents.
aerate To introduce air into soil or water, for example, by natural or mechanical means.
aeration The process of introducing air into a substance or area by natural or mechanical means.
aeration plant A sewage treatment plant in which air is introduced into the sewage to accelerate the decomposition process.
aerator A mechanical device that introduces air into a material such as soil, water, or sewage.
aerial ladder An extension ladder capable of reaching high places and often mounted on a vehicle such as a fire truck.
aerial lift A term commonly applied to mobile working platforms that are elevated hydraulically or mechanically.
aexXML Architecture/Engineering/Construction-oriented Extensible Markup Language. Internet-oriented data structure for representing information used in BIM.
af audio frequency
AFE Association for Facilities Engineering (formerly the American Institute of Plant Engineers)
affidavit of noncollusion A sworn statement by the bidders on a project that the prices on their proposals were arrived at independently without consultation between or among them.
affinity A tendency for two substances to unite chemically or physically.
AFL-CIO American Federation of Labor and the Committee for Industrial Organization.
A-frame (1) A structural system or hoisting system with three members erected in the shape of an upright capital letter “A.” (2) A building with a steep gable roof that extends to the ground.
AFS Army Field Support
afterfilter (final filter) In air-conditioning, a filter located at the outlet end of the system.
after-sheathing window A window installed after the wall sheathing is in place.
aftertack (residual tack) A defect in paint that causes the painted surface to become tacky under certain environmental conditions.
AG above grade
AGC Associated General Contractors
Agency Construction Management Delivery process where a construction professional organization is retained to exclusively support the owner, acting in the owner’s interests at every stage of the project. The owner, with the assistance of the construction manager retains separate entities for design and construction.
agent Under agency law, an agent is authorized by the principal to act on the principal’s behalf. (For example, an architect is frequently the owner’s agent. The owner, then, is the principal.) Generally, an agent’s acts bind the principal as though the principal had acted directly. See also principal.
aggregate Granular material such as sand, gravel, crushed gravel, crushed stone, slag, and cinders. Aggregate is used in construction for the manufacturing of concrete, mortar, grout, asphaltic concrete, and roofing shingles. It is also used in leaching fields, drainage systems, roof ballast, landscaping, and as a base course for pavement and grade slabs. Aggregate is classified by size and gradation.
aggregate interlock The term applied to a situation in which the aggregate from one side of a concrete joint projects between the aggregate of the other side of the joint, thus resisting shear.
aggregate spreader A piece of equipment used for placing aggregate to a desired depth on a roadway or parking lot.
aggregate, lightweight One of several materials used to decrease the unit weight of concrete, thereby reducing the structural load and the cost of the building. The materials most commonly used are perlite and vermiculite. The use of lightweight aggregate is costly, but sometimes necessary in construction.
aggregate, macadam A crushed aggregate of uniform size, placed to a specified depth, and covered over with hot asphalt.
aggregate, marble A material produced from crushed marble of varying colors. It is used extensively in decorative landscaping, highway shoulders, and built-up roofing.
aggregate, open-graded An aggregate in which a skip between the sieve gradations has been deliberately achieved so that the voids are not filled with intermediate-size particles.
aggregate, roof (1) The aggregate used for a tar-and-gravel application. (2) The ballast used for membrane-type roofing.
aggregates Aggregate: A granular material used to produce concrete or mortar, such as crushed rock. Hard inert material used for bedding.
aggregrate, exposed A concrete surface with the aggregate exposed, formed by applying a retarder to the surface before the concrete has set, and subsequently removing the cement paste to the desired depth.
agitator A mechanical device used to maintain plasticity and to prevent segregation, particularly in concrete and mortar.
agreement (1) A promise to perform, made between signatories to a document. (2) In construction, the specific documents setting forth the terms of the contracts between architect, owner, engineer, construction manager, contractor, and others.
agreement form A standard printed form used by the signatories to an agreement, with blank spaces to fill in information pertinent to a particular contract.
agricultural lime A granular hydrated lime used for soil conditioning.
AHU Air handling unit
AI Asphalt Institute
AI (Adaptation Index) or PI (Programmatic Index) Caclulated as PR (Program Requirements)/CRV (Current Replacement Value). A comparative inter/intra sector metric/benchmark expressed a value from 0.0 to 1.0 that indicate the
program/mission-based condition of a facility. AI is calculated by dividing the total value of deferred physical
programmatic/adaptive requirements (PR) by the current replacement value (CRV) (i.e. AI=PR/CRV).
Program-based or programmatic requirements are facilities-specific needs that are established to meet the
mission of the facility or organization, inclusive of evolving technological, programmatic or regulatory demands.
Taking an educational science laboratory as an example, while an existing lab may have zero physical
deficiencies the configuration and equipment (e.g. fume hoods, lighting, computer networks, etc.) may not be
suitable for current teaching methods. All of the physical, program-related needs therefore have a cost to
remedy, and are considered as programmatic deficiencies. Similar to physical deferred maintenance, deferred
programmatic requirements are those current needs that are not funded in the present fiscal year. Additionally,
the facilities-specific programmatic requirements may include items such as space, configuration, adjacency,
security, etc.
AIA American Institute of Architects, Asbestos Information Association
AIEE American Institute of Electrical Engineers
air (1) In construction, shortened term for air-conditioning. (2) Sometimes used to refer to the oxygen used in an oxygen/acetylene torch system.
air balancing The process of adjusting a heating or air-conditioning duct system to provide equal distribution to all areas.
air change The volume of air in an enclosure that is being replaced by new air. The number of air changes per hour is a measure of ventilation.
air cleaner A device, often hung from the ceiling, for removing impurities from the air. The device may have a mechanical or electrostatic filter.
air conditioners-fan coil units Room type air conditioners, free-standing, recessed, or ceiling mounted, with/without cabinets. Consists of evaporator coil, blower, blower motor and filter.
air drain An empty space left between a foundation wall and a parallel wall to prevent the fill from laying directly against the foundation wall.
air escape In plumbing, a valve for automatically discharging excess air from a water line.
air film bearings A type of bearing which uses compressed air.
air filter A device for removing undesirable gaseous or solid particles from ambient air. All HVAC systems include some type of air filter.
air gap In plumbing, the distance between the outlet of a faucet and the overflow level of the fixture.
air grating A fixed metal grating, particularly in masonry foundation walls, for ventilation.
air handlers Single or variable speed fans move air to heat or cool ar building.
Air handling unit An air handling unit (AHU) is a component of a buildings ventilation system.
Air infiltration barriers Material applied to the exterior surface of a wall to reduce convective air movement.
air makeup unit A system for introducing fresh, conditioned air into an enclosure from which air is being exhausted.
air shaft (air well) A roofless enclosed area within a building, admitting light and ventilation.
air-conditioner A mechanism that controls temperature, humidity, and/or the cleanliness of air within an enclosure.
air-conditioning The process of controlling the temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of air, then distributing it within an enclosure.
air-conditioning system An air treatment system designed to control the temperature, humidity, and cleanliness of air and to provide for its distribution throughout the structure.
air-cooled slag Slag that is poured into beds and slowly cooled under ambient conditions.
Air-dried lumber Lumber that has been piled in yards or sheds for any length of time, For the United States as a whole, the minimum moisture content of thoroughly air dried lumber is 12 to 15 percent and the average is somewhat higher, In the South, air dried lumber may be no lower than 19 percent.
air-handling unit (AHU) The traditional method of heating, cooling, and ventilating a building by which single- or variable-speed fans push air over hot or cold coils, then through dampers and ducts and into one or more rooms.
airlock (1) An airtight chamber such as that used in tunnel and caisson excavation. (2) A system of double doorways permitting entry and exit while preventing airflow from one area to another, as from a contaminated area to an uncontaminated area. (3) An entrance room between areas of different pressures, such as the entrance to an air-supported structure. (4) In plumbing, air trapped in a system and preventing flow.
air-mixing plenum In an air-conditioning system, a chamber in which fresh air is mixed with re-circulated air.
airway The air space between the thermal insulation and sheathing on a roof.
AISE Association of Iron and Steel Engineers
alidade A sighting apparatus often used with a plane table for determining and plotting horizontal and/or vertical angles.
aliform Any object shaped like a wing.
alignment (1) The adjustment of elements in a plane such as structural steel. (2) The plane or horizontal orientation of a structure or roadway.
alkali (1) A liquid that has a pH greater than 7.0. (2) Water soluble salts of alkali metals, such as sodium and potassium, which occur in concrete and mortar mixes. The presence of alkaline substances may cause expansion and subsequent cracking.
alkali soil Soil that has a pH value of 8.5 or higher, and is thus harmful to some plant life.
alkyd plastics Thermoset plastics with good heat and electrical insulation properties. Commonly used in paints, lacquers, and molded electrical parts where temperatures will not exceed 400°F.
all risk insurance An insurance policy that can be written separately to add coverage against certain specific risks of damage or loss from any number of potential events. These risks represent potential losses in excess of coverage provided by other forms of insurance purchased for the purpose of protecting the owner, design professional, and contractor during and after the construction process.
Alligatoring Coarse checking pattern characterized by a slipping of the new paint coating over the old coating to the extent that the old coating can be seen through the fissures.
allocable cost A cost that is assignable to a particular contract or other cost objective.
allowable cost Any reasonable cost that may be recovered under the contract to which it is allocable.
allowable load The ultimate load divided by a safety factor.
allowable stress The maximum stress allowed by code for members of a structure, depending upon the material and the anticipated use of the structure.
allowance (1) A stated requirement of the contract documents whereby a specified sum of money is incorporated, or allowed, into the contract sum in order to sustain the cost of a stipulated material, assembly, piece of equipment, or other part of a construction contract. This device is convenient in cases where the particular item cannot be fully described in the contract documents. (2) In bidding, an amount budgeted for an item for which no exact dollar amount is available. (3) A contingency for unforeseen costs. (4) The classification of connected parts or members according to their tightness or looseness.
alloy A homogeneous mixture of two or more metals developed and used because of its lower cost and/or the certain desirable properties it exhibits.
alpha gypsum A specially processed calcined gypsum with an extremely high compressive strength.
alphaduct Flexible, nonmetal conduit used in electrical wiring configurations that require unusual bends.
alteration Construction within a structure or to its exterior closure that does not change the overall dimensions of the structure. Alteration includes remodeling and retrofitting. Work required to adjust interior arrangements or other physical characteristics of an existing
facility/structure so that it may be more effectively adapted to or utilized for a new or changed use.
alternate A specified item of construction that is set apart by a separate sum. An alternate may or may not be incorporated into the contract sum at the discretion and approval of the owner at the time of contract award.
alternate bid An amount stated in a bid which can be added or deducted by an owner if the defined changes are made to the plans or specifications of the base bid.
alternator A machine that develops alternating current by mechanical rotation of its rotor.
aluminum A silver-colored, nonmagnetic, lightweight metal used extensively in the construction industry. It is used in sheets, extrusions, foils, and castings. Sheets are often anodized for greater corrosion resistance and surface hardness. Because of its light weight and good electrical conductivity, aluminum is used extensively for electrical cables. Aluminum is usually used in alloy form for greater strength.
aluminum window A glazed window with an aluminum sash and muntins.
ambient temperature The temperature of the environment surrounding an object.
amended water Water to which a surfactant (a surface-active substance) has been added. Used in asbestos abatement operations.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) An organization of professionals skilled in the science of industrial hygiene.
American Federation of Labor (AFL) A labor organization or union formed in the United States under the leadership of Samuel Gompers in 1886. The American Federation of Labor provided an “umbrella” organization, the purpose of which was to represent to management the interests of workers in various trades, crafts, and other skilled disciplines related to manufacturing and construction.
American Federation of Labor and the Committee for Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) A major union formed by the merger of the two organizations listed above under the leadership of John L. Lewis in 1955. The AFL-CIO represents the interests of various types of member workers in industry and other endeavors (including construction) for the purpose of negotiating with management for acceptable wages, benefits, and other material interests of worker- employees.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) An accepted standard for computerized data transmission.
American table of distances A code for the safe storage of explosives, giving distances from cap storage, dwellings, and other buildings and materials.
American wire gauge (American standard wire gauge, Brown and Sharpe gauge) The standard in the U.S. for specifying and manufacturing wire and sheet metal sizes, particularly electrical wire and metal flashing.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) A federal civil rights act prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. There are five sections that cover different aspects of discrimination: employment, state and local government, public accommodations and commercial facilities, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions.
Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) The minimum guidelines that must be followed to meet ADA Standards for Accessible Design. See also ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
amino plastic A group of thermoset plastics derived from ammonia and often used in making electrical insulators.
ampacity A designation of the current-carrying capacity of an electrical wire, expressed in amperes.
ampere The electromotive force required to move one volt of electricity across one ohm of resistance. A measure of electrical current.
amplifier An electronic device used to increase the magnitude of an electrical signal without changing the quality of the signal.
anchor (anchorage) (1) A device to prevent movement when in tension, such as a tie-back for sheet piling. (2) In masonry composite wall construction, the tension connection between components. (3) In prestressed or posttensioned concrete, the end connection for the tendons. (4) A timber connector. (5) The metal devices that secure metal door and window frames to masonry. (6) In piping systems, a device that secures piping to a structure.
anchor bolt (foundation bolt, hold-down bolt) A threaded bolt, usually embedded in a foundation, for securing a sill, framework, or machinery.
anchor bolt plan A plan view showing size and location of all anchor bolts for a building’s systems components. May be included in structural steel and shop drawings.
Anchor bolts Bolts to secure a sill plate to concrete , or masonry floor or wall,
anchor plate A plate attached to an object to which accessories or structural members may be attached by welding, screwing, nailing, or bolting.
ancon (1) Scrolled bracket or corbel that supports a cornice or entablature. (2) A projecting boss on a concrete masonry unit.
angle (1) The figure or measurement of a figure formed when two planes diverge from a common line. (2) In construction, a common name for an L-shaped metal member.
angle bond A metal tie that projects into each wall at a corner and is used to bond masonry.
angle brace (angle tie) A piece of material temporarily or permanently secured across an angle to make it rigid, such as a strip of wood nailed across the corners of a window frame to keep it square during installation.
angle closer A special brick or a portion of a brick used to close the bond on the outside corner of a brick wall.
angle plane A hand tool used to remove projections and smooth inside corners on a plaster brown coat covering once it has set.
annealing The process of subjecting a material, particularly glass or metal, to heat and then slow cooling to relieve internal stress. This process reduces brittleness and increases toughness.
Annual Report of Carcinogens A list of those substances determined by the National Toxicology Program to be carcinogenic to humans.
annunciator An electrical signaling device that identifies when a circuit is engaged.
anode The conductor rod used in an electrical system to protect underground tanks and pipes from electrochemical action.
antimonial lead (hard lead, regulus metal) A lead alloy containing antimony that is used in sheet form for roofing, cladding, and tank lining. This alloy is harder than pure lead.
antioxidant Any substance that inhibits oxidation, which deteriorates plastics and other materials.
antisiphon trap (deep-seal trap) In a drainage system, a plumbing trap that provides a water seat to prevent siphonage.
anti-spalling admixtures Type of admixture that suppresses or counteracts the flacking of brickwork due to frost, building movement, or other environmental factors.
AP access panel
AP Acidification Potential
APA The Engineered Wood Association (formerly the American Plywood Association)
aperture In construction, any opening left in a wall for a door, window, or for ventilation.
APF acid-proof floor
APPA The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers (formerly the Association of Physical Plant Administrators)
appeal notice A notice to a board of contract appeals that a contracting officer’s final decision or failure to issue a decision will be appealed.
appentice (pent, pentice) A subordinate structure, like a shed, built against another structure.
appliance panel An electrical service panel with circuit breakers or fuses specifically designed for service to appliances.
application cement A common term for mastics used in flooring and roofing applications.
application for payment A formal written request for payment by a contractor for work completed on a contract and, if allowed for in the contract, materials stored on the job site or in a warestructure.
application neoprene A liquid neoprene compound applied to concrete foundation walls for waterproofing.
application wall clips Special clips used for installing wallboard with adhesive in lieu of nails or screws.
applied trim Strips or moldings applied to, as opposed to manufactured with, door and window frames and wood paneling.
applique A nonstructural decorative object attached to a member or structure for decorative purposes.
appraisal A dollar estimate of the value of a certain item of property, or the assessment of the value of a loss. The estimate is developed from market value, replacement cost, income produced, or a combination of these factors. Appraisals are usually made by qualified professional appraisers.
approved In construction, materials, equipment, and workmanship in a system, or a measurable portion thereof, which have been accepted by an authority having jurisdiction. Usually the term refers to approval for payment, approval for continuation of work, or approval for occupancy.
approved equal Material, equipment, or method of construction that has been approved by the owner or the owner’s representative as an acceptable alternative to that specified in the contract documents.
appurtenance (1) Something added on to a main structure or system. (2) A condition added to a property deed, such as a right-of-way.
apron (1) A piece of finished trim placed under a window stool. (2) A slab of concrete extending beyond the entrance to a building, particularly at an entrance for vehicular traffic. (3) The piece of flat wood under the base of a cabinet. (4) Weather protection paneling on the exterior of a building. (5) A splashboard at the back of a sink. (6) At an airport, the pavement adjacent to hangars and appurtenant buildings.
apron flashing (1) The flashing that diverts water from a vertical surface on a building to a sloped roof, such as that around a chimney. (2) Flashing that leads water from a roof into a gutter.
apron wall A distinct exterior wall panel extending from a window sill to the window below.
APW Architectural Projected Window
AQCR Air Quality Control Region
aquastat An electrical control activated by changes in water temperature.
AR as required, as rolled
AR Army Regulation
arbitration The process by which parties agree to submit their disputes to the determination of a third, impartial party (referred to as the arbitrator), rather than pursuing their claims before a judge and jury in a court of law. Parties often agree in advance to binding arbitration of disputes, either as a clause in the contract or at the occurrence of a dispute. This method of avoiding litigation can save both time and money.
arbor (1) An enclosure of closely planted trees, vines, or shrubs which are either self-supporting or supported on a framework. (2) The rotating shaft of a circular saw or shaper.
arc (1) The electrical discharge between two electrodes. When the electrodes are surrounded by gas in a lamp, they become a bright, economical light source. (2) Any portion of a circle or the angle that it makes.
arch brace A curved brace in a wooden roof truss that gives the roof an arched appearance from the inside.
arch truss A roof truss having a curved upper chord and a straight lower chord.
architect A professionally qualified and licensed person who prepares plans and specifications for a building or structure. Architectural services include such duties as project analysis, development of the project design, and the preparation of construction documents (including drawings, specifications, bidding requirements, and general administration of the construction contract).
architect-engineer A person or company providing services as both architect and engineer.
architect’s approval Permission granted by the architect, acting as the owner’s representative, for actions and decisions involving materials, equipment, installation, change orders, substitution of materials, or payment for completed work.
architectural Pertaining to a class of construction, particularly in home building, of higher-than-average quality. The term often pertains to the ornamental features of a structure.
architectural area of buildings The total of all stories of a building, after adjustments, computed according to AIA standards, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls and from the center line of walls between buildings.
architectural bronze An alloy consisting of 57% copper, 40% zinc, 2.75% lead, and 0.25% tin, used for ornamental forgings and extrusions.
architectural concrete Structural or nonstructural concrete that will be permanently exposed to view and therefore requires special attention to uniformity of materials, forming, placing, and finishing. This type of concrete is frequently cast in a mold and has a pattern on the surface.
architectural door A grade classification of door which designates higher-than-standard specifications for material and appearance.
architectural fee The cost of architectural services to an owner, usually a percentage of the total contract amount. The fee varies according to the services provided and the complexity of the project.
architectural glass Glass with a configurated surface to obscure vision or diffuse light.
architectural millwork (custom millwork) Millwork manufactured to meet the specifications of a particular job, as distinguished from stock millwork.
architectural terra-cotta Hard-burned, glazed, or unglazed clay building units, plain or ornamental, machine extruded or hand molded, and generally larger in size than brick or facing tile.
architectural volume The total architectural areas of a building (repeating the area of a story for additional floors) including the measurement from beneath the lowest floor to the average height of the roof surface for each various building height.
architecture The art and science of designing and building structures.
Architecture and Engineering Costs All actual/projected costs charged by the architecture and engineering firms to a project. Total actual project
costs represent the total actual cost to complete and close a project.
architrave In classical architecture, (1) the bottom-most beam that spans from column to column resting directly upon the capitals. (2) Ornamental moldings around door or window openings.
area (1) A measurement of a given planar region or of the surface of a solid. (2) A particular part of a building that has been set aside for a specific purpose.
area method A construction cost estimating system employing unit square foot costs multiplied by the adjusted gross floor area of a building.
Area/Gross Square Footage (GSF) A unit of measure representing the cumulative total of an organization’s building(s) inclusive of all floors
to the outside faces of exterior walls. Defined as the sum of the floor areas on all levels of a building that
are totally enclosed within the building. Measure exterior building gross area to the outside face of
exterior walls, disregarding canopies, cornices, pilasters, balconies and buttresses that extend beyond
the wall face and courtyards that are enclosed by walls but have no roof. The building exterior gross
area of basement space includes the area measured to the outside face of basement or foundation walls.
Exterior bridges and tunnels that are totally enclosed, constructed areas connecting two or more
buildings are included in building exterior gross area. This measurement indicates total constructed
space and is useful for building efficiency and construction cost comparisons. (Source: ASTM E 1836-
Areaway An open subsurface space adjacent to a building used to admit light or air or as a means of access to a basement.
ARIMD Army Reserve Installation ManagementDirectorate
armored cable (metal-clad cable) An electrical conduit of flexible steel cable wrapped around insulated wires.
armored front A tamperproof metal plate that covers the set screws of a mortise lock.
aromatic red cedar A highly aromatic, fine-textured wood with a distinctive red and white color used for fence posts and rails and for mothproofing closets.
arrester (1) A wire screen at the top of a chimney or incinerator to prevent burning material from flying out. (2) In electrical equipment, a protective device that limits surge voltages by diverting current.
arris fillet (doubling piece, tilting fillet) A triangular piece of wood used under roofing to tilt it away from a vertical surface, such as a parapet or chimney. See also cant strip.
arris hip tile (angle hip tile) An L-shaped roof tile manufactured to fit over the hip of a roof.
arrissing tool A special float used to round the edges of freshly placed concrete.
arrow diagram A CPM (Critical Path Method) diagram in which arrows represent activities in a project.
ARS asbestos roof shingles
article A subdivision of a document such as a contract document.
AS automatic sprinkler
ASBC American Standard Building Code
Asbestos A hazardous building material that is no longer used. Its handling and disposal is now highly regulated as it can cause life-threatening disease. Originally used for its insulating and fire resistance properties.
asbestos (asbestos fiber) A flexible, noncombustible, inorganic fiber used primarily in construction as a fireproofing and insulating material. Because airborne asbestos fibers have been demonstrated to constitute a health hazard, the use of asbestos for new construction is heavily regulated and generally banned for all practical purposes.
asbestos blanket Asbestos fibers woven or bonded into a flexible blanket that at one time was used as a fire or heat barrier.
asbestos felt A building product used extensively in roofing and sheathing systems that was made by saturating asbestos felt material with asphalt or some other binder.
asbestos plaster A fireproof plaster with high insulating properties made from asbestos fibers and bentonite.
asbestos removal A special trade that has developed since the health hazards of airborne asbestos have been revealed. Applies principally to ceiling tile, fireproofing, and pipe insulation.
asbestos roof shingle Roofing shingle containing asbestos fibers.
asbestos roofing Rigid asbestos-cement sheets, either flat or corrugated, with good insulating and fireproofing qualities.
asbestos waterproofing A foundation waterproofing in sheet form consisting of PVC with an asbestos sheet backing.
asbestos work A classification system designed by OSHA that rates the level of training needed to perform asbestos-related tasks. Class I involves the removal or abatement of thermal insulation or surfacing asbestos-containing materials (ACM); Class II involves removing asbestos floor or ceiling tiles, siding, roofing or piping; Class III involves repair and maintenance operations where employees may disturb ACM; and Class IV involves custodial activities during which employees contact ACM.
asbestos-cement board (asbestos cement wallboard, asbesto sheeting wallboard, asbestos sheeting) A dense, rigid board made from asbestos fibers bonded together with Portland cement and used formerly in building construction where fire or heat protection was required.
as-built drawings Record drawings made during construction. As-built drawings record the locations, sizes, and nature of concealed items such as structural elements, accessories, equipment, devices, plumbing lines, valves, mechanical equipment, and the like. These records (with dimensions) form a permanent record for future reference. Architectural and engineering drawings that record the current locations of primary building features, walls, primary building equipment, mechanical system outlets, and equipment.
as-built schedule A time-scaled graphic depiction of the historical record of events, activities, and progress of a given project.
ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange
ASEC American Standard Elevator Codes
ash dump An opening in the bottom of a firebox or fireplace into which ashes are swept, falling into an ashpit below.
ashpit A cleanout under a fireplace, usually at the base of a chimney, where ashes are removed.
ASHRAE American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
ASME American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Asphalt Most native asphalt is a residue from evaporated petroleum, It is insoluble in water but soluble in gave, line when heated, Used widely in building for waterproofing roof coverings of many types, exterior wall coverings, flooring tile, and the like.
asphalt adhesives A solid or semi-solid mixture of bitumens used to bond surfaces.
asphalt cement Asphalt that has been refined to meet the specifications for use in paving and other special uses. It is classified by penetration. See also penetration.
asphalt dampproofing The application of asphalt to the surface of a concrete or masonry wall to prevent passage of absorption of water or moisture.
asphalt felt Felt impregnated with asphalt and used in roofing and sheathing systems. See also asphalt-prepared roofing.
asphalt pavement structure All the successive courses of asphalt products placed above the subgrade in a section of pavement.
asphalt penetration A measure of the hardness or consistency of asphalt, expressed as the distance a needle of standard diameter will penetrate a sample under given time, load, and temperature conditions.
asphalt plank A reinforced, premolded, structural plank made of asphalt-impregnated fibers and mineral filler. The material comes in 3′ to 8′ lengths, 6″ to 12″ wide.
asphalt seal coat A thin asphalt surface treatment used to waterproof and improve the wearing surface texture of pavement, particularly that of an asphaltic macadam. Depending on the intended purpose for the pavement, a seal coat may or may not include aggregate.
asphalt shingles (composition shingles, strip slates) Roofing felt saturated with asphalt, coated on the weather side with a harder asphalt and aggregate particles, and cut into shingles for application to a sloped roof.
asphalt, blown Asphalt that has had air blown through it at high temperatures to give it workability for roofing, pipe coating, foundation waterproofing, and other purposes.
asphaltic macadam A term generally referring to a penetration method of paving whereby the aggregate is placed first, then liquid asphalt is sprayed into the voids, followed by the addition of a finer-graded aggregate. Penetration macadam usually needs a seal coat to prevent damage caused by water infiltration.
asphaltic mastic (mastic asphalt) A viscous asphaltic material used as an adhesive, a waterproofing material, and a joint sealant.
asphalt-prepared roofing (asphaltic felt, bituminous felt, cold-process roofing, prepared roofing, rolled roofing, rolled strip roofing, roofing felt, sanded bituminous felt, saturated felt, self-finished roofing felt) A roof covering manufactured in rolls and made from asphalt-impregnated felt with a harder layer of asphalt applied to the surface of the felt. All or part of the “weather” side may be covered with aggregate of various sizes and colors.
asphyxiant A substance that interferes with the normal function of the lungs.
aspiration In an air-conditioning system, the introduction of room air into the flow of air from a diffuser.
as-planned schedule A project schedule prepared by the contractor to indicate the intended progress and method of performance.
ASSE American Society of Sanitary Engineering
assembly adhesive A powerful adhesive used to bond parts together, as in the manufacture of furniture or marine equipment.
assembly drawing A drawing showing all parts of a machine or structure in operating position.
assessment (1) A tax on property. (2) A charge for specific services, such as sewer or water, by a government agency.
assessment ratio The ratio between the market value and assessed valuation of a property, expressed as a percent.
Asset Management A process of proactively managing a buildings assets to ensure maximum efficiency and return on capital investment.
Asset Register An asset register is used to record the specification, make and model details of equipment and plant within a building. It is used for both planned and reactive maintenance services to ensure the service schedule meets specifications.
Assignable Square Feet A term used to describe areas that may be occupied and is acceptable for a designated purpose or
function. It does not include walls, stairways, corridors, restrooms, parking facilities or mechanical space.
assignment (1) A transfer of rights, frequently involving rights arising under a contract. (2) With respect to a contract, a document stating that payment for work completed or materials delivered must be made to someone other than the company or person specified in the contract.
astragal (1) A molding attached to one of a pair of doors or casement windows to cover up the joint between two stiles. (2) A bead molding, most often half-round and ornate, with a narrow flat band, or fillet, on at least one side.
asymmetric A term used to describe the offset current waveform that can accompany an electric fault.
AT asphalt tile, airtight
ATC acoustical tile ceiling architectural terra-cotta, automatic temperature control
atmospheric pressure The pressure (14.7 psi) exerted by the earth’s atmosphere at sea level under standard conditions.
Atterberg test Laboratory tests to determine the Atterberg limits.
attic tank A domestic water storage tank installed above the highest plumbing fixture in a building to provide water pressure by gravity.
Attic ventilators In structures, screened opening) provided to ventilate an attic space, They are located in the soflit area as inlet ventilators and in the gable end or along the ridge as outlet ventilators, They can also consist of power-driven fans used as an exhaust system, (See also Louver,)
audit The examination of records, documents, and other evidence for the purpose of determining the propriety of transactions and assessing fiscal compliance with relevant cost and accounting requirements.
autogenous healing The natural tendency of concrete or mortar to repair surface hairline cracks when kept in contact with water.
automatic Descriptive of any device activated by the environment or a predetermined condition, such as a ventilator that opens at a given temperature.
automatic fire pump A pump in a standpipe or sprinkler system that turns on when the water pressure drops below a predetermined level.
automatic fire vent (automatic smoke vent) A device in the roof of a building that operates automatically to control fire or smoke.
automatic iris An optical device, much like the iris in the eye, containing a diaphragm that expands and contracts to control the amount of light that passes through the lens.
automatic smoke vent See automatic fire vent.
automatic sprinkler system A fire safety system designed to provide instant and continuous spraying of water over large areas in the case of fire.
automatic temperature control Electromechanical temperature- regulating equipment. ATC equipment is usually not integrated with other components of a Building Automation System because it is not digital.
automatic transfer switch In an electrical system, a switch that automatically transfers the load to another circuit when the voltage drops below a predetermined level.
AW actual weight
award A party’s formal communication of their acceptance of a bid or proposal for services, construction, materials, or equipment.
AWI Architectural Woodwork Institute
awning A projection over a door or window, often retractable, for protection against rain and sun.
awning window A window that is hinged at the top.
AWWI American Wood Window Institute
ax (axe) A sharp-edged hand tool for splitting wood and hewing timber.
axis A straight line representing the center of symmetry of a plane or solid object.
azimuth The horizontal angle measured clockwise from north to an object.
B beam, boron, brightness
BA bright annealed
back boxing Thin boards used in construction of double-hung windows to enclose the channel in which the sash weights hang, and to keep the channel free of mortar. See also back lining.
Back Charge Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party to whom billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractors bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, such as a tub chip or broken window.
back clip A special clip used on the hydraulic door closer or door check which reduces the speed with which the door can be opened.
back coating Asphalt coating applied to the back of shingles or rolled roofing.
back flap (back fold, back shutter) That leaf of a folding window shutter which falls behind the exposed leaf, sometimes in a recess in the casing.
back gutter A shallow gutter installed on the upslope side of a chimney on a sloping roof. A back gutter is used to divert water around the chimney.
back iron Reinforcing steel plateon a wood plane.
back lining (back jamb) (1) In a weighted sash window, the thin wood strip that closes the jamb of a cased frame to provide a smooth surface for the operation of the sash and, where applicable, prevents abrasion of brickwork by the sash weights. (2) The framing piece that constitutes the back recess for box shutters.
back siphonage The backward flow of used, contaminated, or polluted water from a plumbing fixture or vessel into the potable water supply, often due to negative pressure in a pipe. See also backflow.
back vent In plumbing, a venting device installed on the downstream side of a trap to protect it from siphonage.
backband A rabbeted molding used to surround the outside edge of a casing in an opening such as a door or window.
backbone subsystem In a premises distribution system, the cable that runs from the equipment room to the various floors in a building. In a single-floor building, the subsystem is the main trunk of the communications system.
backfill Earth, soil, or other material used to replace previously excavated material, as around a newly constructed foundation wall.
backflap hinge (flap hinge) A hinge with a flat plate or strap to fasten to the face of a door or shutter. This type of hinge is used especially when the stile is too thin to accept a butt hinge.
backflow (1) The unintentional reversal of the normal and intended direction of flow. Backflow is sometimes caused by back siphonage. (2) The flow of water or other liquids, mixtures, or substances into the distributing pipes of a potable water supply system from a source other than the intended source. See also back siphonage.
backing (1) The bevel applied to the upper edge of a hip rafter. (2) Positioning furring onto joists to create a level surface on which to lay floorboards. (3) Furring applied to the inside angles of walls or partitions to provide solid corners for securing wallboard. (4) The first coat of plaster on lath. (5) The unseen or unfinished inner face of a wall. (6) Coursed masonry applied over an extrados of an arch. (7) Interior wall bricks concealed by the facing bricks. (8) The wainscoting between a floor and a window. (9) The material under the pile or facing of a carpet. (10) The stone used for random rubble walls.
backing board (1) In a suspended acoustical ceiling, gypsum board to which acoustical tiles are secured. (2) Gypsum wallboard or other material secured to wall studs prior to paneling to provide rigidity, sound insulation, and fire resistance.
backjoint A rabbet in masonry such as that over a fireplace to receive a wood nailer.
backlight To illuminate from behind (and often above) an object.
back-mop To apply hot bituminous material, either by mop or mechanical applicator, to the underside of roofing felt during the construction of a built-up roof.
back-nailing Nailing the layers, or plies, of a built-up roof to the substrate to help prevent slippage. Performed in addition to hot mopping.
Backout Work the framing contractor does after the mechanical subcontractors (Heating-Plumbing-Electrical) finish their phase of work at the Rough (before insulation) stage to get the home ready for a municipal frame inspection. Generally, the framing contractor repairs anything disturbed by others and completes all framing necessary to pass a Rough Frame Inspection.
back-paint To apply paint to the reverse or unseen side of an object, not for appearance but for protection against weather.
backplastering Plaster applied to one face of a lath system following the application and subsequent hardening of plaster that has been applied to the opposite face.
backsplash A protective panel, apron, or sheet of waterproof material positioned on a wall behind a sink, counter, or lavatory.
backup (1) That part of a masonry wall behind the exterior facing. (2) Any substance placed into a joint to seal the joint and reduce its depth, and/or to inhibit sagging of the sealant. (3) Overflow due to blockage in a piping system.
BACnet Building Automation and Control Networks. Defines an XML data model and Web service interface for integrating
facility data from disparate data sources with business management applications. Conforms to Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1
badger A tool used to remove excess mortar or other deposits from the inside of pipes or culverts after they have been laid. See also badger plane.
badger plane A large, wooden hand plane for rabbeting, whose mouth is fashioned obliquely from side to side to allow its use close to corners.
baffle (1) A tray or partition employed on conveying equipment to direct or change the direction of flow. (2) An opaque or translucent plate-like protective shield used against direct observation of a light source; a light baffle. (3) A plate-like device for reducing sound transmission. (4) Any construction intended to change the direction of flow of a liquid.
bag (sack) A quantity of Portland cement; 94 pounds in the United States, 87.5 pounds in Canada, 112 pounds in the United Kingdom, and 50 kilograms in most other countries. Different weights per bag are commonly used for other types of cement.
bag trap A plumbing trap, shaped like an S, whose inlet and outlet are in alignment.
bakelite A plastic developed for use in electrical fittings, door handles, pulls, etc. Bakelite has high chemical and electrical resistance.
balance arm A supporting arm at the side of a projected window which allows the sash to be opened without an appreciable change in its center of gravity.
balanced circuit A three-wire electric power circuit whose main conductors all carry substantially equal currents, either alternating or direct, and in which there exists substantially equal voltages between each main conductor and neutral.
balanced sash A sash in a double-hung window that requires very little effort to raise or lower because its weight is counterbalanced with weights or pretensioned springs.
balancing (1) Adjusting the mass distribution of a rotor to diminish journal vibrations and control the forces on the bearings from eccentric loading. (2) In an HVAC system, adjusting the system to produce the desired level of heating and cooling in each area of a building.
ball joint A flexible mechanical joint that allows the axis of one part to be set at an angle to the other by virtue of the design of the two components. One possesses a fixed spherical shell to accommodate the ball-shaped end of the other.
Ballast A transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.
ballast cycling The undesirable condition that occurs when the ballast turns lamps on and off because of an overheated thermal switch.
ballast factor The ratio of the luminous output of a lamp when functioning on a ballast to its luminous output when functioning under standardized rating conditions.
Balloon A loan that has a series of monthly payments with the remaining balance due in a large lump sum payment at the end.
Balloon framed wall Framed walls (generally over 10′ tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof. This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss.
balloon framing (balloon frame) A style of wood framing in which the vertical structural members (the posts and studs) are single, continuous pieces from sill to roof plate. The intermediate floor joists are supported by ledger boards spiked to or let into the studs. The elimination of cross grains in the studding reduces differential shrinkage.
ballpark figure A rough estimate.
balsa (corkwood) A soft, porous wood which, at a density of 7-10 pounds per cubic foot, makes it lighter in weight than any other wood. Balsa is used for models and as the core material in lightweight sandwich panels.
Balusters Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as ‘pickets’ or ‘spindles’.
Balustrade The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.
band (1) A group of small bars or the wire encircling the main reinforcement in a concrete structural member to form a peripheral tie. A band is also a group of bars distributed in a slab, wall, or footing. (2) A horizontal ornamental feature of a wall, such as a flat frieze or fascia, usually having some kind of projecting molding at its upper and lower edges. (3) Frequencies that occur in a range between two set limits.
banister (1) A handrail. (2) A balustrade, especially one on the side of a staircase. See also baluster.
bar (1) A deformed steel member used to reinforce concrete. (2) A solid piece of metal whose length is substantially greater than its width.
bar chart (Gantt chart) A chart that graphically describes activities on a work-versus-time scale, illustrating planned start and completion dates for the various project activities.
bar joist A light steel joist of open-web construction with a single zigzag bar welded to upper and lower chords at the points of contact. Used as floor and roof supports.
bar mat An assembly of steel reinforcement composed of two or more layers of bars placed at right angles to each other and tied together by welding or wire ties.
bar strainer (1) A screening device, fabricated from parallel bars or rods, used over a drain to prevent the entrance of foreign objects. (2) A bar screen.
barb bolt (rag bolt) A bolt with jagged edges that prevent it from being easily removed from any object into which it has been driven.
bare cost The estimated cost of an item of work or a project before the bidder’s markup for overhead and profit.
bargain and sale deed A deed in which the grantor admits that he has some interest in, though not necessarily a clear and unencumbered title to, the property being conveyed. This kind of deed often contains a warranty that the grantor did not encumber the property or convey away any part of the title during his period of ownership.
Barge Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.
Barge board A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end. At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.
bargeboard A board that hangs from the projecting end of a gable roof, often ornamental.
barn-door hanger A type of hanger used for heavy exterior sliding or rolling doors. Consisting of two pulleys secured in tandem to the top of the door and connected by a heavy metal strap. The door moves by rolling along a horizontal track that either hangs from the lintel or is anchored to a parallel member projecting slightly from it.
Baroque A style of architecture and decoration developed in the late 17th century and characterized by the elaborate use of scrolls, curves, and other symmetrical ornamentation.
barracks A usually simple, unadorned building or group of buildings that provide temporary housing, often for military personnel.
barrel bolt (tower bolt) A cylindrical bolt mounted on a plate that has a case projecting from its surface to contain and guide the bolt.
barrow run A temporary smooth ramp of planks or plywood for wheeled transport of materials at a construction site.
base (scrubboard, skirting board, washboard) (1) The lowest part of anything upon which the whole rests. (2) A subfloor slab or “working mat,” either previously placed and hardened or freshly placed, on which floor topping is placed. (3) The underlying stratum on which a concrete slab, such as pavement, is placed. (4) A board or molding used against the bottom of walls to cover their joint with the floor and to protect them from kicks and scuffs. (5) The protection covering the unfinished edge of plaster or gypsum board. (6) The lowest visible part of a building.
base angle Angle iron stock attached to the perimeter of a foundation for supporting and aligning tilt-up wall panels.
base bid The amount of money stated in the bid as the sum for which the bidder offers to perform the work described in the bidding documents, prior to the adjustments for alternate bids that have been submitted.
base bid specifications The specifications that list or describe those specific materials, equipment, and construction methods which comprise the base bid exclusive of any alternate bids.
base block A usually unadorned, squared block that terminates a molded baseboard at an opening or serves as a base when attached to the foot of a door or the bottom of window trim.
base course (1) A layer of material of specified thickness constructed on the subgrade or sub-base of a pavement to serve one or more functions, such as distributing loads, providing drainage, or minimizing frost action. (2) The lowest course of masonry in a wall, pier, foundation, or footing course.
base flashing (1) In roofing, the flashing supplied by the upturned edges of a watertight membrane. (2) The metal or composition flashing used with any roofing material at the joint between the roofing surface and a vertical surface, such as a parapet or wall.
base map A map employed in urban planning to indicate the principal outstanding physical characteristics of an area and which is thereafter used as a reference for subsequent mapping.
Base or baseboard A trim board placed against the wall around the room next to the floor.
base sheet The saturated and/or coated felt sheeting laid as the first ply in a built-up roof system.
Base shoe Molding used next to the floor on interior base board. Sometimes called a carpet strip.
baseboard heater A heating system in which the heating elements are structured in special panels placed horizontally along the baseboard of a wall.
baseboard radiator unit A heating device designed to be positioned in a room so as to replace a baseboard. The heat source is commonly from hot water, steam, or electricity.
Baseline Costs The overall costs for providing the facilities service, including sub-contracted elements, within the scope of the contract but excluding overheads and profit.
basement soil See subgrade.
Basement window inserts The window frame and glass unit that is installed in the window buck.
basic insulation level The measure of the insulation capability of a piece of electrical equipment; the equipment’s ability to withstand very high voltage surges.
basic module (1) A unit of dimension used when coordinating the sizes of building elements and other components. (2) The fundamental unit of size in the systems of coordination in metric building, or 100 mm.
basin (1) A somewhat circular natural or excavated hollow or depression having sloping sides and usually used for holding water. (2) A similarly shaped plumbing fixture, such as a sink.
basin wrench A wrench with a long shank and ratcheted jaws used in plumbing for difficult-to-reach areas, as when installing a faucet behind a sink.
basket crib A construction of interlocking timbers which can be arranged to function as a shaft liner, a protective device around a concrete pier in water, or a temporary floating foundation.
BASOPS Base Operations
bastard pointing In masonry, a type of pointing that emphasizes the joint by forming a small ridge projecting along its center.
batch plant An installation of equipment including batchers and mixers as required for batching and mixing concrete materials. Called a mixing plant when mixing equipment is included.
batement light A window constructed with an angular bottom to fit a curved or sloping member.
Batt A section of fiber-glass or rock-wool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and various thickness’.  Sometimes “faced” (meaning to have a paper covering on one side) or “unfaced” (without paper).
batten (1) A narrow strip of wood used as siding to cover the joints of parallel boards or plywood. The resultant pattern is referred to as board and batten. (2) A strip of wood placed perpendicular to several parallel pieces of wood to hold them together. (3) A furring strip fastened to a wall to provide a base for lathing or plastering. (4) In roofing, a strip of wood placed over boards or roof structural members to provide a base for the application of wood or slate shingles, or clay tiles. (5) The steel strip that fastens the metal flooring on a fire escape.
batten roll (conical roll) In metal roofing, a roll joint fabricated over a triangular wood piece.
batten seam In metal roofing, a seam fabricated around a wood strip.
batter brace (batter post) (1) A bracing member positioned diagonally so as to reinforce an end of a truss. (2) An inclined timber that forms a side support to a tunnel roof.
Bauhaus A school of art, design, and architecture established by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany, 1919.
bay (1) In construction, the space between two main trusses or beams. (2) The space between two adjacent piers or mullions, or between two adjacent lines of columns. (3) A small, well-defined area of concrete laid in the course of placing larger areas, such as floors, pavements, or runways. (4) The projecting structure of a bay window.
bay stall A built-in window seat at the opening of a bay window.
bay window A usually large window or group of windows that projects from a wall of a building forming a recess within the building.
BC building code
BCWCID Bell County Water Conservation Improvement District
BE in the piping industry, beveled end
bead (1) Any molding, stop, or caulking used around a glass panel to hold it in position. (2) A stop or strip of wood against which a door or window sash closes. (3) A strip of sheet metal that has been fabricated so as to have a projecting nosing and two perforated or expanded flanges. A bead is used as a stop at the perimeter of a plastered surface or as reinforcement at the corners. (4) A narrow, half-round molding, either attached to or milled on a larger piece. (5) A square or rectangular trim less than 1″ in width and thickness. (6) A choker ferrule; the knob on the end of a choker.
bead plane A special plane with a curved cutting edge employed in the cutting of beads in wood.
Beam A structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a “girder”.
beam fill (beam filling) Masonry, brickwork, or concrete placed between floor or ceiling joists to stiffen the joists and provide fire resistance.
beam spread A measure of the dispersion of a beam of light. Expressed as the angle between two directions in the plane in which the candlepower is equal to a specified percent (usually 10%) of the maximum candlepower in the beam.
bearer (1) A horizontal member of a scaffold on which the platform rests and which may be supported by ledgers. (2) Any load-supporting horizontal structural member. (3) Any device that provides support for a landing or window in a stair. (4) In balloon framing, the ribbon board on which the joists for the second floor rest.
bearing (1) That section of a structural member, such as a column, beam, or truss, which rests on the supports. (2) A device used to support or steady a shaft, axle, or trunnion. (3) In surveying, the horizontal angle between a reference direction, such as true north, and a given line. (4) Descriptive of any wall that provides support to the floor and/or roof of a building.
Bearing header (a) A beam placed perpendicular to joists and to which joists are nailed in framing for a chimney, stairway, or other opening. (b) A wood lintel. (c) The horizontal structural member over an opening (for example over a door or window).
Bearing partition A partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Bearing point A point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation
bearing stratum The soil or rock stratum on which a footing or mat bears or carries the load transferred to it by a pile, caisson, or similar deep foundation unit.
Bearing wall A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
bed molding (1) A molding placed at the angle between a vertical surface and an overhanging horizontal surface, such as between a side wall and the eaves of a building. (2) The lowest molding in a band of moldings. (3) In classical architecture, a molding of a cornice of an entablature, located between the corona and the frieze.
bed timber A large wood member set perpendicular to trusses that serves as a foundation or support element.
bedding dot A small area of plaster built out of the face of a finished wall or ceiling that acts as a screed for leveling and plumbing in a plastering operation.
bedrock Solid rock that underlies the earth’s surface soil and which can provide, by its very existence, the foundation on which a heavy structure may be erected.   A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure.
BEES® Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability
before-sheathing window A window installed before the wall sheathing is in place.
bell loop The circuit that provides notification of a fire condition in a fire alarm system.
bell trap A bell-shaped trap sometimes used in floor drains. Its installation for residential use is prohibited by the National Plumbing Code.
belling In pier, caisson, or pile construction, the process of enlarging the base of a foundation element at the bearing stratum to provide more bearing area.
bellows expansion joint In a run of piping, a joint accomplished with flexible metal bellows that can expand and/or contract linearly to allow for thermally induced linear fluctuations of the run itself.
belt (1) A flexible continuous loop that conveys power (or materials) between the pulleys or rollers around which it passes. (2) A course of brick or stone which protrudes from a wall of similar material and is usually positioned in line with the windowsills.
belt sander An electrically powered, portable sanding tool with a continuous abrasive belt driven in one direction only. A belt sander is used to smooth surfaces, usually wood.
belvedere A rooftop pavillion or a small structure, like a gazebo, for enjoying a vista.
bench mark (1) A marked reference point on a permanent object, such as a metal disc set in concrete, whose elevation as referenced to a datum is known. (2) A mark made by a surveyor or general contractor to be used as a reference point when measuring the elevation or location of other points.
bench plane A plane, such as a block plane or a jack plane, used primarily in bench work on flat surfaces.
bench sander An electrically powered, bench-mounted sanding machine that uses a rotating abrasive disk or grinder, or a continuous abrasive belt, to smooth the surface of objects held against it.
bench stop A usually notched, adjustable metal apparatus fastened close to an end of a workbench to hold a piece of wood securely during planing.
benched foundation (stepped foundation) A foundation cut as a series of horizontal steps in an inclined bearing stratum to prevent sliding when loaded.
Benchmarking The process of one organisation comparing an element of a contract such as performance or cost, or a specific process or method with an organisation in a similar industry, often an industry standard or best practice example.
bend test Subjecting a flat bar to a 180° cold bend in order to test its weld or steel and to check its ductility, which is verified if no cracking occurs during the test.
benefits, mandatory and customary The employee benefits required by law (such as social security, workers’ compensation, and disability insurance) and by custom (such as vacation, sick leave) as well as those that are optional, depending on the individual firm (such as pension plans, life insurance).
berm (1) An artificially placed continuous ridge or bank of earth, usually along a roadside. Also called a shoulder. (2) A ridge or bank of earth placed against a masonry wall. (3) A ledge or strip of earth placed so as to support pipes or beams. (4) Earthen dikes or embankments constructed to retain water on land that will be flood-irrigated. (5) Earthen or paved dike-like embankments for diverting runoff water. (6) A raised wall enclosing a liquid waste storage or spill area. (7) An asphaltic concrete or concrete curb.
Best Value Bid Builder’s final selection based on some weighting of the Total Cost and other criterion such as
bevel angle In welding, the angle created by the prepared edge of a member and a plane perpendicular to the surface of the member.
bevel board (pitch board) A board that has been cut to a predetermined desired, or required, angle and employed in any angular wood construction, including roof and stair framing.
beveled edge (1) A vertical front edge on a door, cut so as to have a slope of 1/8″ in 2″ from a plane perpendicular to the face of the door. (2) The factory-applied angle on the edge of gypsum board which creates a “vee” grooved joint when two pieces are installed together. (3) A chamfer strip incorporated into concrete forms for columns or beams so as to eliminate sharp corners on the finished product.
Beyond Information Models Uses currently available technologies and couples them with proven business management techniques to achieve integrated practice results—today, efficiently, and economically. Beyond Information Models firms have changed their working practices, methods, and behaviors to better support their clients. They practice “small is the new big” and achieve significant practice improvements.
bg bag
BG below ground or below grade
B-grade wood The classification of a somewhat inferior grade of solid surface veneer that contains visible repair plugs and tight knots.
Bh Brinell hardness
BI black iron
bid A complete signed proposal to perform work (or a designated portion) for a stipulated sum. A bid is submitted in accordance with the bidding documents.
bid abstract (summary) On a given project, a compilation of bidders and their respective bids, usually separated into individual items.
bid assembly The compiling of all estimates, prices, and sub-bids to produce a bid.
bid bond A form of security executed by the bidder or principal in conjunction with a surety to guarantee that the bidder will enter into a contract within a specified period of time and will furnish the required bonds for performance and labor and materials payment.
bid call A published announcement that bids for a specific construction project will be accepted at a designated time and place. See also advertisement for bids.
bid date A predetermined date for the receipt of bids, usually set by the architect and owner.
bid form A form, furnished to the bidder, on which to submit his bid.
bid guarantee See bid security.
bid letting See bid opening.
bid opening (bid letting) A formal meeting held at a specified time and place at which sealed bids are opened, tabulated, and read aloud.
bid package All drawings, specifications, documents, estimates, paperwork, bid forms, and bid bonds relevant to a construction project. A contract is based on the bid package.
bid price The amount for which a bidder offers to perform work. (This sum is stated in the bid.)
bid protest A challenge by a disappointed bidder. On a government contract, this is submitted to the Contracting Officer or the GAO.
bid results The display of all the bids on a project.
bid security (bid guarantee) A bid bond or deposit submitted with a bid to guarantee to the owner that the bidder, if awarded the contract, will execute the contract within a specified period of time and will furnish any bonds or other requirements of the bid documents.
Bid shopping A practice by which contractors, both before and after their bids are submitted, attempt to obtain prices from potential subcontractors and material suppliers that are lower than the contractors’ original estimates on which their bids are based, or after a contract is awarded, seek to induce subcontractors to reduce the subcontract price included in the bid.
bid time The exact date and time for submission of bids, established by the owner or architect. See also bid date.
bidder An entity or person who submits a bid for a prime contract with the owner. A bidder is not a contractor on a specific project until a contract is signed between the bidder and the owner.
bidders mailing list A list of contractors to whom an owner or his representative sends invitations for bids for a particular project.
bidding documents Documents usually including advertisement or invitation to bidders, instructions to bidders, bid form, form of contract, forms of bonds, conditions of contract, specifications, drawings, addenda, and any other information needed to completely describe the work so that constructors can adequately prepare proposals or bids for the owner’s consideration.
bidding period The period of time beginning with the issuance of bidding documents, and ending at the bid time.
bidding requirements Those instructions included in the bidding documents, such as the invitation or advertisement for bids, instructions to bidders, bid form, and bid bond.
bidet A low, basin-like bathroom fixture used for washing the lower part of the body.
BIFM The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) is one of the leading trade bodies in the UK facilities management industry. Founded in 1993, the Institute provides information, education, training and networking services for over 12,000 members – both individual professionals and organisations.
Bifold door Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.
bilateral contract A contract in which both contracting parties are bound to fulfill obligations towards each other.
BIM 1. To manage project information including data creation and the iterative process of exchanging data through the built environment value network: BIM includes processes by which the right information is made available to the right person at the right time. BIM adds intelligence to project data to allow data to be interpreted correctly removing attribution errors and assumptions. Or…2. To create or work with a single archive where every item is described once: Graphical representations drawings and non-graphical documents—specifications, schedules, and other data are included. Changes are made to any item in one place and changes flow through the system. Or… 3. To represent physical and functional characteristics of an asset digitally in a reliable archive of asset information, from conception onward: without open standards and a focus on shared data, it is proprietary, not interoperable and not BIM.
BIM Barriers (Bilal Succar Blog – BIM ThinkSpace) There are significant barriers to improving processes in the built environment. Some of the barriers are due to ignorance…people do not know what they do not know. Some are due to inertia…people have a hard time changing to new ways of doing things. Some are due to self-interest…people are looking out for “number one”. Some of the barriers are slowing the change and others are undermining the benefits to society. As people ‘paint’ the changes with their version of whitewash to confuse, confound and create personal advantage, BIM Washing takes place.
BIMstorm BIMstorms demonstrate the power of faster and better communication, fuller stakeholder participation and, up-to-date…real-time information. Information models and Integrated Process data grows over time…allowing the management of facilities from beginning to end… without recreating the data at every step. The programs better align project needs, scope and budgets using BIM and Integrated Processes.
bimXML Describes building data (sites, buildings, floors, spaces, and equipment and their attributes) in a simplified spatial building model (extruded shapes and spaces) for BIM collaboration. This XML Schema was developed as an alternative to full scale IFC models to simplify data exchanges between various AEC applications and to connect Building Information Models through Web Services.
binary code In computer technology, a system of representing numbers or letters using the base-2 (binary) number system.
binder (1) Almost any cementing material, either hydrated cement or a product of cement or lime and reactive siliceous materials. The kinds of cement and the curing conditions determine the general type of binder formed. (2) Any material, such as asphalt or resin, that forms the matrix of concretes, mortars, and sanded grouts. (3) That ingredient of an adhesive composition which is principally responsible for the adhesive properties that actually hold the two bodies together. (4) In paint, that nonvolatile ingredient, such as oil, varnish, protein, or size, which serves to hold the pigment particles together in a coherent film. (5)A stirrup or other similar contrivance, usually of small-diameter rod, which functions to hold together the main steel in a reinforced concrete beam or column.
binding post (1) A set screw that holds a conductor against the terminal of a device or on equipment. (2) A post attached to an electric wire, cable, or apparatus to facilitate a connection to it.
bin-wall A retaining, supporting, or protective structure made from a group of connected bins filled with gravel or sand. May serve as an abutment, a pier, a retaining wall, or as a shield against gunfire or explosion.
bioaccumulative A substance that enters the body but is not removed through normal bodily functions.
biometric-activated access A computerized security system using biological information such as fingerprints, iris scan, facial recognition, voice, retinal scans.
bioventing A process that intentionally stimulates in-situ biological degradation; also called soil venting.
biparting door A sliding door with two leaves that slide in the same plane and meet at the door opening.
Bipass doors Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors.
bit gauge (bit stop) A piece of metal projecting outward from a bit to limit its depth of penetration.
bitumen Any of several mixtures of naturally occurring or synthetically rendered hydrocarbons and other substances obtained from coal or petroleum by distillation. Bitumen is incorporated in asphalt and tar and is used in road surfacing and waterproofing operations.
bituminous base course (black base) Bituminously bound aggregate serving as a foundation for binder courses and surface courses in asphalt paving operations.
bituminous cement A class of dark substances composed of intermediate hydrocarbons. Bituminous cement is available in solid, semisolid, or liquid states at normal temperatures.
bituminous coating Any waterproof or protective coating whose base is a compound of asphalt or tar.
bituminous emulsion (1) A suspension of any globules of a bituminous substance in water or an aqueous solution. (2) An invert emulsion of the above, i.e., a suspension of tiny globules of water or an aqueous solution in a liquid bituminous substance. This type of bituminous emulsion is applied to surfaces to provide a weatherproof coating. See also emulsified asphalt.
bituminous felt See asphalt-prepared roofing.
bituminous grout A mixture of bituminous material and fine sand or other aggregate which, when heated, becomes liquid enough to flow into place without mechanical assistance. Bituminous grout will air-cure after being poured into cracks or joints as a filler and/or sealer.
bituminous macadam A paving material comprising bituminously coated coarse aggregate.
bituminous paint A thick black waterproofing paint containing substantial amounts of coal tar or asphalt.
BL building line
B-labeled door A door carrying a certification from Underwriters’ Laboratories that it is of a construction that will pass the standard fire door test required for a Class B opening, and that it has been prepared (with cuts and reinforcement) to receive the hardware required for a Class B opening.
black-light (1) A fluorescent lamp with a phosphor that emits black light. (2) Electron-magnetic energy of the ultraviolet spectrum. Black light is used to excite fluorescent paints and dyes so that they become visible.
Blaine test A method for determining the fineness of cement or other material based on the permeability to air of a sample prepared under specified conditions.
blank door (1) A recess in a wall fitted with a fixed door, and used for architectural effect. (2) A door that has been fixed in position to seal an opening.
blank wall (blind wall, dead wall) A wall with no openings on its entire surface.
blank window (blind window, false window) (1) A recess in a wall, having the appearance of a window. (2) A window that has been sealed off but is still visible.
blanket encumbrance A lien or mortgage levied proportionately on every lot in a given subdivision.
Blankets Fiber
blast freezer A freezer room in which air at subfreezing temperature is circulated by blower for the purpose of freezing foods quickly.
blasting cap A metallic tube closed at one end, containing a charge of one or more detonating compounds, designed for and capable of detonation from the sparks or flame of a safety fuse inserted and crimped into the open end.
bleeder pipe (bleeder tile) A pipe (usually clay) placed to allow water from outside a basement retaining wall to pass through the foundation into drains within the building.
blind (1) Any panel, shade, screen, or similar contrivance used to block light or inhibit viewing. (2) An assembly of wood stiles, rail and wood slats, or louvers used in conjunction with doors and windows.
blind casing The rough window frame or subcasing to which the trim is added.
blind pocket A pocket in the ceiling at a window head. A blind pocket is used to conceal an object when not in use, such as a venetian blind in the raised position.
blind stop A rectangular molding nailed between the outside trim and the outside sash of a window frame, which serves as a stop for storm sashes or screens.
blind window See blank window.
blinding (1) Applying a layer of weak concrete or other suitable material to reduce surface voids or to provide a clean, dry working surface. (2) The clogging of the openings in a screen or sieve by the material being separated. (3) Applying small chips of stone to a freshly tarred surface.
blister (1) Usually an undesirable moisture and/or air-induced bubble or bulge which often indicates that some kind of delamination has taken place. Blisters can occur between finish plaster and the base coat, between paint or varnish and the surface to which it has been applied, between roofing membranes or between membrane and substrate, between reinforcing tape and the gypsum board to which it has been adhered, etc. (2) A tree disease characterized by the seepage of pitch onto the bark surface.
block and tackle A mechanical device comprised of pulley blocks and ropes or cables, and used to hoist or move heavy objects or loads.
Block out To install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area. For example, foundation walls are sometimes “blocked” in order for mechanical pipes to pass through the wall, to install a crawl space door, and to depress the concrete at a garage door location.
block plane A plane with a low-angle cutting blade (about 20°) and designed to be held in one hand. A block plane is used primarily to clean end grain and miters.
Blocked (door blocking) Wood shims used between the door frame and the vertical structural wall framing members.
Blocked (rafters) Short “2 by 4’s” used to keep rafters from twisting, and installed at the ends and at mid-span.
Blocking Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or paneling.
blow count (1) The number of times that an object must be struck to be driven into the soil to a desired or specified depth. (2) In soil borings, the number of times a sample spoon must be struck to be driven 6″ or 12″. (3) In pile driving operations, the number of times a pile must be struck to be driven 12″. (4) The number of blows per unit distance of advance.
Blow insulation Fiber insulation in loose form and used to insulate attics and existing walls where framing members are not exposed.
blowback The difference between the pressure at which a safety valve opens and the pressure at which it closes automatically after the release of excess pressure has occurred.
blower A fan, especially one for heavy-duty use such as forcing air through ducts to an underground excavation.
blown joint (blow joint) A plumbing joint sealed with the use of a blowtorch.
blown-in insulation Insulation that is pumped or injected into walls, roofs, and other areas.
blowtorch A small, portable, gas-fired burner that generates a flame hot enough to melt soft metals. A blowtorch is used to melt lead in plumbing operations, heat soldering irons, and burn off paint.
Blue print(s) A type of copying method often used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing permits and actual construction.
Blue stake Another phrase for Utility Notification. This is when a utility company (telephone, gas, electric, cable TV, sewer and water, etc) comes to the job site and locates and spray paints the ground and/or installs little flags to show where their service is located underground.
blueprint A negative image reproduction having white lines on a blue background and made either from an original or from a positive intermediate print. Today the term almost always refers to diazo prints, which are architectural or working drawings having blue or black lines on a white background.
bluestone A hard, fine-grained sandstone or siltstone of dark green to bluish-gray color that splits readily to form thin slabs. A type of flagstone, bluestone is commonly used for paving walkways.
BMP Best Management Practice
BMS Building management system
Board foot A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1″ x 12″ x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2″ x 12″ x 16′ = 32 board feet
board sheathing A sheathing made of boards, usually tightly spaced, although open spacing may be used in some roofs.
boardwalk A walkway made of boards or planks, often used as a promenade along a beach or shore.
BOCA Building Officials and Code Administrators International
boiler plate (1) Medium-hard steel from which boilers are fabricated. The steel is rolled into plates whose thicknesses may vary from 0.25″ to 1.5″. (2) Standard text used in documents such as contract agreements.
boiler rating The heating capacity of a boiler, expressed in Btus per hour. The boiler rating should not be confused with the horsepower rating. See also boiler horsepower.
bolt (1) An externally threaded, cylindrical fastening device fabricated from a rod, pin, or wire, with a round, square, or hexagonal head that projects beyond the circumference of the shank to facilitate gripping and turning. A threaded nut fits onto the end of a bolt and is tightened by the application of torque. (2) The protruding part of a lock which prevents a door from opening. (3) Raw material used in the manufacture of shingles and shakes. A wedge-shaped split from a short length of log that is taken to a mill for manufacturing. (4) Short logs to be sawn for lumber or peeled for veneer. (5) Wood sections from which barrel staves are made. (6) A large roll of cloth or textile. (7) A single package containing two or more rolls of wallpaper.
BOMA Building Owners and Managers Association.
BOMI Building Owners and Managers Institute.
bona fide bid A good faith bid that is essentially complete and complies with the bidding documents. Must be signed by a properly empowered party.
bond (1) The adhesion and grip of concrete or mortar to reinforcement or to other surfaces against which it is placed, including friction due to shrinkage and longitudinal shear in the concrete engaged by the bar deformations. (2) The adhesion of cement paste to aggregate. (3) Adherence between plaster coat or between plaster and a substratum produced by adhesive or cohesive properties of plaster or supplemental materials. (4) In masonry, the connection between stones, bricks, or other materials formed by laying them in an overlapping arrangement, one on top of another, to form a single wall mass. (5) The arrangement of, or pattern formed by, the exposed faces of laid masonry units. (6) The layer of glue in a plywood joint. (7) A written document, given by a surety in the name of a principal to an obligee to guarantee a specific obligation. See also bid bond, completion bond, fidelity bond, labor and materials payment bond, performance bond, statutory bond, and surety bond.
bond breaker A material used to prevent adhesion between freshly placed concrete and the substrate.
Bond or bonding An amount of money (usually $5,000-$10,000) which must be on deposit with a governmental agency in order to secure a contractor’s license. The bond may be used to pay for the unpaid bills or disputed work of the contractor. Not to be confused with a ‘performance bond’. Such bonds are rarely used in residential construction, they are an insurance policy which guarantees proper completion of a project.
bond plaster A thin coat of specially formulated gypsum plaster applied as a bonding coat to a concrete surface before applying succeeding coats of plaster.
bonded roof A type of roofing guarantee offered by the manufacturer which may or may not be purchased by the owner and which covers materials and/or workmanship for a stated length of time.
bonding In electrical circuitry, the connecting or joining of metal parts to form an electrical conductive path. Prevents the accumulation of static electricity and assures the safe conduction of electrical current.
bonding agent A substance applied to a suitable substrate to create a bond between it and a succeeding layer, as between a subsurface and a terrazzo topping or subsequent application of plaster.
bonding capacity The maximum total contract value a bonding company will extend to a contractor in performance bonds. The total bonding capacity is the sum of all contracts being bonded.
bonding company A firm providing a surety bond for work to be performed by a contractor, payable to the owner in case of default of the contractor. The bond can be for work performance or for payment for materials and labor.
bonus and penalty clause A contract clause assigning payment of a bonus to the contractor when completing the work before a stipulated date. Also contains provision for a charge against the contractor should it fail to complete the work by this date.
bonus provisions Provisions in the contract between the owner and the contractor for granting monetary rewards to the contractor for achieving some savings that benefit the owner. For example, a stipulated bonus may be offered for early completion of the work, or the achievement of some savings in construction cost.
book matching (herringbone matching) Consecutive flitches of veneer from the same log, laid side by side so that the pattern formed is almost symmetrical from the common center line. Book matching is used in decorative paneling and cabinetry.
book value (carrying value, undepreciated value) The net amount at which an asset is carried on the books or reported in the financial statements; the asset’s cost at acquisition, reduced by the amount of accumulated depreciation on the asset.
boom 1. A long, straight member, hinged at one end, and used for lifting heavy objects by means of cables and/or hydraulics. Booms can be of lattice construction or heavy tubular material. 2.     A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place. To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place.
boost-buck transformer A device that raises or lowers the voltage of a supply line.
booster Any device that increases the power, force, or pressure produced by a system.
booster compressor A compressor that increases the productivity of the primary compressor by discharging into its suction line.
booster fan An auxiliary fan that increases the air pressure in a system, such as an HVAC system, during certain peak requirement times.
booster heater In plumbing, an auxiliary heater installed in a hot water piping system to increase the heat in one section.
booster pump An auxiliary pump installed in a system to increase or maintain the pressure or flow.
booster transformer A transformer installed to increase the voltage in an electric circuit.
boot A term used to describe sleeves or coverings in many construction trades, such as a boot for pile driving, a boot for passing a pipe through a roof, and a boot for cold air return to a furnace casing.
bore (1) The inside diameter of a pipe, valve, fitting, or other hollow tubular object. (2) The circular hole left by boring.
borescope A fiber optic device that allows for non-destructive investigation of an area with restricted access, such as a structured mechanical assembly or a cavity inside a wall. Often used with a still or video camera.
boring (borehole) A hole drilled in the ground to obtain samples for subsoil investigation. Borings are important in determining the load-bearing capacity of the soil and the depth of the water table.
boss (1) A projecting block, usually ornamental, placed at the exposed intersection or termination of ribs or beams of a structure. (2) The enlarged portion of a shaft. (3) In masonry, a stone that is left protruding from the surface for carving in place at a later time. (4) A projection left on a cast pipe fitting for alignment or for gripping with tools.
Boston hip (Boston ridge, shingle ridge finish) (1) A method of finishing a ridge or hip on a flexible shingled roof in which a final row of shingles is bent over the ridge or hip with a lateral overlap. (2) A method of finishing a ridge or hip on a rigid-shingled slate or a tile roof in which the last rows on either side overlap at the hip or ridge. Alternate courses overlap in opposite directions.
bottle brick A hollow brick shaped so that it can be mechanically connected to adjoining bricks. In each brick there is also a void available for inserting reinforcing steel, if required.
Bottom chord The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss.
Bottom plate The “2 by 4’s or 6’s” that lay on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed. Also called the ‘sole plate’.
bow window (1) A window that projects from a wall in the shape of an arc. (2) A rounded bay window.
bowstring roof A roof supported by bowstring trusses and fabricated in the shape of a bow.
bowstring truss (bowstring beam, bowstring girder) A structural roof truss having a bow-shaped top cord and a straight or cambered bottom cord.
box chisel A special chisel used to pry open wooden boxes.
box frame A window frame containing hollow sections on either side in which the sash weights are suspended.
box gutter A rectangular-shaped wooden roof gutter recessed in the eaves to conceal them and to protect them from falling foliage.
Box Move No furniture moved, no new wiring or telecommunication systems required. Files and supplies moved.
(Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
box scarf A joint in a rectangular-shaped roof gutter formed by beveling the ends of the two pieces to be joined.
boxed mullion A hollow mullion in a window frame built up from boards so as to appear solid; structures sash weights.
box-head window A window framed with a pocket in the head so that the sash can slide into it to provide maximum ventilation.
boxing (1) Enclosing or casing, as in window frame construction. (2) In welding, continuing a principle fillet weld around a corner of the member. (3) Pouring paint back and forth from one pail to another to ensure a uniform consistency.
BP blueprint, baseplate, bearing pile, building paper
BR bedroom
BRAC Base Realignment and Closure
Brace An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure. Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.
brace rod A round steel member used as a tension brace, especially to transfer wind or seismic loads.
bracket An attachment projecting from a wall or column used to support a weight or a structural member. Brackets are frequently used under a cornice, a bay window, or a canopy.
bracket pile A steel H pile driven next to an existing foundation. A steel bracket is welded to the pile and extends under and supports the foundation.
brad pusher A special tool used to grip and insert a brad in an inaccessible location.
brake (1) A device for slowing, stopping, and holding an object. (2) A machine used to bend sheet metal.
brake drum A rotating cylinder with a machined surface (either internal or external) on which a brake band or shoe presses in order to slow, stop, or hold an object.
brake horsepower The horsepower output of an engine or other mechanical device, as measured at the flywheel or belt by applying a mechanical brake and measuring the work per unit time.
branch In plumbing, an inlet or outlet from the main pipeline, usually at an angle to the main pipeline. The pipe may be a water supply, drain, vent stack, or any other pipe used in a mechanical piping system.
branch drain A drainpipe from the plumbing fixtures or soil line of a building which runs into a main line.
branch duct In HVAC, a smaller duct that branches from the main duct. At each branch duct, the cross-sectional area of the main duct is reduced.
Branch Institution (Campus) A campus or site of an educational institution that is not temporary, is located in a community beyond a reasonable commuting distance from its parent institution, and offers full programs of study, not just courses.
branch vent (1) A vent connecting one or more individual vents to a vent stack or stack vent. (2) A vent pipe to which are connected two or more pipes that vent plumbing fixtures.
brashy A condition of wood characterized by coarse, conspicuous annual rings. Such wood has a low resistance to shock and has a tendency to fail abruptly across the grain without splintering.
brass (1) A copper alloy with zinc as the principal alloying element. (2) Slang for plumbing fittings and faucets, regardless of their actual material of composition.
brazed joint In plumbing, a fitting made watertight and gas-tight by brazing.
breach of contract The failure, without legal cause, to perform some contractually described obligation in accordance with the terms of the contract.
break lines Lines used in drafting to omit part of an object so that the representation will fit on a drawing.
breakdown A term used to define the separation of a project or an estimate into parts.
breaker ball (wrecking ball) See headache ball.
Breaker panel The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.
breast (1) The part of a wall that extends from the window stool to the floor level. (2) A projecting part of a wall, such as at a chimney.
breast board A system of movable sheeting used to retain the face of an excavation, especially in tunnel work.
breast lining Interior wooden paneling applied between the window stool and the baseboard.
breast molding (1) The molding at a windowsill. (2) A Paneling between the windowsill and the floor.
BREEAM Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method
brick A solid masonry unit of clay or shale, formed into a rectangular prism while plastic, and then burned or fired in a kiln. See also adobe brick, arch brick, beam brick, bottle brick, breeze brick, buff standard brick, building brick, economy brick, engineered brick, facing brick, fire brick, floor brick, gauged brick, jumbo brick, Norman brick, paving brick, Roman brick, salmon brick, salt-glazed brick, SCR brick, sewer brick, soft-mud brick, and stiff-mud brick.
brick cement A waterproofed compound used in masonry and stucco work.
Brick ledge Part of the foundation wall where brick (veneer) will rest.
Brick lintel
Brick mold Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to.
brick molding The wood molding covering between the brick masonry and a door or window frame.
Brick tie- A small, corrugated metal strip @ 1″ X 6″- 8″ long nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.
brick trimmer A brick arch supporting a fireplace hearth or shielding a wood trimming joist from flames in front of a fireplace.
Brick veneer A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.
bridge (1) A structure built to span an obstruction or depression and capable of carrying pedestrians and/or vehicles. (2) In an electric blasting cap, the wire that heats with current and ignites the charge. (3) The temporary structure built over a sidewalk or roadway adjacent to a building to protect pedestrians and vehicles from falling objects.
bridge crane A crane often used in manufacturing or assembling heavy objects. A bridge crane requires a bridge spanning two overhead rails. A hoisting device moves laterally along the bridge while the bridge moves longitudinally along the rails.
bridge plank The subfloor on a bridge which supports the wearing surface. Usually made of corrugated steel.
Bridging Small wood or metal members that are inserted in a diagonal position between the floor joists or rafters at mid
Brinell hardness A measure of the hardness of a metal determined in the laboratory by measuring the indentation made by a steel ball in the surface of the metal.
British thermal unit (Btu) A standard measurement of the heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
broach (1) To free stone block from a quarry ledge by cutting out the webbing between holes drilled close together in a row. (2) To cut wide parallel grooves in a diagonal pattern across a stone surface using the point of a chisel, finishing it for architectural use. (3) Any pointed structure, such as a steeple or spire, that is built for ornamental purposes. (4) A spire that rises directly from a tower, often without an intervening parapet. (5) A half pyramid constructed above the corners of a square tower, serving as an architectural transition from the slat of the tower to an octagonal spire.
broadscope A term describing the content of a section of the specifications, as established by the Construction Specifications Institute. A broadscope section covers a wide variety of related materials and workmanship requirements. (Narrowscope specifications denote a section describing a single material; mediumscope denotes a section dealing with a family of materials.)
broken arch A segmented arch, used largely as door or window entablature, from which the center of the arch is cut out and replaced with an ornamental figure or design.
broken joint tile A roofing tile that overlaps only the tile directly below it.
brokered project A project completely sublet by the general contractor or construction manager.
bronzing (1) The application of metal bronze provider to an object or substance. (2) The powdery decomposition of a paint film caused by exposure to the elements and natural wear.
broom (1) To press a layer of roofing material against freshly applied bitumen in order to create a tight, thorough bond. (2) To flatten or spread the head of a timber pile by pounding forcefully on it. (3) To brush fresh plaster or concrete with a broom.
brown-out (1) To apply a base coat of plaster. (2) The setting process of base-coat plaster, which darkens to a brown hue as it dries. (3) A partial loss of electrical power that dims lights. A brown-out is less severe than a blackout.
Brussels carpet (1) A carpet of worsted yarn in multiple colors, attached to a backing of tough linen thread in a pattern of uncut loops. (2) A less costly substitute for actual Brussels carpet, made in a single color of yarn.
buck (1) The wood or metal subframe of a door, installed in a wall to accommodate the finished frame. (2) One of a pair of four-legged supporting devices used to hold wood as it is being sawed. See also sawbuck and doorbuck.
buck frame (core frame, subframe) A wood frame built into the wall studs of a partition to accommodate a door lining.
bucket trap A mechanical steam trap that operates on buoyancy and is designed with an inverted or upright cup that prevents the passage of steam through the system it protects.
buckle (1) The distortion of a structural member such as a beam or girder under load. This condition is brought on by lack of uniform texture or by irregular distribution of weight, moisture, or temperature. (2) A flaw or distortion on the surface of a sheet of material, particularly asphalt roofing. (3) A thin tree branch bent in the shape of a U to fasten thatch onto roofs.
budget A rough estimate of the value of a portion of, or total cost of, a construction project.
buffer (1) Blasted rock left at a face to improve fragmentation and reduce scatter during a subsequent blast. (2) A loose metal mat used to control scattering of blast rock. See also spring buffer and oil buffer.
builder’s jack A temporary bracket, attached to a windowsill, which projects outward and supports scaffolding.
builder’s risk insurance A special form of property insurance to cover work under construction.
Building A roofed structure for permanent or temporary shelter of persons, animals, plants, materials, or equipment. A building is a) attached to a foundation; b) roofed; c) serviced by a utility, exclusive of lighting; and d) a source of significant repair and maintenance activities. See section 2.3, What to Include in a Building Inventory, for inclusions and exclusions.
building area The sum of the horizontal projected area of all buildings on a site. Terraces and uncovered porches are excluded, unless the stipulations of a mortgage lender or governmental program require their inclusion.
Building Automation System A network of integrated computer components that automatically control a wide range of building operations such as HVAC, security/access control, lighting, energy management, maintenance management, and fire safety control.
building codes The minimum legal requirements established or adopted by a government such as a municipality. Building codes are established by ordinance, and govern the design and construction of buildings.
Building Condition The physical status of the building at the time of the inventory or facility audit, based on the best judgment of those persons familiar with the physical characteristics and condition of the campus. See section 5.5, Building and Space Optional Data Element.
Building Core and Service Area Defined as the floor area of a facility, which is necessary for the operation of the facility and is not
available for general occupancy. This may include the following: building lobbies, mechanical rooms,
electrical rooms, telephone (communications) rooms, restrooms, custodial rooms, loading docks and
utility tunnels that are not used for any other purpose. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
Building Data
building envelope The elements of a building that enclose conditioned areas and through which thermal energy may be transferred to or from the outside environment.
building height Generally, the greatest vertical distance measured from curb or grade level to the highest level of a flat or mansard roof, or to the average height of a pitched, gabled, hip, or gambrel roof. Pentstructures and the like are usually excluded if they do not exceed a specified height or their projected area is less than a specified percentage of the main roof.
building information Building Information Model—Product – An object-based digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. The Building Information Model serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle from inception onward.
Building Information Modeling—Process – A collection of defined model uses, workflows, and modeling methods used to achieve specific, repeatable, and reliable information results from the model. Modeling methods affect the quality of the information generated from the model. When and why a model is used and shared impacts the effective and efficient use of BIM for desired project outcomes and decision support.
Building Information Management—Data Definition – Building Information Management supports the data standards and data requirements for BIM use. Data continuity allows for the reliable exchange of information in a context where both sender and receiver understand the information
building inspector An official employed by a municipal building department to review plans and inspect construction to determine if they conform to the requirements of applicable codes and ordinances, and to inspect occupied buildings for violations of the same codes and ordinances. See also building official.
Building insurance Insurance covering the structure of the building.
building official (building inspector) An appointed government official who is responsible for enforcing building codes. The building official may approve the issuance of a building permit, review the contract documents, inspect the construction, and approve issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
Building Ownership Status The type of ownership and the relation of title holder to the institution. See definitions in section 5.3, Optional Data Elements.
Building paper A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses. Generally comes in long rolls.
building permit A written authorization required by ordinance before construction on a specific project can begin. A building permit allows construction to proceed in accordance with construction documents approved by the building official.
Building permit Authorization to build or modify a structure.
Building Projections A convector, baseboard heating unit, radiator, or other building element located in the interior of a
building adjacent to a wall that prevents the use of that space for furniture, equipment, circulation or other
functions. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
building restriction Any restriction, statutory or contractual, imposed on construction of a building or use of land.
building restriction line A line, defined by local ordinances, beyond which a structure may not project. The line is usually parallel to the street line or other property line. See also building line.
building section Any portion of a building, whether a single room, a group of rooms, a floor, or a group of floors, that is within the limits of a fire division.
Building Service Area The sum of all areas on all floors of a building used for custodial supplies, sink rooms, janitorial closets, and public rest rooms. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
building trades The skilled and semiskilled crafts employed in building construction, such as carpentry, masonry, or plumbing.
building trap (main trap) A fitting installed on the outlet side of a building to prevent odors and gases from passing from a sewer to the plumbing system of the building.
buildingSMART Alliance The mission of the buidingSMART Alliance (a council of the US National Institute of Building Sciences) is to – Improve all aspects of the facility and infrastructure lifecycle by promoting collaboration, technology, integrated practices and open standards.
buildingSMART International Ltd Renamed from the International Alliance for Interoperability. Subset of the International Standards Organization (ISO), charged with developing standards for standardizing how software represents data.
Built-up roof A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.
built-up roofing (composition roofing, felt-and-gravel roofing, gravel roofing) A continuous roof covering made up of various plies or sheets of saturated or coated felts cemented together with asphalt. The felt sheets are topped with a cap sheet or a flood coat of asphalt or pitch, which may have a surfacing of applied gravel or slag.
bulk modulus of elasticity (modulus of volume) The volumetric relationship between stress and strain within the elastic limit of a material. This quantity is expressed as the ratio between a pressure acting on a material and the fractional change in volume due to that pressure.
bulkhead (1) A horizontal or inclined door providing outside access to a cellar or shaft. (2) A partition in concrete forms to separate placings. (3) A structure on the roof of a building to provide headroom over a stairwell or other opening. (4) A low structure on a roof covering a shaft or protruding service equipment. (5) A retaining structure that protects a dredged area from earth movement.
bull header (bull head) A brick with one rounded corner used to form a corner at a door jamb or laid on edge to form a windowsill.
Bull nose (drywall) Rounded drywall corners.
bulletproof glass See bullet-resisting glass.
bullet-resisting glass (bulletproof glass) A laminated assembly of glass, usually at least four sheets, alternated with transparent resin sheets, all bonded under heat and pressure. Bullet-resisting glass is also made of laminations of special plastics.
bullhead tee (bullheaded tee) A piping tee in which the outlet opening on the branch is larger than the openings on the run.
bullnose plane A small, hand-held carpenter’s plane with the blade set forward.
bullnose step (bull stretcher) A step, usually the bottom one in a flight, with a semicircular end that projects beyond the railing.
bullnose stretcher (1) A masonry stretcher with one of the corners rounded. (2) Any stretcher that is laid on edge, as at a windowsill.
bullnose trim A structural member or piece of trim that has a rounded edge, such as a stair tread, windowsill, or door sill.
Bullpen Style Offices Open office areas with no partitions. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
Bundle A package of shingles. Normally, there are 3 bundles per square and 27 shingles per bundle.
bundler bars An assembly of up to four parallel reinforcing bars connected to one another and enclosed in stirrups or ties. Used as a unit in reinforced concrete, particularly in columns.
buoyant foundation A reinforced concrete foundation designed and located such that its weight and superimposed permanent load is approximately equal to the weight of displaced soil and/or ground water.
burned joint In plumbing, a joint formed with heat that fuses two lead pipes together.
burning (1) Flame-cutting metal plates to a desired shape. (2) A method of repairing lead roofs by replacing damaged sections.
burning-brand test A standard test to determine the resistance of a roof covering to exposure from flying brands.
business agent An official of a trade union who represents the union in negotiations and disputes and checks jobs for compliance with union regulations and union contracts.
Business Continuity Planning Business continuity planning is the process of ensuring an organisation can sufficiently recover and restore partially or completely interrupted critical functions/systems within a predetermined time after a disaster or extended disruption. Also see disaster recovery.
Business Excellence Model A model for organisations to utilise the principles of business excellence and integrate them into strategy and tactical level operational elements.
butt (1) A short length of roofing material. (2) The thick end of a shingle.
Butt edge The lower edge of the shingle tabs.
butt end The thicker end of a handle, tapered pole, pile, or other rod-shaped object.
Butt hinge The most common type. One leaf attaches to the door’s edge, the other to its jamb.
Butt joint The junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the 4 foot edge. To place materials end-to-end or end-to-edge without overlapping.
butter (buttering) (1) To apply mortar to a masonry unit with a trowel. (2) To spread roofing cement smoothly with a trowel. (3) To apply putty or compound sealant to a flat surface of a member before setting the member, such as buttering a stop before installing it.
butterfly roof A roof shape in which two surfaces rise from a control valley to the eaves.
buttress (1) An exterior pier of masonry construction, often sloped, which is used to strengthen or support a wall or absorb lateral thrusts from roof vaults. (2) An A-shaped formwork of timber or steel used to strengthen or support a wall.
butyl stearate A colorless, oily liquid used for dampproofing concrete.
buy a job Accept a construction contract at bare cost or below.
Buy down A subsidy (usually paid by a builder or developer) to reduce monthly payments on a mortgage.
buy-in A bidder’s attempt to win a contract by submitting a price that will result in a loss, with the hope of making the contract profitable through change orders or follow-on contracts.
BW butt weld
By fold door Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.
c candle, cathode, channel, conductivity, cycle
C carbon, Celsius, centigrade, hundred
C&D construction and demolition
cabinet (1) A small room or private apartment, especially for study or consultations. (2) A suite of rooms for exhibiting articles and curiosities. (3) A case, box, or piece of furniture with sets of drawers or shelves and doors, used primarily for storage. (4) An enclosure with doors for housing electrical devices and wiring connections.
cabinet heater A metal housing enclosing a heating element, with openings to facilitate air flow. The heater frequently contains a fan for controlling the air flow.
cabinet units Small air-handling units that structure an air filter, heating coil, and a centrifugal blower.
cabinet window A projecting window or type of bay window popular during the nineteenth century for the display of shop goods.
cable assembly A cable and its accompanying connectors to be used for a specific purpose.
cable ceiling heat A radiant heating system, installed in a ceiling, that sends current through encased conductors to produce heat.
cable duct (cable conduit) A rigid, metal, protective enclosure through which electrical conductors are run. For underground installations, concrete or plastic pipes are usually used.
cable roof A system comprised of a roof deck and covering that are supported by cables.
cable support box An electrical box that is mounted on a wall and provides support for the weight of cables within a vertically installed conduit.
cable tray An open, metal framework used to support electrical conductors. Similar to cable duct except that the cable tray has a lattice-type construction and an open top.
cable-supported construction A structure that is supported by a system of cables. This system is used for long-span roofs and for suspension bridges.
CAD Computer-aided design software systems primarily used to develop design and construction drawings for new construction or renovations. With additional efforts, such systems can be used to generate and store space inventory information.
CAD Object These objects are symbols and 3D representations that are static (line work with little or no intelligence). These objects are “instance-based,” i.e., each use requires a new “instance” of the object, tailored to the specific situation. This approach requires a significant library of objects (i.e., one object for each size of window, another for each type of window and another for window detail). This approach results in significant storage and file size requirements to store repetitive and unconnected information.
cadastral survey A large-scale land survey conducted to define boundaries, areas, and ownership of real estate for purposes of subdivision or apportioning taxes.
CAFM Computer-aided facilities management systems. CAFM systems offer one or more solutions, often differing in nature, of these facilities management activities: call center work, design and construction drawings including specifications, equipment and furniture inventories, hoteling, lease management, real property portfolio tracking, preventive maintainence, project management, safety, security, space management, utilization studies, wire and cabling, and more.
cage (1) The box or enclosed platform of an elevator or lift. (2) An enclosure for electrical lights or signals. (3) Any rigid open box or enclosure.
Cair air tool laborer
caisson (1) A drilled, cylindrical foundation shaft used to transfer a load through soft strata to firm strata or bedrock. The shaft is filled with either reinforced or unreinforced concrete. (2) A watertight box or chamber used for construction work below water level.
caisson drill A piece of boring equipment used to excavate a shaft (usually vertical) in the earth for construction of a building footing.
calcimine (kalsomine) A low-cost wash, white or colored, used on ceilings, interior plaster, or other masonry-type surfaces.
calcine The process of heating a substance to a point just below its melting temperature in order to remove chemically combined water.
calcs An engineer’s formal mathematical analysis of loads.
calculated live load The useful load-supporting capability above the weight of the structural members, usually specified in the applicable building code.
caliduct A conduit for conveying hot air, hot water, or steam for heating.
California bearing ratio A ratio used to determine the bearing capacity of a foundation. It is a ratio of the force per unit area per minute required to penetrate a soil mass, to the force required for a similar penetration of a standard crushed rock material.
caliper (calliper) An instrument with two hinged legs used to determine the thickness or diameter of objects.
cam handle (locking handle) On a hinged window, the handle that rotates against its keeper plate, thus pulling the window tight and locking it.
camber window A window constructed with a slightly arched head.
came A flexible, cast-lead rod used in stained glass windows to hold together panes or pieces of glass.
camelback truss A truss whose upper chord is comprised of a series of straight segments so that the assembly looks like the hump of a camel’s back.
cameo window A fixed oval window, often highly decorative.
cames H-shaped lead strips that hold glass in place in leaded windows.
Canadian Standards Association A non-governmental body established in Canada for the purpose of developing uniform standards on products, processes and procedures.
candle wicking In plumbing, a pipe thread tape used to make watertight seals.
canopy (1) An overhanging shelter or shade covering. (2) An ornamental roof-like structure over a pulpit.
cant strip (chamfer strip) A three-sided piece of wood, one angle of which is square, used under the roofing on a flat roof where the horizontal surface abuts a vertical wall or parapet. The sloped transition facilitates roofing and waterproofing. See also chamfer.
cantilever (1) A structural member supported at one end only. (2) A beam, girder, or supporting member that projects beyond its support at one end.
cantilever footing (1) A footing with a tie beam connected to another footing to counterbalance an asymmetrical load. (2) In retaining wall construction, a wide, reinforced footing with reinforcing steel extending into the retaining wall to resist the overturning moment.
Cantilevered void Foundation void material used in unusually expansive soils conditions. This void is “trapezoid” shaped and has vertical sides of 6″ and 4″ respectively.
canting strip A horizontal ledge near the bottom of an exterior wall sloped to conduct water away from the face of a building or its foundation.
cap (1) The top piece, often overhanging, of any vertical architectural feature or wall. A cap may be external, as on an outside wall or doorway; or it may be internal, as on the top of a column, pilaster, molding, or trim. (2) A layered system of cover-whether natural soils, rock, synthetics, pavement, and/or polymeric liners-that controls hydrogeologic processes.
Cap flashing The portion of the flashing attached to a vertical surface to prevent water from migrating behind the base flashing.
cap molding (cap trim) The molding or trim above a door or window casing.
cap sheet The top ply of mineral-coated felt sheet used on a built-up roof.
Cape Cod structure (cape) A simple frame structure with a shingled, steeply-pitched roof, central chimney, and one or one-and-a-half floors. The style originated in colonial Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has evolved over hundreds of years into several popular variations.
capillary action In subsurface soil conditions, the rising of water above the horizontal plane of the water table.
Capital The principal part of a loan, i.e. the original amount borrowed.
Capital (Major) Maintenance/Repairs Previous or future repairs or replacement, paid from the capital funds budget and not funded by normal
maintenance resources received in the annual operating budget cycle.
• Repairs – work to restore damaged or worn-out assets/systems/components (e.g., large scale roof
replacement after a wind storm) to normal operating condition.
• Replacement – an exchange of one fixed asset for another (e.g., replacing a transformer that blows up and
shuts down numerous buildings) that has the same capacity to perform the same function.
Minimum dollar threshold levels for capital renewal are set by the building owners/manager, however typically
in excess of $5,000 or $10,000.
Capital and interest A repayment loan and the most conventional form of home loan. The borrower pays an amount each month to cover the amount borrowed (or capital or principal) plus the interest charged on capital.
Capital Asset Management The identification and prioritization of facility and infrastructure physical, functional, and budgetary needs,
spanning a multi-year timeframe. Also includes the process of reinvesting funds into physical assets in support
of the organizational mission, above and beyond normal routine operations and maintenance.
Capital Project/Construction A new facility, rehabilitation/renovation or major maintenance that increases the value of the
location/site/campus (e.g., a new building) or extends the useful life of a facility. This work includes
construction and purchase of fixed equipment. (e.g., a replacement chiller). Minimum dollar threshold levels
for capital projects are set by the building owners/managers, however typically in excess of $5,000 or $10,000.
Capital Renewal (CR)/ Replacement The systematic management process of planning and budgeting for known future cyclical repair and
replacement requirements that extend the life and retain the usable condition of facilities and systems, not
normally contained in the annual operating budget. This includes major activities that have a maintenance
cycle in excess of one year (e.g., replace roofs, paint buildings, resurface roads, etc.). The cyclical
replacement may be for all or a significant portion (e.g., the replacement of 50% or more of a building system
component (lighting system, roof system, etc.) as it reaches the end of its useful life, of major components or
infrastructure systems, at or near the end of their useful service life. These activities may extend the useful life
and retain the usable condition of an associated capital asset (e.g., replacement of an HVAC system,
extending the usable life of a facility). Replacement may be capitalized based on the Governmental
Accounting Standards Board/Financial Accounting Standards Board (GASB/FASB) definition. A depreciation
model calculates a sinking fund for this maintenance activity. Costs are estimated by a current replacement
value that is derived by industry standard cost databases, (e.g., Building News, Craftsman Book Company,
Richardson General Construction Estimating Standards, RSMeans).
Capital Renewal Index This indicator shows the relative funding effectiveness in addressing identified capital renewal and
renovation/modernization needs. The numerator of this ratio is a total of the annual capital renewal
expenditure and the annual renovation/modernization expenditure. Annual Capital Renewal Expenditures are
all expenditures over and above facility maintenance operating budget expenditures required to keep the
physical plant in reliable operating condition for its present use. These expenditures are over and above
normal maintenance for items with a lifecycle in excess of one year and are not normally contained in an
annual facility operating budget. This is a separately funded, uniquely identified program that renews,
replaces, or renovates building systems on a schedule based on lifecycle recommendations and on
assessment of expected remaining useful life. This is typically represented as a total expenditure for capital
renewal of an organization’s capital assets. Plant renewal focuses on maintaining the operability, suitability,
and value of capital assets. It is accomplished through the replacement and rework of those components of a
building that wear out even though those components are routinely maintained. Capital or plant renewal is a
time-driven process with specific useful life cycles for heating and ventilation systems, etc. This is often
provided in the form of capital funding for “major maintenance” before it becomes “deferred.”
Capital Renewal Index = Annual Capital Renewal and Renovation/Modernization Expenditure ($)/Current Replacement Value ($)
capitalize To increase the total value of a corporation’s equity through expenditures that increase the evaluation of property, plant, and equipment.
capping The top component of an assembly after covering and weatherproofing a joint.
captain’s walk A walk or platform, with a view of the sea, on the roof of early New England-style structures.
carbon-arc lamp An electric-discharge lamp employing an arc discharge between carbon electrodes. One or more of the electrodes may have a core of special chemicals to enhance the discharge.
carbonation The process of burning or converting a substance through chemical reaction into a carbonate. For example, the reaction between carbon dioxide and the calcium compounds in cement paste or mortar to produce calcium carbonate.
carcass (carcase) (1) A body or shell without adornment or life. (2) The structural framework of a building without walls, trim carpentry, masonry, etc.
carcass roofing The roofing framework before the decking, membrane, shingles, etc., have been applied.
carcinogen A cancer-causing substance.
card-activated access controls An entry device that electronically scans a magnetic strip or other technology embed within the card.
cardinal change A series of changes in the work that are so extensive and significant as to change the entire character of the work required by the contract, thereby constituting a breach of contract.
carillon A set of fixed bells sounded by striking with hammers operated either mechanically or from a keyboard. By extension, a bell tower or campanile.
carpenter Gothic Gothic-style architecture and ornamentation constructed of wood.
carpenter’s level A hand tool used by carpenters to determine a horizontal or vertical plane or line. The level is a wood or metal bar about 2′ long with four spirit levels set into it.
carpet bedding Beds of low-growing plants, which may be used in ornamental design or as an erosion-preventing ground cover.
carport A roofed shelter for automobiles, usually attached along the side of a dwelling, with one or more sides open.
carrier fitting A support for a plumbing fixture that is also an integral part of the soil piping system.
cartridge heater An electric heater in the shape of a cylindrical cartridge, with the heating coils at one end and a fan at the other.
carvel joint A flush, longitudinal joint between boards or planks with no tongues, grooves, or laps.
case bay The area of a building floor or roof between two beams or girders.
cased frame (box frame, boxed frame, cased sash-frame) The hollow frame for double-hung windows with sash weights. The weights travel in the hollow frame.
cased glass (case glass, overlay glass) Ornamental glass made of two or more layers with cuts so that sublayers may show.
case-hardened (1) Term used to describe a steel or iron alloy with a hard surface developed by a special heat-treatment process. (2) Timber whose outer fibers have dried too rapidly, thus causing checking and cracking.
casement (1) A window sash that opens on hinges that are fixed on either side. (2) A ventilation panel that opens on vertical hinges like a door. (3) A casing.
casement stay The brace or bar used to hold a casement window open in any of several positions.
casement ventilator A ventilation panel that opens on hinges along one side.
casement window A window assembly that has at least one casement or vertically hinged sash, and swings open like a normal door
cash allowance A sum included in the contract for construction that covers required items not specifically described. Any differences in cost between the total charges for these items and the cash allowance amount are handled through change orders.
casing (1) The exposed millwork enclosure of cased beams, posts, pipes, etc. (2) The exposed trim molding or lining around doors and windows. (3) The pipe liner of a hole in the ground, such as that used for a well, caisson, or pile.
casting Any object that has been cast in a mold. The object may be made of iron, steel, plaster, concrete, plastic, or any other castable material.
cat ladder (gang boarding roof ladder) A board with a series of cross pieces nailed to it, used to provide footing on steep surfaces like a slope of a roof.
catalyst (1) A substance that accelerates or retards chemical reactions. (2) The hardener that accelerates the curing of adhesives, such as synthetic resins.
catalytically blown asphalt Asphalt that has had air with a catalyst blown through it while hot to give it the desired characteristics for a special use.
catch The fitting that mates with a latch or cam to lock a door, gate, or window.
catchbasin A structure for capturing and retaining surface water in which sediment or other materials/liquids may be held.
Catherine-wheel window (1) A round window with mullions like wheel spokes. (2) A rose window.
cathodic protection A form of protection against electrolytic corrosion of fuel tanks and water pipes submerged in water or embedded in earth. Protection is obtained by providing a sacrificial anode that will corrode in lieu of the structural component, or by introducing a counteracting current into the water or soil. This type of protection is also used for aluminum swimming pools, cast-iron water mains, and metal storage tanks.
catslide (1) The term used in the southern United States for a saltbox home. (2) The long pitched roof at the rear of a saltbox, which often sweeps down to the ground.
Caulking (1) A flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces e.g. between pieces of siding or the corners in tub walls. (2) To fill a joint with mastic or asphalt plastic cement to prevent leaks.
caulking recess In plumbing, the space between the bell or hub of one piece of pipe and the spigot that is inserted into it. The space is filled with caulking.
caustic lime A material, white when pure, that is obtained by calcining limestone, shells, or other forms of calcium carbonate. Caustic lime is also called quicklime or burnt lime and is used in mortars and cements.
cavitation damage (1) The pitting damage done to propellers, turbine wheels, or other rotating equipment. (2) The pitting of concrete due to the collapse of bubbles in flowing water.
CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) A pesticide that is forced into wood under high pressure to protect it from termites, other wood boring insects, and decay caused by fungus
CCD’s for access controls & A computerized security system that converts a lightn pattern image into a signal
CCTV Closed circuit television. Often used as part of a wider security strategy to compliment manned guarding and combined with 24/7 monitoring.
CDC child development center
CECOM Communications Electronics Command
ceiling cornice The molding installed at the intersection of the wall and ceiling planes.
ceiling diffuser Any air diffuser, located in a ceiling, through which warm or cold air is blown into an enclosure. The diffuser is designed to distribute the conditioned air over a given area.
ceiling fitting A fitting, usually electrical, that is attached to a ceiling, such as the attaching part of a ceiling light fixture.
Ceiling joist One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called roof joists.
ceiling plenum In air conditioning systems, the air space between a hung ceiling and the underside of the floor or roof above. Acts as a return to the air handling unit.
ceiling suspension system A gridwork of metal rails and hangers erected for the support of a suspended ceiling and ceiling-mounted items, e.g., air diffusers, lights, fire detectors, etc.
cellular floor A flooring system that incorporates prefabricated raceways for telecommunications and electrical wiring.
cellular framing A method of framing in which the walls are composed of cells, with the cross walls transmitting the bearing loads to the foundation.
cellular raceway A channel in a modular floor or wall that may be used as a raceway for electrical conductors.
cellulose A naturally occurring substance made up of glucose units. Constitutes the main ingredient in wood, hemp, and cotton, and is used in many construction products.
Celotex ™ Black fibrous board that is used as exterior sheething.
Cement The gray powder that is the “glue” in concrete. Portland cement. Also, any adhesive.
cement clinker A lump or ball of fused material, usually 1/8″ to 1″ in diameter, formed by heating cement slurry in a kiln. When cool, the clinker is interground with gypsum to form cement.
cement grout (1) A thin, watery mortar or plaster that is pumped or forced into joints, cracks, and spaces as an adhesive sealer. (2) A mixture that is pumped into the soil around a foundation to firm it up and provide better load-bearing characteristics.
center pivot (1) The pins of a window sash that are centrally located in the frame so that the window rotates horizontally about its center line. (2) The pivot pins of a door that support the door on the center line of its thickness.
center-hung sash A window sash hung so that it rotates horizontally about hinge pins at its center. To open, the top part of the window swings into the room and the bottom part projects outside the building.
centimeter A metric unit of length equal to one one-hundredth of a meter. One inch equals 2.54 cm.
Central Office or System Office The administrative body or component responsible for supervision of a multi-institutional system.
central system A system that utilizes a single source and distribution system for an area. Examples are central heating and/or air-conditioning systems, central power systems, and central water systems.
centric load (concentric load) A load applied perpendicular to the neutral axis of a beam or column. The load acts through the geometric center (centroid) of gravity.
CEQ Council on Environmental Quality
Ceramic tile A man
ceramic-faced glass Glass that has had ceramic material fused to it during the heating and tempering process.
CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
certificate A written document appropriately signed by responsible parties testifying to a matter of fact in accordance with a requirement of the contract documents.
certificate of occupancy A written document issued by the governing authority in accordance with the provisions of the building permit. The certificate of occupancy indicates that, in the opinion of the building official, the project has been completed in accordance with the building code. This document gives the owner permission from the authorities to occupy and use the premises for the intended purpose.
certificate of payment A statement issued by a design professional notifying the owner of the amount due to a contractor for work completed and/or the delivery or storage of building materials.
certified output rating The output capacity of a piece of equipment or machinery that is accepted as meeting the standards of the government regulatory body or trade organization.
cesspool A lined excavation in the ground that receives the discharge of a drainage system, especially from sinks and water closets, and is designed to retain the organic matter and solids, while permitting the liquids to seep through the bottom and sides.
CF centrifugal force, cooling fan, cost and freight, hundred feet
CFM (cubic feet per minute) A rating that expresses the amount of air a blower or fan can move. The volume of air (measured in cubic feet) that can pass through an opening in one minute.
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
chain (1) A unit of length used by land surveyors (Gunter’s Chain): 7.92″ = 1 link; 100 links = 66′ = 4 rods = 1 chain; 80 chains = 1 mile. (2) An engineer’s chain is equal to 100′. (3) A series of rings or links of metal connected to each other to form useful lengths.
chain fall An assembly of chain with blocks or pulleys for hoisting or pulling a heavy load.
chain pull switch An electrical switch that is operated by pulling a bead chain. Frequently, this type of switch is an integral part of a light bulb socket.
chain scale An engineer’s scale on which the inch divisions are subdivided into 10 parts, or multiples of 10, such as 20, 30, 40, 50, etc.
Chair railInterior trim material installed about 3-4 feet up the wall, horizontally. Interior trim material installed about 3-4 feet up the wall, horizontally.
Chalk line A line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.
chalking A surface condition in which the binder of a coating breaks down so that the pigment comes off on anything touching it, or is washed away by rain, as can happen, for example, with self-cleaning white paint.
chamber test A test developed and conducted by Underwriters’ Laboratories to determine the fire-hazard classification of building materials.
chamfer plane A carpenter’s plane designed for cutting chamfers.
change In construction, a deviation in the design or scope of the work as defined in the plans and specifications which are the basis for the original contract.
change order Written authorization provided to a contractor approving a change from the original plans, specifications, or other contract documents, as well as a change in the cost. With the proper signatures, a change order is considered a legal document.
changeover point That temperature and time at which a building requires neither heating nor cooling.
channel glazing A window glazing system in which glass panels are set in a U-shaped channel using removable beads or glazing stops.
chantlate The piece of wood across the rafters at the eaves and projecting so as to prevent rainwater from running straight down the wall.
charette The push or effort to complete an architectural problem within a specified time.
charge (1) A quantity of explosives set in place. (2) A load of refrigerant in a refrigeration or air-conditioning system.
charging (1) The insertion of refrigerant into a refrigeration or air-conditioning system. (2) The insertion of a predetermined mixture or quantity of materials into a concrete mixer, furnace, or other piece of processing equipment.
charging chute An enclosed slide in which waste material is dumped and subsequently fed into an incinerator.
Chase A framed enclosed space around a flue pipe or a channel in a wall, or through a ceiling for something to lie in or pass through.
cheapener An additive in paint that is used to impart desirable characteristics to or extend coverage of the paint. Cheapener does not necessarily make the paint cheaper in cost.
check rail The horizontal meeting rail of a double-hung window.
check stop A molding strip or bead used to restrain a sliding unit such as a window sash.
check throat The groove cut longitudinally along the underside of window and door sills to prevent rainwater from running back to the building wall.
checkered plate A metal plate with a waffle-like pattern of squared projections cast or rolled into its surface.
checking (alligatoring, check cracks, map cracks, shelling) (1) Small cracks that appear in paint or varnish, but which usually do not expose the base material. (2) Small, closely spaced, irregular surface cracks in concrete, mortar, or plaster. See also crazing.
chemical stability The tendency of a substance to remain unchanged over a wide range of physical, environmental, and chemical conditions.
chevron (1) A V-shaped stripe that may point up or down. Used as a distinguishing mark to indicate rank or service. Architecturally, it may be used as an ornamental repeating pattern on molding or trim. (2) On a gable roof, the place where the rafters meet at the ridge.
chevron slat A V-shaped configuration used in fences and other architectural elements to provide privacy while permitting ventilation.
Chicago window A large fixed sash flanked with narrow sashes on either side.
chiller A piece of equipment that utilizes a refrigeration cycle to produce cold (chilled) water for circulation to the desired location or use. See also absorption chiller and compression chiller.
chimney arch The upper structure over a fireplace.
chimney back The inside back wall of a fireplace, which may be made of fire-brick masonry or ornamental metal, and is intended to reflect heat out into the room.
chimney bar (turning bar) A lintel bar of iron or steel that bridges the fireplace opening. It is supported by the side masonry, and in turn supports the masonry above the opening.
chimney board A board or screen used to cover or block the opening of a fireplace when it is not being used.
chimney breast (chimney piece) That part of the front of a fireplace that projects out into the room.
chimney cheek The masonry on either side of a fireplace opening that supports the mantel and the upper chimney construction.
chimney corner (inglenook, roofed ingle) A small area or alcove beside a fireplace, frequently with built-in benches.
chimney cowl An elaborate chimney pot for improving drafts.
chimney crane A swinging iron arm attached to the inside of a fireplace to support cooking pots over the fire.
chimney crook (chimney hook) An extension bar that hangs on the chimney crane and supports cooking pots, letting smaller pots hang lower and closer to the fire. It can usually be adjusted for height.
chimney flue The vertical passageway in a chimney through which the hot gases flow. A chimney may contain one or several flues. Flues are typically lined with fired clay pipes to resist corrosion and facilitate cleaning.
chimney jamb The vertical sides of a fireplace opening.
chimney lining The noncombustible, heat-resisting material that lines the flue inside the chimney. Typically, the lining consists of round or rectangular fired clay material.
chimney piece Ornamentation around a fireplace, such as a mantelpiece. See also chimney breast.
chimney shaft The segment of a chimney that projects above the roof.
chimney throat (chimney waist) (1) The narrowest part of a flue. (2) The area above a fireplace and below the smoke shelf, where the damper is usually located.
chimney wing The sides of a fireplace chimney above the opening that close into the throat of the damper opening.
chink A small, elongated cleft, rent, or fissure, such as the openings between logs in a log cabin wall.
Chink To install fiberglass insulation around all exterior door and window frames, wall corners, and small gaps in the exterior wall.
chip (1) A small piece of semiconducting substrate material, such as silicon, on which miniaturized electronic circuitry (LSI or VLSI circuits) is fabricated. (2) A small fragment of metal, wood, stone, or marble that has been chopped, cut, or broken from its parent piece.
Chip Board A manufactured wood panel made out of 1″- 2″ wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or wafer board
chip cracks (eggshelling) Similar to alligatoring or checking except that the edges of the cracks are raised up from the base surface.
chipboard A flat panel manufactured to various thicknesses by bonding flakes of wood with a binder. Chipboard is an economical, strong material used for sheathing, subflooring, and cabinetry.
chipped grain On a wood surface, the depressions or voids occurring where the wood has been torn out as the result of dull planing or machining against the direction of growth.
chock A wedge-shaped block used to prevent the movement of a wheeled vehicle or other object. Chocks are usually used in pairs.
CHP Combined heat and power
chromate A greenish-yellow primer applied to steel members to inhibit corrosion. Chromate is a salt of chromic acid, frequently referred to as lead or zinc chromate.
chrome green A green pigment made from a blend of chromate salts and used to color paint. The pigment has rust-inhibiting properties.
chronic toxic chemical A substance that causes adverse health effects that may be delayed in their appearance, but usually cause permanent damage.
Churn Relocating staff or workstations within a building. The number of moves per year is expressed as a percentage of the number of workplaces provided, e.g. 100 staff with 80 moves = 80% churn.”
Churn Rate The total number of moves made within a 12-month period of time divided by the number of occupants
during the same period. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
chute An inclined plane or trough for sliding various items or bulk materials to a lower level, with the help of gravity.
CIF cost, insurance and freight
CIFE cost, insurance, freight and exchange
cinders (1) A partly burned combustible material. (2) Slag from a metal furnace. (3) Ashes, especially from the burning of soft coal. (4) A form of volcanic lava.
Circuit The path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground.
Circuit Breaker A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical breaker panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the structure and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt structurehold circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. 220 volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker.
circuit breaker (automatic circuit breaker) An electrical device for discontinuing current flow during an abnormal condition. Unlike a fuse, a circuit breaker becomes reusable by resetting a switch.
circuit vent A vent designed to prevent pressure build-up or to eliminate air in a closed circuit system, as in a heating system or a solar heat-exchanger system.
circular face A surface that, in plan view, is the outside or convex side of a circle.
circular mil An electrical term for the cross-sectional area of a wire. A conductor with a diameter of one mil (0.001″) has a cross-sectional area of one circular mil.
circular mil-foot A unit of measure for an electrical conductor that is one circular mil in diameter and 1′ long.
circular plane A carpenter’s wood-planing tool that has a curved baseplate for finishing curved surfaces.
circular sunk face A surface that, in plan view, is the inside or concave side of a circle; the opposite of a circular face.
Circulation Area The sum of all areas on all floors of a building required for physical access to some subdivision of space, whether physically bounded by partitions or not. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
city plan A large-scale map of a city showing the streets, important buildings, parks, and other features.
city planning (town planning, community planning) The conscious control of growth or change in a city, town, or community, taking into account aesthetics, industry, utilities, transportation, and many other factors that affect the quality of life.
civic center In an urban area, a group of government or public service buildings, which may include a city hall, a library, a museum, an art center, a parking garage, a court structure, etc.
civil engineer An engineer specializing in the design of public works, such as roads, buildings, dams, bridges, and other structures, as well as water distribution, drainage, and sanitary sewer systems.
Civil Rights Act Legislation enacted by Congress in 1964 prohibiting any act that discriminates against an individual for any reason, but particularly because of sex, race, age, ethnic origin, or religion.
Clab. common laborer
C-label A door certified by Underwriters’ Laboratories as meeting their class C level requirements.
claim (1) A contractor’s request for additional compensation or an extension of time pursuant to the contract terms. (2) A request to be paid for the cost of damages when an insured loss occurs.
claims examiner Relative to insurance claims, the supervisor who oversees the paperwork submitted by the field adjuster.
clamp A mechanical device used to hold items together or firmly in place while other operations are being performed. The clamping force may be applied by screws, wedges, cams, or a pneumatic/ hydraulic piston.
clamp brick A brick that was retained in a clamp while being fired in a kiln.
clamp nail A mechanical fastener designed to bridge a joint and pull the two pieces tightly together as it is driven in place.
clamshell (1) A bucket used on a derrick or crane for handling loose granular material. The bucket’s two halves are hinged at the top, thus resembling a clamshell. (2) A wood molding with a cross section that resembles a clamshell.
clarification drawing An illustration provided by an architect or engineer to explain in more detail some area or item on the contract documents, or as a part of a job change order or modification.
Clarke beam A composite beam consisting of planks bolted with their flat sides together and then strengthened with a board nailed across the joint.
class (1) A group of items ranked together on the basis of common characteristics or requirements. (2) A division grouping or distinction based on grade or quality. (3) The opening into which a door or window will be fitted.
Class “A” Optimum fire rating issued by Underwriter’s Laboratories on roofing. The building codes in some areas require this type of roofing for fire safety.
Class “C”Minimum fire rating issued by the Underwriters’ Laboratories for roofing materials. Minimum fire rating issued by the Underwriters’ Laboratories for roofing materials.
Class A fire A fire involving ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, some plastics and textiles.
Class A, B, C, D, E Fire-resistance ratings applied to building components such as doors or windows. Class A is an Underwriters’ Laboratories classification for a component having a 3-hour fire endurance rating; Class B, a 1 or 1-1/2-hour rating; Class C, a 3/4-hour rating; Class D, a 1-1/2-hour rating; and Class E, a 3/4-hour rating.
Class B fire A fire involving oil, gas, paint, or other flammable liquids.
Class C fire A fire involving live electrical equipment that requires the use of electrically nonconductive extinguishing agents.
Class D fire A fire involving combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, and sodium that require an extinguishing medium that does not react with the burning metal.
classical architecture Characteristic of or pertaining to the styles, types, and modes of structural construction and decoration practiced by the Greeks and Romans.
classicism An architectural style derived from the basic principles and design of Greco-Roman or Italian Renaissance buildings.
Classification of Instruction Programs (CIP) A taxonomic scheme for secondary and postsecondary instructional programs. It is intended to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of program data using classifications that capture the majority of reportable data. The CIP is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications and is used in a variety of education information surveys and databases. See appendix C, Coding for Academic Disciplines (CIP System). The full text is available at
classroom window (awning window) A wide window, the upper portion of which is a fixed light, while the lower portion has two or more tilt-in panels positioned side by side.
clause A subdivision of a paragraph or subparagraph within a legal document such as a contract. A clause is usually numbered or lettered for easy reference.
claw bar A steel bar that is straight at one end and bent at the other. The straight end has a chisel point, while the bent end has a notch for pulling out nails. A claw bar is used for general demolition work.
clay A fine-grained material, consisting mainly of hydrated silicates of aluminum, that is soft and cohesive when moist, but becomes hard when baked or fired. Clay is used to make bricks, tiles, pipe, earthenware, etc.
clay cable cover A fired-clay half pipe that is placed over underground electric cables as a protective cover.
clay tile A fired earthenware tile used on roofs. Called quarry tile when used for flooring.
Clayton Act Legislation enacted by Congress in 1914 to lessen the negative effects of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by allowing labor to organize for purposes of negotiating with a single employer.
Clean out An opening providing access to a drain line. Closed with a threaded plug.
clean power Power that is relatively free of electrical noise and harmonic distortion.
clean room A special-purpose room that meets requirements for the absence of lint, dust, or other particulate matter. In a clean room, the filter systems are high efficiency and the air exchange is one-directional laminar flow.
cleaning sash A window sash that is normally inoperable, but may be opened with a special tool.
cleanout (1) A pipe fitting with a removable threaded plug that permits access for inspection and cleaning of the run. (2) A door in the base of a chimney that permits access for cleaning. (3) A small door in a ventilation duct to permit access for removal of grease, dust, and dirt blockages.
clearstory (clerestory) That part of a church or building which rises above the roofs of the other parts of the building, with windows for admitting light to the central interior area.
cleat wiring Electrical wiring that is exposed and supported on standoff insulators.
cleavage A natural parting or splitting plane found in slate, mica, and some types of wood.
cleavage plane In crystalline material, the plane along which splitting can easily be performed.
clerk of the works A representative of the architect or owner who oversees construction, handles administrative matters, and ensures that construction is in accordance with the contract documents.
Clip ties Sharp, cut metal wires that protrude out of a concrete foundation wall (that at one time held the foundation form panels in place).
clone The reproduction of plant varieties by vegetative means, such as cuttings.
closed bidding See closed competitive selection.
closed competitive selection (closed bidding) A process of competitive bidding whereby the private owner limits the list of bidders to persons he has selected and invited to bid. See also closed list of bidders.
closed cornice A cornice that projects only slightly beyond a vertical wall so that there is no soffit. The overhang is filled by a crown molding.
closed eaves Projecting roof rafters that are boxed in.
closed list of bidders A list of those contractors who have been approved by the architect and owner as the only ones from whom bid prices will be accepted. See also closed competitive selection.
closed loop system In Building Automation Systems, the arrangement of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning components so that each component affects and can respond to the other, allowing system feedback.
closed sheathing (closed sheeting) A continuous framework with boards or planks placed side by side to support or retain the sides of an excavation.
closed specifications Specifications that require certain trade name products or proprietary processes. Provisions for alternatives are not included. See also base bid specifications.
closed system Any heating or cooling system in which the circulating medium is not expended, but is recirculated through the system.
closet bolt A special bolt for securing a floor-mounted toilet to the floor and soil pipe flange.
closet stop valve The valve underneath a tank-type water closet. The valve is used to shut the water off so that repairs can be made to the flushing mechanism inside the tank.
close-up casement hinge A casement window support hinge with its pivot point placed so that when the window is open, there is a minimum space between the sash and the frame.
closing costs The costs associated with the sale/purchase of real estate property, such as legal fees, recording fees, and title search and insurance, but not including the cost of the property itself.
closing device (automatic closing device, self-closing device) (1) A mechanism that closes a door automatically and slowly after it has been opened. (2) A mechanism, usually fused, that releases and closes a fire door, damper, or shutter in the event of a fire.
closing stile The vertical side of a door or casement sash that seats against the jamb or frame when the door or window is closed.
closure strip In metal building systems, a resilient strip used to cover openings between metal panels and flashing.
cluster housing A planned residential development with dwelling units built close to one another and common open space for use by all residents.
CMMS Computerized maintenance management system. A computerized database and tracking system for managing requests for facilities management, planning, and maintenance tasks. Also called a work order system. Typically associated with “moveable equipment” and/or items under a set dollars amount, such as $10,000.
CMU Concrete Masonry Unit
CO An abbreviation for “Certificate of Occupancy”. This certificate is issued by the local municipality and is required before anyone can occupy and live within the home. It is issued only after the local municipality has made all inspections and all monies and fees have been paid.
CO Carbon Monoxide
coak (1) A projection from the end of a piece of wood and used as a tenon for inserting into a mating hole in another piece to form a joint. (2) A wooden pin used to hold beams together.
coarse filter A prefilter used in air- conditioning systems to remove large particles such as dust and lint. This type of filter is usually reusable after being vacuumed or washed.
cobblestone (cobble) (1) A stone, usually between 6″ and 10″ in diameter, used for paving roads and constructing foundations and walls. (2) A rough-cut, rectangular-shaped stone used for paving.
cobie The model and facility data for the commission, operations, and maintenance of the project shall satisfy the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBIE) requirements, and be submitted in compliance with the commissioning requirements. The data expected from BIM for facility handover shall conform to the following standards: ,Uniformat, OmniClass, Geospatial, NBIMS, COBIE, and IFC.
cochleated Shaped like a spiral-shelled snail.
cock bead A bead that projects higher than the adjacent surface.
cockspur fastener A casement window catch.
co-cumbustion The simultaneous combustion of two or more fuel types to produce useful energy.
code The legal requirements of local and other governing bodies concerning construction and occupancy. The enactment and enforcement of codes is intended to safeguard the public’s health, safety, and welfare.
Code of Federal Regulations A uniform system of listing all the regulations promulgated by any federal agency.
code of practice A publication of an agreement by any trade or group of manufacturers of similar products, that lists minimum quality standards for material, workmanship, or conduct to be followed by group members.
coefficient of conductivity The measure of the rate at which a material will conduct thermal energy, or heat.
coefficient of friction A ratio of the force causing an object to slide to the total force perpendicular to the sliding plane. The ratio is a measure of the resistance to sliding.
coefficient of performance (1) In a heat pump, the ratio of heat produced to energy expended. (2) In a refrigeration system, the ratio of heat removed to energy expended.
coefficient of static friction The coefficient of friction required to make an object start sliding.
coefficient of subgrade reaction The ratio of load per unit area on soil to the correspondin deformation.
COF Company Operations Facility
cofferdam A watertight enclosure used for foundation construction in waterfront areas. Water is pumped out of the cofferdam allowing free access to the work area.
cogeneration The simultaneous production of power and another form of useful thermal energy in a single process. A common example is the use of combustion or co-combustion processes to produce both electricity and steam or hot water.
cogging (cocking) The assembly of two pieces of wood that have been notched or cogged.
coil A term applied to a heat exchanger that uses connected pipes or tubing in rows, layers, or windings, as in steam heating, water heating, and refrigeration condensers and evaporators.
coiled expansion loop A gradual bend, loop, or coil of pipe or tube intended to absorb expansion and contraction caused by temperature changes. By flexing like a spring, undesirable stresses on the piping system are relieved or minimized.
coinsurance penalty The penalty against a policyholder for not carrying enough insurance on his or her property. In these cases, the full cost of the claim will not be paid by the insurance company. Repair contractors should be aware that the policyholder will have to pay a substantial part of the repair bill.
Cold air return The ductwork (and related grills) that carries room air back to the furnace for re
cold check Fine cracks that appear in some wood finishes, such as paint and varnish, after being subjected to alternating warm and cold temperatures.
cold deck (cold duct) In an HVAC system, the source of cold air for cooling interior zones.
cold mix (cold patch) An asphaltic concrete made with slow-curing asphalts and used primarily as a temporary patching material when hot mix plants are closed. Cold mix is used to repair potholes, but is less durable than hot mix.
cold riveting Riveting done without preheating the rivets.
cold-air return In a heating system, the return air duct that transports cool air back into the system to be heated.
cold-solder joint An electrical wiring joint in which the metals to be joined have not been heated enough for the solder to bond.
Collar Preformed flange placed over a vent pipe to seal the roofing above the vent pipe opening. Also called a vent sleeve.
Collar beam Nominal 1
collected plants Plantings that have been gathered from locations other than nursery stock.
collimator A surveyor’s tool used to align lines along a parallel plane.
colloid Any substance divided into fine particles that range in diameter from 0.2 to 0.005 microns. When the substance is mixed in a liquid, it remains in suspension.
collusion A secret agreement or action of a fraudulent, illegal, or deceitful nature.
colonial architecture (1) An architectural style from a mother country that has been incorporated into the buildings of settlements or colonies in distant locations. (2) 18th-century English Georgian architecture as reproduced in the original colonies of the United States.
colonial casing A style of door and window trim molding.
colonial revival An architectural style popular in the United States during the end of the 19th century. The style copied designs and details from 18th-century English Georgian colonist buildings.
color chart A standardized card or folder showing a display of colors or finishes.
color pigment Any substance that can be mixed with a suitable liquid (vehicle), to color paints or stains.
color rendering index (CRI) A measure of the quality of a light, where the ability of the light to render an object’s true color(s) is compared to that of a reference light. Under a lamp with a low CRI rating, colors will appear unnatural.
colored finishes A finish obtained by adding pigment or colored aggregate to plaster for a final coat so that the color goes through the full depth of the coat.
colorimetric test A diagnostic test undertaken to determine the amount of inorganic matter in a substance, such as in a concrete aggregate.
Column A vertical structural compression member which supports loads.
column footing The foundation under a column that spreads the load out to an area large enough so that the bearing capacity of the soil is not exceeded and differential settling does not occur.
column schedule A production plan outlining the construction of columns in a structure. Provides column sizes, elevations (top and bottom), and type and size of reinforcement required.
combination plane A carpenter’s or joiner’s hand tool that has interchangeable blades or guides so that it can be used for various shaping operations.
combination waste and vent system A plumbing system with an oversized waste pipe that also serves as a vent pipe.
combination window A window with replaceable screen and glass inserts for summer and winter use.
combined stresses A condition of stress loading that cannot be represented by a single resultant stress.
combing (1) The act of dressing a stone surface. (2) The use of a serrated comb or brush to create a surface pattern or roughness in paint, plaster, or concrete. (3) Those shingles on a roof that project above the ridge line. (4) The top ridge on a roof.
combplate The fixed floor plate at either end of an escalator or moving walkway that has fingers that project into the serrations of the moving segments to prevent an object from wedging into the seam.
combustible Descriptive of a substance that will burn in the air, pressure, and temperature conditions of a burning building.
combustion A rapid chemical process, such as oxidation, that produces significant thermal energy (heat), and usually light as well.
Combustion air The duct work installed to bring fresh, outside air to the furnace and/or hot water heater. Normally 2 separate supplies of air are brought in: One high and One low.
Combustion chamber The part of a boiler, furnace or woodstove where the burn occurs; normally lined with firebrick or molded or sprayed insulation.
commercial projected window A type of steel window used in commercial and industrial applications where decorative trims and moldings are not used. A projected window has one or more panels that rotate either inward or outward on a horizontal axis.
commissioning The process of ensuring that the complex array of equipment that provides lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and other amenities in facilities works together effectively and efficiently. Commissioning typically begins during the facility’s conceptual design phase and ideally continues throughout the life of the facility.
Committee for Industrial Organizations (CIO) A labor union organized in 1935 for the purpose of representing industrial workers. The CIO was created as a result of a dispute with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). John L. Lewis, president of United Mine Workers and a member of the CIO, was instrumental in merging the AFL and CIO in 1955.
common brick Brick not selected for color or texture, but instead used as filler or backing. Though usually not less durable nor of lower quality than face brick, common brick typically costs less. Greater dimensional variations are also permitted. See also building brick.
Common Support Areas Facility assignable area includes the area devoted to common support services. Common support area
is the portion of the facility usable area not attributed to any one occupant but provides support for
several or all occupant groups. Examples of common support areas are: cafeterias, vending areas,
auditoriums, fitness facilities, building mailrooms and first aid rooms. These may be separately identified
as a sub-category of facility assignable area if required. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
common vent (dual vent) A plumbing vent that connects at the junction of two fixture drains and serves as a vent for both fixtures.
community planning See city planning.
compaction (1) The compression of any material into a smaller volume; for example, waste compaction. In specifying compaction of embankment or fill, a percent compaction at optimum moisture content is often used. Another method is to specify the equipment, height of lift, and number of passes. (2) The elimination of voids in construction materials, as in concrete, plaster, or soil, by vibration, tamping, rolling, or some other method or combination of methods.
compass (1) An instrument for locating the magnetic north pole of the earth. (2) A mechanical drawing device used to draw circles.
compass plane A carpenter’s plane with a curved baseplate and/or blade for finishing curved wood pieces.
compass window A window that projects outward from the face of a wall. Similar to a bow window.
compatibility agent A substance that, when added to another substance, improves the stability and even distribution of that substance. For example, compatibility agents allow the simultaneous application of a pesticide and fertilizer, or two or more pesticides.
compensation (1) The amount paid for goods, labor, or services provided. (2) An amount paid to settle a claim for damages.
compensatory damages An award for damages intended to compensate the plaintiff by granting a monetary amount equal to the loss or injury suffered.
completed operations An insurance term referring to coverage for personal injuries or damage to property that occurs after construction has been completed. At least one of the following conditions must be met: all activities governed by the contract are finished; all activities at one project site are finished; or that part of the project which precipitated the claim is in use by the owner. This insurance does not cover the actual finished project itself.
completion bond (construction bond, contract bond) The guarantee by a bonding company that a contract will be completed and will be clear of all liens and encumbrances.
completion date The date certified by the architect when the work in a building, or a designated portion thereof, is sufficiently complete, in accordance with the contract documents, so that the owner can occupy the work or a designated portion thereof for the use for which it is intended.
completion list (punch list) The final list of items of work to be completed or corrected by the contractor.
complimentary bid A bid that is intentionally high. May be illegal if collusion is intended.
composite door A door with a wooden or metal shell over a lightweight core. The core is usually made of foam or a material that is shaped like a honeycomb cell.
composite fire door A door made of metal or chemically treated wood surrounding a core material. The door is rated as resistant to fire for some specified period of time.
composite joint (1) A joint that is secured by using more than one method, such as riveting and welding. (2) In plumbing, a general reference to joining bell-and-spigot pipe with packing materials such as rope and rosin, or cement and hemp.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) A federal law defining the government actions in the event of an uncontrolled release of hazardous materials into the environment.
comprehensive general liability insurance A type of insurance that provides blanket coverage for all types of liability with the exception of those specifically excluded. It covers contractural liability as well as unforeseen future hazards, and may also include automobile coverage. Completed operations liability, more extensive contractural coverage, and product liability insurance can be added to this type of policy.
comprehensive services Those services provided by an engineer or architect that encompass both the usual duties, and other professional services, such as project analysis and management, land use and feasibility studies, and financial and other consulting services.
compression joint (1) A bell and spigot joint that becomes watertight when the spigot is pressed into a compression gasket in the bell. (2) Any joint that is engineered to employ pressure as a seal.
compression set (1) The permanent shortened or flattened condition of any material that has been compressed beyond its yield point, and thus cannot return to its original size and shape. (2) The permanent imprint in a compression gasket.
compression tank In a hot water heating system, a tank that absorbs the water pressure exerted.
Compression web A member of a truss system which connects the bottom and top chords and  which provides downward support.
compressive strength The resistance capacity of any material, but especially structural members, to crushing force. Compressive strength is usually expressed as the maximum number of pounds per square inch that can be resisted without failure.
compressor (1) A machine that compresses air or gases. (2) In refrigeration/air conditioning, a machine that compresses a refrigerant gas, which then goes to an evaporator. (3) A truck- or trailer-mounted apparatus, usually diesel-driven, that generates compressed air for demolition hammers, sandblasting and similar needs on a construction site.
computer-aided design (computer-aided design and drafting) The use of computer technology to analyze, design or model a building or system. Allows for greater efficiency and consistency, faster reproduction, and easier alteration than traditional methods.
computer-aided facilities management (CAFM) See computerized maintenance management software.
computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) The use of computer technology to schedule plant and equipment maintenance, track assets, and efficiently carry out overall facility management. The purpose of CMMS is to simplify the planning and administrative functions of maintenance, purchasing, and inventory management.
Concrete The mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc. It is commonly reinforced with steel rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh).
concrete admixture A special substance or chemical added to a concrete mix. Typically, an admixture is used to control setting, entrain air, impart color, control workability, or to waterproof.
Concrete block A hollow concrete ‘brick’ often 8″ x 8″ x 16″ in size.
Concrete board A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a tile backing material.
concrete bond (bond plaster) A thin gypsum plaster coat applied to a concrete face as a base for subsequent coats of plaster.
concrete contraction The shrinkage of concrete that occurs as it cures and dries.
concrete cylinder test A compression test for concrete strength. Wet samples of concrete are carefully placed in specially made containers 6″ in diameter and 12″ high. The cylinders are sent to a laboratory where a compression test is performed. This is done by putting the concrete in a hydraulic machine that measures the pressure(s) needed to crush it. Cylinder tests are usually performed for each pour on a project that requires concrete strength control.
concrete masonry (1) Concrete blocks laid with mortar or grout in a manner similar to bricks. (2) Concrete that may be poured in place or as special tilt-up building walls.
concrete paver (1) A machine used to pave roads with concrete. A paver is equipped with a loading skip, a rotating drum, and a discharge boom. (2) A precast paving block used in landscaping for walks and patios.
concrete planer A machine with cutters or grinders used to level and refinish old concrete pavement.
concrete plank A hollow-core or solid, flat beam used for floor or roof decking. Concrete planks are usually precast and prestressed.
concurrent insurance Insurance under two or more policies that are exactly alike in their terms and conditions, even though they might be different in the dollar amounts of coverage or the dates the policies begin. (Nonconcurrent insurance differs in the terms and conditions as well.) This condition can complicate the collection process for contractors.
condemnation (1) A declaration by the appropriate local governing authority that a structure is no longer fit or safe to use. (2) The seizure of private property by a governmental authority in order to use that property for some public purpose, as in the exercise of eminent domain.
Condensation Beads or drops of water (and frequently frost in extremely cold weather) that accumulate on the inside of the exterior covering of a building. Use of louvers or attic ventilators will reduce moisture condensation in attics. A vapor barrier under the gypsum lath or dry wall on exposed walls will reduce condensation.
Condensing unit The outdoor component of a cooling system. It includes a compressor and condensing coil designed to give off heat.
Condition Based Maintenance A maintenance regime based on the assessed condition of plant rather than one focused on scheduled servicing intervals. Can be assisted through remote condition tracking.
conditions of the contract A document detailing the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of the parties to the contract for construction.
Conditions, Convenants, and Restrictions (CC and Rs) The standards that define how a property may be used and the protections the developer makes for the benefit of all owners in a subdivision.
condominium A legal system by which individual units of real property, such as apartments, stores, or offices, may be owned separately. Each unit owner obtains all the rights incidental to ownership of real property, and shares with the other owners rights to the common areas in the building, facilities, or land of the condominium.
Conduction The direct transfer of heat energy through a material.
Conductivity The rate at which heat is transmitted through a material.
conductor (1) Any substance that can serve as a medium for transmitting light, heat, or sound. (2) In electricity, a wire or cable that can carry an electric current. (3) A pipe that leads rainwater to a drain.
Conduit, electrical A pipe, usually metal, in which wire is installed.
confidentiality agreement A legal document that allows the release of trade secret information to physicians and others who may need this information to protect workers from danger or to treat an exposed worker.
configurated glass (figured glass) Glass that has a surface pattern impressed into it during manufacture to diffuse light or to obscure vision (for example, the glazing found on bathroom windows).
conifer Any of an order of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs, including those with true cones, such as pines, and those with arillate fruit, such as yews.
connected load The total load, as measured in watts, that is connected to an electric supply system if all lights and equipment are turned on.
connector A device that will hold two or more electrical wires in close contact and can be quickly and easily removed.
consequential damages Losses that do not flow directly from the actions of the defendant, but rather are the result of special or remote circumstances relating to those actions.
conservation In the context of historic buildings, efforts to bring old building finishes and features to a condition as close as possible to their original state when new. Conservation also involves planning and carrying out maintenance practices that will ensure the best appearance and condition of the building and its features for as long as possible.
consideration The price, motive, or benefit that induces parties to form a contract. A contract is not legally enforceable without consideration.
console (1) A control station with switches and gauges to govern the operation of mechanical, electrical, or electromechanical equipment. (2) An ornamental bracket-like member used to support a cornice.
consolidated formation Soil strata that may have been subjected to glacial or other consolidating loads in the geological past.
Consolidation The consolidation of services is the grouping of two or more individual service lines together with a multi-disciplined contractor with the ultimate goal of achieving operational and cost efficiencies. The integration of services can help with the introduction of a single-team culture and can provide reduced management costs through the removal of duplication across the individual services.
constant volume reheat An HVAC system in which the volume of the supply air is unchanged, while the supply air temperature is raised as the local zone cooling load decreases.
Construction Any combination of engineering, procurement, erection, installation, assembly or fabrication activities involved
to create a new facility/structure or to alter, add to, or rehabilitates an existing facility/structure, and its support
areas such as parking, grounds, roadways, service buildings for power generation, waste disposal, etc., and
the costs to construct interior spaces including the costs of ceilings, lighting, life safety such as sprinklers,
heating, ventilation, air conditioning, floor systems, carpeting, walls, doors, hardware and special finishes.
construction administrator One who oversees the fulfillment of the responsibilities of all parties to the contract for construction, for the primary benefit of the owner. In the typical project, construction administration is usually provided by the design professional. However, the owner may employ a separate professional entity for this purpose.
Construction Advisory Committee A special committee established by Congress to advise the Secretary of Labor on matters affecting the health and safety of construction workers.
construction documents The written specifications and drawings that provide the requirements of a construction project.
construction drawings The portion of the contract documents that gives a graphic representation of the work to be done in the construction of a project.
Construction drywall A type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, generally in the form of sheet materials or wood paneling as contrasted to plaster.
Construction Management At-Risk Defining Characteristics:
• Separate contracts for design and construction.
• Final selection of builder is based on any combination of Total Construction Costs and other criteria.
Available Selection Options:
• Qualifications Based Selection.
• Best Value Bid.
Typical Characteristics:
• Builder selection occurs during design.
• Builder selection based on a “qualifications based selection” (that may or may not include fees and/or
general conditions).
• Builder provides a cost guarantee Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and a schedule guarantee either
during or after their final selection.
• Builder is able to provide input such as cost, schedule and constructability during design.
• Overlapping of design and construction phases (fast-tracking) of the project is typical.
• Cost guarantee provided in the form of a not-to-exceed Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).
• Selection of designer and builder are independent processes.
construction manager One who directs the process of construction, either as the agent of the owner, as the agent of the contractor, or as one who, for a fee, directs and coordinates construction activity carried out under separate or multiple prime contracts.
Construction Move New walls, new or additional wiring, new telecommunication systems or other construction needed to
complete the move. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
Construction, frameA type of construction in which the structural components are wood or depend upon a wood frame for support. A type of construction in which the structural components are wood or depend upon a wood frame for support.
constructive acceleration A requirement that the contractor complete his work earlier than the contract time, including time extensions to which he is entitled because of excusable delays.
constructive change A change to a contract resulting from conduct by the owner that has the effect of requiring the contractor to perform work different from that presented in the contract.
constructor One who is in the business of managing the construction process. A contractor is a constructor who is acting under the terms of a contract for construction.
consultant A person (or organization) with an area of expertise or professional training who contracts to perform a service.
consulting engineer A licensed engineer, employed to perform specific engineering tasks.
Consumer Products Safety Act A federal law passed in 1972 that establishes standards of safety for consumer products.
Contact Hour A unit of measure that represents an hour of scheduled instruction given to students. Also referred to as clock hour.
containment berm A physical barrier used to keep liquids from running outside of a protected area.
contingency An amount included in the construction budget to cover the cost of unforeseen factors related to construction.
contingency allowance A specified sum included in the contract sum to be used at the owner’s discretion, and with his approval, to pay for any element or service that was unforeseen or that is desirable but not specifically required of the contractor by the construction documents.
contingent agreement An agreement in which a part of an individuals compensation is payable only if a particular condition is met, such as the securing of financial backing. This type of agreement is usually between an architect and an owner who may be seeking to raise funds through passage of a tax referendum, selling bonds, or some other means.
continuing education A term applied to a regimen of attendance and application of special study toward a specific subject matter. Continuing education may be pursued through accredited professional seminars, college curriculum, and other forms of organized study that promote knowledge of the “state of the art” of professional endeavors.
Continuity tester A device that tells whether a circuit is capable of carrying electricity.
continuous flow plant An asphaltic concrete mixing plant that mixes liquid asphalt and aggregate in a continuous flow, as opposed to a batch mixer.
continuous header Wood frame construction in which the top plate is replaced by a double member, such as a 2″ x 8″ on edge, that acts as a lintel over all wall openings.
Continuous Improvement The continuous of improvement of performance is often driven by an excellence model or other quality management system. By using a model a score can be obtained to reflect a snapshot of organisation performance. By driving forward compliance and progress an organisation can demonstrate an increased score over time can be .
continuous vent A vertical plumbing vent that is a continuation of the drain to which it connects.
continuously reinforced pavement A longitudinally reinforced concrete pavement with no intermediate transverse expansion or contraction joints.
contour line A line on a map or drawing indicating a horizontal plane of constant elevation.
CONTR contractor
contract The Contract Documents form the Contract for Construction. The Contract Contract, together with the performance and payment bond, if any, represents the entire and integrated agreement between the parties hereto and supersedes prior negotiations, representations or agreements, either written or oral. The Contract may be amended or modified only by a Modification. The Contract Documents shall not be construed to create a contractual relationship of any kind (1) between the Contractor and the Architect or the Architect’s consultants, (2) between the Owner and a Subcontractor or a Sub-subcontractor, (3) between the Owner and the Architect or the Architect’s consultants or (4) between any persons or entities other than the Owner and the Contractor. The Architect and the Contractor shall, however, be entitled to performance and enforcement of obligations under the Contract intended to facilitate performance of the Architect’s their respective duties.
contract An agreement between two parties to perform work or provide goods, including an agreement or order for the procurement of supplies or services.
contract bond See completion bond.
contract change A change to the contract requirements within the general and contract clauses.
Contract Disputes Act of 1978 A federal law providing for methods of prosecuting contract claims against the federal government.
contract documents The Contract Documents are enumerated in the Agreement between the Owner and Contractor (hereinafter the Agreement) and consist of the Agreement, Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), Drawings, Specifications, Addenda issued prior to execution of the Contract, other documents listed in the Agreement and Modifications issued after execution of the Contract. A Modification is (1) a written amendment to the Contract signed by both parties, (2) a Change Order, (3) a Construction Change Directive or (4) a written order for a minor change in the Work issued by the Architect. Unless specifically enumerated in the Agreement, the Contract Documents do not include the advertisement or invitation to bid, Instructions to Bidders, sample forms, other information furnished by the Owner in anticipation of receiving bids or proposals, the Contractor’s bid or proposal, or portions of Addenda relating to bidding requirements. The Contractor acknowledges and warrants that he has closely examined all of the Contract Documents, that they are suitable and sufficient to enable the Contractor to complete the Work in a timely manner for the Contract Sum, and that they include all Work which reasonably may be inferred to be required for the completion of the Work.
contract documents All the written and graphic documents concerning execution of a particular construction contract. These include the agreement between the owner and contractor, all conditions of the contract including general and supplementary conditions, the specifications and drawings, any changes to the specifications and drawings, any changes to the original contract, and any other items specifically itemized as being part of the contract documents.
contract for construction An agreement between owner and contractor whereby the contractor agrees to construct the owner’s project in accordance with the contract documents, within a specified amount of time, and for consideration to be paid by the owner as mutually agreed.
contract modification Any unilateral or bilateral written alteration of the contract in accordance with the governing regulations and contract clauses.
Contract Period The length of a contract, usually stated in years with start and end dates.
contract sum An amount representing the total consideration in money to be paid the contractor for services performed under the contract for construction.
contract type The specific pricing arrangements employed for the performance of work under contracts. These arrangements include firm fixed-price, fixed-price incentive, cost-plus-fixed fee, cost-plus-incentive fee, and several others.
contracting officer The representative of a government agency with authority to bind the government in contract matters.
contracting officer’s decision The contracting officer’s final ruling regarding a properly submitted claim.
contraction joint (control joint) A formed, sawed, or tooled groove in a concrete structure. The purpose of the joint is to create a weakened plane and to regulate the location of cracking resulting from the dimensional change of different parts of the structure.
contractor A constructor who is a party to the contract for construction, pledged to the owner to perform the work of construction in accordance with the contract documents.
contractor’s option As laid out in the contract documents, the ability of the contractor to select predetermined materials, methods, or systems, at his or her option, with no change in the contract sum.
contractor’s qualification statement A statement of the contractor’s qualifications, experience, financial condition, business history, and staff composition. This statement, together with listed business and professional references, provides evidence of the contractor’s competence to perform the work and assume the responsibilities required by the contract documents.
contributory negligence A term used to describe legal responsibility for an error or fault by one or more parties who have allegedly contributed in whole or in part to a loss or damage suffered by another party as a result of a specific occurrence.
Control joint Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to “control” where the concrete should crack.
controlled fill A backfilling or embankment operation in which the moisture content, depth of lift, and compaction equipment are closely regulated by specification and inspection.
controller An electrical, electronic, pneumatic, or mechanical device designed to regulate an operation or function.
contruction management Delivery practice using a construction consultant that provides design and construction advice. The owner retains design and construction services separately.
contruction management at risk Delivery process that delivers projects within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) in most cases. The construction manager acts as consultant to the owner in early project phases and becomes the equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase.
Convection Currents created by heating air, which then rises and pulls cooler air behind it. Also see radiation.
conversion (1) The change in use of a building, as from a warestructure to residential units, that may require changes in the mechanical, electrical, and structural systems. (2) The sawing or milling of lumber into smaller units.
converter A device that changes electrical energy from one form to another, as in coverting alternating current to direct current.
Cooling load The amount of cooling required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the summer, usually 78° F, regardless of outside temperature.
cooling plant The machinery that produces chilled water or cool refrigerant gas, such as the condenser, cooling tower, and condenser water pumps for watershed plants; air-cooled condensers for air-cooled systems; and chilled water pumps and expansion tanks for chilled water systems.
cooling tower An outdoor structure, frequently placed on a roof, over which warm water is circulated for cooling by evaporation and exposure to the air. A natural draft cooling tower is one in which the airflow through the tower is due to its natural chimney effect. A mechanical draft tower employs fans to force or induce a draft.
Coped Removing the top and bottom flange of the end(s) of a metal I-beam. This is done to permit it to fit within, and bolted to, the web of another I-beam in a “T” arrangement.
Coped joint Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.
coping The protective top member of any vertical construction such as a wall or chimney. A coping may be masonry, metal, or wood, and is usually sloped or beveled to shed water in such a way that it does not run down the vertical face of the wall. Copings often project out from a wall with a drip groove on the underside.
corbel A course or unit of masonry that projects beyond the course below. A corbel may be used entirely for decoration or for a ledge to support a load from above.
core (1) The interior structure of a hollow-core door. (2) A cylindrical sample of concrete or rock extracted by a core drill. (3) The void in a concrete masonry unit. (4) The center layer of a sheet of plywood. (5) The vertical stack of service areas in a multistory building. (6) The central part of an electrical winding. (7) Metal support for a handrail. (8) The rubble filling in a thick masonry wall. (9) The center material between facing papers in gypsum wallboard. (10) Refers to functions and activities that are fundamental to business and therefore not outsourced, as non-core functions and activities may be.
Core Area The part of a building containing lifts, stairs, common lobbies, plant and service areas, ducts and toilets.
Core Factor In commercial space measurement systems, the percentage of the rentable area of each floor that is not part of a tenant’s own space.
core gap An open joint extending through, or partly through, a plywood panel, that occurs when core veneers are not tightly butted. When center veneers are involved, the condition is referred to as a center gap.
corkboard Compressed and baked granulated cork used in flooring and sound conditioning and as a vibration absorber.
Corner bead A strip of formed sheet metal placed on outside corners of drywall before applying drywall ‘mud’.
Corner boards Used as trim for the external corners of a structure or other frame structure against which the ends of the siding are finished.
Corner braces Diagonal braces at the corners of the framed structure designed to stiffen and strengthen the wall.
Cornice Overhang of a pitched roof , usually consisting of a fascia board, a soffit and appropriate trim moldings.
corporation An association of individuals established under certain legal requirements. A corporation exists independently of its members, and has powers and liabilities distinct and apart from its members.
correlation of intent The intent of the Contract Documents is to include all items necessary for the proper execution and completion of the Work by the Contractor. The Contract Documents are complementary, and what is required by one shall be as binding as if required by all; performance by the Contractor shall be required only to the extent consistent with the Contract Documents and reasonably inferable from them as being necessary to produce the indicated results. In the event of a conflict or inconsistency in or among the Contract Documents, the Contractor shall, unless directed otherwise in writing by the Owner, provide the greatest quantity, highest quality, highest degree of safety, and most stringent material, equipment or Work. In such cases, the appropriate scope of said Work, shall be determined by the Architect in consultation with the Owner. Failure to report a conflict in the Construction Documents shall be deemed evidence that the Contractor has elected to proceed in the manner called for above. Organization of the Specifications into divisions, sections and articles, and arrangement of Drawings shall not control the Contractor in dividing the Work among Subcontractors or in establishing the extent of Work to be performed by any trade. Unless otherwise stated in the Contract Documents, words that have well-known technical or construction industry meanings are used in the Contract Documents in accordance with such recognized meanings. Scope paragraphs placed at the beginning of the Sections of the Specifications present a brief indication of the principal Work included in that section, but do not limit Work to the subject mentioned, nor do they purport to itemize the Work that may be included.
Correspondence A method of instruction with students receiving structured units of information and accompanying material completely through the mail.
corrosive Descriptive of a substance that causes corrosion.
cost The total expenditure in dollars approved after the completion of a project.
cost breakdown See schedule of values.
Cost of Latest Major Renovation The dollar value of the latest renovation that cost in excess of 25 percent of the estimated replacement cost of the structure and that significantly extended its useful life.
Cost Transparency Refers to the breakdown, and subsequent provision of the breakdown to the client, of full cost information of a contract including resource, material, equipment, overhead and profit.
cost-plus-fee agreement An agreement between an owner and the contractor or a design professional that provides for payment of all costs associated with completion of their duties. This includes direct and indirect costs as well as a fee for services, which may be a fixed amount or a percentage of costs.
cost-reimbursement contract A type of contract in which the pricing arrangement involves the payment of allowable costs incurred by the contractor during performance.
Counter flashing A metal flashing usually used on chimneys at the roofline to cover shingle flashing and used to prevent moisture entry.
Counter Measures Measures implemented to counter the possible risks identified during risk management.
counterbalanced window A double- hung window in which a system of weights and pulleys balances the weight of the sash, thus making it relatively easy to open and close.
Counterfort A foundation wall section that strengthens (and generally perpendicular to) a long section of foundation wall
counterweight A weight that balances another weight; for example, a sash weight that balances a window sash, or a large weight that balances a lift bridge.
counterweight system A permanent system of weights mounted, for example, on a theatre stage to balance curtains, scenery, or lighting equipment.
coupled window A pair of independent windows separated by a mullion.
Course A row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof. Parallel layers of building materials such as bricks, or siding laid up horizontally.
Cove molding A molding with a concave face used as trim or to finish interior corners.
coved vault An enclosure whose sides are like four quarter cylinders intersecting so that the joints look like an “X” in plane view.
covenant A term used to describe one or more specific points of agreement that may be set forth in a contract.
coverage (1) The nominal square feet of area that a can of stain or paint can be expected to cover. (2) The amount of surface that may be covered by a unit, such as a bundle, square, or ton of building material. (3) An insurance policy, or the dollar protection that policy provides. The amount of protection depends on many factors, including the type of insurance, amount of insurance purchased, policy limits, and exclusions. (4) Dependable estimates or firm bids for portions of a construction project.
coverstone A flat stone laid on a steel beam or girder to act as the foundation for the masonry above.
coving (1) Concave molding such as that used at the intersection of a wall and the ceiling. (2) The outward curve of an exterior wall to meet the eaves. (3) The curving sides of a fireplace that narrows at the back.
cowl (1) An elaborate chimney pot for improving drafts. (2) A covering over vent pipes to block rain and snow.
CPFF cost plus fixed fee
cradle-to-grave analysis A methodology used to determine the energy, environmental and waste implications of a product, material or system.
crane A machine for raising, shifting, or lowering heavy weights, commonly by means of a projecting swinging arm.
Crawl space A shallow space below the living quarters of a structure, normally enclosed by the foundation wall and having a dirt floor.
crawl space vents A system of openings in a crawl space to allow for an air exchange that will reduce moisture and harmful gas buildup.
CRDAMC Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
CRE Corporate real estate
Credit Hour A unit of measure representing the equivalent of an hour (50 minutes) of instruction per week over the entire term. It is applied toward the total number of hours needed for completing the requirements of a degree, diploma, certificate, or other formal award.
Credit rating A report ordered by a lender from a credit agency to determine a borrower’s credit habits.
cremone bolt (cremorne bolt) A bolt system for windows and doors that features a long sliding rod that is engaged by the turn of a handle. Commonly used with French doors.
creosote An oily liquid obtained from tar and used to prevent wood from decaying. Creosote is used extensively for preserving railroad ties, wood piles, posts, and wood foundations.
crescent truss A truss in which the upper and lower chords are curved in the same direction, but with different radii of curvature, so that they meet at the ends, thus giving the assembly a crescent-shaped appearance.
cribbing A framework of wood, concrete, or metal members which form open bins that are filled with crushed rock or pervious soil; used as a retaining structure for a earth embankment.
cribwork An open construction of beams, at the face of an embankment, the alternate layers of which project to provide lateral stability, prevent erosion, and resist thrust or overturning.
Cricket A second roof built on top of the primary roof to increase the slope of the roof or valley. A saddle-shaped, peaked construction connecting a sloping roof with a chimney. Designed to encourage water drainage away from the chimney joint.
cripple (1) In construction framing, members that are less than full length; for example, studs above a door or below a window. (2) In roofing, a bracket secured at the ridge of a pitched roof to carry the scaffold for roofers.
critical path A term used to describe the order of events (each of a particular duration) that results in the least amount of time required to complete a project.
critical path method (CPM) A system of construction management that involves the complete planning and scheduling of a project, and the development of an arrow diagram showing each activity, its appropriate place in the timetable, and its importance relative to other tasks, and the complete project.
CRN cost of reproduction/replacement new
Cross bridging Diagonal bracing between adjacent floor joists, placed near the center of the joist span to prevent joists from twisting.
cross connection (1) A piping connection between two otherwise separate piping systems, one of which contains potable water, and the other water of unknown or questionable safety. (2) In a fire protection system, a connection from a siamese fitting to a standpipe or sprinkler system.
cross lighting Illumination from two sources on opposite sides of a subject.
cross section A diagram or illustration showing the internal construction of a part or assembly if the front portion were removed.
Cross Tee Short metal “T” beam used in suspended ceiling systems to bridge the spaces between the main beams.
cross ventilation The circulation or flow of air through openings, such as doors, windows, or grilles, that are on opposite sides of a room.
crown (1) An ornamental architectural topping. (2) The central top section of an arch or vault. (3) The high point in the center of a road that causes water to flow to the edges. (4) The top of a tree or flowering plant. (5) In plumbing, the section of a trap that changes direction from vertical to horizontal. (6) The convex curvature or camber in a beam.
Crown molding A molding used on cornice or wherever an interior angle is to be covered, especially at the roof and wall corner.
crushed gravel Gravel that has been crushed and screened so that substantially one face of each particle is a fractured face.
crushed stone Stone crushed and screened so that substantially all faces result from fracturing.
CSN Construction Site Notice
cull Building materials, especially bricks, that are discarded because of defects.
Culvert Round, corrugated drain pipe (normally 15″ or 18″ in diameter) that is installed beneath a driveway and parallel to and near the street.
cupolas A domed structure, often set on a circular or polygonal base on a roof or set on pillars; often glazed to provide light in the space below, or louvered to provide ventilation in that space.
Cupping A type of warping that causes boards to curl up at their edges.
Curb The short elevation of an exterior wall above the deck of a roof. Normally a 2 by 6 box (on the roof) on which a skylight is attached.
Curb stop Normally a cast iron pipe with a lid (@ 5″ in diameter) that is placed vertically into the ground, situated near the water tap in the yard, and where a water cut-off valve to the home is located (underground). A long pole with a special end is inserted into the curb stop to turn off/on the water.
curbing A raised rim of concrete, stone, or metal which forms the edge of a street, sidewalk, or planted area; a low wall of wood, metal, or masonry built around an opening in a roof or placed on the surface of a roof to support equipment.
cure (1) A change in the physical and/or chemical properties of an adhesive or sealant when mixed with a catalyst or subjected to heat or pressure. (2) To maintain the proper moisture and temperature after placing or finishing concrete to assure proper hydration and hardening.
Current Replacement Value (CRV) The total expenditure in current dollars required to replace any facility at the institution, inclusive of construction
costs, design costs, project management costs and project administrative costs. Construction costs are
calculated as replacement in function vs. in-kind. The value of design (6%), project management (10-12%),
and administrative costs (4%) can be estimated at 20% of the construction cost. The value of property/land
however is excluded, and insurance replacement values or book values should not be used to define the
current replacement value. Costs for the replacement value are typically generated using a cost models based
upon the use of reference cost databases using the building construction type, user and use categories, quality
level, buildings systems and or subsystems/components/units, and local experience. The property
owner/manager may decide, for internal purposes, to base the current replacement value (CRV) on
“replacement in kind” (duplicate constructions techniques), vs. “replacement in function” (e.g., six story office
space). The CRV’s for associated infrastructure, such as utility systems, and generating plants, roadways,
non-building structures (e.g., dam, bridges, etc.) are developed in a similar manner.
current-carrying capacity (ampacity) The maximum rated current, measured in amperes, that an electrical device is allowed to carry. Exceeding this limit could lead to early failure of the device or create a fire hazard.
current-limiting fuse A fuse that acts as a protective device by interrupting currents in its current-limiting range and guarding against overcurrents in an electrical system.
curtain board (draft curtain) A heavy fireproof fabric hung from a roof or ceiling to isolate a hazardous area and act as a shield against the spread of a fire by containing heat and smoke for direct venting.
cushion (1) Wood placed so as to absorb a force by acting as a buffer or by transmitting it over a larger area. (2) A stone placed to accept and spread out a vertical load. (3) An isolating pad against shock and vibration for glass, machinery, equipment, etc.
cut (1) Material excavated from a construction site. (2) A term for the area after the excavated material has been removed. (3) The depth of material to be removed, as in a 5′ cut. (4) To reduce a cost item.
cutaway drawing A drawing of an area or object that shows what would be seen if a slice could be made into the area or object and a piece removed. See also cross section.
Cut-in brace Nominal 2-inch-thick members, usually 2 by 4’s, cut in between each stud diagonally.
cutout (1) A mechanical or electrical device used to stop a machine when its safe limits have been exceeded. (2) An opening in a wall or surface for access or other purposes. (3) A piece stamped out of sheet metal or other sheet material.
cutout box A metal box used in electrical wiring to structure circuit breakers, fuses, or a disconnect switch.
cutting in A painting technique used to paint around the edges of an object or area, such as trim or a light fixture.
CWA Clean Water Act
D deep, depth, diameter, dimensional, discharge
d degree, density, penny (nail size)
Dado A groove cut into a board or panel intended to receive the edge of a connecting board or panel.
damages A measure of monetary compensation that a court or arbitrator awards to a plaintiff for loss or injury suffered by the plaintiff’s person, property, or other legally recognizable rights. See also liquidated damages.
damper (1) A blade or louver within an air duct, inlet, or outlet that can be adjusted to regulate the flow of air. (2) A pivotal cast-iron plate positioned just below the smoke chamber of a fireplace to regulate drafts.
Damper- A metal “door” placed within the fireplace chimney. Normally closed when the fireplace is not in use.
dampers A flap to control or obstruct the flow of air or other gasses; specifically, a metal control flap in the throat of a fireplace, or in an air duct.
damping (1) The force that acts to reduce vibrations in the same way that friction acts to reduce ordinary motion. (2) The gradual dissipation of energy over a period of time.
Dampproofing- The black, tar like waterproofing material applied to the exterior of a foundation wall.
dao (paldao) A moderately hard, heavy wood indigenous to the Philippines and New Guinea. The wood is variegated in color and used mostly for cabinets, plywood, and interior finishes.
Data Element An individual item of data related to a particular space.
Data Field A location of specific data elements that make up a data record. Example: A space record requires a minimum of these four data fields—a unique space number, area, space use, and organizational assignment.
Data Record A collection of all fields pertaining to a single data element.
database Part of a computer’s software program that contains files and lists of related information organized for quick access. In Building Automation Systems, the database consists of digital and analog point names; descriptions such as temperature set points; and operating information such as programs and passwords.
date of agreement The date shown on the face of an agreement, or the date the agreement is signed (usually the date of the award).
date of substantial completion The date on which the work (or a portion of the work) is certified by the architect to be sufficiently complete as specified in the contract documents. The owner should be able to occupy the work fully or partially.
daub (1) To rough-coat with plaster. (2) To rough-coat a stone surface by striking it with a special hammer.
Davis-Bacon Act A federal labor law enacted in 1931 that requires laborers and mechanics (those who do physical work) on federally funded construction projects be paid no less than the local prevailing wages. The Davis-Bacon Act applies to all federally funded contracts over a specified value.
day In glazing, one division of a window, particularly in large church windows.
Daylight The end of a pipe (the terminal end) that is not attached to anything.
daylight width (sight size width) The width of that portion of a window which admits light.
dB Decibels
De humidistat
dead Refers to a conductor that is not connected to an electrical source.
Dead bolt An exterior security lock installed on exterior entry doors that can be activated only with a key or thumb-turn. Unlike a latch, which has a beveled tongue, dead bolts have square ends.
dead end (1) In stressing a tendon, the end opposite the one to which stress is applied. (2) In plumbing, a drain line or vent that has been purposely terminated by a cap, plug, or other fitting.
Dead light The fixed, non-operable window section of a window unit.
dead load A calculation of the weight of a building’s structural components, fixtures, and permanently attached equipment (used in designing a building and its foundations).
deadband In HVAC, a temperature range in which neither the heating nor cooling systems are activated.
dead-front Refers to an electrical device in which the front part is insulated from voltage and can be touched without receiving an electric shock.
deadlight A fixed window sash.
deal In the lumber industry, boards or planks usually more than 9″ wide and 3″ to 5″ thick.
debarment The formal sanction by the government prohibiting a contractor from receiving contracts as a result of certain proscribed actions including crimes, fraud, etc.
decal A design that can be transferred from a special paper onto any of a number of different surfaces.
deck curb A curb around the edge of a roof deck or around roof-mounted equipment.
deck paint A special hard-surface paint that is resistant to abrasive wear and used particularly on decks and porches.
Deck, decked To install the plywood or wafer board sheeting on the floor joists, rafters, or trusses.
decking (1) Light-gauge, corrugated metal sheets used in constructing roofs or floors. (2) Heavy planking used on roofs or floors. (3) Another name for slab forms that are left in place to save stripping costs. (4) The use of inert material to separate explosive charges.
decorative block A concrete masonry unit manufactured or treated to have a desired architectural effect. The particular effect may be in color, texture, or both.
Dedicated circuit An electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (ie, dishwasher) or a series of electric heaters or smoke detectors.
dedicated street A street whose ownership has been relinquished and which has been accepted by a governmental agency for public use and maintenance.
deduction The amount of money deducted from the contract sum by a change order.
deductive alternate An alternative bid that is lower than that bidder’s base bid.
deed (1) A legal document giving an individual rights or ownership to a property. (2) A document that forms part of a contract and which, when signed by both parties, legally commits the contractor to perform the work according to the contract documents, and commits the client to pay for the work.
deep-seal trap (antisiphon trap) A U-shaped plumbing trap having a seal of 4″ or more.
Default Breach of a mortgage contract (not making the required payments).
defect Any condition or characteristic that detracts from the appearance, strength, or durability of an object.
defense An explanation or reason why a person or entity should not be held legally responsible (liable) as a result of claims made against them by another party.
Deferred Maintenance Backlog Deterioration/Plant (Facilities) Deterioration Rate Facilities and equipment are in a constant state of degradation. While identified deficiencies/requirements are
being corrected, other deficiencies/requirements are continuously being created over time. The rate of
deterioration may be expressed as a percentage of current replacement value per year. While degradation
rates vary as a function of multiple variables such as building type, current conditions, geographic location,
etc., a benchmark deterioration rate for a reasonably well maintained facility is approximately 2.5% per annum.
Varying annual capital reinvestments into the physical plant and equipment may alter the degradation rate.
The facility condition index (FCI) can be used as comparative metric to help monitor degradation rates.
Deferred Maintenance/Deferred Maintenance Backlog/Accumulated Deferred Maintenance Backlog The total dollar amount of existing maintenance repairs and required replacements (capital renewal), not
accomplished when they should have been, not funded in the current fiscal year or otherwise delayed to the
future. Typically identified by a comprehensive facilities condition assessment/audit of buildings, grounds,
fixed equipment and infrastructure. These needs have not been scheduled to be accomplished in the current
budget cycle and thereby are postponed until future funding budget cycles. The projects have received a lower
priority status than those to be completed in the current budget cycle. For calculation of facility condition index
(FCI) values, deferred maintenance does not include grand fathered items (e.g., ADA), or programmatic
requirements (e.g, adaptation).
Deficiency/Requirement (Facility/Structure/Asset) The quantitative difference, typically in terms of dollars amount and associated physical requirements, between
an assets current physical or functional condition, and an established minimum level of condition/performance.
Any problem or defect with materials or equipment.
deformed metal plate A corrugated or otherwise horizontally deformed metal plate used at vertical joints to provide a mechanical interlock between sections.
degradation Deterioration of a painted surface by heat, light, moisture, or other elements.
degree of compaction The measure of density of a soil sample, estimated by using a standard formula.
degree-day A unit of measure for heating-fuel consumption. The unit is used to specify the nominal heating load of a building in winter. One degree-day is equal to the number of degrees, during a 24-hour day, that the mean temperature is below 65° F, which is the base temperature in the United States.
Delamination Separation of the plies in a panel due to failure of the adhesive.  Usually caused by excessive moisture.
delay An event or condition that results in work activity starting, or the project being completed, later than originally planned.
delivery order contract (DOC) A comprehensive procurement system for organizations to obtain construction services that is designed to lessen construction response time, reduce in-structure workload and enhance quality control.
delta connection A configuration in a three-phase electrical transformer where the three windings form a triangular shape like the Greek letter delta. See also wye connection.
demand factor In an electrical system, the ratio of the maximum demand to the connected load.
demand load The actual amount of electrical load on a circuit on any given time.
Demo demolition
Demob demobilization
demolition The intentional destruction of all or part of a structure.
Demolition permit Authorization to tear down and remove an existing structure.
demountable partition (relocatable partition) A non-load-bearing wall made of prefabricated sections that can be readily disassembled and relocated. These partitions may be full height or partial height.
demurrage (1) A late charge for detaining a cargo-carrying vehicle beyond the agreed-upon time for its return. (2) A late charge for oxygen and acetylene cylinder rentals and electrical cable reels.
density (1) In urban planning, the number of people dwelling upon an acre (or sometimes a square mile) of land. (2) The ratio of the mass of a specimen of a substance to the volume of the specimen; the mass per unit volume of a substance. (3) The closeness of pile yarn; the amount of pile packed into a given area of carpet, usually measured in ounces per square yard.
Department of Health and Human Services The federal agency responsible for establishing health and safety standards for the protection of persons.
Department of Labor The federal agency that oversees all laws associated with hiring, employing, and protecting workers.
deposit for bidding documents A deposit required from the bidder for each set of the plans, specifications, and other bidding documents for a contract. Normally the deposit is returned to the bidder upon return of the documents in good condition and within a specified time.
depository A location where bids are received by an awarding authority. See also bank depository.
depreciation The allocation of a part of the cost of a property, plant, or equipment item (that has a limited useful life) over its estimated useful life.
derrick A device consisting of a vertical mast and a horizontal or sloping boom operated by cables attached to a separate engine or motor. The device is used for hoisting and moving heavy loads or objects.
Descriptive characteristics of a building, such as gross area, assignable area, condition, ownership, estimated replacement cost, and year of construction. See section 5.2, Required Data Elements, section 5.3, Optional Data Elements, and section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
descriptive specification A type of specification that provides a detailed description of the required properties of a product, material, or piece of equipment, and the workmanship required for its proper installation.
design (1) To create a graphic representation of a structure. (2) The graphic architectural concept of a structure. (3) To make a preliminary sketch, drawing, or outline. (4) Design begins with and is the analysis, understanding and response to the base of data, intentions, and impressions collected in the process of discovering what there is to know about a project. The combination of all this into a unified solution is the synthesis that is the core of design.
design development phase The second phase of a designer’s basic services, which includes developing structural, mechanical, and electrical drawings, specifying materials, and estimating the probable cost of construction.
design for recycling A design concept that seeks to remove hazardous and non-recyclable materials from the production process through careful planning and design.
design load (1) In structural analysis, the total load on a structural system under the worst possible loading conditions. (2) In air conditioning, the maximum heat load a system is designed to withstand.
design pressure The highest pressure expected during operation of a system, device, or piece of equipment.
design professional A term used generally to refer to architects; civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning engineers; interior designers; landscape architects; and others whose services have either traditionally been considered “professional” activities, require licensing or registration by the state, or otherwise require the knowledge and application of design principles appropriate to the problem at hand.
Design/Bid/Build Delivery process where an owner hold separate contracts with separate entities for design and construction. In today’s environment, this is considered to be the “traditional” method for procuring design and construction services. Defining Characteristics:
• Separate contracts for design and construction.
• Final selection of builder is based usual on Total Construction Cost.
Available Selection Options:
• Low Bid Only (based on the “defining characteristics”).
• Best Value.
Typical Characteristics:
• Design is typically near 100% complete at time of final builder selection.
• The construction phase follows the design phase (after bid process) in linear fashion.
• Selection of designer and builder are independent processes.
Design/Build Defining Characteristics:
• A single contract for design and construction.
Available Selection Options:
• Qualifications Based Selection.
• Best Value Bid.
• Low Bid.
Typical Characteristics:
• Design-Builder able to provide input such as cost, schedule and constructability during design.
• Overlapping of design and construction phases (fast-tracking) of the project.
• Cost guarantee provided in the form of a not-to-exceed Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).
detail A large-scale architectural or engineering drawing indicating specific configurations and dimensions of construction elements. If the large-scale drawing differs from the general drawing, it is the architect’s or engineer’s intention that the large-scale drawing be used to clarify the general drawing.
detailed estimate of construction cost A forecast of the cost to construct a project, based on unit prices of materials, labor, and equipment, in contrast to a parameter estimate or square-foot estimate.
detention door A special steel door with fixed lights and steel bars, used to restrict passage in prisons and mental institutions.
detention window A narrow, metal awning window manufactured especially for the security of prisons and mental institutions.
developed surface A curved or angular surface graphically represented as flattened out on a plane.
device In an electrical system, a component that carries but does not consume electricity, such as a switch or a receptacle.
devil A fire grate used to heat asphalt-spreading tools. See also devil float.
DFAC Dining Facility
DHW domestic hot water, double-hung window
diagonal sheathing A covering of wooden boards placed diagonally over an exterior stud wall. Although slightly more expensive to install, this method provides a more rigid frame than horizontally-installed boards, and may be more architecturally pleasing.
differential settlement Uneven, downward movement of the foundation of a structure, usually caused by varying soil or loading conditions and resulting in cracks and distortions in the foundation.
differing site conditions Unanticipated physical conditions at the site that differ materially from those set forth in the contract or ordinarily encountered in work of the same nature.
digital Refers to communications equipment and procedures in which information is represented in binary form (1 or 0), as opposed to analog form (variable, continuous wave forms).
dimension A distance between two points, lines, or planes.
dimension shingles Shingles cut to a uniform size, usually 5″ or 6″ wide, and used for special architectural effects.
dimensionally stable Refers to any building material whose shape does not alter appreciably with changes in temperature, moisture, and loading conditions.
dimmer An electrical device that varies the amount of light given off by an electrical lamp by varying the current.
dip (1) In geology, the slope of a fault or vein. (2) In plumbing, the lowest point of the inside top of a trap.
dipcoat A covering of paint or other coating applied by immersing an object in a liquid. Usually applied as an anticorrosive.
direct component The portion of light from a lamp or luminaire that arrives at the workplane without being reflected.
direct costs The labor, material, subcontractor, and heavy equipment costs directly incorporated into the construction of physical improvements.
direct current A term applied to an electrical circuit in which the current flows in one direction only.
direct expense All cost items that are directly incurred by or chargeable to a project, assignment, or task.
direct heating The heating of a space by means of exposed heated surfaces or a heat source such as a stove, a radiator, or fire.
direct personnel expense Salaries and wages, including fringe benefits, of all principals and employees attributable to a particular project or task.
direct return system A heating or cooling system in which the heating or cooling fluid is returned from the heat exchanger to the boiler or evaporator by the shortest, most direct route.
direct selection A process whereby the owner selects a contractor to construct a project. The selection is made at the owner’s discretion based on the contractor’s experience, availability, and capability. The terms of the contract for construction are reached by negotiation rather than through the process of competitive bidding.
direct system A heating, air conditioning, or refrigerating system that employs no intermediate heat exchanger to heat or cool a space.
direct-fired air heater An air heating system in which the heat of combustion is applied directly to the intake air so that no heat exchanger is needed.
directional lighting The lighting of an object or workplace from a desirable source location.
disability glare An objectionable effect of brightness that hampers visibility and causes discomfort.
Disaster Recovery Disaster recovery is a sub-section of business continuity planning and refers to the specific provisions for handling a critical issue, such as a catastrophic power failure, flood or security breach. See business continuity planning.
discharging arch An arch built above the lintel of a door or window to distribute the weight to each side of the wall above.
discomfort glare An objectionable effect of brightness that does not necessarily hamper visibility.
Disconnect A large (generally 20 Amp) electrical ON
Discount rate A mortgage interest rate that is lower than the current rate for a certain period of time, e.g. 2.00% below variable rate for 2 years.
dispute procedure The administrative procedure for processing a contract dispute with the United States government. This procedure is provided for in the Contract Disputes Act.
distance separation The distance, as specified in fire-protection codes, from an exterior wall to an adjacent building, property line, or the centerline of an adjacent street.
distribution (1) The movement of heated or conditioned air to desired locations. (2) The delivery of electricity over a system from transmission points. (3) The placement of concrete from where it is discharged to its final location.
distribution cutout In a primary electrical circuit, a safety device that disconnects a circuit to prevent overload.
distribution line The main electrical feed line to which other circuits are connected.
distributor truck A truck that is equipped with an insulated tank, heating units, and bars for applying liquid asphalt to a pavement area.
diversity factor In electrical systems, the sum of the individual demands of the subsystems divided by the maximum demand of the whole system.
dividers A compass with both legs terminating in points. Used for transferring measurements from a plan or map to a scale, or vice versa.
division wall (fire wall) A regulation fire-resistant wall extending from the lowest floor of a building through the roof to prevent the spread of fire.
DoD Department of Defense
dog (1) In concrete forming, the hardware that holds the end of a snap tie. (2) Any device used for holding, gripping, or fastening an object. See also dog anchor.
dog’s tooth A bricklaying pattern in which the corners of bricks project from the wall.
dome (1) A hemispherical roof such as that commonly seen on government structures. (2) A rectangular pan form used in two-way joist or waffle concrete floor construction.
dominant estate Pertaining to legal rights and benefits in property deeds. The property receiving the right or benefit is the dominant estate, whereas the property granting the right or benefit is the servient estate.
door area The total area of outside doors and facings. Used in computing heating and cooling requirements of a building.
door class A fire-rating classification for doors.
door contact (door switch) A switch in an electrical circuit that is opened or closed by opening or closing a door.
door frame The surrounding assembly into which a door fits. Consists of two uprights, jambs, and a head over the top.
door jack A device for holding a wooden door in place while the hinges are being set or while the door is being planed to fit.
Door operator An automatic garage door opener.
Door stop The wooden style that the door slab will rest upon when it’s in a closed position.
Doorjamb, interior- The surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens. It consists of two upright pieces, called side jambs, and a horizontal head jamb. These 3 jambs have the “door stop” installed on them.
dope (1) In plumbing, a material placed on pipe threads to make them waterproof. (2) An additive in mortar or plaster to accelerate or retard the set.
dormer A projection through the slope of a roof for a vertical window.
double cheek cut A two-sided cut that forms a “V” at the end of a rafter, especially in hip and gambrel roofs.
Double glass Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.  Also known as Insulating Glass.
Double hung window A window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.
double layer Two layers of gypsum board installed over each other to improve fire resistance or
double T-beam A precast concrete member composed of two beams with a flat slab cast monolithically across and projecting beyond the top of the two beams.
double waste and vent In plumbing, a single vent that serves two fixtures.
double-break switch An electrical switch that opens and closes a conductor in two places.
double-pole switch An electrical switch that has two blades and contacts that open or close both sides of a circuit simultaneously.
double-shell tile A ceramic tile with two finished faces separated by a web.
double-throw switch An electrical switch that can make connections in either of two circuits by changing its position.
Douglas fir Pseudotsuga taxifolia. A coniferous softwood found throughout the western United States and Canada and grown abundantly on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. This tree produces a strong, durable timber that is widely used in general construction as well as in finish applications.
dovetail plane A wood-finishing tool used for preparing dovetail joints.
dowel pin A special nail pointed at both ends and used to fasten mortise and tenon joints.
Down payment The difference between the sales price and the mortgage amount. A downpayment is usually paid at closing.
Downspout A pipe, usually of metal, for carrying rainwater down from the roof’s horizontal gutters.
downtime The amount of time a piece of equipment cannot be used due to failure, repair, or maintenance.
DPW Directorate of Public Works
DPWS Department of Public Works and Services
draft bead (deep bead, draft stop) A fillet or bead on the windowsill of a double-hung window that permits ventilation of the joint, but prevents a draft from entering the room.
Drain tile A perforated, corrugated plastic pipe laid at the bottom of the foundation wall and used to drain excess water away from the foundation. It prevents ground water from seeping through the foundation wall. Sometimes called perimeter drain.
drainage piping The piping comprising the plumbing of a drainage system.
Draw The amount of progress billings on a contract that is currently available to a contractor under a contract with a fixed payment schedule.
drawbar The bar attached to the back of a tractor for pulling equipment.
draw-in system An electrical wiring system in which all cables are pulled through conduits, ducts, and raceways.
drawings (1) Graphic illustrations depicting the dimensions, design, and location of a project. Generally including plans, elevations, details, diagrams, schedules, and sections. (2) The term, when capitalized, refers to the graphic portions of a project’s contract documents.
dredge (1) To excavate under water. (2) The equipment used for excavating under water, such as a clamshell, dragline, or suction line.
drencher system A fire-protection sprinkler system that protects the outside of a building.
dressed and matched (tongued and grooved) Refers to boards or planks that have been machined so that each piece has a tongue on one edge and a groove on the other.
dressed lumber (dressed stuff) Lumber that has been processed through a planing machine in order to attain a smooth surface and uniformity of size on at least one side or edge.
dressed size The true dimensions of lumber after sawing and planing, as opposed to the nominal size.
drift (1) In a water-spraying system, the entrained, unevaporated water picked up by the air movement through it. (2) In aerial surveying, the angle at which a plane must crab, or turn its nose into the wind, in order to fly a predetermined line. (3) A natural deposit of loose material such as rock or sand. (4) The lateral movement or deflection of a structure.
drip (1) A groove in the underside of a projection, such as a windowsill, that prevents water from running back into the building wall. (a) A member of a cornice or other horizontal exterior finish course that has a projection beyond the other parts for throwing off water.(b) A groove in the underside of a sill or drip cap to cause water to drop off on the outer edge instead of drawing back and running down the face of the building.(2) A condensation drain in a steam heating system.
Drip cap A molding or metal flashing placed on the exterior topside of a door or window frame to cause water to drip beyond the outside of the frame.
dripstone course A course of stone projecting out beyond the face of a wall to shed water away from the wall.
drop In air conditioning, the vertical distance that a horizontally projected air stream has fallen when it reaches the end of its throw.
drop box An electrical outlet box hung from above, as from a ceiling.
drop vent In plumbing, a vent that is connected at a point below the fixture.
drop window A vertically sliding window that slides into a recess below the window stool so that the entire opening can be used for ventilation.
drop wire An electrical conductor dropped from a pole to a building to supply electric power to the building.
dropout ceiling A suspended ceiling with heat-sensitive tiles that are designed to drop out in the event of a fire and sprinkler discharge. A dropout ceiling is aesthetically pleasing, as it does not require that sprinklers be extended below the ceiling.
dropout panels for ceilings Drop-out ceilings are suspended   ceiling systems that have translucent   or opaque, heat sensitive panels. When subject to heat, these panels drop from the suspension system, thereby exposing the sprinkler system installed above it.
DRRF Deployment Readiness and Reaction Facility
drum trap A cylindrical plumbing trap usually set flush with a floor so that easy access can be gained by unscrewing the top.
drunken saw (wobble saw) A type of circular saw designed to operate with a built-in wobble so that the kerf it makes is greater than the thickness of the saw. This type of saw is used for grooving and for other special purposes in carpentry.
dry cell batteries A battery in which the electrolyte is immobilized in the form of a paste or gel.
dry clamping The practice of piecing together all parts of an assembly, such as a table, before fastening to confirm that all joints fit.
dry filter A device for removing pollutants from the air in a system by passing the air through various screens and dry, porous materials. Most dry filters in HVAC systems today are made of spun fiberglass.
Dry in To install the black roofing felt (tar paper) on the roof.
dry press A mechanical device for molding masonry units from a very dry mixture.
dry return In a steam heating system, a return pipe above the water level.
dry rodding Compaction of aggregate in a container under standard conditions for determining the unit weight in a concrete mix design.
dry strength The strength of an adhesive joint determined under standard laboratory testing conditions.
dry-powder fire extinguisher A hand-held fire extinguisher that discharges a dry powder by means of a compressed gas. This type of extinguisher is effective for Class B and Class C fires.
dry-rodded weight The unit weight of aggregate compacted under standard conditions and used when designing a concrete mix.
Drywall (or Gypsum Wallboard (GWB), Sheet rock or Plasterboard) Wall board or gypsum- A manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 1/2″ thick and 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ in size. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a ‘joint compound’. ‘Green board’ type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other “wet areas”.
drywall router A small power tool for making cutouts for electrical boxes, windows, and other openings in drywall and panelling.
dual duct In electrical wiring, a duct that has two individual raceways.
dual vent (common vent) A single plumbing vent that serves two fixtures.
dual-duct system An HVAC system using two ducts, one for hot air and one for cold air. The air from these ducts is blended in mixing boxes before distribution to each location.
dual-fuel system A heating unit that can use either of two types of fuel.
duct (1) In electrical systems, an enclosure for wires or cables, often embedded in concrete floors or encased in concrete underground. (2) In HVAC systems, the conduit used to distribute the air. (3) In posttensioning, the hole through which the cable is pulled.
duct liner Fiberglass sound and thermal insulation material used inside the sheet metal ducts of air conditioning systems.
duct sheet The metal used in fabricating HVAC ducts.
Ducts The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in the home.  Also a tunnel made of galvanized metal or rigid fiberglass, which carries air from the heater or ventilation opening to the rooms in a building.
ductwork The ducts of an HVAC system.
due care A legal term defining the standards of performance that can be expected, either by contract or by implication, in the execution of a particular task.
dunnage (1) Waste lumber. (2) Temporary timber decking. (3) Structural support for a system within a building that is independent of the building’s structural frame. An example would be the supports for an air-conditioning cooling tower. (4) Strips of wood used in stowing cargo to provide air space between pieces or packages.
duplex burner A gas heating system with two burners that can either burn simultaneously for rapid heating or separately during lower heating demand.
duplex receptacle (duplex outlet) Two electrical receptacles structured in the same outlet box.
Dura board, dura rock A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks. Sometimes called Wonder board,
duration In CPM (Critical Path Method) scheduling, the estimated time to complete an activity.
dust-free time The time required for a paint or varnish application to become dust-free under given environmental conditions.
Dutch light A removable sash used in greenstructures.
dynamic Refers to information that will be updated and displayed automatically on a Building Automation System CRT or display panel when the status of the building equipment changes.
dynamic analysis The analysis of stresses in a framing system under dynamic loading conditions.
E east, engineer, equipment only, modulus of elasticity (The rating of elasticity or stiffness of a material.), 90° elbow
e eccentricity, erg
EA Environmental Assessment
ear (shoulder) (1) A small decorative or structural projecting member or part of a structure or piece. (2) A small metal projection on a pipe by which it can be nailed to a wall.
early start In CPM (Critical Path Method) scheduling, the first day of a project on which work on an activity can begin if all preceding activities are completed as early as possible.
early stiffening The premature development of rigidity in freshly mixed Portland cement paste, mortar, or concrete. Stiffening occurs when there is little heat generation from the batch, a condition that can be overcome by further mixing without adding water.
Earnest Money A sum paid to the seller to show that a potential purchaser is serious about buying.
earth berm A small, earthen, dike-like embankment, usually used for diverting runoff water.
earth station (ground station) The equipment set up on earth to communicate with satellites.
Earthquake Strap A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a structure. Intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak.
easement (1) The legal right afforded a party to cross or to make limited use of land owned by another. (2) A curve formed at the juncture of two members that otherwise would intersect on an angle.
eaves (1) Those portions of a roof that project beyond the outside walls of a building. (2) The bottom edges of a sloping roof.
eaves strut A structural piece spanning columns at the edge of a roof. The term is usually associated with pre-engineered steel buildings.
eaves vent Vent openings under the eaves of a structure to allow the exchange of air in the attic.
eccentric load A load or force upon a portion of a column or pile not symmetric with its central axis, thus producing bending.
economic rent Rent on a property that is sufficient to pay all operating costs exclusive of services and utilities.
edge shot Planed on the edges.
EE eased edges, electrical engineer, errors excepted
effective age The estimated age of a structure based on observed physical condition determined by the degree of maintenance and repair.
efficacy The ratio of light output to energy consumption, measured in lumens per watt.
effluent (1) In sanitary engineering, the liquid sewage discharged as waste, as in the discharge from a septic tank. (2) Generally, the discharged gas, liquid, or dust by-product of a process.
eggcrate louver A louver whose rectangular openings resemble the dividers used in some egg cartons.
eggshell A semimatte glaze or porcelain enamel surface that resembles the texture of an eggshell.
eggshell gloss (1) A low-gloss designation for a paint film that is glossier than flat or satin, but less glossy than semigloss or gloss. (2) A smooth matte face to building stone.
Egress A means of exiting the home. An egress window is required in every bedroom and basement. Normally a 4′ X 4′ window is the minimum size required
EIA Environmental impact assessment
Eichleay A method of calculating the contractor’s recovery for home office overhead costs in the event of delays caused by the owner.
EIO-LCA Economic Input Output – Life Cycle Assessment
ejector (1) A pump for ejecting liquid. (2) In plumbing, a device used to pump sewage from a lower to a higher elevation.
elastic loss In pretensioned concrete, the condition resulting in the reduction of prestressing load due to the elastic shortening of a member.
elastomeric waterproofing A method of foundation moisture protection using impervious flexible sheet metal.
Elbow (ell) A plumbing or electrical fitting that lets you change directions in runs of pipe or conduit.
elec electric, electrical
elec. electrician, electrical
electric appliance A piece of equipment or a mechanism operated by electricity. Commonly found in a structurehold or office.
electric baseboard heater A heating system with electric heating elements installed in longitudinal panels, usually along the baseboards of exterior walls.
electric duct An enclosed metal runway for electrical conductors or cables.
electric fixture An electrical device that is fastened to a ceiling or wall and used to hold lamps.
electric generator A mechanism that transforms mechanical power into electrical power.
electric heating element A heat-producing device consisting of a length of resistance material, insulated supports, and terminals that connect to an electrical power source.
Electric lateral The trench or area in the yard where the electric service line (from a transformer or pedestal) is located, or the work of installing the electric service to a home.
electric outlet A point in an electric wiring system at which current is delivered through receptacles equipped with sockets for plugs, making it available to supply lights, appliances, power tools, and other electrically powered devices.
electric receptacle A contact device, usually installed in an outlet box, which provides the socket for the attachment of a plug to supply electric current to portable power equipment, appliances, and other electrically operated devices.
Electric resistance coils Metal wires that heat up when electric current passes through them and are used in baseboard heaters and electric water heaters.
electric space heater A portable, self-contained heating device in which electricity supplies the heat energy. The heat is blown into a given space or room by a powerful electric fan also contained within the unit.
electric strike An electrical mechanism that allows the release of a door at a remote location.
electrical conductivity The ability to transmit an electrical current.
Electrical entrance package The entry point of the electrical power including: (1) the ‘strike’ or location where the overhead or underground electrical lines connect to the structure, (2) The meter which measures how much power is used and (3) The ‘panel’ or ‘circuit breaker box ‘ (or ‘fuse box’) where the power can be shut off and where overload devices such a fuses or circuit breakers and located.
electrical insulator An electronics component which, because of the electrical resistance inherent in the material(s) from which it is fabricated, is itself considered to be a nonconductor of electric current. The component is sometimes designed so as to physically support a conductor while separating it electrically from another conductor or object.
electrical metallic conduit Heavy-walled conduit that encloses and protects wiring.
electrical metallic tubing (EMT) See thin-wall conduit.
Electrical permit A separate permit required for most electrical work.
electrical resistance The opposition to the flow of an electric current as manifested by a device, conductor, substance, or circuit element. Electrical resistance is measured in ohms.
Electrical Rough Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the plumber and heating contractor are complete with their phase of work. Normally all electrical wires, and outlet, switch, and fixture boxes are installed (before insulation).
electrical tape A tough, fibrous or thermoplastic adhesive tape used primarily to insulate electrical joints or conductors.
Electrical Trim Work performed by the electrical contractor when the structure is nearing completion. The electrician installs all plugs, switches, light fixtures, smoke detectors, appliance “pig tails”, bath ventilation fans, wires the furnace, and “makes up” the electric structure panel. The electrician does all work necessary to get the home ready for and to pass the municipal electrical final inspection.
electrically supervised Refers to a closed-circuit wiring system that utilizes a current-responsive device to indicate a failure within the circuit or an accidental grounding.
electroacoustics The branch of electricity concerned with the transformation of acoustical energy into electrical energy, and vice versa.
electrolyte (1) A substance that separates into ions when in a solution or when fused, thereby becoming electrically conducting. (2) A conducting medium in which the flow of electric current occurs by the migration of ions.
electromagnet An iron-based object that becomes magnetic when a current is passed through the coils around it. The object loses its magnetism when the current is stopped.
electronic controls In an HVAC system, the electronically operated sensors and controls.
electrostatic precipitator (electrostatic air cleaner) A type of filtering device that prevents smoke and dust from escaping into the atmosphere by charging the particles electrically as they pass through a screen. The particles are attracted to one of two electrically charged plates and subsequently removed.
elevated conduit An electrical conduit hung from structural floor members.
elevation (1) A vertical distance relative to a reference point. (2) A view or drawing of the interior or exterior of a structure as if projected onto a vertical plane.
Elevation sheet The page on the blue prints that depicts the structure or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure.
elevator A “car” or platform that moves within a shaft or guides and is used for the vertical hoisting and/or lowering of people or material between two or more floors of a structure. An elevator is usually electrically powered, although some short-distance elevators (serving fewer than six or seven floors) are powered hydraulically.
elevator car safety A mechanism attached to the car frame of an elevator or to the frame of the counterweight and whose function it is to slow, stop, and hold the car or counterweight in the event of integral equipment malfunction or failure, such as excessive speed or free-fall of the car.
elevator machine beam A steel beam that is usually positioned directly over the elevator in the elevator machinery room and is used to support elevator equipment.
elevator recall The override of elevator operation by a building’s fire safety system upon activation of a fire alarm. In a fire emergency, elevator cars automatically return to the ground floor and can be operated only by a fire department.
emarginate To notch a margin or perimeter of an object.
emergency lighting Temporary illumination provided by battery or generator and essential to safety during the failure or interruption of the conventional electric power supply.
Emergency Maintenance Unscheduled work that requires immediate action to restore services, to remove problems that could interrupt
activities, or to protect life and property.
emergency release On a door, a safety device that allows exit during emergency conditions. Unlike a panic exit device, an emergency release magnetic door holder that automatically releases in emergencies to close fire door, not necessarily preventing egress.
Emergency Repairs Requests for system or equipment repairs that are unscheduled and unanticipated. Service calls generally are
received when a system or component has failed and/or perceived to be working improperly. If the problem
has created a hazard or involves an essential service, an emergency response may be necessary.
Conversely, if the problem is not critical, a routine response is adequate.
emergency stop switch A safety switch in the car of an elevator which can be manually operated to cut off electric power from the driving machine motor and brake of an electric elevator, or from the electrically operated valves and/or pump motor of a hydraulic elevation.
eminent domain The legal right or power of a government to take for public use privately owned property, usually with some degree of compensation to its owner.
emittance A percentage of the energy absorbed by a solar energy collector.
Empirical Often relates to empirical evidence and is based on experiment, observation or experience rather than on theory.
EMS energy management system
EMT electrical metallic conduit, thin wall conduit
emulsion adhesives A mixture of liquids insoluble in one another used to bond materials.
enclosed stair An interior staircase that has a closed string on each side, often encased in walls or partitions. There are also door openings at various floor levels, thus making it accessible to hallways of living units.
end product specifications Embankment compaction specifications written to define the requirements rather than the method or equipment to obtain those requirements.
endorsement A document supplemental to an insurance policy covering a specified loss. An endorsement modifies the conditions of the contract terms stated on the face of the insurance policy.
energized Electrically connected to a source of voltage.
energy The ability to do work.
energy audit A survey of heat loss through the components of a structure.
energy efficiency ratio In HVAC, the ratio of cooling capacity in Btu/hr to the electricity required in watts.
energy management system (EMS) A system that operates energy-consuming systems, in the most energy-efficient manner, through software programs.
Energy Star Buildings A voluntary partnership between U.S. organizations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote energy efficiency in buildings.
Energy Star Program A rating program sponsored by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage the use of energy-efficient products.
Energy Usage This performance indicator is expressed as a ratio of British Thermal Units (BTUs) for each Gross Square Foot
(GSF) of facility, group of facilities, site or portfolio. This indicator represents a universal energy consumption
metric that is commonly considered a worldwide standard. This energy usage metric can be tracked over a
given period of time to measure changes and variances of energy usage. Major factors that effect BTU per
gross square foot are outside ambient temperature, building load changes, and equipment efficiencies. The
amount of energy it takes for heating, cooling, lighting and equipment operation per gross square foot. The
indicator is traditionally represented as total energy consumed annually or monthly. All fuels and electricity are
converted to their respective heat, or BTU content, for the purpose of totaling all energy consumed.
Energy Usage = British Thermal Units = BTUs/Gross Area = GSF
engineer A design professional who, by education, experience, and examination, is duly licensed by one or more state governments for practice in the profession of engineering. This practice may be limited to one or more specific disciplines of engineering. Construction-related engineering disciplines include civil, structural, mechanical, or electrical systems design.
engineer brick Brick whose nominal dimensions are 3-1/5″ x 4″ x 8″.
engineered brick masonry Brick masonry whose design is the product of structural analysis.
engineering officer An engineer designated as having authority over specific operations or duties. Usually designated by a government agency or private corporation.
engineering survey A survey undertaken for the purpose of obtaining information essential to the planning of an engineering project.
engineer-in-training A person who is qualified to become a registered professional engineer in all respects but the necessary professional experience.
engineer’s chain A chain-like device consisting of a series of one hundred links, each one foot long. The chain is used in land surveying for measuring distances.
engineer’s level A precision leveling instrument used for establishing a horizontal line of sight and determining differences of elevation.
engineer’s scale A straightedge on which each inch is divided into uniform multiples of ten, thus enabling drawings to be made with distances, loads, forces, and other calculations expressed in decimal values.
engineer’s transit (1) An instrument used in surveying to measure and to lay out vertical and horizontal angles, distance, directions, and differences in elevation. (2) A theodolite, the directions of whose alidade and telescope are reversible.
English bond (1) Brickwork consisting of alternate courses of headers and stretchers. (2) A strong, easily laid bond.
English cross bond (St. Andrew’s cross bond) Alternate courses of headers and stretchers on which the stretcher course breaks joints with the stretcher courses next to it.
English garden wall bond (American bond, common bond) Widely used brickwork that can be laid quickly because headers constitute only every fifth or sixth course, with all the other courses being stretchers.
English tile A smooth, flat, single-lap clay roofing tile with interlocking sides.
engr engineer
entablature In classical architecture, the total beam member spanning from column to column, including the architrave (bottom), frieze (middle), and cornice (top).
enterprise asset management Any software system designed to assist with facility management, including the maintenance of physical assets, proper and safe plant operation, and warranty and leasing information.
envelope (1) A term used to denote the extreme outside surface and dimensions of a building. (2) An assembly of planes representing the limits of an area that may structure a structure, i.e., a zoning envelope.
environmental design The adaptation of a building to its surroundings and the consequences of its incorporation into the setting.
Environmental Management The management of an organisations environmental performance through policies, processes and initiatives such as carbon offsetting, recycling and minimal travel policies’
EP Eutrophication Potential
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EPCRA Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
EPD Environmental Product Declarations
epoxy adhesives A class of synthetic, thermosetting resins used to bond materials.
epoxy resin A material containing an average of more than one epoxy group per molecule used in the preparation of special coatings or adhesives for concrete and as binders in epoxy resin mortars and concrete.
Eqhv. equipment operator, heavy
Eqlt. equipment operator, light
Eqmd. equipment operator, medium
Eqmm. equipment operator, master mechanic
Eqol. equipment operator, oilers
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) A government agency under the administration of the Department of Labor. This agency is dedicated to enforcing the provisions of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination by an employer based on the race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of a potential employee.
equip equipment
equipment All the machinery, tools, and apparatus necessary for the proper construction and acceptable completion of a project.
equipment ground (1) A connection that provides a path to ground a conductor within the equipment. (2) A ground connection to any metal part of a wiring system or equipment that does not carry current.
equipment room An area or room used to store contaminated clothing and equipment. Part of the worker decontamination enclosure system.
equitable adjustment An adjustment to the contract price or time resulting from a change, differing site condition, or the like, which compensates the contractor for reasonable costs, plus overhead and profit.
Equity The “valuation” that you own in your home, i.e. the property value less the mortgage loan outstanding.
equivalent embedment length That longitudinal part of an embedded reinforcement which is capable of developing stress equivalent to that developed by a hook or mechanical anchorage.
erection The positioning and/or installation of structural components or preassembled structural members of a building, often with the assistance of powered equipment such as a hoist or crane.
erection bracing Temporary bracing used to hold framework in a safe condition during construction until enough permanent construction has been put in place to provide complete stability.
erection drawing A shop drawing that illustrates the constructional components of a project, with each one lettered or numbered to facilitate erection.
Ergonomics The study of people and the equipment with which they work with the ultimate goal of improving the interaction to minimise adverse effects such as repetitive strain injuries and other health complaints.
erratum An error in printing, writing, or editing, especially one included in a list of corrections appended to a book or publication in which the error appeared.
errors and omissions insurance Professional liability insurance protecting architects or engineers from claims for damages that may result from alleged professional negligence.
ESA Endangered Species Act
escalation An increase in the cost of performing construction work, resulting from performing the work in a later period of time and at a cost higher than originally anticipated in the bid.
escrow Property (such as money, a deed, stock, or a writing) that is delivered by a person (called a grantor) to a third party to be held until certain conditions are fulfilled. When the conditions are satisfied, the third party releases the property to another person (called a grantee).
Escrow The handling of funds or documents by a third party on behalf of the buyer and/or seller.
Escutcheon An ornamental plate that fits around a pipe extending through a wall or floor to hide the cut out hole
ESMP Endangered Species Management Plan
esquisse A rough sketch demonstrating the general features of a project.
est estimate
EST. estimated
estate A legal right, title, or interest in real property. Estates in real property fall into two broad categories: ownership, and rights to possess and use real property owned by another.
estimate The anticipated cost of materials, labor, equipment, or any combination of these for a proposed construction project.
estimated design load The sum of (a) the useful heat transfer, (b) the heat transfer to or from the connected piping, and (c) the heat transfer that occurs in any auxiliary apparatus connected to a heating or air-conditioning system.
estimated maximum load The calculated maximum heat transfer that a heating or air-conditioning system might have to provide.
Estimated Replacement Cost The estimated cost to replace the building at the time of inventory.
estimating The process of determining the anticipated cost of materials, labor, and equipment of a proposed project.
Estimating Index The purpose of the estimating index is B10882to measure the accuracy and credibility of the estimate as compared to
actual work accomplished. The index is usually used for measuring performance for projects or reimbursable
work orders. Different size projects may be accomplished so differently that they may be grouped into several
categories with an estimating index calculated for each. Deviations outside of a reasonable range of values
should be examined for opportunities to learn and improve the estimating process. The use of this indicator
should also encourage field personnel to be innovative in reducing actual time and costs. As with any cycle of
improvement, consistent performance above or below 1.00 will indicate that the estimates are no longer
credible and that the estimates need to be adjusted to reflect the actual level of productivity. The estimating
index is the ratio of actual time or costs to do work divided by estimated time or costs. The unit of
measurement should be the same for both actual and estimated. Time is usually measured in days and costs
are usually measured in whole dollars. When measuring the average performance over a period of time, such
as monthly, the number of samples can vary so long as they contain a representative mix to provide
reasonable accuracy. The index is usually represented as a decimal number. The estimating index will be
greater than 1.00 when the actual time or costs exceeds the estimate. Similarly, the estimating index will be
less than 1.00 when the actual time or costs is less than the estimate. Estimating Index = Actual Time or Costs/Estimated Time or Costs     (Source: SAM Initiative: APPA 2003)
estimator One who is capable of predicting the probable cost of a building project.
ethylene glycol (1) Antifreeze. (2) A water-miscible alcohol used to transfer heat in heating and cooling systems and to provide stability in latex- and water-based paints during freezing conditions.
eurythmy In architecture, orderliness or harmony of proportion.
evaporable water Water held by the surface forces or in the capillaries of set cement paste, measured as the water that can be removed by drying under specific conditions.
Evaporator coil The part of a cooling system that absorbs heat from air in your home. Also see condensing unit.
excavation (1) The removal of earth, usually to allow the construction of a foundation or basement. (2) The hole resulting from such removal.
excess reprocurement costs Additional costs that the government incurs following a default termination to reprocure the defaulted quantity of supplies, services, or unfinished work.
exchange The centrally located arrangement of communications equipment governing the connection of incoming and outgoing lines, including signaling and supervisory tasks.
Excluded Area Fully enclosed spaces with adequate clear headroom that are not intended for, or are not suitable for
occupancy by people or equipment, but not spaces that are temporarily unusable due to flood, fire
damage, construction or renovation activity. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
excusable delay A delay to contract performance that is beyond the control, fault, or negligence of the contractor. If a delay is determined to be excusable, the government cannot initiate a termination for default.
exfoliation (1) The flaking, scaling, or peeling of stone or other mineral surfaces usually caused by physical weathering, but sometimes by heating or chemical weathering.
exhaust ventilation A method of ventilation that allows fresh air to enter a space through available or controlled openings and employs mechanical means such as fans to remove foul air from the same space.
existing building In codes and regulations, an already completed building or one that prior laws or regulations allowed to be built.
exit control alarm An electronic device that activates an alarm when a fire exit door is opened.
expanded aluminum grating An aluminum grating manufactured by cutting and mechanically stretching a single piece of sheet aluminum.
expanded clay Clay expanded to several times its original volume by the formation of internal gas caused by heating it to a semiplastic state.
expanded plastic (cellular plastic) (1) A plastic containing a myriad of cells incorporated uniformly throughout its mass. (2) A plastic that has been expanded chemically, mechanically, or thermally to form a lightweight, closed-cell structure. This material is commonly used for thermal insulation.
expansion The increase in dimensions or volume of a body or material caused by thermal variations, moisture, or other environmental conditions. See also expansion bend.
expansion bolts Anchoring device with an expandable socket.
expansion joint In a building structure or concrete work, a joint or gap between adjacent parts which allows for safe and inconsequential relative movement of the parts, caused by thermal variations or other conditions.
expansion tank (1) In a hot-water system, the tank that provides for the increased volume of the water heated in the heating tank below it. (2) A device to control pressure in a fluid system by storing excess liquid.
Expansive soils Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present. (“Betonite” is an expansive soil).
expediter One who monitors and facilitates the arrival of building materials or equipment to meet a progress schedule.
expert witness In a court case or other legal or arbitration proceeding, an individual who, because of his/her exceptional knowledge, experience, or skill in a particular field or subject is accepted by the court (or by those presiding over other legal or arbitration proceedings) as being qualified to render an authoritative opinion in matters relating to his or her field of expertise.
explosion-proof box Electrical equipment housing designed in compliance with hazardous location requirements to withstand an explosion that could occur within it and to prevent ignition by the explosion of flammable material, liquid, or gas that might externally surround it.
Exposed aggregate finish A method of finishing concrete which washes the cement/sand mixture off the top layer of the aggregate – usually gravel. Often used in driveways, patios and other exterior surfaces.
exposure hazard The probability of a building’s exposure to fire from an adjoining or nearby property.
EXPRESS ISO Standard (Standard for Exchange of Product Model Data). See also STEP. EXPRESS is the data modeling language of STEP and standardized as ISO 10303-11. An EXPRESS data model can be defined in two ways, textually and graphically. For formal verification and as input for tools such as SDAI the textual representation within an ASCII file is the most important one. The graphical representation on the other hand is often more suitable for human use such as explanation and tutorials. The graphical representation, called EXPRESS-G, is not able to represent all
details that can be formulated in the textual form.
extended coverage insurance A form of property insurance protecting against loss or damage caused by wind, hail, aircraft, riot, land vehicles, explosion (except steam boiler explosion), or civil commotion.
extended overhead Overhead costs accumulated during compensable delay periods when full production was not achievable.
extender (1) An opaque, white, inert mineral pigment, such as calcium carbonate, silica, diatomaceous earth, talc, or clay, that is added to paint to provide texture, lower gloss, or reduce paint cost by providing bulk. (2) A volume-increasing, cost-reducing additive in synthetic resin adhesives.
exterior stair An often legally required exit consisting of a series of flights of steps affixed to the structure but not enclosed.
Exterior Walls Defined as the width of the walls as measured at the intersection of the plane of the finished floor and the
finished interior surface of the walls. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
extra A work item performed in addition to the scope specified in the contract. Often involves an additional cost.
extranet A shared communications network that uses Internet technology to allow collaborating parties to share information. Especially useful with large, fast-track projects that require extensive documents.
Extras Additional work requested of a contractor, not included in the original plan, which will be billed separately and will not alter the original contract amount, but increase the cost of building the home.
eye (1) In architecture, the opening in the uppermost portion of a cupola. (2) The nearly circular center of the roll or volute of an Ionic capital. (3) The middle roundel of a pattern or ornament. (4) A hole through a member to provide access, such as for the passage of a pin. (5) In tools, the receiving orifice in the head of the implement.
eyebrow A window or ventilation opening though the surface of a roof. Unlike a dormer, it forms no sharp angles with the roof, but rather is incorporated into the general horizontal line of the continuous roof, which is carried over it in a wave line. See also ventilating eyebrow.
F Fahrenheit, female, fill, fluorine
f fine, focal length, force, frequency
F.A.I.A. Fellow of the American Institute of Architects
f.pfg. fireproofing
F.R., Fr. fire rating
FA fresh air, fire alarm
façade The exterior face of a building, sometimes decorated with elaborate detail.
face block (faced block) A unit of concrete masonry with a plastic or ceramic face surface, often glazed or polished for special architectural uses.
face brick (facing brick) (1) Brick manufactured to present an attractive appearance. (2) Any brick that is exposed, such as on a fireplace.
face cord A measurement of firewood. A face cord is 4′ high x 8′ long, but only as deep as the length of the pieces. A face cord may be 4′ x 8′, but only 16″ deep, and thus contain only one-third of the wood volume of a standard cord.
Face nail To install nails into the vertical face of a bearing header or beam.
face veneer Those veneers of higher grade and quality that are used for the faces of plywood panels, especially in the sanded grades. Face veneer is selected for decorative qualities rather than for strength.
Faced concrete- To finish the front and all vertical sides of a concrete porch, step(s), or patio. Normally the “face” is broom finished.
Facilities Any physical structure or space required by the institution for the performance of its programs and related activities.
Facilities Inventory A database containing statistical information on buildings, including both building and room/space data as defined in this glossary.
Facilities Services The range of support services required in the workplace, e.g. cleaning, catering, security etc.
Facility Assignable Area Calculated by measuring the portions of the floor used to structure personnel, furniture, support areas and
common support areas. Each assignable area is measured to the outside of the enclosing wall or
furniture panel except in the case where a wall or furniture panel is common to more than one assignable
area. In this case measurements are taken to the center of the wall or furniture panel. This
measurement is useful for detailed programming, planning, allocating and layout of space. (Source:
ASTM E 1836-01)
facility audit (1) An assessment of the physical condition and functional performance of an organization’s facilities. (2) A review of activities at a facility or location, the purpose of which is to identify the improper storage, handling, or disposal of hazardous materials or waste.
Facility Condition Assessment (FCA)/Audit The structured development a profile of existing facilities conditions, typically placed in an electronic database
format, and populated with detailed facility condition inspection information. A detailed facility condition
assessment (FCA’s) typically involve an assessment team of three professionals (architect, mechanical
engineer, electrical engineer), and depend up robust, scalable methodologies to assure accurate and
consistent information. It is recommended that FCA’s be done on a regular basis, approximately every three
years, or conducting a portion of the overall portfolio annually. The FCA identifies existing deficient conditions
(requirements), in logical grouping and priorities, and also, associated recommended corrections and
corrective costs. Costs are generally based upon industry standard cost databases (e.g., Building News,
Craftsman Book Company, Richardson General Construction Estimating Standards, RSMeans).
Facility Condition Index (FCI) A comparative industry indicator/benchmark used to indicate the relative physical condition of a facility, group
of buildings, or entire portfolio “independent” of building type, construction type, location or cost. The facility
condition index (FCI) is expressed as a ratio of the cost of remedying existing deficiencies/requirements, and
capital renewal requirements to the current replacement value (i.e., FCI=(DM+CR)/CRV). The FCI provides a
corresponding rule of thumb for the annual reinvestment rate (funding percentage) to prevent further
accumulation of deferred maintenance deficiencies. The FCI value is a snapshot in time, calculated on an
annual basis. Forecasted FCI values for a building in the future, for example, would include the current
deferred maintenance items, plus projected values of capital renewal requirements. The FCI is represented on
a scale of zero to one, or 0% to 100%, with higher FCI values, representing poorer facility’s condition. While
property owners/managers establish independent standards, a “fair to good facility” is generally expressed as
having an FCI of less than 10-15%.
(FCI) = Deferred Maintenance + Capital Renewal (see definition for Deferred Maintenance)/Current Replacement Value (see definition for Current Replacement Value)
Facility Conditional Assessment Program (Facility Capital Planning and Management Program) A continuous systematic approach of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and maintaining the specific
maintenance, repair, renewal, and replacement requirements for all facility assets to provide valid
documentation, reporting mechanisms, and budgetary information in a detailed database of facility issues.
facility engineer An engineer who provides technical expertise to ensure the optimal operation of a facility’s plants, grounds and offices. Responsibilities include maintaining and improving the efficiency of existing equipment and systems while overseeing the installation of new equipment and systems.
Facility Interior Gross Area Defined as the building exterior minus the thickness of the exterior walls. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
Facility Investment Strategy
Facility Management, Facilities Management Facilities management is the integration of processes within an organization to maintain and develop the agreed services which support and improve the effectiveness of its primary activities.
facility manager A professional who coordinates the planning, design and management of a facility, including its systems, equipment, and furniture. A facility manager helps an organization meet its long-term strategic and operational objectives while daily maintaining a safe, efficient working environment.
Facility Operating Current Replacement Value (CRV) Index This indicator represents the level of funding provided for the stewardship responsibility of an organization’s
capital assets. The indicator is expressed as a ratio of annual facility maintenance operating expenditure to
current replacement value (CRV). Annual facility maintenance operating expenditures includes all
expenditures to provide service and routine maintenance related to facilities and grounds. It also includes
expenditures for major maintenance funded by the annual facilities maintenance operating budget. This
category does not include expenditures for major maintenance and/or capital renewal funded by other
accounts, nor does it include expenditures for utilities and support services such as mail, telecommunications,
public safety, security, motor pool, parking, environmental health and safety, central receiving, etc.
Facility Operating CRV Index = Annual Facility Maintenance Operating Expenditures ($)/Current Replacement Value ($)
Facility Operating Gross Square Foot (GSF) Index This indicator represents the level of funding provided for the stewardship responsibility of an organization’s
capital assets. The indicator is expressed as a ratio of annual facility maintenance operating expenditure to
the institutions gross area. Annual facility maintenance operating expenditures includes all expenditures to
provide service and routine maintenance related to facilities and grounds. It also includes expenditures for
major maintenance funded by the annual facilities maintenance operating budget. This category does not
include expenditures for major maintenance and/or capital renewal funded by other institutional accounts, nor
does it include expenditures for utilities and support services such as mail, telecommunications, public safety,
security, motor pool, parking, environmental health and safety, central receiving, etc.
Facility Operating GSF Index = Annual Facility Maintenance Operating Expenditures ($)/Gross Area (GSF)
Facility Quality Index (FQI)/Quality Index (QI)/Index An overall metric of facility quality inclusive of both physical and facility-specific programmatic requirements.
Expressed in a value of 0.0 to 2.0 the facility quality index is calculated as follows:
Facility Quality Index (FQI) = Deferred Maintenance (DM)+Capital Renewal (CR)+Program Requirements (PR)/Current Replacement Value ($)
Facility Rentable Area Calculated by subtracting major vertical penetrations, interior parking space and void areas from facility
interior gross area. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
Facility Usable Area Calculated by subtracting the primary circulation and the building core and service areas from the facility
rentable area. It is area that can be assigned to occupant groups. This measurement is useful for
programming, planning and allocating space. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
Facing brick The brick used and exposed on the outside of a wall. Usually these have a finished texture.
factor of safety (1) Stress factor of safety: the ratio of the ultimate strength, or yield point, of a material to the design working stress. (2) Load factor of safety: the ratio of ultimate load, moment, or shear of a structural member to the working load, moment, or shear, respectively, assumed in design.
factory-built A reference to a construction, usually a dwelling, that is built, or at least partially preassembled, in a factory rather than on site. Most factory-built units are constructed in two or more modules, often complete with plumbing, wiring, etc. The modules are delivered to a building site and assembled there. Finish work is then performed. Factory-built structures are generally less expensive to build and quicker to erect because of savings gained through mass production and factory efficiencies.
fail soft A state of compromised operation, as opposed to complete disability, following equipment failure.
fair face concrete A concrete surface which, on completion of the forming process, requires no further (concrete) treatment other than curing. See also architectural concrete.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) An act of the Congress of the United States enacted in 1936, and the subject of numerous amendments to the present day. This act is commonly referred to as the Minimum Wage Law; it establishes a minimum wage for all workers with the exception of agricultural workers, and additionally provides a maximum of a 40-hour work week for straight time pay for employees earning hourly wages.
fair market value A price that is fair and reasonable in light of current conditions in the marketplace.
false attic An architectural addition, built above the main cornice of a structure, that conceals the roof rafters but has no rooms or windows.
false door A non-operable door placed in a wall for architectural appearance.
fan suction box A specially designed 90° fitting installed at the fan inlet that reduces the inlet pressure loss created by system effect.
fan-coil unit An air-conditioning unit that structures an air filter, heating or cooling coil, and a centrifugal fan, and operates by moving air through an opening in the unit and across the coils.
fancy butt A shingle with the butt end machined in a pattern. Fancy butt shingles are usually used on sidewalls to form geometric designs in the shingle pattern.
Fascia Horizontal boards attached to rafter/truss ends at the eaves and along gables. Roof drain gutters are attached to the fascia.
fascine An assembly of live cuttings lashed together and allowed to set roots on banks to prevent surface erosion.
fastener Any mechanical device used to hold together two or more pieces, parts, members, etc.
FCU Fan coil unit.
FDC fire department connection
fdn, fdtn, fds, FDN foundation, foundations
FE fire escape
FEA Federal Energy Administration
Feasibility Study An exercise undertaken to establish the best option, for example, between refurbishing and relocating. Looks at all elements such as associated resource, cost and short, medium and long-term benefits.
featherboard A safety device used to prevent table saw kickback.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. A government sponsored organization, nicknamed “Freddie Mac,” that provides a secondary market for mortgages.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) A division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The FHA works through lending agencies to provide mortgage insurance on private residences that meet the agency’s minimum property standards. The FHA has also been charged with administering a number of special housing programs.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service An agency of the United States Department of Labor which acts as a mediator in the settlement of disputes as provided in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947.
federal style The classic revival style of architecture in the U.S. from 1790 to 1830.
fee simple An enduring, inheritable interest in land which may be legally honored until the death of all potential heirs of the original owner, and which the owner is free to convey at any time.
feed wheel A material distributor or regulator in certain types of shotcrete equipment.
Felt Tar paper. Installed under the roof shingles. Normally 15 lb. or 30 lb.
Female Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female.
Ferrule Metal tubes used to keep roof gutters “open”. Long nails (ferrule spikes) are driven through these tubes and hold the gutters in place along the fascia of the home.
FHA strap Metal straps that are used to repair a bearing wall “cut-out”, and to “tie together” wall corners, splices, and bearing headers. Also, they are used to hang stairs and landings to bearing headers.
FHC fire hose cabinet
FHFH Fort Hood Family Housing
FICE Federal Interagency Committee on Education. A 6-digit identification code originally created by the Federal Interagency Committee on Education (FICE). The code was used to identify all schools doing business with the Office of Education during the early sixties. This code is no longer used in IPEDS; it has been replaced by the IPEDS unit ID.
field (1) In masonry, an expanse of brickwork between two openings or corners. (2) A term used to designate a construction project site. (3) Occupation such as a trade, profession, or specialty. (4) An area of floor, wall or ceiling that is covered with tile or other preformed shapes that did not require cutting, as opposed to those areas along a border or edge.
field applied (1) The application of a material, such as paint, at a job site, as opposed to being applied at a factory. (2) The construction or assembly of components in the field.
field engineer A representative of certain government agencies who oversees projects at the site. Also called a project representative or field representative.
field gluing A method of gluing plywood floors in which specially developed glues are applied to the top edges of floor joists. Plywood is then laid on the joists and nailed in place. The combination of gluing and nailing results in a stiffer floor construction and tends to minimize squeaks and nail-popping.
field man A representative of a trade association who is available to answer questions regarding grades, usage, and characteristics of various species (in the case of wood products), as well as the products produced by his association. The field man may also conduct clinics and demonstrations and otherwise promote the association’s products.
Field measure To take measurements (cabinets, countertops, stairs, shower doors, etc.) on the site itself instead of using the blueprints.
field order In construction, a written order passed to the contractor from the architect to effect a minor change in work, requiring no further adjustment to the contract sum or expected date of completion.
field representative See field engineer and project representative.
field supervision The site supervisory work performed by a designated individual.
field welding Welding performed at the construction site, usually with gasoline-powered equipment.
final acceptance The formal acceptance of a contractor’s completed construction project by the owner, upon notification from an architect that the job fulfills the contract requirements. Final acceptance is often accompanied by a final payment agreed upon in the contract.
final completion A term applied for a project that has been completed according to the terms and conditions set forth in the contract documents.
final inspection An architect’s last review of a completed project before issuance of the final certificate for payment.
final payment The payment an owner awards to the contractor upon receipt of the final certificate for payment from the architect. Final payment usually covers the whole unpaid balance agreed to in the contract, plus or minus any amounts altered by change orders.
Finger joint A manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or molding. Often used in jambs and casings and are normally painted (instead of stained).
finished size The final size of any completed object including trim.
Finished Surface A wall, ceiling or floor surface (including glass) as prepared for tenant or occupant use. Excluding the
thickness of any special surfacing materials such as paneling, furring strips and carpet. (Source: ASTM
E 1836-01)
finisher A tradesman who applies the final treatment to a concrete surface, including patching voids and smoothing.
Fink truss (Belgian truss, French truss) A symmetrical truss, formed by three triangles, commonly used in supporting large, sloping roofs.
fire alarm boxes & panels Fire alarm panel control unit consist of the controls, relays, switches and circuits that furnish power to   alarm systems, receive and transmit signals, and monitor the system.
fire alarm system An electrical system, installed within a home, industrial plant, or office building that sounds a loud blast or bell when smoke and flames are detected. Certain alarms are engineered to trigger sprinkler systems for added protection.
fire area An area in a building enclosed by fire-resistant walls, fire- resistant floor/ceiling assemblies, and/or exterior walls with all penetrations properly protected.
Fire block Short horizontal members sometimes nailed between studs, usually about halfway up a wall. See also ‘Fire stop’.
fire box In a chimney, the metal box that contains the fire.
fire brick A flame-resistant, refractory ceramic brick used in fireplaces, chimneys, and incinerators.
fire cement A cement, such as calcium aluminate cement, used in mortars for laying refractory brick.
fire clay An earthy or stony mineral aggregate having as the essential constituent hydrous silicates of aluminum with or without free silica. Fire clay is plastic when sufficiently pulverized and wetted, rigid when subsequently dried, and of suitable refractoriness for use in commercial refractory products.
fire control damper An automatic damper used to close a duct if a fire is detected.
fire cut A sloping cut on the end of a wood beam or joist supported on a masonry wall. If, somewhere along its length, the joist or beam burns through, injury to the wall is minimized.
fire damper See fire control damper.
fire detection system A series of sensors and interconnected monitoring equipment which detect the effects of a fire and activate an alarm system.
fire division wall A wall that subdivides one or more floors of a building to discourage the spread of fire.
fire door (1) A highly fire-resistant door system, usually equipped with an automatic closing mechanism, that provides a certain designated degree of fire protection when it is closed. (2) The opening in a furnace or a boiler through which fuel is added.
fire endurance (1) The length of time a wall, floor/ceiling assembly, or roof/ceiling assembly will resist a standard fire without exceeding specified heat transmission, fire penetration, or limitations on structural components. (2) The length of time a structural member, such as a column or beam will resist a standard fire without exceeding specified temperature limits or collapse. (3) The length of time a door, window, or shutter assembly will resist a standard fire without exceeding specified deformation limits.
fire escape A continuous, unobstructed route of escape from a building in case of fire, sometimes located on the outside of an exterior wall.
fire exit bolt See panic exit device.
fire extinguisher A portable device for immediate use in suppressing a fire. There are four classes of fires:
fire load (fire loading) The amount of flammable contents or finishes within a building per unit of floor area, stated either in pounds per square foot or Btus per square foot.
fire management panel A fire alarm control unit consisting of multiple single zone fire alarm control modules, a telephone module, an HVAC module, and an audio communications module.
fire protection The practice of minimizing the probable loss of life or property resulting from fire, by fire-safe design and construction, the use of detection and suppression systems, establishment of adequate fire fighting services, and training building occupants in fire safety and emergency evacuation.
fire resistance (1) The property of a material or assembly to withstand fire, characterized by the ability to confine a fire and/or to continue to perform a given structural function. (2) The property of a material or assembly that makes it so resistant to fire that, for a specified time and under conditions of a standard heat intensity, it will not fail structurally and will not permit the side away from the fire to become hotter than a specified temperature.
Fire retardant chemical A chemical or preparation of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of a material or to retard the spread of flame.
fire shutter A complete metal shutter assembly with the fire endurance required by code. The rating depends on the location and nature of the opening.
Fire stop A solid, tight closure of a concealed space, placed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke through such a space. In a frame wall, this will usually consist of 2 by 4 cross blocking between studs. Work performed to slow the spread of fire and smoke in the walls and ceiling (behind the drywall). Includes stuffing wire holes in the top and bottom plates with insulation, and installing blocks of wood between the wall studs at the drop soffit line. This is integral to passing a Rough Frame inspection.  See also ‘Fire block’.
fire tower A vertical enclosure, with a stairway, having the fire endurance rating required by code and used for egress and as a base for fire fighting.
fire wall An interior or exterior wall that runs from the foundation of a building to the roof or above, constructed to stop the spread of fire.
fire window A window assembly with the fire endurance rating required by code for the location of the opening.
firebreak (1) A strategic space between buildings, clusters of buildings, or sections of a city that helps to keep fires from leaping or spreading to surrounding areas before they can be contained. (2) Any doors, walls, floors, or other interior structures engineered to go inside a building.
fire-door rating A system of evaluating the endurance and fire resistance of door, window, or shutter assemblies, according to standards set by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., or other recognized safety authorities. Ratings of A through F are assigned in descending order of their effectiveness against fire.
fire-hazard classification A designation of high, ordinary, or low assigned to a building, based on its potential susceptibility to fire, judged by its contents, functions, and the flame-spread rating of its inner furnishings and finishes.
Fireplace chase flashing pan A large sheet of metal that is installed around and perpendicular to the fireplace flue pipe. It’s purpose is to confine and limit the spread of fire and smoke to a small area.
fire-rated system Wall, floor, or roof construction using specific materials and designs that have been tested and rated for conformance to fire safety criteria, such as the flame spread rate.
fire-resistant door A door designed to confine fire to one part of a structure, keeping it from spreading through an entire building. It may be a solid-core wooden door, or one sheathed in metal, depending on the intended location. Doors are rated for the projected time they could be expected to perform their function during a fire. Most building codes require that the door between living quarters and a garage be fire resistant.
Fire-resistive or Fire rated Applies to materials that are not combustible in the temperatures of ordinary fires and will withstand such fires for at least 1 hour. Drywall used in the garage and party walls are to be fire rated, 5/8″, Type X.
fire-resistive wall A wall having the fire-resistance rating required by a building code or in accordance with underwriters’ recommendations.
firestat A fixed thermostat in an air-conditioning system, preset at a temperature required by code or other authorities, usually 125°F (52 °C).
firestop (1) A short piece of wood, usually a 2″ x 4″ or 2″ x 6″, placed horizontally between the studs of a wall. Firestops are equal in width to the studs. They are usually placed halfway up the height of the wall to slow the spread of fire by limiting drafts in space between the sheathing on the two sides of the wall. Building codes usually do not require firestops in walls that are less than 8′ high. (2) Masonry units placed in wood framed walls.
first in, first out (FIFO) A type of accounting for inventory in which items purchased first are assumed to be the first to be sold. An accountant will compute the cost and profit on the oldest or first in the inventory. See also last in, first out(LIFO).
first principles Basic principles include the assumptions and basic knowledge that are the foundation for any other undertaking or activity. Math first-principles are called axioms or postulates. First-principles ground the texts, arguments, ideas, and themes that underpin society and are fundamental to the design and implementation of tools, processes and solutions in the built environment. Without understanding the principles behind things, responsible and reflective action is difficult or impossible.
first-order tools and techniques Simply follow the rules and focus on doing-things-the-right-way. They are the foundation for expertise and process compliance. Scheduling software is a first-order tool.
Fish tape A long strip of spring steel used for fishing cables and for pulling wires through conduit.
Fishplate (gusset) A wood or plywood piece used to fasten the ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Sometimes called a gang nail plate.
fitch A thin, long-handled paintbrush used especially for touching up recessed areas.
fitting (1) A standardized part of a piping system used for attaching sections of pipe together, such as a coupling, elbow, bend, cross, or tee. (2) The process of installing floor coverings around walks, doors, and other obstacles or projections. (3) In electrical wiring, a component, such as a bushing or locknut, that serves a mechanical purpose rather than an electrical function.
fixed costs These costs can be defined in two different ways. In total, fixed costs remain the same as volume changes. On a per unit basis, fixed costs decline as volume increases. Examples include office rent, administrative salaries, insurance, and office supplies.
Fixed Equipment Permanently attached appurtenances such as elevators, fire protection systems, lighting, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and built-in air conditioning systems (excluding window or console air conditioning units that require no duct work or cooling towers).
fixed limit of construction cost A maximum amount to be paid for a construction job as specified in the agreement between owner and architect.
Fixed price contract A contract with a set price for the work. See Time and Materials Contract.
Fixed rate A loan where the initial payments are based on a certain interest rate for a stated period .  The rate payable will not change during this period regardless of changes in the lender’s standard variable rate.
Fixed Rate Mortgage A mortgage with an interest rate that remains the same over the years.
Fixed wire testing The testing of a buildings fixed wire infrastructure to ensure its continual safe operation.
fixed-bar grille A grille with preset, nonadjustable bars, used to cover return and exhaust openings in air-conditioning systems.
fixture branch A pipe connecting and servicing two or more plumbing fixtures.
fixture supply The pipe connecting a plumbing fixture to a supply line.
fixture unit A measure of the rate at which various plumbing fixtures discharge into a drainage system, stated in units of cubic volume per minute.
fixture-unit flow rate The total number of gallons discharged per minute from a single plumbing fixture, divided by 7.5 to provide the flow rate of that fixture in cubic feet per minute.
Flagstone (flagging or flags) Flat stones (1 to 4 inches thick) used for walks, steps, floors, and vertical veneer (in lieu of brick).
Flakeboard A manufactured wood panel made out of 1″- 2″ wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing. Also called OSB or wafer board.
flame arrestor A mesh or perforated metal safety device used in a flammable storage can for protection from exterior ignition.
Flame retention burner An oil burner, designed to hold the flame near the nozzle surface.
flame treating A process by which inert thermoplastic materials and objects are prepared to receive paints, adhesives, lacquers, and inks by immersion in open flame, causing surface oxidation.
flap trap (flap valve) A hinged flap within a plumbing system that restricts water flow to one direction, preventing backflow.
flare fitting A soft-tube connector made by flaring the end of the tube to provide a mechanical seal.
flash point (1) The minimum temperature at which a combustible liquid will give off sufficient vapor to produce a combustible mixture when mixed with air and ignited. Defined flash points are for specific enclosure conditions and ignition energy. (2) The temperature at which a substance will spontaneously ignite.
flashing A thin, impervious sheet of material placed in construction to prevent water penetration or direct the flow of water. Flashing is used especially at roof hips and valleys, roof penetrations, joints between a roof and a vertical wall, and in masonry walls to direct the flow of water and moisture.
Flat mold Thin wood strips installed over the butt seam of cabinet skins.
Flat paint An interior paint that contains a high proportion of pigment and dries to a flat or lusterless finish.
Flatwork- Common word for concrete floors, driveways, basements, and sidewalks.
fleur-de-lis The French royal lily adapted to ornamentation in late Gothic architecture.
flex (Greenfield) See flexible metal conduit.
flexible coupling A mechanical connection between rotating parts that adapts to misalignment, such as a universal joint.
flexible mounting A flexible support for machinery to reduce vibration between the machinery, its foundation or slab. Flexible mountings are usually made of rubber, neoprene, steel springs, or a combination of these.
flexible nonmetallic tubing (loom) A flexible tubing with a smooth interior and a wall of nonconducting, fibrous material, used as a mechanical protection for electric conductors.
Flexible working A modern term applied to a great range of ‘new’ approaches to work, covering everything from the physical environment such as hotdesking and break-out areas to terms & condition elements, flexi-time, annualized hours etc.
Floating The next-to-last stage in concrete work, when you smooth off the job and bring water to the surface by using a hand float or bull float.
floating floor A floor used in sound-insulating construction. The finish floor assembly is isolated from the structural floor by a resilient underlayment or by resilient mounting devices for machinery. The construction isolates machinery from the building frame. See also laminate flooring.
floating foundation A reinforced concrete slab designed to move with the surface of the ground without structural damage.
Floating wall A non
flood-level rim The edge of a plumbing fixture or receptacle over which water will flow if the device is full.
floodlight (1) A projector type of luminaire designed to light an area or object to a level of illumination higher than the surrounding illumination. (2) A metal housing containing one or more lamps used to illuminate a stage uniformly.
floor drain A fixture set into a floor, used to drain water into a plumbing drainage system.
floor load The live load for which a floor has been designed, selected from a building code, or developed from an estimate of expected storage, equipment weights, and/or activity.
floor plan A drawing showing the outline of a floor, or part of a floor, interior and exterior walls, doors, windows, and details such as floor openings and curbs. Each floor of a building has its own floor plan.
floor plate (1) A metal plate set into a floor, sometimes fitted with slots to which equipment may be fastened. (2) A steel plate with a raised pattern on the surface that helps prevent accidents due to slipping.
floor-type heater (floor furnace) An air-heating unit mounted below a floor grille or grate. Warm air rises from the center of the grille and cold air returns at the perimeter of the grille.
flow coat A paint coating achieved by immersing an object in streams of paint and draining off the excess.
flow-downs Clauses from a prime contractor’s contract with the government that are incorporated into the prime’s subcontracts.
Flue Large pipe through which fumes escape from a gas water heater, furnace, or fireplace. Normally these flue pipes are double walled, galvanized sheet metal pipe and sometimes referred to as a “B Vent”. Fireplace flue pipes are normally triple walled. In addition, nothing combustible shall be within one inch from the flue pipe.
Flue collar Round metal ring which fits around the heat flue pipe after the pipe passes out of the roof.
Flue damper An automatic door located in the flue that closes it off when the burner turns off; purpose is to reduce heat loss up the flue from the still
Flue lining 2-foot lengths, fire clay or terra-cotta pipe (round or square) and usually madein all ordinary flue sizes. Used for the inner lining of chimneys with the brick or masonry work done around the outside. Flue linings in chimneys runs from one foot below the flue connection to the top of the chimney.
fluorescent lamp A low-pressure mercury electric-discharge lamp in which a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube transforms some of the ultraviolet energy generated by the discharge into visible light.
Fluorescent lighting A fluorescent lamp is a gas
fluorescent pigments Pigments that absorb ultraviolet radiant energy and convert it to brilliant, visible light.
Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) A soft plastic copolymer with relatively low tensile strength, high chemical resistance, and low coefficient of friction. Applications include coatings and protective linings, chemical and medical equipment, extruded insulation and glazing film for solar panels. A common brand name is Teflon(r).
flush bushing In plumbing, a bushing without a shoulder and engineered to fit flush into the fitting with which it connects.
flush pipe A straight pipe that carries flushing water from a cistern or other main source to plumbing fixtures, such as toilets, equipped with a flushing function.
flush tank A tank that holds water for flushing one or more plumbing fixtures.
flute In architecture, one of multiple grooves or channels of semi-circular to semi-elliptical sections, used to decorate and to embellish members, such as the shafts of columns.
flux-cored arc welding A welding process that produces coalescence by the heating of an arc between the materials being welded and a continuous electrode of filler metal.
Fly rafters End rafters of the gable overhang supported by roof sheathing and lookouts.
flying form A system that can be used repetitively and moved in large sections not requiring disassembly.
fndtn. foundation
FNSI Finding of No Significant Impact
foamed polystyrene A foamed plastic, weighing about 1 lb.per cu.ft. (0.016 g/cc), which has a high insulation value, is low in cost, and is grease-resistant.
folded plate (1) A framing assembly composed of sloping slabs in a hipped or gabled arrangement. (2) A prismatic shell with an open polygonal section.
folding door An assembly of two or more vertical panels hinged together so they can open or close in a confined space. A floor- or ceiling-mounted track is usually provided as a guide.
foot (1) The bottom or base of an object. (2) A unit of measurement of length in the English system. (3) A projection on a cylindrical roller used to compact a layer of earth fill.
Footer, footing Continuous 8″ or 10″ thick concrete pad installed before and supports the foundation wall or monopost.
footing That portion of the foundation of a structure that spreads and transmits the load directly to the soil.
footpiece An item of ductwork in a heating, air-conditioning, or ventilating system that serves to change the direction of the airflow.
foot-pound A unit measure of work or energy in the English System, equal to the force in pounds multiplied by the distance in feet through which it acts.
footstall (plinth) The base of a pier or pillar, characterized by a particular architectural order or treatment.
force account Work ordered on a construction project without an existing agreement on its cost, and performed with the understanding that the contractor will bill the owner according to the cost of labor, materials, and equipment, plus a certain percentage for overhead and profit.
Forced air heating A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the structure.
forced circulation The circulation of a fluid by mechanical means, as by a pump or fan.
foreclosure The legal transfer of a property deed or title to a bank or other creditor because of the owner’s failure to pay the mortgage, whereupon the owner loses the right to the property.
forklift truck A self-powered vehicle equipped with strong prongs, or forks, that can be raised or lowered. A forklift truck is used to move objects, especially material on pallets, from one location and/or level to another.
Form Temporary structure erected to contain concrete during placing and initial hardening.
form coating A liquid applied to interior formwork surfaces for a specific purpose, usually to promote easy release from the concrete, to preserve the form material, or to retard the set of the near-surface matrix for preparation of exposed- aggregate finishes.
form stop A wooden piece used in concrete formwork to regulate or limit the flow of concrete at the end of a work day. Also used to create drops and special openings.
form tie A tensile unit adapted to prevent concrete forms from spreading due to the fluid pressure of freshly placed, unhardened concrete.
format In construction, the standard arrangement of a project manual as set by the A.I.A. with bidding information, contract forms, conditions of the contract, and 16 subdivisions of specifications.
formed plywood Curved plywood, prepared by a special pressing technique using rigid forming dies. See also molded plywood.
forming A process of shaping metal by a mechanical process other than machining, forging, or casting.
foundation The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction, or below grade, including the footings. The entire masonry substructure below the first floor or frame of a building, including the footing upon which the building rests.
foundation bolt See anchor bolt.
foundation drainage tile Tile or piping, either porous or set with open joints, used to collect subsurface water or for the dispersion of effluent.
foundation engineering The category of engineering concerned with evaluating the ability of a locus to support a given structural load, and with designing the substructure or transition member needed to support the construction.
Foundation ties Metal wires that hold the foundation wall panels and rebar in place during the concrete pour.
foundation vent Vent openings in a foundation wall that allow for exchange of air and reduce moisture.
foundation wall That part of the foundation of a building forming a retaining wall for the portion of the building that is below grade.
Foundation waterproofing High
frame An assembly of vertical and horizontal structural members.
Frame Inspection The act of inspecting the home’s structural integrity and it’s complianceto local municipal codes.
framed joist A joist that is specially cut or notched in order to be joined securely with other joists or timbers.
Framer The carpenter contractor that installs the lumber and erects the frame, flooring system, interior walls, backing, trusses, rafters, decking, installs all beams, stairs, soffits and all work related to the wood structure of the home. The framer builds the home according to the blueprints and must comply with local building codes and regulations.
Framing Lumber used for the structural members of a building, such as studs, joists, and rafters.
framing, platform A system of framing a building in which floor joists of each story rest on the top plates of the story below or on the foundation sill for the first story, and the bearing walls and partitions rest on the subfloor of each story. See also framing.
free cooling Cooling without the use of mechanical refrigeration.
freezer A room or cabinet mechanically refrigerated to maintain a temperature of about 10°F (-12 °C) used for food storage.
frequency A measure of oscillations per second, applied to the current or voltage of AC electrical circuits, sound waves or vibrating solid objects, and stated in hertz (HZ) or cycles per second (CPS).
fresh-air inlet (1) A connection to a building drain, located above the drain trap and leading to the atmosphere. (2) An outside air vent for an HVAC system.
fret A form of architectural ornamentation, consisting of elongated rectangles that are painted, curved, or raised in an elaborate pattern of fillets, bands, and ringlets; frequently made up of continuous lines crafted in repeating rectangular shapes.
fretwork Ornamental openwork or relief consisting of bands of interlocking geometric patterns of contrasting light and dark elements.
friction head In hydraulics, the energy lost by friction in a pipe. This may include losses at elbows and bends.
friction pile (floating pile foundation) A load-bearing pile that receives its principal vertical support from skin friction between the surface of the buried pile and the surrounding soil.
Frieze In structure construction a horizontal member connecting the top of the siding with the soffit of the cornice.
front-end loader A machine with a bucket fixed to its front end, having a lift-arm assembly that raises and lowers the bucket. A front-end loader is used in earth moving and loading operations and in rehandling stockpiled materials.
frontispiece The architecturally adorned front wall or bay of a building or edifice. Also, an ornamental porch or pediment.
Frost lid Round metal lid that is installed on a water meter pit.
Frost line The depth of frost penetration in soil and/or the depth at which the earth will freeze and swell. This depth varies in different parts of the country.
FSES fire safety evaluation system
FSM Facilities Sustainment Model
fuel-fired boiler An automatic, self-contained mechanical unit or system that produces heat by burning solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels.
full mortar bedding Mortar applied to the entire thickness of a masonry unit. Used in foundations and other load-bearing construction.
full size Said of a drawing depicting an object at true size: not scaled.
Fuller’s curve (Fuller-Thompson ideal grading curve) An empirical curve for gradation of aggregates. The curve is designed by fitting either a parabola or an ellipse to a tangent at the point where the aggregate fraction is one-tenth of the maximum size fraction. See also grading curve.
Functional Categories and Codes A set of categories or codes to allocate space across functional categories (e.g., instruction, research, public service, academic support). This is used primarily to link space allocations to financial data or to institutional missions (e.g., the proportion of space used for public service) or to analyze and compare space allocations across institutions according to commonly used functional categories. See section 5.5.8 of Building and Space Optional Data Element Discussion; for a detailed description of functional categories, see appendix B.
functional obsolescence An inadequacy caused by outmoded design, dated construction materials or over or undersized areas, all of which cause excessive operating costs.
furnace (1) That part of a boiler or warm-air heating plant in which combustion takes place. (2) A complete heating unit that transfers heat from burning fuel to a heating system.
Furniture Move The area of load-bearing surfaces, located above or below occupied building floors that are not available
for general occupancy due to inadequate clear headroom, but may contain building mechanical or
electrical systems predominantly serving adjacent floors or provide access to such systems. (Source:
ASTM E 1836-01)
Furring strips Strips of wood, often 1 X 2 and used to shim out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or ceiling.
Fuse A device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. This protects against fire. See also ‘circuit breakers’.
fusetron A special fuse that will carry an overload of current for a short time without “blowing” or opening the circuit. A fusetron is used where a heavy load, such as the starting of a motor, may overload a circuit momentarily.
FY fiscal year
FY fiscal year
G gas
g gram, gravity, gauge, girth
gabion A large compartmentalized container, usually cylindrical or rectangular, often fabricated from galvanized steel hexagonal wire mesh. When filled with stone it is used in the construction of foundations, dams, erosion breaks, etc.
Gable The end, upper, triangular area of a home, beneath the roof.
gable vents Vent openings mounted in the top of a gable of a structure to allow the exchange of air in the attic.
gallon A standard liquid measure: The British imperial gallon contains 10 lbs. of water; the American gallon contains 8.33 lbs. of water.
Gang nail plate A steel plate attached to both sides at each joint of a truss. Sometimes called a fishplate or gussett.
gantry A framework or overhead structure of beams or timbers used as a working platform or as a means to support equipment.
GAO The U.S. General Accounting Office which, under the direction of the Comptroller General of the United States, has jurisdiction over bid protests. The GAO is an arm of the Congress.
garbage disposal unit An electrically motorized device that grinds waste food and mixes it with water before disposing of it through standard plumbing drainage pipes.
garnet A silicate mineral with an isometric crystal structure. Garnet occurs in a variety of colors and is used as gemstones, abrasives, or gallers.
Gas lateral The trench or area in the yard where the gas line service is located, or the work of installing the gas service.
gas metal-arc welding A method of welding that achieves coalescence by arc-heating between the work and a consumable electrode.
gas meter A mechanical device that measures and records in cubic feet the volume of gas passing a given point.
GASB The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) establishes accounting standards for local and state entities including governmental colleges and universities.
Gate valve A valve that lets you completely stop—but not modulate—the flow within a pipe.
gauged brick Brick that has been sawn, ground, or otherwise shaped to accurate dimensions for special applications.
GBC Green Building Challenge
GBI Green Building Initiative
GBxml General Building Extensible Markup Language. GBxml – transfer of building information between standalone CAD, engineering analysis and modeling software.
GDL Geometric Description Language. A scriptable language for programming intelligent objects using a fraction of memory of other modeled objects. A GDL object can store 3D information (geometry, appearance, surface, material, quantity, construction, etc.), 2D information (plan representation, minimal space requirements, labels, etc.), and property information (serial numbers, price, dealer information, URL, and any other kind of database information). Multiple instances of the same object but with different appearance, material, size, etc. are kept together in one object. GDL is especially important as the Internet emerges as the best communication platform for the building industry.
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) A specialized agency of the United Nations that seeks to ease the barriers of international trade.
General Contractor A contractor who enters into a contract with the owner of a project for the construction of the project and who takes full responsibility for its completion, although the contractor may enter into subcontracts with others for the performance of specific parts or phases of the project.
general foreman The general contractor’s on-site representative, often referred to as the superintendent on large construction projects. It is the responsibility of the general foreman to coordinate the work of various trades and to oversee all labor performed at the site.
general obligation bonds Instruments of obligation which, by permission of the public through referendum, are issued to investors by a subdivision of government. These bonds promise incremental payment of principal and interest from revenues collected annually by the government. In return, funds are supplied by investors and are used to pay for the construction of publicly owned buildings or other public works projects.
general requirements The designation or title of Division 1 (the first of 16) in the Construction Specifications Institute’s Uniform System. General requirements usually include overhead items and equipment rentals.
generator (1) A mechanical or electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical power, as an alternator producing alternating current or a dynamo producing direct current. (2) A person, firm, or entity whose activities create a hazardous waste.
generic A term used to generally describe a material, product, assembly, or piece of equipment, as in the descriptive specification, rather than naming it by a specific trade name or source of manufacture or distribution.
geometrical stair A stair, either winding or spiral, that is built around a stairwell and returns on itself as it ascends, but does not employ newels at the turns and has no landings between floors.
Georeference Refers to exactly locating something in the virtual world, via coordinate systems. Georeferenced buildings are tied to established coordinate systems such that they can be rapidly located in their proper place and time. Latitude, longitude, and elevation are three of the possible coordinate systems for referencing a location. Georeferencing allows for high-level studies of relationships, causes, and effects in a real-world context.
Georgian architecture Neoclassical style of architecture that prevailed in 18th-century Great Britain. Characterized by orderly design, rectangular shapes, and symmetrical window placement.
geotextiles Synthetic fabrics that can be used to separate back filling materials to promote proper drainage. Commonly used in conjuction with high retaining walls and landscape design.
GF C I, or G F I- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter An ultra sensitive plug designed to shut off all electric current. Used in bathrooms, kitchens, exterior waterproof outlets, garage outlets, and “wet areas”. Has a small reset button on the plug.
GFEBS General Fund Enterprise Business System
gingerbread An ornate style of architecture, usually employed in exterior structure trim, and common in the United States during the 19th century.
Girder A large or principal beam of wood or steel used to support concentrated loads at isolated points along its length.
girth (1) The circumference of any circular object. (2) The distance around a column.
gland (1) In plumbing, a brass or copper ring that is compressed by a screwed fitting over a copper tube, and that deforms to become a seal between the two. (2) In electrical work, a seal used to prevent water from entering the end of a cable.
glass cloth A wall covering made from woven vegetable fibers, especially arrowroot bark, that are laminated onto a paper backing.
glazier A person whose trade is to install glass in structures. The glazier removes old putty, cuts glass to fit the openings requiring it, and secures it there by whatever means are necessary or appropriate.
Glazing The process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier’s points and glazing compound.
Globe valve A valve that lets you adjust the flow of water to any rate between fully on and fully off. Also see gate valve.
Gloss enamel A finishing paint material. Forms a hard coating with maximum smoothness of surface and dries to a sheen or luster (gloss)
glue adhesives Glue: any fluid adhesive substance used for bonding materials.
Glued Laminated Beam (Glulam) A structural beam composed of wood laminations or lams. The lams are pressure bonded with adhesives to attain a typical thickness of 1 ½” . (It looks like 5 or more 2 X 4’s are glued together).
gooseneck (1) In plumbing, a curved, sometimes flexible fitting connection or section of pipe. (2) In HVAC, a screened, U-shaped intake or exhaust duct. (3) The curved end of a handrail at the top of a stair. (4) The curved connector from a tractor to a trailer.
gothic In architecture, the prevalent style in Western Europe from the 12th through the 15th century, whose characteristic features included flying buttresses, ribbed vaulting, pointed arches, and lavishly fenestrated walls.
gov/govt government
government anchor A V-shaped anchoring device usually fabricated from 1/2″ round bar, and used in steelwork to secure a wall-bearing (or other) beam to masonry.
Gow caisson (Boston caisson, caisson pile) A series of steel cylinders from 8′-16′ high used to protect workers and equipment during deep excavation in soft earth. Each successive cylinder is 2′ in diameter smaller than its predecessor, through which it is dropped or driven deeper into the surrounding soft clay or silt to prevent excessive loss of ground and to facilitate deep excavation. When excavation and construction are complete, the cylinders are withdrawn.
grab bucket A bucket-like device with hinged lower halves or “jaws” hydraulically or cable-operated from a crane or used for re-handling granular materials. See also clamshell.
gradall A trade name for a wheel-mounted, articulated, hydraulic backhoe often used with a wide bucket for dressing earth slopes.
gradation An assessment, as determined through sieve analysis, of the amounts of particles of different sizes in a given sample of soil or aggregate.
grade (1) The surface or level of the ground. (2) A classification of quality as, for instance, in lumber. (3) The existing or proposed ground level or elevation on a building site or around a building. (4) The slope or rate of incline or decline of a road, expressed as a percent. (5) A designation of a subfloor, either above grade, on grade, or below grade. (6) In plumbing, the slope of installed pipe, expressed in the fall in inches per foot length of pipe. (7) The classification of the durability of brick. (8) Any surface prepared to accept paving, conduit, or rails.
grade beam A horizontal end-supported (as opposed to ground-supported) load-bearing foundation member that supports an exterior wall of a superstructure.
grade block A type of concrete masonry unit from which the top course of a foundation wall is constructed and above which a masonry wall is constructed.
grade boom That portion of the foundation system that directly supports the exterior walls of the building.
Grading permit Authorization to change the contour of the land.
grain (1) The directional arrangement of fibers in a piece of wood or woven fabric, or of the particulate constituents in stone or slate. (2) The texture of a substance or pattern as determined by the size of the constituent particles. (3) Any small, hard particle (like sand). (4) A metric unit of weight; 7,000 grains equal one pound.
grain size (1) A size classification of mineral particles in soil or rock. (2) One of the physical characteristics of a particle of soil, which relates to its mechanical properties.
graining The process of simulating grain on painted or manmade surfaces using special tools such as graining combs to manipulate an applied coat of translucent stain or graining color.
granolithic concrete A type of concrete made from a hard aggregate whose particle shape and surface texture render it conducive for wearing-surface finishes on floors.
graphics Engineering or architectural drawings created with attention to mathematical rules, such as perspective or projection.
grass cloth A wall covering made from woven vegetable fibers, especially arrowroot bark. The cloth is laminated onto a paper backing.
grate (1) A type of screen made from sets of parallel bars placed across each other at right angles in approximately the same plane. A grate allows water to flow to drainage, while covering the area for pedestrian or vehicular traffic. (2) A surface with openings to allow air to flow through while supporting a fuel bed, as in a coal furnace.
grazing iron (1) In plumbing, a tool for finishing soldered joints. (2) A glass-cutting device.
grease monkey (1) A slang expression for a person who lubricates, refuels, and/or repairs equipment. (2) A grease dauber who greases skids so that logs can be moved over them easily.
green A term referring to unseasoned timber or to fresh, unhardened concrete, plaster, or paint.
green board (moisture-resistant) Gypsum board distinguishable by the green color of its face paper. Green board is designed to be used in areas that are often damp, such as in bathrooms for tile backing.
green brick Molded clay block or brick before it has been fired in a kiln.
green concrete Concrete that has set but not hardened.
green glass A type of glass whose green color results from impurities in its raw materials.
Green Lights Program A government program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency that is aimed at promoting energy efficiency through investment in energy-saving lighting.
green lumber Undried, unseasoned lumber.
green manure (1) Crops (such as winter rye or alfalfa) which are plowed under to return nutrients into the soil. (2) The plowed-under remains of a crop from which a harvest has been reaped.
green mortar Mortar that has dried but not set.
greenbelt (1) An elongated section of trees or other plantings which serves as a boundary of, or divider within, a community. (2) Any large area of undeveloped land, including parks and farmland, that surrounds a community.
greenfield Flexible metal conduit for electrical wiring.
greenstructure A glass-enclosed space with a controlled environment for growing plants, vegetables, and fruits out of season.
greenstructure effect (1) The conversion of the sun’s rays into heat that is retained by the glass roof of a greenstructure. (2) The steady, gradual rise in temperature of the earth’s atmosphere due to heat that is retained by layers of ozone, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.
Grid The completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panels are installed. Also the decorative slats (munton) installed between glass panels.
grid foundation A foundation consisting of several intersecting continuous footings loaded at the intersections. A grid foundation covers less than 75% of the area within its outer limits.
grillwork In construction, any heavy framework of timbers or beams used to support a load on soil instead of on a concrete foundation.
groin (1) In architecture, a ridge or curved line formed at the junction of two intersecting vaults. (2) A structure built outward from a shore into water to direct erosion or to protect against it.
Gross Area Gross Area is the sum of all areas on all floors of a building included within the outside faces of its exterior walls, including all vertical penetration areas, for circulation and shaft areas that connect one floor to another. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
Gross Internal Area The total area of the building between internal faces of external or atrium walls, including internal structure and core, but excluding roof plant and unlit areas.
gross load In heating, the net load to which allowances are added for pickup and piping losses.
gross margin The excess of net sales revenue over direct costs.
gross output The number of BTU’s available at the outlet nozzle of a heating unit for continuously satisfying the gross load requirements of a boiler operating within code limitations.
ground (1) The conducting connection between electrical equipment or an electrical circuit and the earth. (2) A strip of wood that is fixed in a wall of concrete or masonry to provide a place for attaching wood trim or burring strips. (3) A screed, strip of wood, or bead of metal fastened around an opening in a wall and acting as a thickness guide for plastering or as a fastener for trim. (4) Any surface that is or will be plastered or painted. (5) Any electrical reference point.
ground bus An electrical bus to which individual equipment grounds are connected and which itself is grounded at one or more points.
Ground ironT he plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath the basement floor. Cast iron was once used, but black plastic pipe (ABS) is now widely used.
ground pressure (1) The weight of a machine or a piece of equipment divided by the area, in square inches, of the ground that supports it. (2) Pressure exerted on a structural member by the adjacent soil or fill.
grounded Descriptive of an object that is electrically connected to the earth or to another conducting body that is connected to the earth.
ground-fault circuit-interrupter An electrical outlet fitted with code-required safety protection.
grounding outlet An electrical outlet whose polarity-type receptacle includes both the current-carrying contacts and a grounded contact that accepts an equipment- grounding conductor.
Groundwater Water from an aquifer or subsurface water source.
group vent In plumbing, a branch vent connected to two or more traps.
grout (1) A hydrous mortar whose consistency allows it to be placed or pumped into small joints or cavities, as between pieces of ceramic clay, slate, and floor tile. (2) Various mortar mixes used in foundation work to fill voids in soils, usually through successive injections through drilled holes.
grouting (1) The placing of grout so as to fill voids, as between tiles and under structural columns and machine bases. (2) The injection of grout to stabilize dams or mass fills, or to reinforce and strengthen decaying walls and foundations. (3) The injection of grout to fill faults and crevices in rock formations.
grunt A slang term for a common laborer or an apprentice lineman.
GSA The U.S. General Services Administration.
guarantee (guaranty, warranty) A legally enforceable assurance of quality or performance of a product or work, or of the duration of satisfactory performance.
guaranteed maximum cost The maximum amount above which an owner and contractor agree that cost for work performed (as calculated on the basis of labor, materials, overhead, and profit) will not escalate.
guaranteed maximum cost contract A contract for construction wherein the contractor’s compensation is stated as a combination of accountable cost plus a fee, with guarantee by the contractor that the total compensation will be limited to a specific amount. This type of contract may also have possible optional provisions for additional financial reward to the contractor for performance that causes total compensation to be less than the guaranteed maximum amount.
guaranty bond A type of bond which is given to secure payment and performance. Each of the following four bonds are types of guaranty bonds: (1) bid bond, (2) labor and material payment bond, (3) performance bond, and (4) surety bond.
guard (1) Any bars, railing, fence, or enclosure that serves as protection around moving parts of machinery or around an excavation, equipment, or materials. (2) A security guard hired to maintain safety and security at a construction site.
guesstimate An educated guess or approximation of the cost of a project made by the cost estimator, without having performed a detailed quantity takeoff. See also educated guess.
Guideplate – Templates Specific room by room equipment layouts, which define and provide for specialized working environments within facilities according to various departmental functions.
gumwood Wood from a gum tree, especially eucalyptus, used mostly for interior trim.
gun (1) Equipment designed to deliver shotcrete. (2) A pressure cylinder for pneumatic delivery of freshly mixed concrete. (3) A spray gun. (4) A slang expression for a transit, as it is used to shoot grades.
Gusset A flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of wood trusses. They are fastened by nails, screws, bolts, or adhesives.
Gutter A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below and along the (fascia) eaves of a structure to catch and carry off rainwater from the roof.
guy A cable or rope anchored in the ground at one end and supporting or stabilizing an object at the other end.
GWOT Global War on Terror
GWP Global Warming Potential
Gyp board- Drywall. Wall board or gypsum- A panel (normally 4′ X 8′, 10′, 12′, or 16′)made with a core of Gypsum (chalk-like) rock, which covers interior walls and ceilings.
Gypsum plaster Gypsum formulated to be used with the addition of sand and water for base
gypsum-lath nail A low-carbon steel nail with a large flat head and long point. The characteristics make it especially suitable for fixing gypsum lath and plasterboard.
H “head” on drawings, high, high strength bar joist, Henry, hydrogen
h harbor, hard, height, hours, structure, hundred
H Clip Small metal clips formed like an “H” that fits at the joints of two plywood (or wafer board) sheets to stiffen the joint. Normally used on the roof sheeting.
hachure One of the short parallel lines used on an architectural drawing for shading or for indicating a section of a drawn object, or on a topographic map for indicating the degree and direction of slopes and depressions.
hacking (1) Striking a surface with a special tool so as to roughen it. (2) A style of brick-laying in which the bottom edge is set in from the plane surface of the wall. (3) In a stone wall, the breaking of a single course into two or more courses, sometimes for effect but usually because of the scarcity of larger stones.
hair interceptor In plumbing, a trap-like device installed in the waste drain side of a fixture’s plumbing system to capture and collect hair on screens or in perforated steel baskets which are removable from the bottom of the device.
half timbered Descriptive of a building style common in the 16th and 17th centuries, with foundations, supports, knees, and studs all made of timbers. The wall spaces between the timbers are filled with masonry, brick, or lathed plaster.
halide torch A device used to detect leaks of halocarbon refrigerant. The color of the sampling torch’s normal, alcohol-produced, blue flame becomes a bright green when the refrigerant is detected.
halon fire extinguisher A suppressing system for use on all classes of fires. Its extinguishing agent is bromotrifluoromethane, a colorless, odorless, and electrically nonconductive gas of exceptionally low toxicity. Considered to be the safest of the compressed gas fire-suppressing agents. Although often used in computer equipment rooms, the use of halon is severely restricted because of its properties (which destroy the ozone layer).
hand line (1) A line attached to a structural member or piece of building equipment being hoisted. Used to control the position of the item during erection or setting. (2) A line manipulated to control stage rigging in a theater.
hangar An enclosure, usually for housing and/or repairing aircraft.
harbor breakwater A structure protecting a shoreline from erosion/waves.
hard edge A special preparation used in the core of gypsum board under the papered edges to provide extra resistance.
hard facing Creating a hard, abrasion-resistant cutting edge on tools such as drill bits and saw blades, by welding tungsten carbide onto the steel or other metal.
hardware (1) A general term encompassing a vast array of metal and plastic fasteners and connectors used in or on a building and its inherent or extraneous parts. The term includes rough hardware, such as nuts, bolts, and nails, and finish hardware, such as latches and hinges. (2) The mechanical equipment associated with data processing. In Building Automation Systems, computer hardware includes the Central Processing Unit (CPU), hard disk drive, monitor (CRT), keyboard, controllers, and analog or digital point modules. Digital equipment such as controls, sensors, and actuators are considered field hardware.
hashing over Discussing, debating, and revising estimates.
HASP health and safety plan
hatch An opening in a floor or roof of a building, as in a deck of a vessel, having a hinged or completely removable cover. When open, a hatch permits ventilation or the passage of persons or products.
haul road A crude temporary road built to facilitate the movement of people, equipment, and/or materials along the route of a job.
Haunch An extension, knee like protrusion of the foundation wall that a concrete porch or patio will rest upon for support.
hazard class A Department of Transportation shipping designation code.
Hazard insurance Protection against damage caused by fire, windstorms, or other common hazards. Many lenders require borrowers to carry it in an amount at least equal to the mortgage.
HAZMAT Hazardous Materials
HazWaste Hazardous Waste
headache ball (breaker ball) The rounded, heavy, metal or concrete demolition device swung on a cable from the boom of a crane to break through concrete or masonry construction.
header (1) A rectangular masonry unit laid across the thickness of a wall, so as to expose its end(s). (2) A lintel. (3) A member extending horizontally between two joists to support tailpieces. (4) In piping, a chamber, pipe, or conduit having several openings through which it collects or distributes material from other pipes or conduits. See also manifold. (5) The wood surrounding an area of asphaltic concrete paving.
header block A concrete masonry unit from which part of one face shell has been removed to facilitate bonding with adjacent masonry, such as brick facing.
Hearth- The fireproof area directly in front of a fireplace. The inner or outer floor of a fireplace, usually made of brick, tile, or stone.
heat The form of energy inherent in the motion of atoms or molecules, measured in British thermal units, and transferred automatically (wherever temperature differences exist) from warmer to cooler bodies, areas, or elements by conduction, convection, or radiation.
heat absorbing glass Slightly blue-green tinted plate glass or float glass designed with the capacity to absorb 40% of the infrared solar rays and about 25% of the visible rays that pass through it. Cracking from uneven heating can occur if the glass is not exposed uniformly to sunlight.
heat gain (1) The net increase in Btus, caused by heat transmission, within a given space. (2) A piece of resistance material connected between terminals to produce heat electrically. (3) That portion of a heating device, such as a stove or soldering gun, consisting of a wire or other metal piece heated by an electric current.
Heat meter An electrical municipal inspection of the electric meter breaker panel box.
Heat pump A mechanical device which uses compression and decompression of gas to heat and/or cool a structure.
Heat Rough Work performed by the Heating Contractor after the stairs and interior walls are built. This includes installing all duct work and flue pipes. Sometimes, the furnace and fireplaces are installed at this stage of construction.
heat tracing system A heating system with an externally applied heat source, usually a heating cable, that traces the object to be heated.
heat treatment Subjecting any solid metal or alloy to heating and cooling to produce specific, desired changes in its physical condition or properties.
Heat Trim Work ork done by the Heating Contractor to get the home ready for the municipal Final Heat Inspection. This includes venting the hot water heater, installing all vent grills, registers, air conditioning services, turning on the furnace, installing thermostats, venting ranges and hoods, and all other heat related work.
heating load The number of Btus per hour required to maintain a specified temperature within a given enclosed space.
heating medium The fluid or gas conveying the heat from a source, such as a stove or boiler, to an area or substance being heated. The heating medium may or may not be confined within carriers such as pipes.
heating plant The entire heating system of a building or complex, including either a boiler, piping, and radiators, or a furnace, ducts, and air outlets.
heating rate The rate of temperature increase in degrees per hour, as in a kiln or autoclave.
heating system The method and its related necessary equipment used in a given heating application, such as a forced hot air system.
heat-resistant concrete Concrete immune to disintegration when subjected to constant or cyclic heating to below ceramic-bonding temperature.
heavy concrete High-density concrete. Concrete having a high unit weight up to 300 pounds per cubic foot, primarily due to the types of aggregate employed and the density of their ultimate incorporation. Such diverse materials as trap rock, barite, magnetite, steel nuts, and bolts can be used as aggregate. The density makes heavy concrete especially suitable for protection from radiation.
heel (1) The lower end of a door’s hanging stile or of a vertically placed timber, especially if it rests on a support. (2) A socket, floor brace, or similar device for wall-bracing timbers. (3) The bottom inside edge of a footing or a retaining wall. (4) The back end of a carpenter’s plane.
Heel cut A notch cut in the end of a rafter to permit it to fit flat on a wall and on the top, doubled, exterior wall plate.
HEGIS The Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) system was conducted by the NCES between 1966 and 1985. This system comprised several surveys of institutions that were accredited at the college level by an agency recognized by the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education. These surveys collected institution-level data on such topics as institutional characteristics, enrollment, degrees conferred, salaries, employees, financial statistics, libraries, and others. HEGIS surveys were sent to approximately 3,400 accredited institutions of higher education. HEGIS surveys were incorporated into IPEDS after 1985 (see IPEDS).
height (1) The distance between two points in vertical alignment or from the top to the bottom of any object, space, or enclosure. (2) The vertical distance between the average grade around a building, or the average street curb elevation, and the average level of its roof. (3) The rise of an arch.
Helpdesk A popular FM service used in conjunction with many areas such as maintenance and cleaning. A helpdesk’s main responsibility is usually the logging and co-ordinating of works across building portfolios from one central point. Also used for centralising key services such as health & safety and loss prevention reporting.
hem-tam A combination of eastern hemlock and tamarack produced in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.
high relief Sculptured relief in which the modeled figures protrude from the background by at least half their thickness.
Highlights A light spot, area, or streak on a painted surface.
high-pressure laminate Laminate manufactured at pressures between 1,200 and 2,000 pounds per square inch during its molding and curing processes. Used in furniture, paneling, and cabinet manufacturing, high pressure laminate is also an ideal material for access flooring around sensitive equipment because of its excellent ability to dissipate static electricity.
high-pressure steam heating system A steam heating system in which heat is transported from a boiler to a radiator by steam at pressures above 100 psi.
Hip A roof with four sloping sides. The external angle formed by the meeting of two sloping sides of a roof.
Hip roof A roof that rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building.
historic preservation Any activity related to the identification, evaluation, protection, and preservation of the built environment, including historic buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes.
hit-and-miss window A two-part window with the lower sash containing movable ventilation panels. One panel slides in front of the other to permit air flow.
H-molding An H-shaped trim piece used in a butt joint assembly. The two channels of the “H” hold the members in place. See also H-runner.
hod In masonry construction, a V-shaped, trough-like container with a pole handle projecting vertically downward from the bottom to allow steadying with one hand while being carried on the shoulder of a laborer (hod carrier) at a construction site. A hod is used to transport bricks or mortar.
hoist (1) Any mechanical device for lifting loads. (2) An elevator. (3) The apparatus providing the power drive to a drum, around which cable or rope is wound in lifting or pulling a load. Also called a winch. See also chain hoist.
holdback A safety device on a conveyor to prevent reverse motion of the belt automatically.
Holistic The wider view of a system (physical, economic, technological) and the idea that all the properties of a the system cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone, i.e. the system is not a sum of the individual parts. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave.”
hollow metal (1) Light-gauge metal fabricated into a door, window frame, or similar assembly. (2) Descriptive of an assembly thus produced.
Home run (electrical) The electrical cable that carries power from the main circuit breaker panel to the first electrical box, plug, or switch in the circuit.
honed finish The very smooth surface of stone effected by manual or mechanical rubbing.
Honey combs The appearance concrete makes when rocks in the concrete are visible and where there are void areas in the foundation wall, especially around concrete foundation windows.
honeycomb wall A brick wall whose face contains a pattern of openings created by missing units or gaps between stretchers, sometimes used under floors to provide ventilation and/or joist support.
hood (1) A protective cover over an object or opening. (2) A cover, sometimes including a fan, a light fixture, fire extinguishing system, and/or grease filtration/extraction system, and supported, hung, or secured to a wall such as above a cooking stove chimney, or to draw smoke, fumes, and odors away from the area and into a flue. (3) A curved baffle used to minimize scattering and separation of material discharged by a conveyor belt.
horsepower A unit measurement of power or energy in the United States Customary System. Mechanically, a single horsepower represents 550 foot-pounds per second. Electrically, a single horsepower represents 746 watts.
Hose bib An exterior water faucet (sill cock).
hose station In a fire safety system, a storage rack that includes a valve, hose, and nozzle.
hose stream test A test that measures an assembly’s ability to withstand lateral impact from falling debris during a fire endurance period and before active fire suppression efforts begin.
hospital door A flush door through an opening large enough to allow passage of beds and/or other large equipment.
hospital door hardware The special hardware with which hospital doors are often equipped, such as arm pulls, hinges, terminated stops, latches, and strategically placed protective metal strips or plates.
hospital hinge A fast pin hinge furnished with a special tip to eliminate the possibility of injuries caused by the projection of conventional hinge tips.
hot deck (hot duct) In a heating system the source of hot air for interior heating.
hot glue A glue requiring heating before being used.
hot water boiler Any heating unit in a hot water heating system in which or by which water is heated before being circulated through pipes to radiators or baseboards throughout a building or portion thereof.
hot water heating system One in which hot water is the heating medium. Flow is either gravity or forced circulation.
hot water supply The combination of equipment and its related plumbing supplying domestic hot water.
Hot wire The wire that carries electrical energy to a receptacle or other device—in contrast to a neutral, which carries electricity away again. Normally the black wire. Also see ground.
hot-air furnace A heating unit in which air is warmed and from which the warmed air is drawn into ducts to be carried throughout a building or selected portion thereof.
hot-cathode lamp A type of fluorescent, electric discharge lamp in which the electrodes operate at incandescent temperatures and in which the arc and/or circuit elements provide the energy required to maintain the cathodes at incandescence.
hotstructure A greenstructure in which the interior atmosphere is kept very warm.
HOW. Home Owner’s Warranty
HS Hazardous Substances
htg, Htg heating
HUD Housing and Urban Development
humidifier A mechanical apparatus to add moisture to the air or other material.
Hurricane clip Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a Teco clip
HVAC A term used to group the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems of a building.
hydraulic Characterized or operated by fluid, especially under pressure.
hydraulic excavator A powered piece of excavating equipment having a hydraulically operated bucket.
hydraulic jack A mechanical lifting device incorporating an external lever to which force is applied to cause a small internal piston to pressurize the fluid, usually oil, in a chamber. The pressure exerts force on a larger piston, causing it to move vertically upward and raise the bearing plate above it.
hydraulic jump An abrupt increase in the depth of a fluid flowing in a channel as its velocity is slowed and kinetic energy is converted to potential energy.
hydraulic mortar A mortar capable of hardening under water, hence used for foundations or underwater masonry construction.
hydraulic test Employing pressurized water to test a plumbing line for pressure integrity.
hydronic A term pertaining to water used for heating or cooling systems.
hygrometric expansion The expansion of a material as it takes on moisture.
hyperbolic discounting Preference for a reward that comes first. The value of later rewards are discounted, often rapidly discounting value due to delay, no matter the time involved. A reflection of a “I want it now” bias and a strong tendency toward inconsistent choices when considering future situations.
i In the Critical Path Method, the symbol which represents the event at the start, or initiation, of an activity.
I moment of inertia
IAQ Indoor air quality.
I-beam- A steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter I. It is used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads bear down on the opening.
ICC Interstate Commerce Commission, International Code Council
ichnography The graphic, geometrically scaled representation of a horizontal section.
I-CMM Interactive Capability Maturity Model. An interactive version of the NBIMS Capability Maturity Model tool.
ICRMP Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan
IDG Installation Design Guide
IDHA International District Heating Association.
IDM Information Delivery Manual is a document-mapping building processes, identifying results and describing actions required within process.
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
IES Illuminating Engineering Society
IFB Invitation for Bids
ifc Industry Foundation Classes. IFCs define how “things” such as structure, doors, walls, and fans (as well as abstract concepts such as space, organization, information exchange, and process) should be described so that different software packages can use the same information. Industry Foundation Class (IFC) is a system of defining and representing standard architectural and construction-related graphic and non-graphic data as 3D virtual objects to allow data exchange among BIM tools, cost estimation systems, and other construction-related applications in a way that preserves ability to perform analysis on those objects as they move from one BIM system to another. The Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) specification is a neutral data format to describe, exchange, and share information typically used within the building and facility management industry sector (AEC/FM). The IFC specification is developed and maintained by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI) as part of its buildingSMART mission. For more information see
ifcXML One of the hundreds of XML based textual data formats. Defined by ISO 10303-28 “STEP-XML”. Derived from the neutral and open Industry Foundation Class object-based file format. This format is suitable for interoperability with XML tools and exchanging partial building model
IFD Industry Foundation Dictionary.   Created by IAI-International, this international construction thesaurus currently supporting several languages. CSI is managing this activity in the US. It is used to support various NBIMS Initiative activities. See also:
IFDLibrary™ International Framework for Dictionaries (ISO 12006-3) is a library with terminology and ontologies assisting in identifying the type of information being exchanged. It is developed with the purpose of adding value to the IFCs and is language and culture independent. The International Framework for Dictionaries (IFD) (ISO 12006-3) standard is developed by ISO TC 59/SC 13/WG 6. Many of the members of the work group are also members of International Construction Information Society (ICIS). The IFD standard has many similarities with the EPISTLE standard for the Oil and Gas industry.
IFMA International Facility Management Association.
IFS Integrated Facilities System
IGCC International Green Construction Code
I-joist Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I”. Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½” width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60 feet long,
IMCOM Installation Management Command
immersion heater A thermostatically controlled electric resistance heating device that is submerged in the fluid it heats.
impact damages Losses that affect the overall performance and cost of the contract work, such as delay to the project, lost labor productivity, and acceleration. Distinguished from direct damages.
impact force Force resulting from the collision of two or more objects.
impact resistance The resistance of a member or assembly to dynamic loading.
impact test Any of a number of dynamic tests, usually a load striking a specimen in a specified manner, used to estimate the resistance of a material to shock.
impeller (1) The vaned member of a rotary pump that employs centrifugal force to convey fluids from intake to discharge. (2) A related device used to force pressurized gas in a given direction. (3) In ventilation, a device that rotates to move air.
Improvements A change or addition to an asset that improves its performance or appearance and/or extends its useful life.
Incandescent lamp A lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bulb.
inch-pounds (1) A unit of work derived by multiplying the force in pounds by the distance in inches through which it acts. (2) A unit of energy that will perform an equivalent amount of work.
incident radiation Solar energy, both direct and diffuse, upon its arrival at the surface of a solar collector or other surface.
increaser In plumbing, a coupling with one end larger than the other. Generally the small end has outside threads and the large end has inside threads.
incrustation Mineral, chemical, or other deposits left in a pipe, vessel, or other equipment by the liquids that they convey.
indemnification An obligation contractually assumed or legally imposed on one party to protect another against loss or damage from stated liabilities. See also insurance.
indented joint A type of butt joint where a notched fish plate is fitted to notches in the timbers and the entire assembly is fastened with bolts.
index The interest rate or adjustment standard that determines the changes in monthly payments for an adjustable rate loan.
indirect expense Overhead or other indirect costs incurred in achieving project completion, but not applicable to any specific task.
indirect heating (1) A method of heating areas which are removed from the source of heat by steam, hot air, etc. (2) Central heating.
indirect system A system of heating, air-conditioning, or refrigeration whereby the heating or cooling of an area is not accomplished directly. Rather, a fluid is heated or cooled, then circulated to the area requiring the conditioning, or used to heat or cool air which then is circulated to achieve the same end.
induction air terminal units A factory assembly consisting of a cooling coil and/or heating coil that receives preconditioned air under pressure that is mixed with recirculated air by the induction process.
induction heating A technique used to heat-treat completed welds in piping. The heat is generated by the use of induction coils around the piping.
industrial hygienist In asbestos abatement, a professional hired by the building owner to sample and monitor the air, and for other safety-related tasks.
industry standard Readily available information in the form of published specifications, technical reports and disclosures, test procedures and results, codes and other technical information and data. Such data should be verifiable and professionally endorsed, with general acceptance and proven use by the construction industry.
inertia block Usually a concrete block supported on some sort of resilient material and used as a base for heavy, vibrating mechanical equipment, such as pumps and forms, to reduce the transmission of vibration to the building structure.
Infiltration- The passage of air from indoors to outdoors and vice versa; term is usually associated with drafts from cracks, seams or holes in buildings.
Information model General term for organized models of things that represent the relationships, concepts, rules, operations and other parts of things. Can represent an individual component or highly complex systems. Can be focused on buildings (Building Information Models), business processes, software engineering, data, semantics and many other things.
infrared heater A source of heat-producing wavelengths, longer than visible light, which do not heat the air through which they pass, but only those objects in the line of sight.
Infrastructure Physical assets with a long useful life that are normally stationary in nature and can be preserved for a significantly greater number of years than most capital assets. Examples of infrastructure assets include roads, bridges, tunnels, drainage systems, water and sewer systems, dams, and lighting systems.
initiating circuit A circuit in a fire safety system that contains sensors to detect a fire condition.
INRMP Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan
Inside corner- The point at which two walls form an internal angle, as in the corner of a room.
inside-angle tool In masonry and plastering, a float designed especially for shaping inside (internal) angles.
inspector A person authorized and/or assigned to perform a detailed examination of any or all portions of the work and/or materials. See also building inspector, owner’s inspector, and resident engineer.
instant-start fluorescent lamp An electric discharge lamp that is started without the preheating of electrodes, but rather by application of a high enough voltage to eject electrons from the electrodes by field emission, initiate electron flow through the lamp, ionize the gases, and initiate a discharge through the lamp.
Institutional System Two or more postsecondary institutions under the control or supervision of a single administrative body.
instructions to bidders A document, part of the bidding requirements, usually prepared by the design professional. Instructions to bidders set forth specific instructions to candidate constructors on procedures, expectations and disclaimers of the owner, and other necessary information for the preparation of proposals for consideration by the owner for a competitive bid.
Instruments of Service Representations, in any medium of expression now known or later developed, of the tangible and intangible creative work performed by the Architect and the Architect’s consultants under their respective professional services agreements. Instruments of Service may include, without limitation, studies, surveys, models, sketches, drawings, specifications, and other similar materials.
insulate To provide with special features and/or materials which afford protection against sound, moisture, heat, or heat loss.
Insulating glass Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between.  Also known as Double glass.
Insulation- Any material high in resistance to heat transmission that, when placed in the walls, ceiling, or floors of a structure, and will reduce the rate of heat flow.
Insulation board, rigid- A structural building board made of coarse wood or cane fiber in ½- and 25/32-inch thickness. It can be obtained in various size sheets and densities.
insulator An insulating device designed and used to physically support a conductor and electrically separate it from other conductors or objects.
insurance, builder’s risk A specialized form of property insurance that provides coverage for loss or damage to the work during the course of construction. See also property insurance.
insurance, extended coverage An endorsement to a property insurance policy which extends the perils covered to include windstorm, hail, riot, civil commotion, explosion (except steam boiler), aircraft, vehicles, and smoke. See also property insurance.
insurance, liability Insurance which protects the insured against liability on account of injury to the person or property of another. See also completed operations insurance, comprehensive general liability insurance, contractor’s liability insurance, employer’s liability insurance, owner’s liability insurance, professional liability insurance, property damage insurance, public liability insurance, and special hazards insurance.
insurance, loss of use Insurance protecting against financial loss during the time required to repair or replace property damaged or destroyed by an insured peril.
insurance, owner’s liability Insurance to protect the owner against claims arising out of the operations performed for the owner by the contractor and arising out of the owner’s general supervision.
insurance, professional liability Insurance coverage for the insured professional’s legal liability for claims for damages sustained by others allegedly as a result of negligent acts, errors, or omissions in the performance of professional services.
insurance, property Coverage for loss or damage to the work at the site caused by the perils of fire, lightning, extended coverage perils, vandalism and malicious mischief, and additional perils (as otherwise provided or requested). See also builder’s risk insurance, extended coverage insurance, and special hazards insurance.
insurance, special hazards Insurance coverage for damage caused by additional perils or risks to be included in the property insurance (at the request of the contractor, or at the option of the owner). Examples often included are sprinkler leakage, collapse, water damage, and coverage for materials in transit to the site or stored off the site. See also property insurance.
integrated building system A building designed to efficiently use climatic resources for heating, cooling, lighting, and electric power generation.
Integrated Practice Uses early contribution of knowledge through utilization of new technologies, allowing architects to realize their highest potentials as designers and collaborators while expanding the value they provide throughout the project life cycle
Integration The introduction of working practices, methods and behaviors that create a culture in which individuals and organizations are able to work together efficiently and effectively.
intelligent building (smart building) A building that contains some degree of automation, such as centralized control over HVAC systems, fire safety and security access systems, and telecommunication systems.
Intelligent Buildings Institute A nonprofit professional organization formed in 1986 to promote the intelligent building industry through market information, government advocacy, regulatory action, and general education.
Intelligent Objects These Building Components can behave smart, i.e., they can adapt to changing conditions. The user can easily customize them through an interface. These objects are “rules-based,” i.e., they incorporate rules that define how the object adapts to other objects, database calls, and user input parameters. Because of the “rules base,” each object can represent an entire subset of an entity, i.e., one window object can represent an manufacturer’s entire window line and can generate all 2D, 3D, details, finishes, shapes, and profiles. This results in significant decreases in the space required to store the equivalent information and results in very small files.
Interest The cost paid to a lender for borrowed money.
interest expense A contractor’s cost of borrowing funds or use of equity capital.
Interface A specialized software protocol that enables the transfer of data or programs between two different software programs.
Interior finish Material used to cover the interior framed areas of walls and ceilings
Interior Parking Space Defined as space used for vehicular parking space that is totally enclosed within the (occupied) building
envelope. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
interior trim (1) Any trim, but especially that around door and window casings, baseboards, stairs, and on the inside of a building. (2) Inside finish.
interlocking Software program in which an event or set of events triggers another event or sequence of events. For example, a temperature rise above a set point that activates a fan.
intern architect An apprentice architect who works under the direction of registered architects.
internal partition trap A plumbing trap that relies on an internal partition of some form, rather than the water used in a standard trap, for a seal.
internal pressure The pressure within a building. Dependent on outside conditions, such as wind velocity, and the number and location of openings in the building.
internal vibration Rapid agitation of freshly mixed or placed concrete performed by mechanical vibrators inserted at strategic locations. See also concrete vibration.
interoperability Interoperability, as defined by the National Building Information Model Standard is seamless data exchange and sharing among
diverse applications which each may have their own internal data structure.
Interstitial Area The area of load-bearing surfaces, located above or below occupied building floors that are not available
for general occupancy due to inadequate clear headroom, but may contain building mechanical or
electrical systems predominantly serving adjacent floors or provide access to such systems. (Source:
ASTM E 1836-01)
intertie An intermediate member used horizontally between studs to strengthen them, especially at door heads or other places between floor heads.
invitation to bid A written notice of an owner’s intention to receive competitive bids for a construction project wherein a select group of candidate constructors are invited to submit proposals.
invited bidders (preferred bid list) A group of bidders chosen by the owner to submit bids for a project.
Ionic order An order of architecture characterized by a column that has spiral volutes at its capital.
IPEDS The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, comprising a series of annual and regular periodic institutional surveys of all postsecondary institutions in the United States and its territories that have a Program Participation Agreement with the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education. It is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Each postsecondary institution may be identified by its unique IPEDS unit ID. This ID replaces the FICE number that was formerly used.
iron-cement A type of cement that contains cast-iron boring or filings, sal-ammoniac sulfur, and other additives, and used for joining or repairing cast-iron parts.
IRP Installation Response Plan
ISO International Organization for Standardization
ISO 12006-2 Organization of Information about Construction Works – Part 2: Framework for Classification of Information provides a basic structure of information about construction that is grouped into three primary categories composing the process model: construction resources, construction processes and construction results.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. A system to ensure an organisation’s environmental practice is managed and process to driven to encourage and drive continuous improvement.
ISO 9001 Quality management system accreditation. A system designed to ensure an organisation is systematic and process driven in how it operates. The organisations processes will encourage and drive continuous improvement. An organisation has to earn ISO accreditation and receives regular external audits.
ISO/PAS 16739 The ISO project tile for the Industry Foundation Class (ifc) under Technical Committee 184 of the International Standards Organization.
isolated solar gain Passive solar heating in which heat to be used on one area is collected in another area.
isometric drawing A type of projection drawing showing three dimensions. The horizontal planes generally appear at 30° from the standard horizontal axis, while the vertical lines are drawn parallel to the actual vertical axis.
ISWMP Integrated Solid Waste ManagementProgram
itemize To list or state each item separately, as in an itemized bid.
ivorywood A South American wood used mostly for cabinet and lathe work. White to pale yellow-brown in color, sometimes even with a tinge of green, it is heavy, hard, and strong, yet lacks durability.
Izod impact testing A type of impact test, used to estimate the resistance of a material, in which a falling or swinging pendulum delivers energy in a single impact.
j A symbol used to describe the event at the head of an activity arrow in a CPM schedule.
J Channel Metal edging used on drywall to give the edge a better finished appearance when a wall is not “wrapped” Generally, basement stairway walls have drywall only on the stair side. J Channel is used on the vertical edge of the last drywall sheet,
Jack post A type of structural support made of metal, which can be raised or lowered through a series of pins and a screw to meet the height required. Basically used as a replacement for an old supporting member in a building. See Monopost.
Jack rafter A rafter that spans the distance from the wall plate to a hip, or from a valley to a ridge.
jack screw A screw-operated mechanical device equipped with a load-bearing plate and used for lifting or leveling heavy loads.
jacket (1) A covering, either of cloth or metal, applied to exposed heating pipes or ducts, to exposed or unexposed casing pipes, or over the insulation of such pipes (2) A watertight outer housing around a pipe or vessel, the space between being occupied by a fluid for heating, cooling, or maintaining a specific temperature. (3) In wire and cable, the outer sheath or casing that protects the individual wires within from the elements and provides additional insulation properties.
jacking In plumbing, a method of providing drainage by forcing a pipe into a precut opening using horizontal jacks.
jacking dice Blocks, usually of concrete-filled steel cylinders or pipes, used as temporary fillers during the jacking operations, as in foundation work.
jalousie A window shutter or blind having stationary or adjustable slats angled so as to permit ventilation and provide shade and even some privacy, while simultaneously preventing the entrance of rain.
Jamb The side and head lining of a doorway, window, or other opening. Includes studs as well as the frame and trim.
jamb shaft A small shaft having a capital and a base, positioned against or incorporated into the jamb of a door or window (sometimes called esconsons when employed in the inside axis of a window jamb). Often seen in medieval architecture.
jaw One of a pair of opposing members of a device used for holding, crushing, or squeezing an object, as the jaws of a vise or a pair of pliers.
jig A device that facilitates the fabrication or final assembly of parts by holding or guiding them in such a way as to insure their proper mechanical and relative alignment. A jig is especially useful in assuring that duplicate pieces are identical.
jobber (1) A person reasonably knowledgeable and somewhat skilled in most of the more common construction operations, such as carpentry, masonry, or plumbing (2) In construction, a jack-of-all-trades.
Joint The location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.
Joint cement or Joint compound A powder that is usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish. Often called “spackle” or drywall mud.
joint runner In plumbing, an incombustible packing material, such as pouring rope, used around the outside of a pipe joint to contain the molten lead which is poured in the bell of a joint.
Joint tenancy A form of ownership in which the tenants own a property equally. If one dies, the other automatically inherits the entire property.
Joint trench When the electric company and telephone company dig one trench and “drop” both of their service lines in.
joint venture (contractual joint venture) The joining together of two or more parties to form an entity with the legal characteristics of a partnership, to achieve a specific objective.
jointing compound (1) In plumbing, any material, such as paste, paint, or iron cement, used to ensure a tight seal at the joints of iron or steel pipes.
Joist Wooden 2 X 8’s, 10’s, or 12’s that run parallel to one another and support a floor or ceiling, and supported in turn by larger beams, girders, or bearing walls.
Joist hange A metal “U” shaped item used to support the end of a floor joist and attached with hardened nails to another bearing joist or beam.,
joule The metric unit used to measure heat, work, and energy. One joule is the amount of work done or energy expended by a force of 1 newton acting through a distance of 1 meter.
journeyman The second or intermediate level of development of proficiency in a particular trade or skill. As related to building construction, a journeyman’s license, earned by a combination of education, supervised experience, and examination, is required in many areas for those employed as intermediate level mechanics in certain trades (e.g., plumbing, mechanical, and electrical work).
Jumpers Water pipe installed in a water meter pit (before the water meter is installed), or electric wire that is installed in the electric structure panel meter socket before the meter is installed. This is sometimes illegal.
jurisdictional dispute An argument between or among labor unions over which entity should perform certain work.
K Kalium
k kilo, knot
K factor The measure of a transformer’s ability to withstand the heating effects of nonsinusoidal harmonic currents.
Keeper The metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.
kerfing The process of cutting grooves or notches (called kerfs) across a board to make it easier to bend. Kerfs are cut to about two-thirds the thickness of the board.
key (1) The removable actuating device of a lock. (2) A wedge of wood or metal inserted in a joint to limit movement. (3) A keystone. (4) A wedge or pin through the protruding part of a projecting tenon to secure its hold. (5) A back piece on a board to prevent warping. (6) The tapered last board in a sequence of floorboards, which, when driven into place, serves to hold the others in place. (7) The roughened underside of veneer or other similar material intended to aid in bonding. (8) In plastering, that portion of cementitious material which is forced into the openings of the backing lath. (9) A joggle. (10) A keyway. (11) A cotter. (12) A small, usually squared piece which simultaneously fits into the keyways or grooves of a rotating shaft and the pulley.
Key Performance Indicator, KPI KPI’s are used to define and measure progress against set objectives; the more clearly defined, the better they will work. KPI’s often back-up an SLA and state exactly what will be tracked to monitor service performance. Elements demonstrate compliance with contract outputs for service delivery.Key Performance Outcomes
“A series of empirical data and subjective data demonstrating effective and efficient management of the contract, human resource and service delivery elements.”KPI
see Key performance indicator.
keyed brick A brick, one of whose faces has been supplied with a usually dovetail-shaped recess which serves as a mechanical key for plastering or rendering.
Keyway A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location. This gives additional strength to the joint/meeting point.
keyword In Building Automation Systems, abbreviation used by system operators to communicate instructions in recognizable commands via a computer. For example, STA and STO are the commands for start and stop.
kickback (1) When a rotating sawblade is pinched by the material it is cutting, momentarily stopping the blade and causing it to pull away from the material. (2) The illegal return of part of the purchase price by the seller to induce purchase or to improperly influence future purchase of goods or services.
kill (1) To terminate electrical current from a circuit. (2) To shut off an engine. (3) To prevent resin from bleeding through paint on wood by the preliminary application to knots of a shellac or other resin-resistant coating.
Kilowatt (kw) One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also see watt.
kilowatt-hour A unit of measurement equal to the amount of energy expended in one hour by one kilowatt of power.
King stud The vertical “2 X’s” frame lumber (left and right) of a window or door opening, and runs continuously from the bottom sole plate to the top plate.
kitchen cabinet In a kitchen, a case or box-type assembly, or similar cupboard-like repository, having shelves, drawers, doors, and/or compartments, and used primarily for storing utensils, cutlery, food, linen, etc.
knee wall (1) A wall that shortens the span of the roof rafters by acting as a knee brace, in that it supports the rafters at some intermediate point along their length. (2) A short wall constructed to extend the height of an existing foundation or other wall system.
knocked down Descriptive of precut, prefitted, and premeasured, but unassembled construction components, such as might be delivered to a job for on-site assembly.
knot (1) The hard, cross-grained portion of a tree where a branch meets the trunk. (2) An architectural ornament of clusters of leaves or flowers at the base of intersecting vaulting ribs. (3) Intentional or accidental compact intersection(s) of rope(s) or similar material.
knot sealer Any sealer, such as shellac, used to cover knots in new wood to prevent sap or resin bleed-through.
Kyoto protocol An international treaty adopted in 1997 that requires a number of nations, including the U.S., to reduce their greenstructure gas emissions to specific levels by the year 2012.
l labor only, left, length, liter, long, lumen
L Lambert, large
Lab. labor, laboratory
labeled Descriptive of doors, windows, frames, and other building components that carry certification of approval from a recognized testing laboratory based on fire tests conducted on identical materials and articles.
labeled door A door that carries a certified fire-rating issued by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. 3-hour fire doors (A) are used in walls separating buildings or dividing a single building into fire areas. 1-1/2-hour (B and D) fire doors are used in openings in 2-hour rated vertical enclosures such as stairs, elevators, etc., or in exterior walls subject to severe fire exposure from outside the building. 1-hour fire doors are for use in openings in 1-hour rated vertical enclosures. 3/4-hour fire doors (C and E) are for use in openings in corridor and room partitions or in exterior walls which are subject to moderate fire exposure from outside the building. 1/2-hour fire doors and 1/3-hour fire doors are used where smoke control is a primary consideration, and for the protection of openings between a habitable room and a corridor when the wall has a fire-resistance rating of not more than one hour.
labeled frame A door frame that conforms to standards and tests required by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., and has received its label of certification.
labeled window A fire-resistant window that conforms to the testing standards of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., and bears a label designating its fire rating.
labor Any work performed by an employee.
labor and material payment bond (payment bond) A bond procured by a contractor from a surety as a guarantee to the owner that the labor and materials applied to the project will be paid for by the contractor. Those who have direct contacts with the contractor may be considered claimants.
labor union An organization or confederation of workers with the same or similar skills who are joined in a common cause (such as collective bargaining) with management or other employers for work place conditions, wage rates, and/or employee benefits.
laborer Ordinarily denotes a construction worker who has no specific trade and whose function is to support the activity of the licensed trades.
laminated beam (laminated veneer lumber) A straight or arched beam formed by built-up layers of wood. The method of lamination may be gluing under pressure, mechanical nailing or bolting, or a combination. See also laminated wood.
laminated glass (safety glass, shatterproof glass) A shatter- resistant safety glass made up of two or more layers of sheet glass, plate glass, or float glass bonded to a transparent plastic sheet.
Laminated shingles Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called “architectural shingles” or “three-dimensional shingles.”
Laminating Bonding together two or more layers of materials.
lamp Any device that converts electric energy into light. Types include incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide and high pressure sodium.
landfill An engineered disposal system characterized by the burial of waste material in alternating layers with an approved fill material.
Landing A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.
Landrum-Griffin Act Enacted by Congress in 1959, this act requires labor union management to be subject to audit for the funds of union members for which they are responsible.
landscape architect A person whose professional specialty is designing and developing gardens and landscapes, especially one who is duly licensed and qualified to perform in the landscape architectural trade.
lanyard A safety line tying a worker to a stable element of a structure to prevent a long fall in the event of an accident above ground level.
Lap To cover the surface of one shingle or roll with another.
Latch A beveled metal tongue operated by a spring-loaded knob or lever. The tongue’s bevel lets you close the door and engage the locking mechanism, if any, without using a key. Contrasts with dead bolt.
Lateral (electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water) The underground trench and related services (i.e., electric, gas, telephone, sewer and water lines) that will be buried within the trench.
lateral sewer A sewer that discharges into another sewer or branch, but is engineered without any other common tributary to it.
latex patching compound A compound used to fill voids, large gaps or penetrations in a floor, especially a subfloor before application of a floor covering.
Lath- A building material of narrow wood, metal, gypsum, or insulating board that is fastened to the frame of a building to act as a base for plaster, shingles, or tiles.
Lattice An open framework of criss-crossed wood or metal strips that form regular, patterned spaces.,
layout A design scheme or plan showing the proposed arrangement of objects and spaces within and outside a structure.
LCA Life Cycle Assessment
LCC Life-cycle costing.
LCEA Life Cycle Energy Analysis
LCI Life Cycle Inventory
LCIA Life Cycle Impact Assessment
LCM Life Cycle Management
LCMC Life-Cycle Maintenance Center
lead spitter The tapered part of a drainpipe assembly that connects a lead gutter with a downpipe.
leader (1) In a hot-air heating system, a duct that conveys hot air to an outlet. (2) A downspout.
leader head That part of a drainpipe assembly that is placed at the top of a leader and serves as a catch basin to receive water from the gutter.
Ledger (for a Structural Floor) The wooden perimeter frame lumber member that bolts onto the face of a foundation wall and supports the wood structural floor.
Ledger strip A strip of lumber nailed along the bottom of the side of a girder on which joists rest.
Leech field A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system.  Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field.
LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
left on the table The dollar difference between the low bid and the next bid above.
legal notice A covenant, often incorporated in the language of an agreement between two or more parties, that requires communication in writing, serving notice from one party to the other in accordance with terms of the agreement.
legitimate Ethical and legal.
length The longest dimension of an object.
Let-in brace Nominal 1 inch-thick boards applied into notched studs diagonally. Also, an “L” shaped, long (@ 10′) metal strap that are installed by the framer at the rough stage to give support to an exterior wall or wall corner.
letter form of agreement (letter agreement) An agreement, in letter format, written by the sender, to be signed by the addressee, intended to be legally binding.
letting of bid See bid opening.
Level True horizontal. Also a tool used to determine level.
Level Payment Mortgage A mortgage with identical monthly payments over the life of the loan.
L-head The top of a shore formed with a braced horizontal member projecting from one side and forming an inverted L-shaped assembly.
liability A situation in which one party is legally obligated to assume responsibility for another party’s loss or burden. Liability is created when the law recognizes two elements: the existence of an enforceable legal duty to be performed by one party for the benefit of another, and the failure to perform the duty in accordance with applicable legal standards.
license The permission by competent authority to do an act which, without such permission, would be illegal.
licensed architect See architect.
licensed contractor An individual or a firm that has, where required by law, obtained certification from a government office, to practice construction contracting.
licensed engineer See professional engineer.
LID Low Impact Development
lien A legal means of establishing or giving notice of a claim or an unsatisfied charge in the form of a debt, obligation, or duty. A lien is filed with government authorities against title to real property. Liens must be adjudicated or satisfied before title can be transferred. See also mechanic’s lien.
life cycle A term often used to describe the period of time that a building can be expected to actively and adequately serve its intended function.
life safety code Developed by the NFPA Committee on Safety to Life, an international organization dedicated to saving lives from fire.
Life-cycle The recognition that buildings and systems have a lifespan and can be managed over the full length of the period with respect of service delivery and its associated costs.
life-cycle assessment The determination of the environmental burdens associated with a product or process, including materials used and wastes released. The assessment considers the extraction and manufacturing of the materials, transportation and distribution, use and maintenance, and final disposal or reuse.
life-cycle costing The determination of the value of a system, such as roof covering, amortized over the projected life of the system, as opposed to the value determined by the initial cost only. Life-cycle costs include such costs as service and maintenance.
lifting block A combination of pulleys or sheaves that provide a mechanical advantage for lifting a heavy object.
light loss factor In illumination calculations, an adjustment factor that estimates losses in light levels over time due to aging of the lamp, dirt on the room surfaces, and other causes. Losses corrected by lamp replacement or cleaning are termed recoverable. Non-recoverable losses would be due to deterioration of the fixture or voltage drops.
Light- Space in a window sash for a single pane of glass. Also, a pane of glass.
lighting cost The total of the cost of a system’s lamps, operating energy, and lamp replacement.
lime putty A thick lime paste used in plastering, particularly for filling voids and repairing defects.
limit control A safety device for a variety of mechanical systems that detects unsafe conditions, sounds an alarm, and shuts off the system.
limit of liability The greatest amount of money that an insurance company will pay in the event of damage, injury, or loss.
limit switch (1) An electrical switch that controls a particular function in a machine, often independently of other machine functions. (2) A safety device, such as a switch that automatically slows down and stops an elevator at or near the top or bottom terminal landing.
line drawing A graphic representation made with lines and solids, as opposed to one made with tone gradations, such as a photograph or rendering.
line item Any item specifically called for on a plan or specification price-out sheet and listed with all of the quantities, unit prices, and extensions.
line of sight (sight line) The line extending from a telescope or other long-distance sighting device, along which distant objects can be viewed.
Lineal foot- A unit of measure for lumber equal to 1 inch thick by 12 inches wide by 12 inches long. Examples: 1″ x 12″ x 16′ = 16 board feet, 2″ x 12″ x 16′ = 32 board feet.
linked switch A series of mechanically connected electrical switches designed to act simultaneously or sequentially.
Lintel A horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.
lintel block (U-block) A special U-shaped concrete block used with other blocks to form a continuous-bond beam or lintel. Reinforcing steel is placed in the void followed by mortar or grout.
liquid waste The discharge from any plumbing fixture, area, appliance, or component that does not contain fecal matter.
liter A metric measure of capacity equal to 61.022 cubic inches, or 2.113 American pints.
live part Any part or component of an electrical device or system that is engineered to function at a voltage level different from that of the earth.
live steam Steam that has not condensed and still retains its energy, such as steam issuing from a boiler or radiator.
Load bearing wall Includes all exterior walls and any interior wall that is aligned above a support beam or girder. Normally, any wall that has a double horizontal top plate.
Loan The amount to be borrowed.
Loan to value ratio The ratio of the loan amount to the property valuation and expressed as a percentage. E.g. if a borrower is seeking a loan of $200,000 on a property worth $400,000 it has a 50% loan to value rate. If the loan were $300,000, the LTV would be 75%. The higher the loan to value, the greater the lender’s perceived risk. Loans above normal lending LTV ratios may require additional security.
locknut (1) A special nut that locks when tightened so that it will not come loose. (2) A second nut used to prevent a primary nut from loosening.
lockset A complete system including all the mechanical parts and accessories of a lock, such as knobs, reinforcing plates, and protective escutcheons.
long-radius elbow In plumbing, a pipe elbow with a larger radius than is standard. The elbow is designed to mitigate losses from friction and to facilitate the flow of liquids through the pipe.
Lookout A short wood bracket or cantilever that supports an overhang portion of a roof.
loop vent In plumbing, a venting configuration for multiple fixtures, as in a public restroom. The vent pipe is connected to the waste branch in only two places, before the first and last fixtures. The fixtures are not individually vented. The two vents are connected together in a loop, and the loop is then connected to the vent stack.
loose estimate One allowing for contingencies, a “safe” or high estimate.
loss of use Insurance coverage for any financial loss that may be incurred while property, damaged or destroyed by an insured hazard, is being replaced or repaired.
louver A framed opening in a wall, fitted with fixed or movable slanted slats. Though commonly used in doors and windows, louvers are especially useful in ventilating systems at air intake and exhaust locations.
Louver- A vented opening into the home that has a series of horizontal slats and arranged to permit ventilation but to exclude rain, snow, light, insects, or other living creatures.
louver shielding angle The angle, measured from the horizontal, above which objects are concealed by a louver.
low bid In bidding for construction work, the lowest price submitted for performance of the work in accordance with the plans and specifications.
low emissivity glass (low e glass) Insulating glass with a coating or special component that keeps heat in during winter and out during summer. Low e glass reflects internal long wave radiation, like that from a heat source, back into a home while keeping the short wave radiation of the sun out.
low-carbon steel (mild steel) Steel with less than 0.20% carbon. This type of steel is not used for structural members, due to its ductility. It is good for boilers, tanks, and objects that must be formed.
lowest qualified bidder See lowest responsible bidder.
lowest responsible bidder (lowest qualified bidder) The bidder who has submitted the lowest legitimate bid. The owner and architect must agree that this person (or firm) is capable of performing the work covered by the bid proposal.
lowest responsive bid The lowest bid that meets the requirements set forth in the bid proposal.
low-heat cement (type IV cement) A special cement that minimizes the amount and rate of heat generation during hydration (setting). Strength is also achieved at a slower rate. Use is limited to structures involving large masses of concrete, such as dams, where the heat generated would be excessive if normal cement were used.
low-iron glass Glass with a low iron content that has a higher visible transmittance and thus a greater ability to collect solar energy.
Lumens Unit of measure for total light output. The amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot.
luminaire efficiency In lighting calculations, a special ratio of the light emitted by a light fixture to the light emitted by the lamps inside the fixture.
luminous paint A phosphorescent or flourescent paint that glows in the dark after exposure to direct light. Has many safety applications, including use on light switch plates, exit signs, stair edges, and fuse boxes.
m meter
M thousand, bending moment (on drawings)
M&E Mechanical and electrical services: cabling, lighting, air handling, heating, ventilation etc.
MA mechanical advantage
macadam A method of paving in which layers of uniformly graded, coarse aggregate are spread and compacted to a desired grade. Next, the voids are completely filled by a finer aggregate, sometimes assisted by water (water-bound), and sometimes assisted by liquid asphalt (asphalt-bound). The top layers are usually bound and sealed by some specified asphaltic treatment.
machine stress-rated lumber Lumber that is rated mechanically by a machine that evaluates its structural properties.
made ground Land or ground created by filling in a low area with rubbish or other fill material. Often, such created land is not suitable for building without the use of a pile foundation.
magnetometer detectors An item used for detection of metals
main (1) In electricity, the circuit that feeds all sub-circuits. (2) In plumbing, the principal supply pipe that feeds all branches. (3) In HVAC, the main duct that feeds or collects air from the branches.
main stack In plumbing, a vent that runs from the building drains up through the roof.
maintainer A small motor grader used for driveways and for repairing the fine grade inside buildings.
maintenance period The period after completion of a contract during which a contractor is obligated to repair any defects in workmanship and materials that may become evident. See also maintenance bond.
Major Vertical Penetrations Includes stairs, elevator shafts, utility tunnels, flues, pipe shafts, vertical ducts and their enclosing walls.
(Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
Male Any part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male.
manhole A vertical access shaft from the ground surface to a sewer or underground utilities, usually at a junction, to allow cleaning, inspection, connections, and repairs.
manhole removal An item of work in site preparation that includes demolition and/or filling in an existing manhole.
Mantel The shelf above a fireplace opening. Also used in referring to the decorative trim around a fireplace opening.
Manufactured woodA A wood product such as a truss, beam, gluelam, microlam or joist which is manufactured out of smaller wood pieces and glued or mechanically fastened to form a larger piece. Often used to create a stronger member which may use less wood. See also Oriented Strand Board.
Manufacturer’s specifications The written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product warrantee.
marble A metamorphic rock, chiefly calcium carbonate, with various impurities that give it distinctive colors. Marble is used in the architectural facing of both interior and exterior walls.
margin (1) The amount added to the cost of materials as a markup. (2) An edge projecting over the gable of a roof. See also verge. (3) The space between a door and the jambs. (4) The measurement of the exposure of overlapped shingles.
marine plywood A high-grade plywood especially adaptable to boat hull construction. All inner plies must be B grade or better.
markup A percentage of other sums that may be added to the total of all direct costs to determine a final price or contract sum. In construction practice, the markup usually represents two factors important to the contractor. The first factor may be the estimated cost of indirect expense often referred to as general overhead. The second factor is an amount for the anticipated profit for the contractor.
Masonry Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall.
mason’s measure A method of making a quantity survey of masonry units required for a job that counts corners twice and does not deduct for small openings.
mass foundation A foundation that is larger than that required for support of the structure and one that is designed to reduce the effects of impact or vibration.
master A term applied to the third and highest level of achievement for a tradesman or mechanic, who by supervision, experience, and examination has earned a master’s license attesting that he is a master of the trade and no longer requires supervision of his work, as is the case with the journeyman and apprentice levels.
master plan A zoning plan of a community classifying areas by use, or zoning code used as a guide for future development.
master plumber A plumber licensed to install and assume responsibility for contractual agreements pertaining to plumbing, and to secure needed permits. A journeyman plumber is licensed to install plumbing only under the supervision of a master plumber.
MasterFormat The name owned and created by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) of the United States and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) denoting a numerical system of organization for construction-related information and data, based on a 16-division format.
MasterFormat™ MasterFormat™ is the pre-eminent means for organizing commercial and institutional construction specifications in North America. Initially published in 1963 by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC), it has been revised many times since then, and has been used by individuals and companies in all sectors of the construction industry for filing and organizing specifications, product data, and other construction information.
MASTERSPEC(r) A widely used master specification system, developed by the American Institute of Architects, for design professionals and members of the construction and building industries.
Mastic A pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing)
mat foundation A continuous thick-slab foundation supporting an entire structure. This type of foundation may be thickened or have holes in some areas and is typically used to distribute a building’s weight over as wide an area as possible, especially if soil conditions are poor.
material safety data sheet (MSDS) A form published by manufacturers of hazardous materials to describe the hazards thereof.
MATOC multiple award task order contract
maximum rated load The greatest live load, plus dead load, which a scaffold is designed to carry, including a safety factor.
MBTA Migratory Bird Treaty Act Migratory Bird Treaty Act
ME mechanical engineer
mech mechanic, mechanical
mechanic (1) A person skilled in the repair and maintenance of equipment. (2) Any person skilled in a particular trade or craft.
mechanical advantage The ratio of the weight lifted by a machine divided by the force applied.
mechanical analysis See sieve analysis.
mechanical application The placing of plaster or mortar by pumping or spraying, as opposed to placement by hand with a trowel.
Mechanical Area The sum of all areas on all floors of a building designed to structure mechanical equipment, utility services, and shaft areas. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
mechanical bond (mechanical connection) A bond formed by keying or interlocking as opposed to a chemical bond by adhesion, as plaster bonding to lath or concrete bonding to deformed reinforcing rods.
mechanical draft The movement of air through a cooling tower by means of a fan or other mechanical device.
mechanical drawing (1) A graphic representation made with drafting instruments. (2) Plans showing the HVAC and plumbing layout of a building.
mechanical equivalent of heat A measure of mechanical energy that equates work (measured in Joules) and thermal energy (measured in calories). Equal to one Btu of heat and 778 foot-pounds.
mechanical joint A plumbing joint that uses a positive clamping device to secure the sections, such as a flanged joint using nuts and bolts.
mechanical plan In construction documents, the print that shows piping, ductwork, HVAC equipment, and fire safety systems.
mechanical properties The properties of a material defining its elasticity and its stress-strain relationships.
mechanical trowel A machine with interchangeable metal or rubber blades used to compact and smooth plaster.
Mechanics lien A lien on real property, created by statue in many years, in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building or structure, for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. In some jurisdictions, a mechanics lien also exists for the value of professional services. Clear title to the property cannot be obtained until the claim for the labor, materials, or professional services is settled. Timely filing is essential to support the encumbrance, and prescribed filing dates vary by jurisdiction.
mediumscope A term established by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) to denote a section of the specifications that describes a family of related or integrated materials and workmanship requirements. (Narrowscope specifications denote a single product; broadscope specifications denote a section describing differing materials used in a related manner.)
medium-temperature water-heating system A water heating system with a boiler that heats water to between 250° and 350°F before it is supplied to heating devices.
megalith A very large hewn or unhewn stone used in architecture or as a monument.
membrane roofing A term that most commonly refers to a roof covering employing flexible elastomeric plastic materials from 35 to 60 mils thick, that is applied from rolls and has vulcanized joints. The initial cost of an elastomeric-membrane roof covering system is higher than a built-up roof, but the life cycle cost is lower.
membrane theory In thin-shell design, the assumption that a shell has no strength in bending because of deflection, and, that the only stresses in any section are in tension, compression, and shear.
membrane waterproofing The application of a layer of impervious material, such as felt and asphaltic cement, to a foundation wall.
MER mechanical equipment room
mesh (1) A network of wire screening or welded wire fabric used in construction. (2) The number of openings per lineal inch in wire cloth.
Meta Model A meta-model is an explicit model of the constructs and rules needed to build specific models within a domain of interest. A meta-model can be viewed from three different perspectives: • as a set of building blocks and rules used to build models • as a model of a domain of interest, and • as an instance of another model and this where the model views come into play.
metal crating Open metal flooring for pedestrian or vehicular traffic used to span openings in floors, walkways, and roadways.
Metal lath Sheets of metal that are slit to form openings within the lath. Used as a plaster base for walls and ceilings and as reinforcing over other forms of plaster base.
meter (1) The base unit of length in the metric system of measurement. A meter is equivalent to 39.37 inches. (2) A device for measuring the flow of liquid, gas, or electrical current. See Table of Equivalents in Appendix.
Method Statement A document that gives specific instructions on how to safely perform a work related task, or operate a piece of plant or equipment. It is a legal requirement to have Method Statements in place to advise employees and contractors on how to work safely.
metric ton A weight equal to 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds.
metrication The process of converting to the metric system.
Microlam- A manufactured structural wood beam. It is constructed of pressure and adhesive bonded wood strands of wood. They have a higher strength rating than solid sawn lumber. Normally comes in l ½” thickness’ and 9 ½”, 11 ½” and 14″ widths
microwave motion detector A device that detects motion by sending out a microwave signal and looking for a return. A moving object will reflect back some microwave energy, triggering a response. Applications include security, lighting and automatic door systems.
Milar (mylar) Plastic, transparent copies of a blueprint.
MILCON Military Construction
mileage tax A license tax levied on intrastate transportation business to compensate for use of the state’s public roads.
Military Construction
Miller Act A federal labor law that requires general contractors working on federally funded construction projects to obtain performance bonds and labor and material payment bonds to protect the interests of subcontractors and suppliers. The Miller Act applies to all United States government construction contracts valued at more than $25,000.
Millwork- Generally all building materials made of finished wood and manufactured in millwork plants. Includes all doors, window and door frames, blinds, mantels, panelwork, stairway components (ballusters, rail, etc.), moldings, and interior trim. Does not include flooring, ceiling, or siding.
mineral right A legal interest or right to the minerals in a parcel of land, with or without ownership of the surface of that land.
Minimum Wage Law Common term used to describe the Fair Labor Standards Act enacted by Congress in 1938. This act established a minimum wage for workers and the 40-hour work week.
minor change A job change requiring field approval only. No change order is necessary.
Miter joint The joint of two pieces at an angle that bisects the joining angle. For example, the miter joint at the side and head casing at a door opening is made at a 45° angle
mixed in place An asphalt course of mineral aggregate and emulsified asphalt mixed at the site by special road-mixing equipment.
mixing box In HVAC systems a chamber, usually located upstream of the filters, that collects outside air and return air.
mock-up A model, either full size or to scale, of a construction system or assembly used to analyze construction details, strength, and appearance. Mock-ups are commonly used for masonry and exposed concrete construction projects.
MOD model
model (1) A scale representation of an object, system, or building used for structural, mechanical, or aesthetic analysis. (2) A compilation of parameters used in developing a system.
model codes Professionally prepared building regulations and codes, regularly attended and revised, designed to be adopted by municipalities and appropriate political subdivisions by ordinance. Model codes are used to regulate building construction for the welfare and safety of the general public.
model server Model servers allow centralized storage of IFC information models allowing them to be accessed and modified via the Internet. Model servers are a critical element in the long-term management of building information that will be hosted, added to, and manipulated by a large audience over a building’s life cycle. The IFC-based model server is a virtual building archive, is possibly the most innovative technical approach to the future of BIM.
modem Short for modulator/demodulator. An electronic device that transmits data to or from a computer via telephone lines. A modem translates between digital signals (used by data processing equipment) and analog signals (used in voice switching equipment). Once the data is sent through the telephone lines, it is retranslated back into digital form in the computer at the receiving end.
modified bitumen A heavy roofing material employing multiple layers of asphalt and reinforcers around a core of plastic or rubber modifiers. Installed with a special torching apparatus, a cold adhesive or hot mopped into place using methods of asphalt application.
modulus of resilience The measure of the elastic energy absorbed by a unit volume of a material when it has reached its elastic limit in tension.
modulus of toughness The measure of energy per unit volume that is absorbed by a material when subject to impact, up to the point of fracture.
moisture gradient The difference in moisture content between the inside and the outside of an object, such as a wall or masonry unit.
molded insulation Thermal insulation premolded to fit plumbing pipes and fittings. Common materials are fiberglass, calcium silicate, and urethane foams, with or without protective coverings.
Molding A wood strip having an engraved, decorative surface.
mole ball An egg-shaped ball pulled behind a special subsoil plow to provide a water course for drainage.
momentum The mass times the velocity of a moving object.
money damages A monetary award that a party who has breached a contract is ordered by a court to pay as compensation to the nonbreaching party.
monitor (1) A raised section of a roof, often along the ridge of a gable roof, with louvers or windows in the side for ventilation or light. (2) In closed-circuit television, a video display device used to check the quality of a picture or image transmitted by a camera.
monolith A large architectural member or monument cut from one stone or cast as one unit from concrete.
monolithic construction The pouring of concrete grade beam and floor slab together to form a building foundation.
Monopost Adjustable metal column used to support a beam or bearing point. Normally 11 gauge or Schedule 40 metal, and determined by the structural engineer,
Monotube(r) pile A cold-processed steel pile with a fluted cross section for use in deep foundations.
Mortar A mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work.
Mortgage Loan secured by land.
Mortgage broker A broker who represents numerous lenders and helps consumers find affordable mortgages; the broker charges a fee only if the consumer finds a loan.
Mortgage company A company that borrows money from a bank, lends it to consumers to buy homes, then sells the loans to investors.
Mortgage deed Legal document establishing a loan on property.
Mortgage loan A contract in which the borrower’s property is pledged as collateral. It is repaid in installments. The mortgagor (buyer) promises to repay principal and interest, keep the home insured, pay all taxes and keep the property in good condition.
Mortgage Origination Fee A charge for work involved in preparing and servicing a mortgage application (usually one percent of the loan amount).
Mortgagee The lender who makes the mortgage loan.
motion detection equipment A device that detects motion by sending out a fixed electromagnetic or ultrasonic signal. A moving object will disrupt the frequency of the signal, triggering a response. Applications include security, lighting and automatic door systems.
movable partition A non-load- bearing demountable partition that can be relocated and can be either ceiling height or partial height.
MSA Metropolitan Statistical Area
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet
MSW municipal solid waste
Mudsill Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called sill plate. Also sole plate, bottom member of interior wall frame.
Mullion A vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings.
multi-file approach Multi-file systems use loosely coupled collections of drawings, each representing a portion of the complete model. These drawings are connected through various mechanisms to generate additional views of the building, reports, and schedules. Issues include the complexity of managing this loosely coupled collection of drawings and the opportunity for errors if the user manipulates the individual files outside the drawing management capabilities.
Multi-Institution System An institution that has either 1) two or more sites or campuses responsible to one administration which may or may not be located on one of the sites or campuses, or 2) a primary site or main campus with one or more branches attached to it.
multiple of direct personnel expense An accounting method used to pay for professional services. A factor (based on personnel cost) is applied to cover indirect and direct costs, as well as profit.
multiple of direct salary expense An accounting method used to pay for professional services. It is based on direct salary expenses multiplied by a factor that accounts for the cost of benefits that are linked to direct salary as well as indirect expenses, other direct expenses, and profit.
multiplier A factor used to adjust costs for modifications, such as for location, time, or size of project.
multizone system (1) An air conditioning system that is capable of handling several individual zones simultaneously. (2) A heating or HVAC system having individual controls in two or more zones in a building.
multizone units Air-handling units with parallel heating and cooling air paths providing individual mixing of air-distribution circuits into a single duct for each zone.
municipality A political unit, legally incorporated for self-government or other public purposes.
Muntin A small member which divides the glass or openings of sash or doors.
Muriatic acid Commonly used as a brick cleaner after masonry work is completed.
Mushroom The unacceptable occurrence when the top of a caisson concrete pier spreads out and hardens to become wider than the foundation wall thickness.
mutual assent The agreement of two or more parties to be bound to the terms of a contract. A contract is not legally enforceable without mutual assent.
NA number A classification code assigned to a particular material by the Department of Transportation.
NAAMM National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers
NAAQS National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NACUBO The National Association of College and University Business Officers.
Nail inspection An inspection made by a municipal building inspector after the drywall material is hung with nails and screws (and before taping).
Narrowscope A term established by the Construction Specifications Institute to denote a section of the specifications that describes a single product. See also Mediumscope and Broadscope.
National Electric Code(r) (NEC) A nationally recognized code that addresses proper installation of electrical systems and equipment. Published by the National Fire Protection Association, the code is revised and reissued every three years. The revision process includes a proposal period when suggestions from the public are accepted. Code-making panels review all proposals and make recommendations that are then reviewed by a correlating committee.
National Fire Protection Agency A non-profit organization that publishes the National Electrical Code(r), the Life Safety Code(r), the Fire Prevention Code(tm), the National Fuel Gas Code(r), and the National Fire Alarm Code(r).
National Labor Relations Act An act of Congress sometimes known as the Wagner Act, enacted in 1935. This act mandated a framework of procedure and regulation by which management-labor relations are to be conducted.
natural cement A hydraulic cement produced by heating a naturally occurring limestone at a temperature below the melting point, and then grinding the material into a fine powder.
Natural finish A transparent finish which does not seriously alter the original color or grain of the natural wood. Natural finishes are usually provided by sealers, oils, varnishes, water repellent preservatives, and other similar materials.
natural gas A naturally occurring combustible gas used for industrial and domestic heating and power.
NBC National Building Code
NBIM Standard or NBIMS The National BIM Standard will consist of specifications and encodings to define the requirements for exchanges of data between parties using building information modeling processes and tools. NBIMS will a.) Publish exchange specifications for use in specific business contexts within a holistic facility lifecycle framework; and b.) Publish encodings for the exchange specifications employing internationally acceptable open standards as normative references; c.) Facilitate implementation by software developers of encodings in software; d.) Facilitate use of certified software by end-users to create and use interoperable building information model exchanges.
NBIMS National BIM Standard. Standard for how information is presented via BIM, currently under development with the cooperation of the AIA, CSI, and NIBS. The National CAD Standard will become a subset of NBIMS upon completion.
NCS United States National CAD Standard.   The U.S National CAD Standard (NCS) is the only comprehensive U.S. CAD Standard for the design, construction and facility management industries. The program’s goal is broad voluntary adoption of the CAD Standard by the building design, construction and operation sectors, thereby establishing a common language for the building design and documentation process. Use of NCS eliminates the overhead costs that organizations now incur to maintain proprietary office standards, train new staff, and coordinate implementation among design team members. The 2-D standard plays a crucial role in easing the transition to new BIM software systems and the 3-D object-based standards. National CAD Standard. Graphic standard for how information is presented via CAD systems, developed with the cooperation of the AIA, CSI, and NIBS.
NCX fire-retardant treated wood Treated wood generally used on exterior balconies, steps, and roof systems. Carries the Underwriters’ Laboratories rating of FRS.
NEC National Electrical Code
NEC (National Electrical Code) A set of rules governing safe wiring methods. Local codes—which are backed by law—may differ from the NEC in some ways.
needle (1) In underpinning, the horizontal beam that temporarily holds up the wall or column while a new foundation is being placed. (2) In forming or shoring, a short beam passing through a wall to support shores or forms during construction. (3) In repair or alteration work, a beam that temporarily supports the structure above the area being worked on.
negative pressure ventilation system A method of providing low-velocity airflow from uncontaminated areas into contaminated areas by means of a portable exhaust system equipped with HEPA filters.
negotiated procurement A procedure used by the U.S. government for contracting whereby the government and potential contractor negotiate on both price and technical requirements after submission of proposals. Award is made to the contractor whose final proposal is most advantageous to the government.
negotiation A process used to determine a mutually satisfactory contract sum, and terms to be included in the contract for construction. In negotiations, the owner directly selects the constructor and the two, often with assistance of the design professional, derive by compromise and a meeting of the minds the scope of the project and its cost.
negotiation phase See bidding.
neoprene waterproofing Sheet waterproofing material placed on the outside of a foundation wall with a mastic.
NESC National Electrical Safety Commission
Net Assignable Area Net Assignable Area is the sum of all areas on all floors of a building assigned to, or available for assignment to, an occupant or specific use. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
net floor area The occupied area of a building not including hallways, elevator shafts, stairways, toilets, and wall thicknesses. The net floor area is used for determining rental space and fire-code requirements.
Net Internal Area Total area of a building between internal faces of external or atrium walls excluding core areas.
net load In heating calculations, the heating requirement, not considering heat losses, between the source and the terminal unit.
Net Usable Area Net Usable Area is the sum of all areas on all floors of a building either assigned to, or available for assignment to, an occupant or specific use, or necessary for the general operation of a building. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
Neutral wire Usually color-coded white, this carries electricity from an outlet back to the service panel. Also see hot wire and ground.
Newel post The large starting post to which the end of a stair guard railing or balustrade is fastened.
NFC National Fire Code
N-grade wood (1) In molding, stock intended for natural or clear finishes. The exposed face must be of one single piece. (2) In plywood, cabinet quality panels for natural finishes.
NHPA National Historic Preservation Act
NIBS National Institute of Building Sciences. The National Institute of Building Sciences was established by Public Law 93-383, Sect. 809 in 1974. The unique 501c3 organization was established to build bridges between the public and private sector to encourage the flow of information related to the construction industry.
nickel A silver-colored, hard ductile metal used in alloys, batteries, and electroplating. Nickel is used extensively on plumbing fixtures, where its anti-corrosive properties are important.
night cycle program In a building automation system, an energy-saving computer program that maintains a reduced temperature in the heating season and an elevated temperature during the cooling season during unoccupied periods.
night vent A small light with horizontal hinges that is mounted in an operable sash to allow ventilation without opening the entire sash.
NIOSH National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
NJMC New Jersey Meadowland Commission
NLRA National Labor Relations Act
NLRB National Labor Relations Board
NOI Notice of Intent
noise energy The total sound from all sources within a room at a given time, including reverberations and echos.
noise reduction (1) The difference, expressed in decibels, between the noise energy in two rooms when a noise is produced in one of the rooms. (2) The difference in noise energy from one side of a partition to another when a noise is produced on one side.
Nonassignable Area The sum of all areas on all floors of a building not available for assignment to an occupant or for specific use, but necessary for the general operation of a building. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
Nonbearing wall A wall supporting no load other than its own weight.
noncollusion affidavit A notarized statement by a bidder that the bid was prepared without any kind of secret agreement intended for a deceitful or fraudulent purpose.
noncompensable delay A delay for which the contractor receives a time extension only, and may not recover its delay-related costs from the owner.
nonconforming A building, or the use of a building, that does not comply with existing laws, rules, regulations, or codes.
nondestructive testing The examination of an object with technology that does not affect the object’s future usefulness. Applications include the evaluation of the strength of concrete or a weld using ultrasonic measures. See also borescope.
nonnailable decks In built-up roofing, a deck or substrate requiring the base sheet to be adhered rather than mechanically fastened.
nonsiphon trap A plumbing fixture that creates a water seal that cannot be siphoned, but still allows the free flow of liquids.
Normal/Routine Maintenance and Minor Repairs Cyclical, planned work activities funded through the annual budget cycle, done to continue or achieve either
the originally anticipated life of a fixed asset (i.e., buildings and fixed equipment), or an established suitable
level of performance. Normal/routine maintenance is performed on capital assets such as buildings and fixed
equipment to help them reach their originally anticipated life. Deficiency items are low in cost to correct and
are normally accomplished as part of the annual operation and maintenance (O&M) funds. Normal/routine
maintenance excludes activities that expand the capacity of an asset, or otherwise upgrade the asset to serve
needs greater than, or different from those originally intended.
normalizing The heating of steel or other ferrous alloys to a specified temperature above the transformation range, followed by cooling in ambient air. The process reduces the brittleness and strength of the metal, but increases its ductility.
Nosing The projecting edge of a molding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread.
Notch A crosswise groove at the end of a board.
Note A formal document showing the existence of a debt and stating the terms of repayment.
notice to bidders A notice included in the bidding documents that informs prospective bidders of the bidding procedures and the opportunity to submit a bid.
NOx Nitrogen Oxide
Nozzle The part of a heating system that sprays the fuel of fuel
NRCA National Roofing Contractors Association
NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
NRI National Roofing Initiative
O oxygen
O C On Center- The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, and joists in a building from the center of one member to the center of the next.
O&M Operations and Maintenance
O/A on approval
OACSIM Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff forInstallation Management
OAEC or A/E/C/O Common term used to describe as a group the principal actors/stakeholders during building design and construction projects.
Oakum Loose hemp or jute fiber that’s impregnated with tar or pitch and used to caulk large seams or for packing plumbing pipe joints
OBIX Open Building Information Xchange.   Standard web services protocol for communication between building mechanical and electrical systems and enterprise applications
ObjecT-oriented A computer program may be seen as a collection of programs (objects) that act on each other. Each object can receive messages, process data, and send messages to other objects. Objects can be viewed as independent little machines or actors with a distinct role or responsibility.
oblique drawings One face of an object is drawn directly on the picture plane. Projected lines are drawn at a 30° or 45° angle.
oblique section An architectural or mechanical drawing of a section through an object, at an angle other than 90° to its long axis.
obscure glass Glass that transmits light but does not allow a view of objects on the other side, such as ground glass or frosted glass; translucent glass.
observation of the work The architect, during construction-phase visits to a project, observes the progress and quality of the work. The purpose of the visits is to verify that work is proceeding as specified in the contract documents.
Occupational Safety and Health Act The federal law governing the safety of workers in the workplace.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The federal agency responsible for worker health and safety.
OD Ozone Depletion
OEM Original equipment manufacturer.
Off-Campus Centers Sites outside the confines of the parent institution where courses are offered that are part of an organized program at the parent institution. The sites are not considered to be temporary but may be rented or made available to the institution at no cost by another institution or an organization, agency, or firm.
Off-Campus Facility A facility located some distance away from the educational institution which operates it.
off-center (out-of-center) A load that is applied off the geometric center of a structural member, or a structural member that is placed off the geometric center of an applied load.
offer A proposal, as in a wage and benefits package, to be accepted, negotiated, or rejected.
Office of Federal Contract Compliance (OFCC) An agency of the U.S. Department of Labor charged with administration of Executive Order 11246, issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This agency requires contractors for federal projects to maintain affirmative action in providing equal rights for employees under the provisions of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids discrimination by an employer on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
off-road hauler A heavy-duty rear dump truck or bottom dump wagon capable of routinely hauling over rough haul roads.
offset (1) In surveying, a line or point placed at a given distance from a control line or point used to reestablish the original location. (2) In plumbing, an assembly of fittings on a pipeline that takes one section of pipe out of line but parallel to a second section. (3) Any bend in a pipe.
OGC The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services. See
oil varnish A high-gloss varnish which contains a blend of drying oil and gum or resin, principally used for interior finishes.
old English bond A brick pattern of alternating courses of headers and stretchers, with a closer placed at the corners of each header course. See also English bond.
omniclass he OmniClass Construction Classification System is a classification system for the construction industry, developed by the Construction Standards Institute (CSI) and is used as a classification structure for electronic databases. As the basis of its tables, OmniClass incorporates other existing systems currently in use, including MasterFormat™ for work results, UniFormat for elements, and EPIC (Electronic Product Information Cooperation) for structuring products.
OmniClass™ OmniClass is a multi-table faceted classification system designed for use by the capital facilities industry. OmniClass has been developed by the OCCS Development Committee, an all-volunteer group of individuals and
representatives of organizations assembled for this purpose. The Committee’s work on OmniClass is administered by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC). The OmniClass tables and introduction can be downloaded from
one-hour rating A measure of fire resistance, indicating that an object can be exposed to flame for an hour without losing structural integrity or transmitting excessive heat.
one-pipe system (1) In drainage systems, two vertical pipes, with waste and soil water flowing down the same pipe, and all the branches connected to the same anti-siphon pipe. (2) A heating circuit in which all the flow and return connections to the radiators come from the same pipe. The radiator at the far end is therefore much cooler than the radiator which is nearest the heat source.
on-off sprinkler A fire safety system sprinkler that activates like a traditional sprinkler but ceases operation when room temperature reaches a safe level. On/off sprinklers can reduce the amount of water discharged during a fire, thus reducing cleanup and water damage.
open assembly time The time required between the application of glue to veneer or to joints and the assembly of the pieces.
open bid An offer to perform a contract in which the bidder reserves the right to reduce his bid to compete with a lower bid.
open bidding A bidding procedure wherein bids or tenders are submitted by and received from all interested contractors, rather than from a select list of bidders privately invited to compete.
open defect Any hole or gap in lumber, veneer, or plywood that has not been filled and repaired.
Open hole inspection When an engineer (or municipal inspector) inspects the open excavation and examines the earth to determine the type of foundation (caisson, footer, wall on ground, etc.) that should be installed in the hole.
Open Plan Offices Office spaces divided by movable partitions. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
open plumbing Plumbing that is exposed to view beneath its fixtures, with ventilated drains and traps readily accessible for inspection and repairs.
open-end mortgage A mortgage arrangement wherein the mortgagor may borrow additional sums for the repair and upkeep of property after the original loan is granted. The mortgages are paid over an extended period.
opening of bids See bid opening.
operable transom A glass light or panel that is installed above a door and may be opened or shut for ventilation.
operable window A window that may be opened and shut to accommodate ventilation needs, as opposed to a fixed light or fixed sash.
operating engineer The worker or technician who operates heavy machinery and construction equipment.
Operations All activities associated with the routine, day to day use, support and maintenance of a building or physical
asset; inclusive of administration, management fees, normal/routine maintenance, custodial services and
cleaning, fire protection services, pest control, snow removal, grounds care, landscaping, environmental
operations and record keeping, trash-recycle removal, security services, service contracts, utility charges
(electric, gas/oil, water), insurance (fire, liability, operating equipment) and taxes. It does not include capital
improvements. This category may include expenditures for service contracts and other third-party costs.
Operational activities may involve some routine maintenance and minor repair work that are incidental to
operations but they do not include any significant amount of maintenance or repair work that would be included
as a separate budget item.
optimum start program A building automation system that delays the startup of a heating or cooling system until the last possible moment while still maintaining building comfort levels during occupancy.
Optional Data Additional data (besides required data) in a facilities inventory system that increases the overall value of the database to the institution and enhances reporting and organizing data, both internally (intra-institutional) and externally (interinstitutional). See section 5.2, Required Data Elements.
Oregon pine (Douglas fir) Needled evergreen producing medium-hard, close-grained wood commonly used for frames, trim, and paneling.
Oregon spruce (Sitka spruce) Needled evergreen producing soft, close-grained wood commonly used for frames and trim.
Oregon white cedar (Port Orford cedar) Needled evergreen producing soft, close-grained wood commonly used for interior and exterior trim and paneling.
Oregon white pine (ponderosa pine) Needled evergreen producing soft, close-grained wood used for frames, trim, paneling, and cabinetry.
Organizational Unit The basic component of the organizational structure of a postsecondary institution. Usually referred to as a department, but including both academic units (e.g., English Department, Physics Department, School of Law, etc.) and administrative units (e.g., Office of the President, Registrar, Physical Plant, etc.).
oriel In architecture, a projecting bay, frequently outfitted with one or more windows, that is corbeled out from the wall of a structure or supported by brackets and which serves both to expand interior space and to enhance the appearance of the building.
Original Building Cost The total original project cost of a facility, in actual dollars, to an institution.
orthographic projection A method of representing the exact shape of an object by dropping perpendiculars from two or more sides of the object to planes, generally at right angles to each other. Collectively, the views on these planes describe the object completely. The term orthogonal is sometimes used for this system of drawing.
orthography The drafting procedure in which elevations or sections of buildings are geometrically represented.
OSHA O ccupational Health and Safety Administration
Output Specification Total area of a building between internal faces of external or atrium walls excluding core areas.
Outrigger An extension of a rafter beyond the wall line. Usually a smaller member nailed to a larger rafter to form a cornice or roof overhang.
outside caliper A measuring instrument set on adjustable legs and used especially to measure the outside circumference and diameter of round or cylindrical objects and structures.
outside foundation line A line that indicates where the outer side of a foundation wall is located.
Outsourcing The procurement of services from external providers, normally covering both the service (or services) and management function.
overcurrent protection Safety provisions within an electrical system, such as would be furnished by ground fault circuit interrupters, that guard against damage and injury resulting from excessive current by shutting off the flow of current when it reaches a certain level.
overflow (overflow pipe) (1) A pipe installed to prevent flooding in storage tanks, fixtures, and plumbing fittings, or to remove excess water from buildings and systems. (2) An outlet fitted to a storage tank to set the proper level of liquid and to prevent flooding.
Overhang Outward projecting eave
overhead (indirect expense, overhead expense) The costs to conduct business other than direct job costs; included in bidder’s markup.
overrun (1) The amount the cost of an item increases beyond the estimated cost. (2) The amount a quantity increases over the estimated quantity.
owner-architect agreement Contract between owner and architect for professional design services.
owner’s liability insurance Insurance procured to protect the owner against claims originating from the work performed by the contractor.
owner’s representative The designated official representative of the owner (may be an architect, engineer, or contractor) to oversee a project.
p part, per, pint, pipe, pitch, pole, post, port, power
P phosphorus, pressure, pole, page
P.E. professional engineer
P100 P ublic Buildings Service PBS 100
PA particular average, power amplifier, preliminary assessment, professional association, purchasing agent
packaged boiler A factory-assembled water or steam heating unit ready for installation. All components, including the boiler, burner, controls, and auxiliary equipment, are shipped as a unit.
packer A device inserted into a hole in which grout is to be injected, which acts to prevent return of the grout around the injection pipe. A packer is usually an expandable device actuated mechanically, hydraulically, or pneumatically.
pad foundation A thick slab-type foundation used to support a structure or a piece of equipment.
Paint A combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or latex water based.
painter A tradesperson experienced and trained in painting.
PAL Privatized Army Lodging
Pallets Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around.
pan (1) A prefabricated form unit used in concrete joist floor construction. (2) A container that receives particles passing the finest sieve during mechanical analysis of granular materials. (3) A structural panel.
pan form stair A metal stair assembly with metal sheet pans at the treads to hold precast or cast-in-place masonry or stone treads.
pan fraction (1) The reported results of mechanical analysis of granular materials. (2) The weight of the material retained on any one sieve divided by the initial weight of the sample.
panel heating A method of heating a space using floor, wall, or roof panels in which are embedded electric elements or pipes for hot water, steam, or hot air.
panic hardware A door-locking assembly that can be released quickly by pressure on a horizontal bar. Panic hardware is required by building codes on certain exits.
paper hanger A tradesperson experienced and trained in preparing surfaces for and hanging wall coverings.
paraline drawings Projected pictorial drawings of an object or building that give a three-dimensional quality. Oblique, dimetric, isometric, and trimetric are examples of paraline drawings.
parallel chord truss An engineered structural component, composed of a combination of members, with its top and bottom members positioned flat and parallel to each other.
parameter estimate A cost estimate based on an evaluation of the building’s systems.
parametric Objects that reflect real-world behaviors and attributes. A parametric model is aware of the characteristics of components and the interactions between them. It maintains consistent relationships between elements as the model is manipulated. For example, in a parametric building model, if the pitch of the roof is changed, the walls automatically follow the revised roofline.
Parapet A wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off.
parcel A contiguous land area, subject to single ownership and legally recorded as a single unit.
Parent Institution The administrative unit or institution in a multi-institutional system through which all the system’s institutions, branches, and programs are linked. This institution generally reports data for another institution known as the child institution.
parge To coat with plaster, particularly foundation walls and rough masonry.
pargetting (1) Lining of a flue to aid in smooth flow and increase fire resistance. (2) Application of a dampproofing masonry cement. (3) Ornamental, often elaborate, facing for plaster walls.
Parking Structures See discussion of options in Parking Structures in section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
parquet flooring A floor covering composed of small pieces of wood, usually forming a geometric design.
partially air-dried (PAD) Wood seasoned to some extent by exposure to the atmosphere without artificial heat, but still considered green or unseasoned.
particle size (1) Minimum particle diameter that will be removed by an air filter. (2) Diameter of a pigment particle in paint. (3) Diameter of a grain of sand in a mechanical analysis test.
particle size distribution A tabulation of the result of mechanical analysis expressed as the percentage by weight passing through each of a series of sieves.
Parting stop or strip A small wood piece used in the side and head jambs of double hung windows to separate the upper sash from the lower sash.
Partition A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.
passive design An approach to design that minimizes energy consumed by burning fuel or using power. See also sustainable design.
passive solar energy system A solar energy system that collects and distributes thermal energy through a structure via natural means, without using pumps or fans.
pass-through An opening in a partition for passing objects between adjacent areas.
patch gun (1) A hand tool that “shoots” a premixed material for patching and repairing exterior finishes like stucco. (2) A hand tool used to apply joint compound to drywall.
patent knotting A solution of shellac and benzine or similar solvent used to seal knots in wood.
patina Color and texture added to a surface as a result of oxidation or use, such as the green coating on copper or its alloys.
pattern (1) A plan or model to be a guide in making objects. (2) A form used to shape the interior of a mold.
pattern cracking Fine openings on concrete surfaces in the form of a pattern, resulting from a decrease in volume of the material near the surface and/or an increase in volume of the material below the surface.
pavement, concrete A layer of concrete over roads, sidewalks, canals, playgrounds, and those areas used for storage or parking. See also rigid pavement.
payment bond A form of security purchased by the contractor from a surety, which is provided to guarantee that the contractor will pay all costs of labor, materials, and other services related to the project for which he is responsible under the contract for construction. See also labor and material payment bond.
PBAX Telephone exchange
PBT Persistent bio-accumulative toxin
PCB Polychlorinated Biphenyls
PCC Point of common coupling
PCE pyrometric cone equivalent
PCI P recast Concrete Institute
PDI P lumbing and Drainage Institute
PDU Power distribution unit
PE professional engineer, probable error, plain end, polyethylene
peen-coated nail A mechanically galvanized nail coated by tumbling in a container with zinc dust and glass balls.
penal bond A combined performance, and labor and material payment bond.
Penalty clause A provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a contract to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or for failure of the project to meet contract specifications.
pendant (1) An electric device suspended from overhead. (2) A suspended ornament in Gothic architecture, used in vaults and timber roofs.
pendent sprinkler A fire safety system sprinkler with a head that features a deflector plate that directs discharged water downward.
penetration macadam Pavement made from layers of coarse, open-graded aggregate (crushed stone, slag, or gravel) followed by the spray application and penetration of emulsified asphalt.
penetration test A test to estimate the bearing capacity of soil by recording the number of blows required to drive a standard tool into soil.
pentstructure A structure on the roof of a building, usually less than one-half the projected area of the roof, and housing mechanical and electrical equipment or residents.
PER Project estimating requirements
percentage agreement A contractual agreement for which compensation will be based on a certain percentage of the total cost of construction.
percentage fee A fee paid to the contractor or the architect that is a percentage of the total construction cost. See also fee and compensation.
percolation test A test to estimate the rate at which a soil will absorb waste fluids, performed by measuring the rate (percolation rate) at which the water level drops in a hole full of water.
Percolation test or perc. test Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system.
performance bond (1) A guarantee that a contractor will perform a job according to the terms of the contract, or the bond will be forfeited. (2) A bond procured by the contractor which shows that a surety guarantees (to the owner) that the work will be performed in accordance with the contract documents. Unless prohibited by statute, the performance bond can be combined with the labor and material payment bond. See also surety bond.   An amount of money (usually 10% of the total price of a job)  that a contractor must put on deposit with a governmental agency as an insurance policy that guarantees the contractors’ proper and timely completion of a project or job.
performance specification A description of the desired results or performance of a product, material, assembly, or piece of equipment with criteria for verifying compliance.
perimeter heating system A system of warm-air heating in which outlets for air ducts are located near the outside walls of rooms and are close to the floor. The returns are near the ceiling.
perimeter installation A method of floor installation where adhesive is only used along the outside edges and seams of the flooring material, allowing for faster installations and easier repairs
perlite A volcanic glass having a perlitic structure, usually having a higher water content than obsidian when expanded by heating. Perlite is used as a lightweight aggregate in concretes, mortars, and plasters.  This is an aggregate made of metal used for increase shrink resistance.
perlite composite board A rigid insulation board formed of expanded perlite, fibers, and a sizing material. Often recommended as a product for sustainable design because it is commonly manufactured with post-consumer paper.
Permeability A measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material.
Permit A governmental municipal authorization to perform a building process as in:
personal property Generally, all property that is not real property. Tangible goods, such as furniture, cars, books, and equipment, and intangible goods, such as money, notes, bonds, and stocks.
perspective (1) The technique of preparing a perspective drawing. (2) The appearance of objects in depth.
petrography The branch of petrology dealing with description and systematic classification of rocks, aside from their geologic relations, mainly by laboratory methods, largely chemical and microscopical. Also, loosely referred to as petrology or lithology.
PF Power factor
p-grade Molding stock intended to be covered with opaque finishes or overlays. P-grade stock can be finger-jointed and/or edge-glued.
phase converter An electrical device that converts single-phase power to the smooth, continuous and universally adaptable three-phase power.
phi factor Capacity reduction factor in structural design. The factor is expressed as a number less than 1.0 (usually 0.65-0.90) by which the strength of a structural member or element, in terms of load, moment, shear, or stress, is required to be multiplied in order to determine design strength or capacity. The magnitude of the factor is stipulated in applicable codes and construction specifications for respective types of members and cross sections.
Philadelphia leveling rod A leveling rod in two sliding parts with color-coded graduations. The rod can be used as a self-reading leveling rod.
pickup (1) The amount by which an estimate for an item is higher than the actual cost; savings; underrun. (2) Unwanted adherence of solids to the open surface of a sealant. (3) Common term for a small open-body truck with a 1/2 ton to 1 ton capacity.
piece mark A mark given to one or more pieces in an assembly designating a location in the assembly, as shown on shop drawings.
pier (1) A short column to support a concentrated load. (2) Isolated foundation member of plain or reinforced concrete.
pigeonhole A small compartment for holding papers or small objects, usually one of an adjoining series.
Pigment A powdered solid used in paint or enamel to give it a color.
pile core The mandrel used to drive the shell of a cast-in-place concrete pile.
pile foundation The system of piles, and pile caps, that transfers structural loads to bearing soils or bedrock.
piling pipe A pipe used as the shell or a section of shell for a cast-in-place concrete pile.
pilot boring A preliminary boring or series of borings to determine the nature of the soil in which a foundation will be dug or a tunnel driven.
pin connection In structural analysis, any member connection to a foundation. Designed to transfer axial and shear forces, but not moments.
pincers A joined tool with a pair of jaws and handles used to grip an object.
pinch bar A steel bar with a chisel point at one end used as a lever for lifting or moving heavy objects.
pipe bracket A shaped metal assembly used to support a pipe from a wall or floor.
pipe expansion joint An assembly, other than a fabricated U-bend, designed to compensate for pipe contraction or expansion.
pipe hanger A device or an assembly to support pipes from a slab, beam or other structural element.
pipe saddle An assembly to support a pipe from the underside.
pipe stock An assembly to hold a pipe die.
pipelayer (1) A tradesperson skilled and trained in laying and joining pipes of glazed clay, concrete, iron, or steel in a trench. (2) An attachment for a tractor or other machine consisting of a winch and side boom for placing lengths of pipe in a trench.
piping (1) An assembly of lengths of pipe and fittings, i.e., a run of pipe. (2) Movement of soil particles by percolating water that produces erosion channels.
plan A two-dimensional overview of the design, location, and dimensions of a project (or a portion of a project). See also drawings.
plan deposit See deposit for bidding documents.
plan room A service provided by construction industry organizations or service companies, sometimes available to interested constructors, material men, vendors, and manufacturers. Plan rooms provide access to contract documents for projects currently in the process of receiving competitive or negotiated bids.
plan view A drawing that depicts an object, assembly, or floor plan from above.
planimeter A mechanical device that measures plane areas on a map or drawing.
Planned or Programmed Maintenance Includes those maintenance tasks whose cycle exceeds one year. Examples of planned or programmed
maintenance are painting, flood coating of roofs, overlays and seal coating of roads and parking lots, pigging of
constricted utility lines and similar functions.
Planned Preventative Maintenance A maintenance regime that operates on the basis of scheduled works that are planned for each asset set within a building. Service frequencies are determined by either one or more of the following; experience, statutory compliance, manufacturers recommendations and predictive modelling. For an alternative see Condition Based Maintenance.
planning grid A graph-like paper with the lines at right angles or other selected angles to each other, used by architects or engineers in modular planning.
plant mix (1) A mixture of aggregate and asphalt cement or liquid asphalt, prepared in a central or traveling mechanical mixer. (2) Any mixture produced at a mixing plant.
planting In masonry, laying the first courses of a foundation on a prepared bed.
plaster bond The mechanical or chemical adhesion of plaster to a surface.
plasticizers for admixtures Chemical compounds added to concrete, mortar, stucco, etc. to increase workability.
plate (1) In formwork for concrete, a flat, horizontal member at the top and/or bottom of studs or posts. If on the ground, a plate is called a mudsill. (2) In structural design, a member, the depth of which is substantially smaller than its length and width. (3) A flat rolled iron or steel product. See also flat plate, load-transfer assembly.
plate anchor An anchor bolt used to fasten a plate or sill to a foundation.
plate vibrator A self-propelled, mechanical vibrator used to compact fill.
Plenum A duct created to direct the flow of air either into or out of a building. Plenums are generally made of sheet metal but may be constructed of any material and be of any shape. They may also be insulated and have devices in them to regulate their flow of air.
plen-wood system A system for distributing air for heating and cooling using the entire underfloor area of a building as a plenum chamber. The system eliminates the need for ductwork in some structures. Proponents of the system cite savings in both construction costs and in the costs of heating and cooling.
plmb, plb, PLMB plumbing
plug-in A temporary figure in an estimate price-out sheet to be used until a more dependable one is obtained.
Plumb Exactly vertical and perpendicular.
Plumb bob A lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb.
plumbing (1) The work or practice of installing in buildings the pipes, fixtures and other apparatus required to bring in the water supplies and to remove water-borne wastes. (2) The process of setting a structure or object truly vertical.
Plumbing boots Metal saddles used to strengthen a bearing wall/vertical stud(s) where a plumbing drain line has been cut through and installed.
plumbing fixture A receptacle in a plumbing system, other than a trap, in which water or wastes are collected or retained for use and ultimately discharged to drainage.
Plumbing ground The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.
Plumbing permit A separate permit required for new plumbing and larger modifications of existing plumbing systems.
Plumbing stack A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
plumbing system Arrangements of pipes, fixtures, fittings, valves, and traps, in a building which supply water and remove liquid-borne wastes, including storm water.
Plumbing trim- Work performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection. Includes installing all toilets (water closets), hot water heaters, sinks, connecting all gas pipe to appliances, disposal, dishwasher, and all plumbing items.
Plumbing waste line Plastic pipe used to collect and drain sewage waste.
plunger (plumber’s friend) A tool, consisting of a large rubber suction cup on a wood handle, for clearing plumbing traps of minor obstructions.
PM10 Particulate Matter 10
PMFC Concession Management
PN Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
POCP Photochemical Smog Potential
point count Method for determination of the volumetric composition of a solid by observation of the frequency with which areas of each component coincide with a regular system of points in one or more planes intersecting a sample of the solid.
Point load A point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) A group of hydrocarbon-containing chlorine compounds that, before being banned as pollutants, were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications, including electrical and hydraulic equipment, sealants, rubber, paints, and plastics. PCBs are not readily biodegradable, and the United States stopped producing them in 1977.
polymeric liner A synthetic liner used to contain liquids inside a surface berm or an excavated area.
polystyrene foam A low cost, foamed plastic weighing about 1 lb. per cu. ft., with good insulating properties and resistance to grease.
pop valve A safety valve made to open immediately when the fluid pressure is greater than the design force of a spring.
portal, e-portal A web-based ‘door’ to a wide range of information or services with a common theme.
Portland cement Cement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized powder state.
Portland cement adhesives Portland Cement: a cementitious binder used in structural concrete
Postsecondary Education The provision of a formal instructional program whose curriculum is designed primarily for students who are beyond the compulsory age for high school. This includes programs whose purpose is academic, vocational, and continuing professional education, and excludes avocational and adult basic education programs.
Postsecondary Education Institution An institution that has the provision of postsecondary education as its sole purpose or one of its primary missions.
powder molding A method of manufacturing objects by melting polyethylene powder in a mold.
power The rate of performing work or the rate of transforming, transferring, or consuming energy. Power is usually measured in watts, Btu/hour, or horsepower.
power transformer A device in an alternating-current electrical system that transfers electric energy between circuits, usually changing the voltage in the process.
Power vent A vent that includes a fan to speed up air flow.  Often installed on roofs.
precast catchbasins A reservoir, especially for catching and retaining surface drainage over a large area, that has been cast and cured in other than its final position.
precast concrete beams, Precast beam: a concrete horizontal structural member, cast in cured in a location other than the construction site.
precooling coil In an HVAC system, a cooling coil located at the air-entering side of the primary cooling coil.
Predictive Maintenance/Testing/Inspection Routine maintenance, testing, or inspection performed to anticipate failure using specific methods and
equipment, such as vibration analysis, thermographs, x-ray or acoustic systems to aid in determining future
maintenance needs. For example, tests to locate thinning piping, fractures or excessive vibration that are
indicative of maintenance requirements.
prefabricate To fabricate units or components at a mill or plant for assembly at another location.
prefabricated masonry panel A wall panel of masonry units constructed at an assembly site and moved to a job site for erection.
prefabricated tie A manufactured assembly consisting of two heavy parallel wires tied together by welded wires. The tie is laid in masonry joints to tie two wythes together.
prefabricated wall See demountable partition.
preliminary assessment The first phase in an environmental remediation operation, in which it is determined whether there is a reasonable probability that a hazardous waste exists at a site.
preliminary estimate A rough estimate made in an early stage of the design work, prior to receipt of firm bids. See also statement of probable construction cost.
Premium Amount payable on a loan.
prequalification of bidders The investigation and subsequent approval of prospective bidders’ qualifications, experience, availability, and capability regarding a project.
present value method A means of evaluating capital expenditures by converting projections of cash inflows and outflows over time to their present value, using an estimated discounting rate.
preservation The act of applying measures necessary to sustain the integrity and materials of a historic property. Preservation work, including the preliminary measures to protect and stabilize the property, generally focuses on ongoing maintenance and repair of historic materials and features, rather than extensive replacement and new construction. New exterior additions are not within the scope of this treatment. However, limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems (and other code-required work to make a property functional) is appropriate. Preservation may include use of various techniques and scientific procedures to protect old building materials from the harmful effects of natural elements (e.g., light, heat, moisture) and from exposure to people through building use.
preservationist A term applied to one who objects to the use of natural resources because of a belief that such use will destroy basic values of the resource. The term is often used to refer to a member of various groups opposed to the expansion of industrial/commercial uses of public lands.
Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release any high steam pressure in the tank to prevent tank explosions.
prestress (1) To place a hardened concrete member or an assembly of units in a state of compression prior to application of service loads. (2) The stress developed by prestressing, such as by pretensioning or posttensioning. See also prestressed concrete, prestressing steel, pretensioning, and posttensioning.
prestressed concrete beams, Prestressed concrete: concrete that has reinfordcing pre-tension prior to placement.
prevailing wage Wage set by Federal and State governments for construction work based upon wages paid for similar work in the same local area.
Preventive Maintenance A planned, controlled program of periodic inspection, adjustment, cleaning, lubrication and/or selective parts
replacement of components, and minor repair, as well as performance testing and analysis intended to
maximize the reliability, performance, and lifecycle of building systems, equipment, etc. Preventive
maintenance consists of many check point activities on items, that if disabled, may interfere with an essential
installation operation, endanger life or property, or involve high cost or long lead time for replacement.   An approach to maintaining facilities, infrastructure, and equipment, involving planned inspection, diagnostics, testing and servicing at regular intervals, to prolong the useful life of operating equipment, such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as tasks to preserve the building itself, such as repointing brickwork, caulking windows, and swimming pool whitecoating.
price out (1) The activity of applying dollar values to the items in a takeoff. (2) The final estimate sheet showing all dollar values.
Primary Circulation Defined as the portion of a building that is a public corridor or lobby. Further defined as space required
for access by all occupants on a floor to stairs, elevators, restrooms and building entrances or tenant
space entry points on multi-tenant floors. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
primary light source (1) A source of light in which the light is produced by a transformation of energy. (2) The most obvious source of light when several sources are present.
primary subcontractors Subcontractors who may perform major portions of the work in a construction project, such as installation of plumbing, mechanical, or electrical systems. They may have a contract directly with the owner.
prime bid A bid presented directly to the owner or his agent, rather than a subcontractor’s bid to a general contractor.
Primer- The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats.
principal (1) The principal authority or person responsible for a business such as architecture, engineering, or construction. (2) The capital amount of a loan or other obligation as distinguished from the interest. (3) In professional practice, any person legally responsible for the activities of that practice.
Principal- The original amount of the loan, the capital.
private branch exchange (PBX) A telephone system, located on a customer’s premises, that is owned and operated by the customer rather than a telephone company. A PBX system switches internal calls between the customer’s users on local lines while also making external lines available. Using a PBX can save a customer money because it eliminates the need for direct lines from each user to the telephone company.
Private Office Enclosed office, enclosed floor to ceiling walls. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
private sewer A sewer that is not in the public sewer system and subject only to the provisions of the local code.
Privatization The process of developing facilities, such as student housing, through public/private funding partnerships with private organizations legally separate from an institution’s organization.
probabilistic design Method of design of structures using the principles of statistics (probability) as a basis for evaluation of structural safety.
probable construction cost See statement of probable construction cost.
procure To obtain or receive, such as a construction or material contract.
product standard A published standard that establishes: (1) dimensional requirements for standard sizes and types of various products; (2) technical requirements for the product; and (3) methods of testing, grading, and marking the product. The objective of product standards is to define requirements for specific products in accordance with the principal demands of the trade. Product standards are published by the National Bureau of Standards of the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as by private organizations of manufacturers, distributors, and users.
professional engineer A professionally qualified and duly licensed individual that performs services such as structural, mechanical, electrical, sanitary, and civil engineering.
professional liability insurance Insurance coverage protecting against legal liability for damage claims sustained by others. Damage claims allege negligent acts, errors, or omissions in the performance of professional services. See also negligence.
professional practice The conduct and work of a design professional in which services are rendered within the framework of recognized professional ethics, standards, and applicable legal requirements. See also environmental design.
profit sharing Provisions in special agreements or contracts for construction where the contractor, as an incentive to save money for the owner, is paid, in addition to the final contract sum, some percentage of any net savings he may achieve if he is able to deliver the finished project to the owner’s satisfaction at a total cost below a specified limiting amount.
program A written statement presenting design objectives, constraints, and project criteria, including space requirements and relationships, flexibility and expandability, special equipment, and systems and site requirements.
Programmed Major Maintenance: Includes those maintenance tasks whose cycle exceeds one year.
Examples of programmed major maintenance are painting, roof maintenance, (flood coating), road and parking
lot maintenance (overlays and seal coating), utility system maintenance (pigging of constricted lines) and
similar functions.
Programming Programming is the process of planning and organizing the quantitative physical requirements of resources
needed to accomplish established goals. A program is an organized set of activities directed toward a
common purpose or goal undertaken or proposed in support of an assigned area. A program is characterized
by a strategy for accomplishing a definite objective(s), which identifies the means of accomplishment,
particularly in quantitative terms, with respect to manpower, materials, and facilities requirements. A program
normally includes an element of ongoing activity and is typically comprised of technology-based activities,
projects, and supports an established level of reliability
progress chart (1) A chart that shows various operations in a construction project, such as excavating and foundations, along with planned starting and finish dates in the form of horizontal bars. Progress is indicated by filling in the bars. (2) A similar chart for the design phase of a project. The bars usually identify specific drawings.
progress payment A scheduled partial payment made during the work process to cover costs of work completed or materials delivered to date.
progressive kiln A dry kiln in which green lumber enters one end and is dried progressively as it moves to the other end where it is removed.
project The Project is the total construction described in the Agreement of which the Work performed under the Contract Documents may be the whole or a part and which may include construction by the Owner and by separate contractors.
project cost The total project cost, which includes the cost of construction, professional compensation, land, furnishings and equipment, financing, and other charges.
project designer (1) (designer’s office) The person assigned by the principal-in-charge to be responsible for guiding the overall direction of a project’s design. (2) (consultant’s office) The individual responsible for the design of a specific portion of a project, including mechanical, structural, electrical, civil, sanitary, acoustical, etc. See also project engineer.
project engineer The engineer in the architect’s or consultant’s office, who is responsible for the design and management of the engineering portions of a project.
Project Management he management of a task or group of tasks to a specific timeline, budget to a pre-determined set of outcomes.
project manual The document(s) prepared by the project designer such as bidding requirements, sample forms, conditions of the contract, and specifications.
Project Soft Cost Index The purpose of this performance indicator is to determine the relative percentage of soft costs in a project. A
smaller percentage implies a more efficient use of project funds. The performance indicator can be used to
determine how efficiently project funds are utilized for individual projects or to trend cumulative results and
variances for numerous projects over time. These costs are related to those items in a project that are
necessary to prepare and complete the non-construction needs of the project. Soft costs include such items
as architecture, design, engineering, permits, inspections, consultants, environmental studies and regulatory
demands needing approval before construction begins. Soft costs do not include construction,
telecommunications, furnishings, fixed equipment and expenditures for any other permanent components of
the project.
Project Soft Cost Index = Soft Costs/Adjusted Total Actual Project Cost
(Source: SAM Initiative: APPA 2003)
promissory note A legal instrument, agreement or contract made between a lender and a borrower by which the lender conveys to the borrower a sum or other consideration known as principal for which the borrower promises repayment of the principal plus interest under conditions set forth in the agreement.
property damage insurance Insurance covering legal liability for claims for injury to or destruction of tangible property (including loss of use). See also care, custody, and control.
Property survey A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey.
proportional control In an HVAC system, the controlled device (valve or damper) is positioned proportionally in response to slight changes in the controlled variable (temperature, pressure).
proposal (contractor’s) See bid.
proposal form See bid form.
proprietary specification A specification that describes a product, material, assembly, or piece of equipment by trade name and/or by naming the manufacturer or manufacturers who may produce products acceptable to the owner or design professional.
protected noncombustible construction Noncombustible construction in which bearing walls (or bearing portions of walls), whether interior or exterior, have a minimum fire resistance rating of two hours and are stable under fire conditions. Roofs and floors, and their supports, have minimum fire resistance ratings of one hour. Stairways and other openings through floors are enclosed with partitions having minimum fire resistance ratings of one hour.
protected ordinary construction Construction in which roofs and floors and their supports have a minimum fire resistance rating of one hour, and stairways and other openings through floors are enclosed with partitions that have minimum fire resistance ratings of one hour. Such construction must also meet all the requirements of ordinary construction.
protected wood-frame construction Construction in which roofs and floors and their supports have minimum fire resistance ratings of one hour, and stairways and other openings through floors are enclosed with partitions with minimum fire resistance ratings of one hour. Such construction must also meet all the requirements of wood frame construction.
protective covenant (1) An agreement in writing which restricts the use of real property. (2) A restriction, in the legal document conveying title to real property, that restricts the use of the property.
protocol A procedure or practice established by long or traditional usage and currently accepted by a majority of practitioners in similar professions or trades. Protocol represents the generally accepted method of action or reaction that may be expected to be followed in a transaction.
prototype A working model used to test design concepts, impacts, and ideas quickly prior, to physical implementation. Integral part of a system design process created to reduce risks and costs. Can be developed incrementally so that each prototype is influenced by previous prototypes to resolve deficiencies, refine the design or increase understanding. When a prototype is developed to a level that meets project goals, it is ready for construction.
proximate cause The cause of an injury or of damages which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any legally recognized intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred. Existence of proximate cause involves both (1) causation in fact, i.e., that the wrongdoer actually produced an injury or damages, and (2) a public policy determination that the wrongdoer should be held responsible.
psychrometric Relating to the measurement of atmospheric conditions, particularly regarding the moisture mixed with air.
psychrometric chart A chart that graphically represents the interrelation of air temperature and moisture content. Commonly used by building engineers and designers.
public address system An device include microphones, audio-frequency amplifiers, and loudspeakers used for broadcasting messages, music or other signals.
public housing Low cost housing owned, maintained, and administered by a municipal or other government agency.
public space (1) An area within a building to which the public has free access, such as a foyer or lobby. (2) An area or piece of land legally designated for public use.
public system A water or sewer system owned and operated by a governmental authority or by a utility company that is controlled by a government authority.
public way A street, alley, or other parcel of land open to the outside air and leading to a public street. A public way is deeded or otherwise permanently appropriated for public use. A minimum width is usually specified by code.
pull scraper A hand scraper, consisting of a steel blade at approximately right angles to the handle, that is used to remove old finishes or for smoothing wood.
Punch list A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.
Punch out To inspect and make a discrepancy list.
puncheon (1) Roughly dressed, heavy timber used as flooring, or as a footing for a foundation. (2) Short timbers supporting horizontal members in a cofferdam.
punitive damages (exemplary damages) Damages are awarded by a judge to a plaintiff not merely to compensate the plaintiff for losses incurred, but to punish the defendant for wrongful conduct and to use the plight of the defendant as an example to potential wrongdoers.
PV Photovoltaic system
PWM Pulse width modulation
pyrometric cone A small, slender, three-sided oblique pyramid made of ceramic or refractory material for use in determining the time-temperature effect of heating and in obtaining the pyrometric cone equivalent of refractory material.
pyrometric cone equivalent The number of that cone whose tip would touch the supporting plaque simultaneously with that of a cone of the refractory material being investigated, when tested in accordance with a specified procedure such as ASTM C 24.
q quart
quadripartite An assembly involving four parts; usually describing groined vaulting.
Qualifications Based Selection Total Construction Cost not a factor in the builder’s final selection. The final selection of
the builder is based on either:
o Pure qualifications based selection (qualifications only, no element of price) or
o A combination of qualifications and fees (possibly including general conditions).
Quality Management System, QMS management tool providing active process maps to follow either ISO 9001 or the excellence model and allow manageable growth through continuous improvement.
quantity overrun/underrun The difference between estimated quantities and the actual quantities in the completed work.
Queen Anne arch The arch over a Palladian window with the middle curved over the higher central section, and flat above the lower side openings.
R radius, right, symbol for capacity of a pile
r rain, range, rare, red, river, roentgen, run
R factor or value- A measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. New homewalls are usually insulated with 4″ of batt insulation with an R value of R-13, and a ceiling insulation of R-30.
R&A Repairs and alterations
R&M Restoration and Modernization
Rabbet A rectangular longitudinal groove cut in the corner edge of a board or plank.
radially cut grating Rectangular grating cut into panels shaped as segments of a circle to fit annular or circular openings.
radian The standard metric unit for a plane angle, as compared to customary units of degree(°), minute (‘), and second (“).
radiant energy Energy traveling in electromagnetic waves.
radiation 1. The transmission of energy by means of electromagnetic waves of very long wave length. The energy travels in a straight line at the speed of light and is not affected by the temperature or currents of the air through which it passes. 2. Energy transmitted from a heat source to the air around it. Radiators actually depend more on convection than radiation.
radio frequency interference (RFI) Disturbance of radio frequency bands by other high frequency equipment nearby. Fluorescent lighting creates RFI.
Radon system A ventilation system beneath the floor of a basement and/or structural wood floor and designed to fan exhaust radon gas to the outside of the home
RAF Raised access floor
raft foundation A continuous slab of concrete, usually reinforced. Employed as a foundation laid over soft ground, or where heavy loads must be supported. See also mat foundation.
rafters Beams carrying transverse loads.
raised molding A molding not on the same level or plane as the wood member or assembly to which it is applied.
Rake Slope or slanted.
Rake fascia The vertical face of the sloping end of a roof eave.
Rake siding The practice of installing lap siding diagonally
range (1) A row or course of masonry. (2) A straight line of objects such as columns. (3) The difference between prices, costs, estimates, and bids. (4) The difference between the hot water temperature entering a cooling tower and the cold water leaving a cooling tower.
raze To tear down, demolish, or level to ground.
RC Room criteria
RCRA Project Number
RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA) A site investigation, regulated under RCRA, that is used to determine the nature and extent of contamination at a particular location.
RCRA Facility Investigation/Corrective Measures Study A combined project that includes both the RFI and CMS as a single integrated activity. See Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
RD Requirements development
Reactive Maintenance Unplanned maintenance activities; an inevitable supplement to planned preventative maintenance regimes in the operation of a building.
Ready mixed concrete Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.
real property (real estate) Land and anything growing on the land, or constructed on it, such as buildings, stone walls, fences, driveways, garages, underground swimming pools, trees, shrubs, and gardens. Real property also includes fixtures, or items that are permanently affixed to real property, such as light fixtures, oil burners, fuse boxes, and plumbing. Real property does not include things that are grown on the land for the purpose of being sold, such as crops, or trees from a tree farm. Such products that are to be severed from real property and sold are treated as goods.
reasonable cost A cost that would be incurred by an ordinarily prudent person in the conduct of competitive business.
rebate Discount, deduction, or refund of money.
Recapitalization/Reinvestment Rate A facility, system, or component with existing deficiencies will deteriorate at a faster rate than a component that
is in good condition. The level of annual funding for facility renewal and deferred maintenance expressed as a
percentage of facility replacement values. Altering the recapitalization/reinvestment rate has direct impact
upon the facility condition index (FCI) and associated deferred maintenance levels over time.
receipt of bids The official action of an owner in receiving sealed bids that have been invited or advertised in accordance with the owner’s intention to award a contract for construction.
recharging (1) The replenishment of ground water through direct injection or infiltration from trenches outside the area. (2) The replenishment of electric energy in a storage battery.
reconstruction The process of depicting (by means of new construction) the form, features and detailing of a non-surviving site, landscape, structure or object for the purpose of replicating its appearance at a specific period of time, and in its historic location.
record of decision (ROD) An agreement between the site owner(s) and other responsible parties and the regulators that stipulates the remedial action requirements, schedule, and cost sharing for cleanup.
rectangular survey system A land survey system using longitude and latitude geographical coordinates. Established by the U.S. government, it is also called government survey system.
red pine (Norway pine) Pinus resinosa. This species is found in the Great Lakes states, the northeastern U.S., and eastern Canada. The wood is used for general construction and for remanufacturing into such items as sash, molding, flooring, and crating.
red spruce (eastern spruce) Picea rubens. This species is found in southeastern Canada, the New England states, and along the Appalachian Mountains as far south as North Carolina. In addition to general construction applications, the wood is often used for such products as ladder rails and as a source of pulpwood.
Reducer A fitting with different size openings at either end and used to go from a larger to a smaller pipe.
reduct A small piece of material cut from a larger piece to make the larger piece uniform or symmetrical.
reference standard specification A type of nonproprietary specification that relies on accepted reference standards to describe a product, material, assembly, or piece of equipment to be incorporated into a project.
reference standards Professionally prepared generic specifications and technical data compiled and published by competent organizations generally recognized and accepted by the construction industry. These standards are sometimes used as criteria by which the acceptability and/or performance of a product, material, assembly, or piece of equipment can be judged.
referendum A special election subdivision of municipal law that establishes public approval (e.g., for elected officials to sell general obligation bonds as a means of financing a public project).
reflective insulation A thermal material having one or both faces metallically coated to reflect the radiant energy that strikes its surface.   Sheet material with one or both faces covered with aluminum foil.
reflector A device used to redirect light or sound energy by the process of reflection.
refraction The change in path of a light ray or energy wave as it passes obliquely from one medium to another.
Refrigerant A substance that remains a gas at low temperatures and pressure and can be used to transfer heat. Freon is an example and is used in air conditioning systems.
Register A grill placed over a heating duct or cold air return.
Reglaze To replace a broken window.
rehabilitation (rehab) The process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alternations and additions, while preserving those portions or features which convey what have been determined to be important cultural or architectural values.
relaskop A patented instrument used by foresters to measure tree heights and/or slope gradients by trigonometric means.
related trades The different building trades required to complete a project.
relief map A map showing relief by means of contour lines, shading, tinting, or relief models.
Relief valve A device designed to open if it detects excess temperature or pressure.
remod remodel
remodeling Making alterations to an existing structure such that it will be better suited to current needs. This type of work may involve changing the use of interior space by repositioning walls, replacing bathroom or kitchen fixtures, or other such modifications. Remodeling projects generally incorporate new replacement materials, and are not concerned with maintaining historic authenticity.
renovation Modernizing the elements within a structure to meet current functional and aesthetic requirements. Renovation work may also be considered remodeling or adaptive reuse.
rep, REP repair
Repair(s) Work that is performed to return equipment to service after a failure, or to make its operation more efficient.
The restoration of a facility or component thereof to such condition that it may be effectively utilized for its
designated purposes by overhaul, reprocessing, or replacement of constituent parts or materials that have
deteriorated by action of the elements or usage and have not been corrected through maintenance.
repeatability Variability among replicate test results obtained on the same material within a single laboratory by one operator. Repeatability is a quantity that will be exceeded in only about 5% of the repetitions by the difference, taken in absolute value, of two randomly selected test results obtained in the same laboratory on a given material. In use of the term, all variable factors should be specified.
Replacement Cost The dollar value for replacing an existing facility if it were rebuilt today.
replacement cost coverage Type of insurance that guarantees that the insurance company will pay to replace the damaged property with new property (depreciation will not be deducted).
Replacement of Obsolete Items Refers to work undertaken to bring a component or system into compliance with new codes or safety
regulations or to replace an item that is unacceptable, inefficient, or for which spare parts can no longer be
replacement value The estimated cost to replace an existing building based on current construction costs.
reproducibility Variability among replicate test results obtained on the same material in different laboratories. Variability is a quantity that will be exceeding in only about 5% of the repetitions by the difference, taken in absolute value, of two single test results made on the same material in two different, randomly selected laboratories. In use of the term, all variable factors should be specified. See also repeatability.
Request for Information, RFI A pre-qualification stage that is often issued before a Request for Proposal (RFP) to judge the capabilities of service providers. Will usually include a companies technical knowledge and experience as well as financial and operational information.
Request for Proposal, RFP A RFP is an invitation for suppliers to submit a proposal for the provision of a pre-defined set of service/s. The RFP will outline all the specific information required as part of the process which can include a service delivery model, account management details, full financial breakdown and contract mobilisation strategy.”
request for proposals (RFP) Material provided to potential contractors to communicate government requirements and solicit proposals.
Required Data The minimum data elements necessary to provide unique identification to a given room or space: a unique space or room identifier; the organizational unit to which it is assigned; its assignable or nonassignable square-foot area; and its room or space use category. This is the minimum data needed to establish a facilities inventory system. (See also Optional Data.)
resealing trap A trap connected to a plumbing fixture drainpipe so constructed as to allow the rate of flow to seal the trap without causing self-siphonage.
resident engineer An engineer retained by the owner as a representative on the construction site. Frequently used on governmental projects. See also owner’s inspector and clerk of the works.
resident inspector See owner’s inspector, resident engineer, and project representative.
resin adhesives A nonvolatile solid or semi-solid organic or synthetic material used to bond materials together.
responsibility A bidder’s ability to properly perform the contract work.
responsible bidder See lowest responsible bidder.
responsiveness The bid’s conformance with the solicitation’s salient requirements (price, quantity, quality, performance time).
restitution A court-ordered money award that is intended to restore the parties to their financial position as it existed before the contract was formed.
restoration Returning an existing property to a condition that depicts its form, features and character as they appeared at a particular period of time. Restoration may involve removal of features from other periods in the property’s history and reconstruction of missing features from the targeted period. (Where a building has been changed over time or additional structural elements added, the period chosen for the restoration is usually the one that reflects the highest level of aesthetics or historical significance.) Wherever possible, the materials and methods used to perform the restoration should match those originally used to build the structure. Limited and sensitive upgrading of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems (and other code-required work) is appropriate within a restoration project.
restricted list of bidders See invited bidders.
restrictive covenant An agreement between individuals, incorporated within a deed, which stipulates how land can be used. The constraints may include: the specific use to which property may be put, setback of buildings, size of yards, locations and dimensions of fences, and type of architecture. Racial and religious restrictions on inhabitants are not legally enforceable.
Retaining wall A structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion.
Retentions Amounts withheld from progress billings until final and satisfactory project completion.
reversible lock A lock that can be adapted to fit a door of either hand.
revet To face a foundation or embankment with a layer of stone, concrete, or other suitable material.
RFA RCRA Facility Assessment
RFI radio frequency interference
RFI/CMS RCRA Facility Investigation/Corrective Measures Study. See also RCRA.
RFP request for proposal
RGS Rigid galvanized steel
RH Relative humidity
RHPO Regional Historic Preservation Officer
Ribbon (girt) Normally a 1 X 4 board let into the studs horizontally to support the ceiling or second
Ridge The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.
Ridge board The board placed on the ridge of the roof onto which the upper ends of other rafters are fastened.
Ridge shingles Shingles used to cover the ridge board.
right-to-know A right granted to workers by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), by which they must be informed of the risks and hazards associated with the chemicals and substances that they are required to use in the workplace.
rigid pavement Pavement that will provide high bending resistance and distribute loads to the foundation over a comparatively large area.
Rim joist A joist that runs around the perimeter of the floor joists and home.
Riser Each of the vertical boards closing the spaces between the treads of stairways.
Road base A aggregate mixture of sand and stone.
roadway The area of a highway including the surface over which vehicles travel as well as the land along the edges, such as slopes, ditches, channels, or other gradations necessary to ensure proper drainage and safe use.
ROD Record of decision
ROI Return on Investment.
Roll roofing Asphalt roofing products manufactured in roll form. 36
roll-up door (rolling shutters) A device consisting of horizontal interlocking metal slats that ride along wall guides. When the door is opened the slats coil around a barrel assembly located above the door.
Romex A name brand of nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable that is used for indoor wiring.
roof The outer cover and its supporting structures on the top of a building.
roof deck (1) The foundation or base upon which the entire roofing system is dependent. Types of decks include steel, concrete, cement, and wood. (2) A flat open portion atop a roof, such as a terrace or sundeck.
roof hatch (roof scuttle) A weather-tight assembly with a hinged cover, used to provide access to a roof.
Roof sheathing or sheeting The wood panels or sheet material fastened to the roof rafters or trusses on which the shingle or other roof covering is laid.
roof terminal The top point of the plumbing vent pipe as it exits through the roof, often 12″.
roofing bond A guarantee by a surety company that a roof installed by a roofer in accordance with specifications will be repaired if it fails within a certain period of time. Failure must be due to normal weathering.
Room A covered contiguous area enclosed on all sides by walls, or imaginary boundary lines (referred to as “phantom walls”) where a wall does not exist; it may consist of one or more spaces (see Space). Covered play areas, covered patios, and covered walkways are exceptions to the enclosure criterion.
Room Data Descriptive characteristics of assignable interior spaces of a building, including standard room use categories, institutional organizational units, academic discipline and functional codes, assignable floor areas and, in some instances, numbers of stations. See section 5.2, Required Data Elements, and section 5.3, Optional Data Elements.
room finish schedule Information provided on design drawings specifying types of finishes to be applied to floors, walls, and ceilings for each location.
Room or Space Condition The need for a room to be repaired, upgraded, or renovated based solely on its physical condition; see also Room Suitability.
Room or Space Suitability An evaluation of the functionality of the room for its assigned use and function at the time of the inventory, based on the design, configuration, and fixed equipment in the room.
rough estimate An estimate made without detailed investigation.
Rough opening The horizontal and vertical measurement of a window or door opening before drywall or siding is installed.
Rough sill The framing member at the bottom of a rough opening for a window. It is attached to the cripple studs below the rough opening.
rough-in dimensions In plumbing installations, the distance from the center of a water supply, waste opening or mounting holes to the finished wall or floor.
roughing-in (1) The base coat in three-coat plasterwork. (2) Any unfinished work in a construction job. (3) Installing the concealed portion of electrical or plumbing systems to the point of connection for electrical outlets or appliances, or plumbing fixtures.
Routine Repairs Actions taken to restore a system or piece of equipment to its original capacity, efficiency or capability.
Routine repairs are not intended to increase significantly the capacity of the item involved. For example, the
replacement of a failed boiler with a new unit of similar capacity would be a routine repair project. However, if
the capacity of the new unit were double the capacity of the original unit, the cost of the extra capacity would
have to be capitalized and would not be considered routine repair work.
RPLANS Real Property Planning and Analysis System
RQ-RBA JV RQ Construction and Richard Brady andAssociates, Joint Venture
RRC registered roof consultant
RTS Radiant time series
rubber adhesives A highly resilient material made from rubber trees and similar trees used to bond materials.
rubbing brick A silicon-carbide brick used to smooth and remove irregularities from surfaces of hardened concrete.
rubble concrete (1) Concrete similar to cyclopean concrete, except that small stones, such as one man can handle, are used. (2) Concrete made with rubble from demolished structures. See also cyclopean concrete.
run (1) In plumbing, a pipe or fitting that continues in the same straight line as the direction of flow. (2) In roofing, the horizontal distance between the outer face of the wall and the roof ridge. (3)In stairs, the horizontal distance from the face of the first riser to the face of the last riser. (4) Series of surveyed elevation changes in one direction. (5) To sieve plaster or putty. (6) Window sash.
rupture disk A pressure-activated safety device consisting of a breakable disk that bursts at a predetermined pressure.
S side, south, southern, seamless, subject, sulphur
S corporation A corporation that has elected to be taxed like a partnership, in accordance with the provisions of subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code.
SAA Sound absorption average
sabin A unit of measure used to rate the sound absorption qualities of a material or assembly. Equal to one foot of a perfectly absorptive surface.
saddle scaffold A scaffold erected so as to bridge the ridge of a roof, usually used during chimney repair.
SAE Society of Automotive Engineers
SAF safety
safe working pressure The maximum working pressure at which a vessel, boiler, flask, or cylinder is allowed to operate, as determined by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Boiler Code; usually so identified on each individual unit.
safety belt A belt-like device worn around the waist and attached to a life-line or structure to stop a worker during a fall.
safety can An approved closed container, of not more than five gallons capacity, having a flash-arresting screen, spring-closing lid, and spout cover; so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.
safety curtain See asbestos curtain.
safety factor See factor of safety.
safety fuse A cord containing black powder or other burning medium encased in flexible wrapping and used to convey fire at a predetermined and uniform rate for firing blasting caps.
safety glass See wire glass, tempered glass, and laminated glass.
safety lintel A load-carrying lintel positioned behind a more decorative but somewhat less functional lintel, as in the aperture of a window or door.
safety nosing An abrasive, nonslip stair nosing whose surface is flush with the tread against which it is placed.
safety shoe A workman’s shoe with a steel-protected toe and low-slip sole and heel.
safety shutoff device A device in a gas burner that will shut off the supply of gas if the flame is extinguished.
safety switch In an interior electric wiring system, a switch enclosed within a metal box that has a handle protruding from the box to allow switching to be accomplished from outside the box.
safety tread A tread on a stair which has a roughened surface or roughened inserts to improve traction.
safety valve See pressure-reducing valve.
sandhog A laborer who works under compressed air conditions, as in underwater tunnel construction.
sandpile A foundation formed by ramming sand into a hole left by a pile that was driven and removed.
sanitary code Municipal regulations established to control sanitary conditions of establishments that produce and/or distribute food, serve food, or provide medical services.
sanitary engineering That part of civil engineering related to public health and the environment, such as water supply, sewage, and industrial waste.
Sarnafill A roofing manufacturer known for a product used as a substitute for copper roofing because of its lower cost and green color.
Sash A single light frame containing one or more lights of glass. The frame that holds the glass in a window, often the movable part of the window.
Sash balance A device, usually operated by a spring and designed to hold a single hung window vent up and in place
Saturated felt A felt which is impregnated with tar or asphalt.
saw cut (control joint) A cut made in hardened concrete by diamond or silicone-carbide blades or discs.
sawn veneer Veneer that has been cut from a block with a saw, rather than peeled on a lathe or sliced off by a blade. Sawn veneer is sometimes said to be more solid than sliced or peeled veneer. Because of saw kerf waste, it is more costly to produce.
SBC Standard Building Code
SBTC Sustainable Building Technology Committee
SBU Sensitive but unclassified
SCADA system See supervisory control and data acquisition system.
scaffolding A temporary structure for the support of deck forms, cartways, and/or workers, such as an elevated platform for supporting workers, tools, and materials. Adjustable metal scaffolding is frequently adapted for shoring in concrete work.
SCAQMD South Coast Air Quality Management District
schedule number Schedule numbers are American Standards Association designations for classifying the strength of pipe. Schedule 40 is the most common form of steel pipe used in the mechanical trades.
schedule of values (cost breakdown) A listing of elements, systems, items, or other subdivisions of the work, establishing a value for each, the total of which equals the contract sum. The schedule of values is used for establishing the cash flow of a project.
schematic design phase (schematic drawing) The phase of design services in which the design professional consults with an owner to clarify the project requirements. The design professional prepares schematic design studies with drawings and other documents illustrating the scale and relationship of the project’s components to the owner. A statement of estimated construction cost is often submitted at this phase.
SCIF Sensitive compartmented information facility
Scratch coat The first coat of plaster, which is scratched to form a bond for a second coat.
Screed, concrete To level off concrete to the correct elevation during a concrete pour.
Screed, plaster A small strip of wood, usually the thickness of the plaster coat, used as a guide for plastering.
screen door A lightweight exterior door, with a wood or aluminum frame and small mesh screening in place of panels, which permits ventilation but bars insects.
screw anchor A type of molly whose metal, plastic, or fiber shell is inserted into a hole in masonry, plaster, or concrete, and expanded when the screw is driven in.
Scribing Cutting and fitting woodwork to an irregular surface.
scrub sink A plumbing fixture equipped to enable medical personnel to scrub their hands prior to a surgical procedure. The hot and cold water supply is activated by a knee-action mixing valve or by wrist or foot control.
SCUP The Society for College and University Planning.
Scupper (1) An opening for drainage in a wall, curb or parapet. (2) The drain in a downspout or flat roof, usually connected to the downspout.
SDD Sustainable Design and Development(program
SDI Steel Door Institute
seal A legal term used to describe the signature or other representation of an individual agreeing to the terms and conditons of an agreement or contract.
sealed bid A bid, based on contract documents, that is submitted sealed for opening at a designated time and place.
sealed bidding A basic method of procurement that involves the solicitation of bids and the award of a contract to the responsible bidder submitting the lowest responsive bid. This type of bidding is commonly used on public works projects.
Sealer- A finishing material, either clear or pigmented, that is usually applied directly over raw wood for the purpose of sealing the wood surface.
seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) A measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioning products. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the unit. The government’s established minimum rating for air conditioning is 10.
seasoned (1) Timber that is not green, having a moisture content of 19% or less, and is air- or kiln-dried. (2) Cured or hardened concrete.
Secondary Circulation Defined as the portion of a building or floor required for access to some subdivision of space that is not
defined as primary circulation. Secondary circulation may or may not be surrounded by walls or furniture
panels. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
secondary combustion The burning of combustible gases and smoke which are not burned during primary combustion. Such combustion can be either by design to create added energy or an unintentional, undesirable event.
secondary nuclear vessel Exterior container or safety container in a nuclear reactor subjected to a design load only once in its lifetime, if at all.
second-order techniquews Use first order tools and higher level skills to adapt, modify and improvise to focus on doing-the-right-thing. They are targeted on achieving the end-goal. Google+ and the Onuma System are second-order tools.
sectional valve In a piping system, a control valve that is used to isolate a section for repair or other reason.
select material Excavated pervious soil suitable for use as a foundation for a granular base course of a road, or for bedding around pipes.
selected bidder The bidder selected by the owner to consider the award of a construction contract.
selected list of bidders See invited bidders.
selective bidding A process of competitive bidding for award of the contract for construction whereby the owner selects the constructors who are invited to bid to the exclusion of others, as in the process of open bidding.
semi-engineering brick Brick whose crushing strength is somewhere between that of building brick and engineering brick.
semi-gloss (1) The degree of surface reflectance midway between glass and eggshell. (2) Paints and coatings displaying these properties.
Septic permit A health department authorization to build or modify a septic system.
SERI Solar Energy Research Institute
series circuit A circuit supplying electrical energy to a number of devices connected so that the same current passes through each device.
serpentine Rock largely composed of hydrous magnesium silicate and commonly occurring in greenish shades. It forms the main constituent in some marbles.
Service equipment Main control gear at the service entrance, such as circuit breakers, switches, and fuses.
Service lateral Underground power supply line.
service live load The live load specified by the general building code or bridge specification, or the actual nonpermanent load applied in service.
SETAC Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
setback The minimum distance required by code or ordinance between a building and a property line or other reference.
Setback Thermostat A thermostat with a clock which can be programmed to come on or go off at various temperatures and at different times of the day/week. Usually used as the heating or cooling system thermostat.
settlement (1) Sinking of solid particles in grout, mortar, or fresh concrete, after placement and before initial set. See also bleeding. (2) An agreement by which the parties consent to settle a dispute between them. (3) The total amount of money that both the insurance company and the policyholder agree on to close the claim.
Sewage ejector A pump used to ‘lift’ waste water to a gravity sanitary sewer line. Usually used in basements and other locations which are situated bellow the level of the side sewer.
Sewer lateral The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from the structure to the sewer line. It is usually ‘owned’ by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called side sewer.
sewer plank Timbers, mostly in the sizes of 3″ x 8″ and 3″ x 10″, 18′ and 20′ lengths, that are used to repair or construct drainageways, especially in older cities.
Sewer stub The junction at the municipal sewer system where the home’s sewer line is connected.
Sewer tap The physical connection point where the home’s sewer line connects to the main municipal sewer line.
SFI Sustainable Forestry Initiative
SFO Solicitation for offers
SFPE Society of Fire Protection Engineers
s-green A description of lumber surfaced while at a moisture content of more than 19%.
shaft (1) That portion of a column between the base and the capital. (2) An elevator well. (3) A pit dug from the ground surface to a tunnel to furnish access and ventilation. (4) Any enclosed vertical space in a building used for utilities or ventilation. (5) Any cylindrical rod connecting moving parts in a machine.
sharp pencil A great effort to prepare a competitive bid through accuracy in estimating.
Shear block Plywood that is face nailed to short (2 X 4’s or 2 X 6’s) wall studs (above a door or window, for example). This is done to prevent the wall from sliding and collapsing.
Sheathing, sheeting The structural wood panel covering, usually OSB or plywood, used over studs, floor joists or rafters/trusses of a structure.
sheave (1) The grooved wheel of a pulley or block. (2) The entire assembly over which a rope or cable is passed, including not only the pulley wheel but also its shaft bearings and side plates.
Shed roof A roof containing only one sloping plane.
SHEEO State Higher Education Executive Officers.
sheet lath Heavier and stiffer than expanded-metal lath, it is fabricated by punching geometrical perforations in copper alloy steel sheet.
Sheet metal duct work The heating system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes and sheet metal (for Return Air) and installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms.
Sheet metal work All components employing sheet metal, such as flashing, gutters, and downspouts.
sheet notch A channel formed along a foundation’s outside edge to lend support and closure to wall sheathing.
shell (1) Structural framework. (2) In stressed-skin construction, the outer skin applied over the frame members. (3) Any hollow construction when accomplished with a very thin curved plate or slab. (4) The outer portion of a hollow masonry unit when laid.
shell aggregate A type of aggregate made up of fine sands and the shells of mollusks, such as clams, oysters, and scallops.
shell bracket Any structural member secured to a wall or upright, from which it also projects to support a shelf.
shell construction (1) A type of reinforced concrete construction in which thin curved slabs are primary elements. (2) Construction in which a curved exterior surface has been obtained by using shaped steel and hardboard or curved plywood panels.
shell pile A load-supporting structural element that consists of a steel shell embedded in the ground and filled with concrete.
shellac A transparent coating produced by dissolving lac, a resinous secretion of the lac bug, in denatured alcohol.
shelling See checking.
shelly structure See perlitic structure.
Shim A small piece of scrap lumber or shingle, usually wedge shaped, which when forced behind a furring strip or framing member forces it into position. Also used when installing doors and placed between the door jamb legs and 2 X 4 door trimmers. Metal shims are wafer  1 1/2″ X 2″ sheet metal of various thickness’ used to fill gaps in wood framing members, especially at bearing point locations.
shipping position A seller’s estimate of the time required after an order is placed until it can be shipped.
short ton A unit of measurement of weight in the English system equal to 2,000 pounds.
SHSS site health and safety supervisor
Side sewer The portion of the sanitary sewer which connects the interior waste water lines to the main sewer lines. The side sewer is usually buried in several feet of soil and runs from the structure to the sewer line. It is usually ‘owned’ by the sewer utility, must be maintained by the owner and may only be serviced by utility approved contractors. Sometimes called sewer lateral.
Siding, (lap siding) Slightly wedge-shaped boards used as horizontal siding in a lapped pattern over the exterior sheathing. Varies in butt thickness from ½ to ¾ inch and in widths up to 12″.
sieve A metallic plate or sheet, a woven wire cloth, or other similar device, with regularly spaced apertures of uniform size, mounted in a suitable frame or holder, for use in separating material according to size. In mechanical analysis, an apparatus with square openings is a sieve; one with circular apertures is a screen.
sieve analysis The determination of the proportions of particles within certain size ranges in a granular material by separation on sieves of different size openings. See also grading.
sieve number A number used to designate the size of a sieve, usually the approximate number of openings per inch. The number is applied to sieves with openings smaller than 1/4″ (6.3mm).
sieve size The nominal size of openings, usually between cross wires of a testing sieve.
silicon carbide An artificial product (SiC), granules of which may be embedded in concrete surfaces to increase resistance to wear or as a means of reducing skidding or slipping on stair treads or pavement. Silicon carbide is also used as an abrasive in saws and drills for cutting concrete and masonry.
silicone adhesives A polymeric substance containing silcon and oxygen atoms used to bond materials together.
silicone-carbide paper A tough, black, water-resistant sandpaper used in wet sanding and finishing.
sill (1) The horizontal member of the bottom of a window or exterior door frame. (2) As applied to general construction, the lowest member of the frame of the structure, resting on the foundation and supporting the frame. See also mudsill.
sill anchor An anchor bolt used to fasten a sill to its foundation.
Sill cock An exterior water faucet (hose bib).
Sill plate A horizontal member anchored to a concrete or masonry wall.
Sill plate (mudsill) Bottom horizontal member of an exterior wall frame which rests on top a foundation, sometimes called mudsill. Also sole plate, bottom member of an interior wall frame.
Sill seal Fiberglass or foam insulation installed between the foundation wall and sill (wood) plate. Designed to seal any cracks or gaps.
silo (1) A tower-like structure, usually cylindrical, used to store items such as grain, coal, or minerals. (2) A structure built in the ground to structure a military missile.
single Flemish bond A bond in a brick wall using Flemish bond for the facework and English bond for the body.
Single hung window A window with one vertically sliding sash or window vent.
Single Institution A postsecondary institution that operates independently from other institutions. The institution may offer instruction at more than one geographic site, but all administration and governance and recordkeeping are at one site.
single-stage absorption In an HVAC system, absorption chillers with one generator to evaporate refrigerant (water) from the solution.
SIR Savings to investment ratio
site The location of the project geographically, usually defined by legal boundaries.
site safety officer The person responsible for establishing the appropriate health and safety equipment to be used by workers at a hazardous waste site.
sized green Surfaced or sawn to a specific size while still green and subject to further shrinkage. The National Grading Rule for dimension lumber sets slightly larger sizes for green lumber than for dry to reflect shrinkage.
Skylight A more or less horizontal window located on the roof of a building.
Slab on grade A type of foundation with a concrete floor which is placed directly on the soil. The edge of the slab is usually thicker and acts as the footing for the walls.
slack The amount allowed for contingency in an estimate. See also loose estimate..
slack-rope switch A safety device that shuts off electric power to the drive of an elevator if the supporting cables become slack.
slave A mechanism under the control of a similar mechanism. A point that responds to a trigger. In fire safety systems, for example, if a fire alarm causes a siren to go off, the siren is the slave.
SLC Signaling line circuits
SMACNA Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning
snow load The live load allowed by local code, used to design roofs in areas subject to snowfall.
SO2 Sulfur Dioxide Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act
Soffit The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls. Usually the underside of an overhanging cornice.
soil mechanics The application of the laws and principles of mechanics and hydraulics to engineering problems dealing with soil as a building material.
Soil pipe A large pipe that carries liquid and solid wastes to a sewer or septic tank.
Soil stack A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof.
soil-cement Soil, Portland cement, and water mixed and compacted in place to make a hard surface for sidewalks, pool linings, and reservoirs, or for a base course for roads.
solar collector Any device intended to collect solar radiation and convert it to energy.
solar constant The average rate at which radiation energy from the sun is received at the surface of the earth, equal to 430 Btus per hour per square foot (1.94 cal. per min. per sq. cm.).
solar dryer A wood dryer that uses solar energy to raise the dry-bulb temperature of the air being circulated through the wood.
solar energy The radiant energy from the sun.
solar gain Heat that enters a building through windows as solar energy. Considered a “passive” heat source, as opposed to those sources that artificially generate heat.
solar heating system An assembly of components, including collectors, heat exchangers, piping, storage system, controls, and supplemental heat source, used to provide heat and/or hot water to a building, with the sun as the main source of energy.
solar insolation The amount of solar energy available at a given time in a given area.
solar photovoltaic system A system that converts solar energy into electrical energy.
solar storage Fluid and/or rocks used to hold some of the heat energy collected by a solar heat collector.
Sole plate The bottom, horizontal framing member of a wall that’s attached to the floor sheeting and vertical wall studs. Bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.
Solid bridging A solid member placed between adjacent floor joists near the center of the span to prevent joists or rafters from twisting.
solid modeling The most complete type of geometric modeling used in computer aided design. Solid models are three-dimensional and can include far more engineering data than two-dimensional drawings. See also wireframe modeling.
Sonotube Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens.
soot door An access door to a flue for cleaning or repairing the flue.
sound absorption (1) The process of dissipating sound energy. (2) The measure of the absorptive ability of a material or object, expressed in sabins or metric sabins.
sound attenuator An assembly installed in a duct system to absorb sound.
sound reduction factor The effectiveness, measured in decibels, that a building assembly exhibits at lessening the intensity of sound.
sound transmission class (STC) A single number indicating the sound insulation value of a partition, floor-ceiling assembly, door, or window, as derived from a curve of insulation value as a function of frequency. The higher the number is, the greater the insulation value.
Space A covered contiguous area enclosed on all sides by walls or imaginary boundary lines (referred to as “phantom walls”) where a wall does not exist, that accommodates a single use; the smallest discrete spatial unit or data element used, tracked and analyzed in an institution’s space inventory. A space may be part of a room, and a room may contain several spaces.
space heater A small heating unit, usually equipped with a fan, intended to supply heat to a room or portion of a room. The source of heat energy may be electricity or a fluid fuel.
Space Measurement System A codified system of classifying various categories for physical space, defining their boundaries, and measurement techniques.
Space Planning The process of determining the amount of floor space available in an area, floor or entire building and how it is best used to meet individual, group and corporate needs. The process of analyzing current and future requirements relative to physical assets
(i.e., type, condition, size, capacity, with respect to their ability to support and advance programs and
activities at a level deemed appropriate by appropriate parties in concert with associated regulations,
codes, mandates, and acceptable levels of performance). Space planning typically involves identifying
each distinct type of activity covered by the program and defining the appropriate values relative to size,
capacity, utilization rates, etc.
Spatial Capability Understanding where something is in space is significant to many information interfaces and the richness of the information. Energy calculations must know where the heat gains will come from; first responders need to know where water supplies and utility cutoffs are located in relation to the facility.
SPCCP Spill Prevention, Countermeasures, and Control Plan
special assessment A charge imposed by a government on a particular class of properties to defray the cost of a specific improvement or service; presumably of benefit to the public but of special benefit to the owners of the charged properties.
special conditions An additional governmentally imposed charge designed to pay for a specific improvement or service.
species A category of biological classification. A species is a class of individuals having common attributes and designated by a common name. Species is always properly used with the “s” when referring to trees or other biological classifications; specie refers only to money in coin.
spectrophotometer An instrument for measuring the intensity of radiant energy of desired frequencies absorbed by atoms of molecules. Substances are analyzed by converting the absorbed energy to electrical signals, proportional to the intensity of radiation.
Splash block Portable concrete (or vinyl) channel generally placed beneath an exterior sill cock (water faucet) or downspout in order to receive roof drainage from downspouts and to divert it away from the building.
split-bolt connector A device that holds electrical wires in close contact with a simple assembly. Wires are fed through the device and held in place by a nut tightened on a threaded shaft.
split-ring connector A timber connector consisting of a metal ring set in circular grooves in two pieces; the assembly being held by bolts.
spread (1) The mobile power equipment, such as a paving spread or earth-moving spread, under the direction of a spread superintendent. (2) Same as range; the difference between prices or bids.
spreadsheet Large, wide sheet with many columns that is used to tabulate all estimates and sub-bids when putting a bid together. See also bid assembly.
spring (1) An elastic body or shape, such as a spirally wound metal coil, that stores energy by distorting and imparts that energy when it returns to its original shape. (2) The line or surface from which an arch rises.
spring buffer An assembly containing a spring that is designed to absorb and dissipate kinetic energy, such as that from a descending elevator car or counterweight.
spruce-pine-fir (SPF) Canadian woods of similar characteristics that have been grouped for production and marketing. The SPF species have moderate strength, are worked easily, take paint readily, and hold nails well. They are white to pale yellow. The largest volume comes from western Canada (British Columbia and Alberta), where the principal species in the group are white spruce, Engelmann spruce, lodgepole pine, and alpine fir. The principal species in the group originating in eastern Canada are white spruce, black spruce, jack pine, and balsam fir. Some lumber production in the New England states also is marketed as spruce-pine-fir and includes these species.
Square tab shingles
squaring Aligning or constructing an item or assembly so that all angles are 90°.
Squeegie Fine pea gravel used to grade a floor (normally before concrete is placed).
St. Andrew’s cross bond See English cross bond.
Stack (trusses) To position trusses on the walls in their correct location.
staging (scaffolding) (1) A temporary working platform against or within a building for construction, repairs, or demolition. (2) A temporary working platform supported by the temporary timbers in a trench.
Stair landing A platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction. Normally no less than 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.
stamp A seal required on drawings for commercial projects that contains the architect’s or engineer’s name and registration number. The individual’s signature is usually required over the stamp.
standard air Air with a density of 0.075 lb. per cu. ft. (0.0012 gm per cc) which is close to air at 68°F (20 °C) dry bulb and 50% relative humidity at a barometric pressure of 29.9″ (76 cm) of mercury.
standard penetration test A test to estimate the degree of compactness of soil in place by counting the number of blows required to drive a standard sampling spoon 1′ (0.3 meter) using a 140 pound (64 kilogram) weight falling 30″ (0.8 meter).
Standard practices of the trade(s) One of the more common basic and minimum construction standards. This is another way of saying that the work should be done in the way it is normally done by the average professional in the field.
standard wire gauge The legal standard wire gauge in Great Britain and Canada.
Starter strip Asphalt roofing applied at the eaves that provides protection by filling in the spaces under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.
statement of probable construction cost A cost estimate prepared by the design professional during each of the design phases for the owner’s use.
Static vent A vent that does not include a fan.
statics That branch of mechanics dealing with forces acting on bodies at rest. Statics is the basis of structural engineering.
STC Sound transmission class
STC (Sound Transmission Class) The measure of sound stopping of ordinary noise.
Steel inspection- A municipal and/or engineers inspection of the concrete foundation wall, conducted before concrete is poured into the foundation panels. Done to insure that the rebar (reinforcing bar), rebar nets, void material, beam pocket plates, and basement window bucks are installed and wrapped with rebar and complies with the foundation plan.
steeplejack A craftsman who builds and/or repairs steeples, chimneys, and other tall masonry structures.
STEP Standard for the Exchange of Product model data. The root of most of the work being done in defining objects for
construction. Its home is in the International Standards Organization
stepped foundation A foundation constructed in a series of steps that approximate the slope of the bearing stratum. The purpose is to avoid horizontal force vectors that might cause sliding.
stereobate The foundation, substructure, or platform upon which a building is constructed.
stick built A structure built without prefabricated parts. Also called conventional building. A term describing frame structures assembled piece-by-piece from lumber delivered to the site with little or no previous assembly into components. The more typical type of residential construction is stick built.
Stile An upright framing member in a panel door.
stock, 1244 In the event that a corporation’s stock becomes worthless, it may offset up to $50,000 of loss against ordinary income in each taxable year, provided the corporation meets the requirements of Section 1244 of the Internal Revenue Code.
stoichiometric combustion A controlled combustion where fuel is reacted with the exact amount of oxygen required to oxidize all carbon, hydrogen, and sulfur in the fuel to carbon dioxide, water, and sulfur dioxide.
Stool The flat molding fitted over the window sill between jambs and contacting the bottom rail of the lower sash.  Also another name for toilet.
stop work order An order issued by the owner’s representative to stop work on a project. Reasons for the order include failure to conform to specifications, unsatisfied liens, labor disputes, and inclement weather.
Stops Moldings along the inner edges of a door or window frame. Also valves used to shut off water to a fixture.
storefront sash An assembly of light metal members that form a frame for a fixed-glass storefront.
Storm sewer A sewer system designed to collect storm water and is separated from the waste water system.
story (1) That part of a building between the upper surface of a floor and the upper surface of the floor above. Building codes differ in designations applied when a part of a story is below grade. (2) A major division in the height of a building even when created by architectural features, such as windows, rather than horizontal divisions. For example, an area may be two stories high. (3) That part of a building between any floor or between the floor and roof.
straight tee A pipe fitting that has a side port at right angles to the run, with all openings the same size.
street floor That floor of a building nearest to street level. According to some building codes, the street floor is a floor level not more than 21″ above or 12″ below grade level at the main entrance.
street lighting unit An assembly consisting of a pole or post, bracket, and luminaire.
street line (1) A line dividing a lot or other area from a street. (2) A side boundary of a street, as legally defined.
Strike The plate on a door frame that engages a latch or dead bolt.
strip flooring Flooring made of wood strips that are pieced together in a tongue-and-groove assembly.
strip foundation A continuous foundation of which the length considerably exceeds the breadth.
striplight A lighting assembly used to flood all or part of a stage, consisting of a row of lamps mounted in a trough with a reflecting hood and color frames.
Structural Area The sum of all areas on all floors of a building that cannot be occupied or put to use because of structural building features; the Gross Area minus Net Usable Area. See section 3.2, Definitions of Building Areas.
structural engineering That branch of engineering concerned with the design of the load-supporting members of a proposed structure, and also with the investigation of existing structures which are suspect.
Structural floor A framed lumber floor that is installed as a basement floor instead of concrete. This is done on very expansive soils.
structural light framing A category of dimension lumber up to 4″ in width which provides higher bending strength ratios for use in engineered applications, such as roof trusses. The lumber is often referred to by its fiber strength class, such as 175f for #1 & Better Douglas Fir, or as stress-rated stock.
structure drain In any given plumbing system, as of a structure or building, the major lowest horizontal pipe(s) connecting directly to the building sewer just outside the building wall.
Stucco Refers to an outside plaster finish made with Portland cement as its base.
sub Contraction of subcontractor.
sub-bid A bid offered by a subcontractor.
sub-bidder (subbidder) A person or entity who has a direct contract with the contractor for a portion of the work at the site.
subject to mortgage A legal subjection of a property to an existing mortgage if the purchaser has actual or constructive notice of the mortgage. For example, if a mortgage of real property has been recorded, the new owner is not liable for mortgage payments unless he has agreed to that liability. However, the mortgagee may foreclose if there is a default in payments.
submittal A sample, manufacturer’s data, shop drawing, or other such item submitted to the owner or the design professional by the contractor for the purpose of approval or other action, usually a requirement of the contract documents.
subrogation The assumption by a third party of the legal rights of another to collect debts and damage. An insurance carrier may, for example, step into the shoes of the insured and file a claim or lawsuit against any party when the insured could have sued.
substation An assembly of equipment, including switches, circuit breakers, buses, and transformers, for switching power from one voltage or system to another.
substructure The foundation of a building that supports the superstructure.
subsurface investigation (geotechnical investigation) The sampling and laboratory testing process (including soil borings) to establish subsurface profiles, relative strengths, compressibility, and other characteristics of strata deep enough to affect project design.
successful bid A bid that is accepted by a sponsor for award of contract; a low bid (assuming that there will be an award of contract).
successful bidder The contractor chosen by the project owner to receive award of the contract for construction. See also selected bidder.
summary judgment An award of a court by a judge without taking a matter to a formal trial because both the facts in the court record and the law clearly indicate that one party is entitled to a particular verdict.
Sump Pit or large plastic bucket/barrel inside the home designed to collect ground water from a perimeter drain system.
Sump pump A submersible pump in a sump pit that pumps any excess ground water to the outside of the home.
superintendent The contractor’s representative who is responsible for field supervision, coordination, completion of the work, and sometimes is also responsible for the prevention of accidents.
superstructure (1) The part of a building or other structure above the foundation. (2) The part of a bridge above the beam seats or the spring line of an arch.
supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA system) A computer system used in industry to monitor and control facility operations and status. The automation capabilities of a SCADA system provide early detection of developing problems and improve efficiency in acquiring data and generating reports.
supplemental services Services described in the schedule of designated services which are outside the normal range of services, including renderings, energy studies, value analyses, project promotion, and expert testimony.
surface active Having the ability to modify surface energy and to facilitate wetting, penetrating, emulsifying, dispersing, solubilizing, foaming, and frothing of other substances.
surveyor An engineer or technician skilled in surveying.
suspended absorber A sound-absorbing assembly designed for overhead suspension in an area.
Suspended ceiling A ceiling system supported by hanging it from the overhead structural framing.
sustainable design Design that seeks to create spaces where materials, energy and water are used efficiently and where the impact on the natural environment is minimized. The goal of sustainable design is to sensibly meet the needs of the present without exhausting resources that are critical to future generations.
Sustainable FM The concept of sustainable practices forming the basis of facilities management operations including energy efficient products, environmentally friendly materials and recycling based waste management.
Sustainment, Restoration andModernization
SWAT Smart water application technology
Swing Space Temporary space dedicated to displaced workers until permanent space is finished. (Source: Project
Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
Switch A device that completes or disconnects an electrical circuit.
switchboard A large panel, frame, or assembly with switches, overcurrent and other protective devices, fuses, and instruments mounted on the face and/or back. Switchboards are usually accessible from front or rear and are not intended to be mounted in cabinets.
SWPPP Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
SYM symmetrical
symmetrical construction (balanced construction) A plywood panel in which the plies on one side of the center ply are balanced in thickness with those on the other side.
systems A process of combining prefabricated assemblies, components, and parts into single assembled units utilizing industrialized production, assembly, and other methods.
Systems Lifecycle Costing An estimating procedure used to determine the cost of facility system/component renewal based on the
average useful life of an individual component. This procedure is typically based upon visual observations, via
a facilities conditions assessment/audit, to determine the remaining useful life of a system and the
development of cost models for the facility. This process enables multi-year modeling of future replacement
costs and timing.
T tee, township, true, thermostat
t temperature, time, ton
T bar Ribbed, “T” shaped bars with a flat metal plate at the bottom that are driven into the earth. Normally used chain link fence poles, and to mark locations of a water meter pit.
T.E.M. Total Energy Management
t.o. take-off (estimate)
TAB Testing, adjusting, and balancing
Tab The exposed portion of strip shingles defined by cutouts.
TABB T esting, Adjusting, and Balancing Bureau
tabby A type of concrete consisting of a mixture of lime and water, with shells, gravel, or stones used to make blocks for masonry.
Taft-Hartley Act An act of the Congress of the United States of 1947, introduced by Senator Taft and Representative Hartley, and titled the Labor Management Relations Act. This legislation lessened the power of management over labor and provided that labor participate in some management decisions.
tagline (1) A line that runs from a crane boom to a clamshell bucket and keeps the bucket firmly in position during operations. (2) A safety line used by workers performing a job at high elevations or in other dangerous locations where a fall could be injurious. (3) Rope attached to a heavy member, such as a truss or beam, or a piece of equipment being lifted. The rope is used by a worker on the ground to control the item as it swings up.
Tail beam A relatively short beam or joist supported in a wall on one end and by a header at the other.
Take off The material necessary to complete a job.
tankless water heater (instantaneous heater) A water heater system that relys on instantaneous increases of power to heat water as it is demanded. It has only a mini-assembly of heater coils 36″ high or less, and provides an endless amount of hot water. It stores only the water within the coils, and is consequently energy efficient.
tape measure (tapeline) A steel strip used by builders and surveyors to measure distances, usually graded in feet, tenths, and hundredths of a foot for use in surveying and engineering. Or, graded in feet, inches, and fractions of an inch for use in the building trades.
Taping The process of covering drywall joints with paper tape and joint compound.
tapping machine A machine producing a series of uniform impacts on a floor surface, used to measure sound transmission of a floor ceiling assembly.
tarmac (tarmacadam) See macadam.
Taxonomy A collection of controlled vocabulary terms organized into a hierarchical structure.
TBC T otal Building Commissioning
TCEQ Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
TCLP Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure
TCO Total cost of ownership.
TDS Total dissolved solid
Teco Metal straps that are nailed and secure the roof rafters and trusses to the top horizontal wall plate. Sometimes called a hurricane clip.
tee (1) An elaborately turned finial in the shape of an umbrella; used as finishing ornamental on pagodas, stupas, and topes. (2) See pipe tee. (3) A metal structural member with a T-shaped cross section. (4) A pipe fitting that has a side port at right angles to the run.
Tee A “T” shaped plumbing fitting.
temperature, curing The temperature to which an assembly with adhesives is subjected in order to cure the adhesive.
Tempered- Strengthened. Tempered glass will not shatter nor create shards, but will “pelletize” like an automobile window. Required in tub and shower enclosures and locations, entry door glass and sidelight glass, and in a windows when the window sill is less than 16″ to the floor.
tenement (tenement structure) Any dwelling, but usually an apartment structure, that is situated in a poorer section of a city and has fallen into disrepair.
termination for convenience The unilateral right of the government to terminate contracts at will.
termination for default A sanction which the government may impose for a contractor’s unexcused failure to perform.
termite shield A sheet of metal used on a foundation wall or pier as a projecting shield to prevent the passage of termites from the ground to a structure.
Termite shield- A shield, usually of galvanized metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or around pipes to prevent the passage of termites.
Termites- Wood eating insects that superficially resemble ants in size and general appearance, and live in colonies.
Terra cotta A ceramic material molded into masonry units.
tessera A small square of glass, stone, tile, or marble used in geometric and figurative mosaic work in pavements or floors.
test case A term used by legal practitioners to refer to a trial whose pleadings and merits have, or possess the potential to form, precedence for future judgments in similar cases.
test piling A foundation piling that is installed on the site of a proposed construction project and used to conduct load tests to determine the size and quantity of pilings needed for the actual structures.
TFM (1) Total facilities management. (2) Transfer function method.
THD Total harmonic distortion.
The Association of Higher Education Facilities Officers. APPA is the commonly used acronym from the original name of this association, the Association of Physical Plant Administrators.
T-head (1) In precast framing, a segment of girder crossing the top of an interior column. (2) The top of a shore formed with a braced horizontal member projecting on two sides and forming a T-shaped assembly.
thermal factor A factor applied in doing lighting calculations that compensates for changes in the light given off by a fluorescent lamp when the ballast/lamp configuration varies from that used in photometric tests.
thermal unit A unit of heat energy, usually the British thermal unit (Btu) in the English system or the calorie in the metric system.
Thermoply ™ Exterior laminated sheathing nailed to the exterior side of the exterior walls. Normally ¼ ” thick, 4 X 8 or 4 x 10 sheets with an aluminumized surface.
ThermostatA device which relegates the temperature of a room or building by switching heating or cooling equipment on or off.
thin-shell concrete Reinforced or prestressed concrete used to form a large shell. The thickness of the concrete is small relative to the span of the shell.
thin-shell precast Precast concrete characterized by thin slabs and web sections. See also shell construction.
Three-dimensional shingles Laminated shingles. Shingles that have added dimensionality because of extra layers or tabs, giving a shake-like appearance. May also be called “architectural shingles”.
three-point lock An assembly that latches the active leaf or a pair of doors at three points.
Threshold The bottom metal or wood plate of an exterior door frame. Generally they are adjustable to keep a tight fit with the door slab.
TI Tenant improvement
TIA T elecommunications Industry Association
tie (1) A member or device that keeps two separate parts together, ie, tie beam. (2) Loop of reinforcing bars encircling the longitudinal steel in columns. (3) A tensile unit adapted to holding concrete forms secure against the lateral pressure of unhardened concrete, with or without provision for spacing the forms a definite distance apart, and with or without provision for removal of metal to a specified distance from the finished concrete surface. See also cross tie.
tieback A rod fastened to a deadman, a rigid foundation, or a rock or soil anchor to prevent lateral movement of formwork, sheet pile walls, retaining walls, or bulkheads.
tight An estimate that does not allow for contingencies and that has no slack.
timber pile A large, debarked, pressure-treated straight log that is driven into the ground as foundation support.
timber-framed building A building that has timbers for above-ground structural elements (except foundations).
Time and materials contract A construction contract which specifies a price for different elements of the work such as cost per hour of labor, overhead, profit, etc. A contract which may not have a maximum price, or may state a ‘price not to exceed’.
Tinner Another name for the heating contractor.
Tip up The downspout extension that directs water (from the home’s gutter system) away from the home. They typically swing up when mowing the lawn, etc.
title (1) The right of ownership in real property. (2) Legal documents which indicate right of ownership of real property.
Title- Evidence (usually in the form of a certificate or deed) of a person’s legal right to ownership of a property.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 A federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees. Under Title VII, discrimination is defined as treating employees differently with respect to compensation, promotion, job conditions, hiring, or discharge on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
TJI or TJ Manufactured structural building component resembling the letter “I”. Used as floor joists and rafters. I-joists include two key parts: flanges and webs. The flange or from of the I joist may be made of laminated veneer lumber or dimensional lumber, usually formed into a 1 ½” width. The web or center of the I-joist is commonly made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Large holes can be cut in the web to accommodate duct work and plumbing waste lines. I-joists are available in lengths up to 60” long.
TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load
tobermorite (1) A mineral found in northern Ireland and elsewhere, having the formula 5CaO • 6SiO2 • 5H2O. (2) Ca:4H O, the artificial product tobermorite, G, of Brunauer, a hydrated calcium silicate having CaO/SiO ratio in the range 1.39 to 1.75. It forms minute layered crystals that constitute the principal cementing medium in Portland cement concrete, a mineral with 5 mols of lime to 6 mols of silica, usually occurring in plate-like crystals which are easily synthesized at steam pressures of about 100 psi and higher. Tobermorite is the binder in several properly autoclaved products.
tobermorite gel The binder of concrete cured moist or in atmospheric-pressure steam. A lime-rich gel-like solid containing 1.5 to 2.0 mols of lime per mol of silica.
ToenailingT o drive a nail in at a slant. Method used to secure floor joists to the plate.
toggle bolt A bolt and nut assembly used to fasten objects to a hollow wall or a wall accessible from only one side. The nut has pivoted wings that close against a spring when the nut end of the assembly is pushed through a hole and is open on the other side.
Top chord The upper or top member of a truss.
top form Form required on the upper or outer surface of a sloping slab or thin shell.
Top plate Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.
topiary Trees pruned or trimmed in a geometric pattern, or sculptural shapes resembling flowers or animals.
torque (1) The force used to rotate something. (2) Turning or twisting energy measured as the product of a force and a lever arm. (3) That which tends to produce rotation.
torque viscometer An apparatus used for measuring the consistency of slurries in which the energy required to rotate a device suspended in a rotating cup is proportional to viscosity.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)/Lifecycle Cost Management Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a dollar per square foot value ($#/square foot) associated with a facility. It is
a calculation of all facilities-specific costs (not including furnishings or non-facility specific equipment) divided
by estimated lifespan of the building (30 or 50 years), and the total gross area. Facilities specific costs include
all construction, preservation, maintenance, and operations costs. A strategic asset management practice that
considers all costs of operations and maintenance, and other costs, in addition to acquisition costs. TCO,
therefore includes the representation of the sum total of the present value of all direct, indirect, recurring and
non-recurring costs incurred or estimated to be incurred in the design, development, production, operation,
maintenance of an facility/structure/asset over its anticipated lifespan. (Inclusive of site/utilities, new
construction, deferred maintenance, preventive/routine maintenance, renovation, compliance, capital renewal,
and occupancy costs.) Again, note that land values are specifically excluded.
total float In CPM terminology, the difference between the time available to accomplish an activity and the estimated time required.
TPDES Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
TQM Total quality management.
TRACI Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts
transducer A substance or device that converts input energy into output energy of a different form, such as a photoelectric cell.
transfer column A column in a multistory framed building that is not continuous to the building foundation. At some floors the column is supported by a girder or girders, and its load transferred to adjacent columns.
transient adaptation The expansion and contraction of the pupil of the eye as light levels change.
transmittance The capacity of glass to transmit solar energy-in visible light, as well as ultraviolet and infrared ranges. Transmittance in measured of percentages of each type of light.
Transmitter (garage door) The small, push button device that causes the garage door to open or close.
transom A glazed or solid panel over a door or window, usually hinged and used for ventilation. The transom and bar may be removable for passage of large objects.
transponder A radio or radar device that responds to a certain received signal by emitting a radio signal itself.
Trap- A plumbing fitting that holds water to prevent air, gas, and vermin from backing up into a fixture.
T-rated switch A switch rated in accordance with the national electric code for use in circuits containing tungsten filament lamps.
Tread The walking surface board in a stairway on which the foot is placed.
Treated lumber A wood product which has been impregnated with chemical pesticides such as CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) to reduce damage from wood rot or insects. Often used for the portions of a structure which are likely to be in contact with soil and water. Wood may also be treated with a fire retardant.
treble damages (punitive damages) An award of three times the actual loss to the plaintiff as a means of punishing a defendant for a serious wrongful action or bad faith conduct.
trim Millwork, primarily moldings and/or trim to finish off and cover joints around window and door openings.
Trim (plumbing, heating, electrical) The work that the “mechanical” contractors perform to finish their respective aspects of work, and when the home is nearing completion and occupancy.
Trim- Interior The finish materials in a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim) or at the floor and ceiling of rooms (baseboard, cornice, and other moldings). Also, the physical work of installing interior doors and interior woodwork, to include all handrails, guardrails, stair way balustrades, mantles, light boxes, base, door casings, cabinets, countertops, shelves, window sills and aprons, etc. Exterior- The finish materials on the exterior a building, such as moldings applied around openings (window trim, door trim), siding, windows, exterior doors, attic vents, crawl space vents, shutters, etc. Also, the physical work of installing these materials
Trimmer The vertical stud that supports a header at a door, window, or other opening.
triple glazing Energy-saving windows composed of three panes of glass sandwiched together with air in between. Gases such as argon or others may be used to increase efficiency.
Truss An engineered and manufactured roof support member with “zig-zag” framing members. Does the same job as a rafter but is designed to have a longer span than a rafter.
T’s&C’s Terms and conditions of contract.
TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act
T-square (tee square) A guide, in the shape of a T, used in engineering and architectural drawing. The short arm slides along the edge of a drawing board, keeping the long arm in a parallel state.
TTY Text telephone
Tub trap- Curved, “U” shaped section of a bath tub drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through tubs water drain.
tube-and-coupler shoring A load-carrying assembly of tubing or pipe that serves as posts, braces, and ties. A base supports the posts, and special couplers connect the uprights and join the various members.
Tudor architecture English architectural style characterized by steep roofs, small windows, tall chimneys, and shallow trim moldings.
turbine Any of various machines that convert the kinetic energy of a moving fluid to mechanical energy. The turbine is often used for driving an electric generator.
Turnkey A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.
turnkey system A system in which the hardware and software, as well as assembly and installation, is sold as a complete package by the vendor.
Turpentine A petroleum, volatile oil used as a thinner in paints and as a solvent in varnishes
two-step sealed bidding A procurement procedure whereby contractors submit technical proposals in response to government performance specifications. Each contractor whose technical proposal is acceptable then submits a sealed bid in accordance with normal bidding procedures.
Type I & IA Duty Rating Safety ratings for ladders based on load limits. Type I is rated for 250 lbs. Type IA is rated for 300 lbs.
u unit
U uranium
U.S.C.O.E. U .S. Army Corps of Engineers
UBC Uniform Building Code
UFAD Underfloor air distribution
UFAS U niform Federal Accessibility Standards
UFC Unified Facilities Criteria
UL Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.
UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories) An independent testing agency that checks electrical devices and other components for possible safety hazards.
UL Label A seal of certification attached by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. to building materials, electrical wiring and components, storage vessels, and other devices, attesting that the item has been rated according to performance tests on such products, is from a production lot that made use of materials and processes identical to those of comparable items that have passed fire, electrical hazard, and other safety tests, and is subject to the UL reexamination service.
UN number A classification code assigned to a particular material by the Department of Transportation.
unbalanced bid A contractor’s bid based on increased unit costs for tasks to be performed early and decreased unit costs for later tasks. The unbalanced bid is used in an attempt to get money early to finance later parts of a job.
Undercoat A coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or the second of three coats. Sometimes called the Prime coat.
undercut door A door with greater than normal clearance at the floor to give more ventilation to an area.
Underground plumbing The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.
Underlayment A ¼” material placed over the subfloor plywood sheeting and under finish coverings, such as vinyl flooring, to provide a smooth, even surface. Also a secondary roofing layer that is waterproof or water-resistant, installed on the roof deck and beneath shingles or other roof-finishing layer.
underrun (1) Opposite of overrun; same as pickup; the (lesser) difference between the actual cost and the estimate. (2) Decrease in estimated quantity.
Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL) A private, nonprofit organization that tests, inspects, classifies, and rates devices and components to ensure that manufacturers comply with various UL standards.
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) documents provide planning, design, construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization criteria, and apply to the Military Departments, the Defense Agencies, and the DoD Field Activities.
Uniform Building Code (UBC) One of several national building codes used to promote building safety, health and public welfare. Published by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), it is used throughout the western U.S. states.
Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) A model law developed to govern commercial transactions.
Uniform Construction Index The forerunner of the MasterFormat adopted by the Construction Specifications Institute in 1978. This system divides technical data and all related accounting, specifying, and tracking functions into 16 divisions.
Uniform Fire Code A model law devoted to ensuring practices consistent with protecting life and property from fire, explosion, and hazardous materials and conditions.
Uniformat UniFormat™ provides a standard method for arranging construction information, organized around the physical parts of a facility called systems and assemblies. These systems and assemblies are characterized by their function without identifying the technical or design solutions that may compose them. Because UniFormat organizes the
structures in the built environment by their component elements, a modified version of it was used as a legacy source for the basic organization and contents of OmniClass™ Table 21 – Elements. See also: Construction Specifications Institute
union (1) A confederation of individuals who share the same trade or similar trades and who have joined together for a common purpose. (2) A pipe fitting used to join two pipes without turning either pipe, consisting of a collar piece which is slipped on one pipe, and a shoulder which is threaded or soldered on that pipe and against which the collar piece bears. Unions allow dismantling a fitting without disturbing the pipe.
Unique Space Identifier A means, such as an alpha-numeric code, to identify each individual space in a facilities inventory database.
Unit ID Unique identification number assigned to postsecondary institutions surveyed through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (see IPEDS).
unit price (1) Current and accurate cost of materials, equipment, and labor used to develop a unit price estimate. (2) The sum stated in a project bid representing the price per unit for materials and/or services.
unit split system air An air conditioning system consisting of two pieces of equipment. Indoor unit includes evaporative coil and air handler. External unit includes compressor and air coiled unit.
unitary air-conditioner A fabricated assembly of equipment to move, clean, cool, dehumidify, and sometimes heat the air, consisting of a fan, cooling coil, compressor, and condenser.
unit-type vent One of several relatively small openings on the roof of a structure, equipped with a metal frame and housing as well as manual or automatic hinged dampers which are opened in case of fire.
uns unsymmetrical
Unscheduled/Unplanned Maintenance Reactive and non-emergency corrective work activities that occur in the current budget cycle or annual program. Activities may range from unplanned maintenance of a nuisance nature requiring low levels of skill for correction, to non-emergency tasks involving a moderate to major repair or correction requiring skilled labor. Requests for system or equipment repairs that – unlike preventive maintenance work – are unscheduled and unanticipated. Service calls generally are received when a system or component has failed and/or perceived to be working improperly. If the problem has created a hazard or involves an essential service, an emergency response may be necessary. Conversely, if the problem is not critical, a routine response is adequate. Reactive and/or emergency corrective work activities that occur in the current budget cycle or annual program. Activities may range from unplanned maintenance of a nuisance nature requiring low levels of skill for correction, to non-emergency tasks involving a moderate to major repair or correction requiring skilled labor, to emergency unscheduled work that requires immediate action to restore services, to remove problems that
could interrupt activities, or to protect life and property.
unsupported wall height Masonry wall construction limit for wall height set by local codes determined by ratio of wall thickness to height of wall.
UPS An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a system that utilises isolated back-up batteries and/or generators to supply power in the event of a disruption to normal supplies. Large scale uses can be found in infrastructure and hospitals, while day-to-day business use is often based around maintaining IT systems.
Uptime or Downtime Defined in percent, as amount of time asset is suitable for the program(s) served.
urban renewal The improvement of deteriorated and underused portions of a city. Urban renewal usually implies improvement through city, state, and federal programs, including demolition of slums and sales of properties to others, rehabilitation of relatively sound structures, and control measures to prevent further deterioration.
USACE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
USCB U.S. Census Bureau
USCDG U .S. Courts Design Guide
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USEPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
USFWS U.S. Fish and Wildlife
USGBC United States Green Building Council
UST Underground fuel oil storage tank
Utility easement The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines. These areas may be owned by the homeowner, but the utility company has the legal right to enter the area as necessary to repair or service the lines
utilization equipment Equipment powered by electric energy and used in heating, lighting, and numerous mechanical operations.
Utilization Rate An indicator used to determine how efficiently available space is being used. Usually time-based in terms
of month, quarter or year.
Utilization Rate = Occupied Space/Facility Usable Area
UV Ultraviolet
V volt, valve, vacuum, V-groove
Valley The “V” shaped area of a roof where two sloping roofs meet. Water drains off the roof at the valleys.
Valley flashing Sheet metal that lays in the “V” area of a roof valley.
Valuation An inspection carried out for the benefit of the mortgage lender to ascertain if a property is a good security for a loan.
Valuation fee The fee paid by the prospective borrower for the lender’s inspection of the property. Normally paid upon loan application.
value (1) The utility of an object or service or its worth consisting of the power of purchasing other objects or services. (2) The relative lightness or darkness of a color.
value engineering A science that studies the relative value of various materials and construction techniques. Value engineering considers the initial cost of construction, coupled with the estimated cost of maintenance, energy use, life expectancy, and replacement cost.
value-network The Value Network adds an extra dimension to the concept of Value Chains. Value networks represent the complexity, collaboration, and interrelationships of today’s organizations and environment. Value Chains are linear and Value Networks are three-dimensional.
Vapor barrier A building product installed on exterior walls and ceilings under the drywall and on the warm side of the insulation. It is used to retard the movement of water vapor into walls and prevent condensation within them. Normally, polyethylene plastic sheeting is used.
Variable rate An interest rate that will vary over the term of the loan.
variance (1) Permission granted to a landowner to depart from the specific requirements of a zoning ordinance. A variance allows a landowner to use his or her land differently than specified in the ordinance. (2) A written authorization from the responsible agency permitting construction in a manner which is not allowed by a code or ordinance.
VAV Variable air volume
VE Value engineering
Veneer Extremely thin sheets of wood. Also a thin slice of wood or brick or stone covering a framed wall.
veneer adhesives Several basic substances are used in the gluing of veneers to produce plywood. These include blood, soybean, and phenolic resins. Other adhesives made from urea, resorcinol, polyvinyl, and melamine are sometimes used in edge gluing, patching, and scarfing. Among the principal adhesives are: (1) soybean glue, a protein-type adhesive made from soybean meal and usually blended with blood and used in certain panels for interior use; (2) blood glue made from animal blood from slaughterstructures, dried and supplied in powder form, and intended for interior uses; and (3) phenolic resin produced from synthetic phenol and formaldehyde. Phenolic resin is cured only under heat and undergoes chemical changes, which makes it impervious to attack by micro-organisms. It is used in undiluted form for the production of exterior plywood. However, it may be extended by the addition of other substances in the production of interior plywood.
Vent A pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside. Also, another word for the moving glass part of a window sash, i.e. window vent.
vent sash A small, operable light (usually hinged on its upper edge) in a window, which may be swung open to allow some ventilation without opening the entire sash.
ventilation A natural or mechanical process by which air is introduced to or removed from a space, with or without heating, cooling, or purification treatment.
verdigris A bluish green patina that naturally forms on copper, bronze or brass over time as it is exposed to atmospheric conditions.
vermiculite Expanded mica used as insulating fill or a lightweight aggregate.
Veterans Administration (VA) A federal agency that insures mortgage loans with very liberal down payment requirements for honorably discharged veterans and their surviving spouses.
VFD Variable frequency drive
Visqueen A 4 mil or 6 mil plastic sheeting.
VOC Volatile Organic Compound
Void Cardboard rectangular boxes that are installed between the earth (between caissons) and the concrete foundation wall. Used when expansive soils are present.
Void Areas Defined as rooms that are more than one story in height. Void areas exist on upper floors such as
atriums, light wells or lobbies. (Source: ASTM E 1836-01)
void-cement ratio Volumetric ratio of air plus net mixing water to cement in a concrete or mortar mixture.
void-solid ratio The ratio of the sum of the areas of window and door openings to the gross area of an exterior wall of a building.
VOIP Voice over internet protocol (VOIP) is a system for making voice ‘telephone’ calls over the internet using specialised software and/or hardware.
Voltage A measure of electrical potential. Most homes are wired with 110 and 220 volt lines. The 110 volt power is used for lighting and most of the other circuits. The 220 volt power is usually used for the kitchen range, hot water heater and dryer.
volume method (of estimating cost) A cost estimating method determined by multiplying an estimated cost per unit of volume by the volume of the building. See also architectural volume, architectural area of buildings, and area method.
volumetric test (1) A test to determine the integrity of an underground storage tank through review and comparison of tank volume. (2) A test to determine the air content of fresh concrete.
VPN A virtual private network (VPN) is the creation of a secure network over the internet to connect to a remote server. A VPN allows users to connect to work systems and files from a remote location.
W C An abbreviation for water closet (toilet).
W, w watt, west, western, width, work, with, water
Wafer board A manufactured wood panel made out of 1″- 2″ wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.
Walk-Through A final inspection of a home before “Closing” to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.
wall height The vertical distance from the top of a wall to its support, such as a foundation or support beam.
Wall out When a painter pray paints the interior of a home.
wall sign (1) A sign mounted on, or fastened to, a wall. (2) A sign attached to the exterior wall of a building and projecting not more than a code-defined distance.
walnut (English walnut, black walnut, butternut) Juglans regia, J. nigria, and J. cinerea respectively. The last two, native to North America, are used for veneer and furniture stock, in addition to their edible nuts.
WAN Wide area network.
Warping Any distortion in a material.
warranty deed A deed conveying real property, in which the grantor makes binding representations concerning the quality of his title and its freedom from encumbrances.
washer (1) A flat ring of rubber, plastic, or fibrous material, used as a seal in a faucet or valve or to minimize leakage, as in a threaded connection. (2) A flat ring of steel that may be split, toothed, or embossed; used in threaded connections to distribute loads, span large openings, relieve friction, or prevent loosening.
Waste Management A waste management service is characterised as the collection, transport, processing and recycling or disposal of waste materials from a building.
Waste pipe and vent Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.
Water board Water resistant drywall to be used in tub and shower locations. Normally green or blue colored.
Water closet Another name for toilet.
Water meter pit (or vault) The box /cast iron bonnet and concrete rings that contains the water meter.
water rights (1) The right of real property owners to make reasonable changes in the flow of water that is flooding their land. (2) A legal right to use water of a natural stream or body of water for a general or specific purpose.
Water table The location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water.
Water tap The connection point where the home water line connects to the main municipal water system.
waterproofed cement Cement interground with a water-repellent material such as calcium stearate. See also hydraulic cement.
waterproofing Any of a number of materials applied to various surfaces, e.g. a building foundation, to prevent the infiltration of water.
Water-repellent preservative A liquid applied to wood to give the wood water repellant properties
Weatherization Work on a building exterior in order to reduce energy consumption for heating or cooling.  Work involving adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, caulking cracks and putting on weather-stripping.
Weatherstrip Narrow sections of thin metal or other material installed to prevent the infiltration of air and moisture around windows and doors.
web (1) That part of a beam or truss between the flanges or chords, used mainly in resisting shear stresses. (2) The walls connecting the face shells of a hollow concrete masonry unit.
Weep holes Small holes in storm window frames that allow moisture to escape.
welding cables The pair of cables supplying electric energy for use in welding. One lead connects a welding machine with an electrode; the other lead connects the machine with the work.
western pine Any of several pines growing in the western United States or Canada, including ponderosa, sugar, and western (Idaho) white pine.
wet cell batteries The electrolyte of the battery is a liquid bath.
Whole structure fan A fan designed to move air through and out of a home and normally installed in the ceiling.
WI-FI Wireless protocol used in IT networks. Allows users to connect to networks without wires/cables reducing IT infrastructure costs and allowing connections in areas where cables cannot be installed i.e. outdoors, historical buildings, transport.
Wind bracing Metal straps or wood blocks installed diagonally on the inside of a wall from bottom to top plate, to prevent the wall from twisting, racking, or falling over “domino” fashion.
wind tunnel A structure through which a controlled stream of wind is directed at a model in order to study the probable effects of wind on a structure.
Window buck Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this “buck” during the siding stage of construction
Window frame The stationary part of a window unit; window sash fits into the window frame.
window of time analysis A method of measuring labor productivity losses on a specific project by comparing labor productivity achieved during a period of time when work activities are subject to disruptive events and conditions, versus productivity during a period of time without disruption.
Window sash The operating or movable part of a window; the sash is made of window panes and their  border.
windtight Construction terminology to indicate that all openings and cracks in exterior walls have been sealed.
wire cloth A stiff fabric of woven wire, usually having a larger mesh than insect screen material, and used as reinforcing in plaster, in sieves, and as a leaf catcher in gutters. The number of openings per square inch designates the fineness of the mesh.
Wire nut A plastic device used to connect bare wires together.
wireframe modeling In computer-aided design, the representation of an object in either a two-dimensional or three-dimensional form, using lines, circles, arcs, and other similar entities to create an outline of the part.
WO Work order.
Wonderboard ™ A panel made out of concrete and fiberglass usually used as a ceramic tile backing material. Commonly used on bathtub decks.
work The construction and services required by the Contract Documents, whether completed or partially completed, and includes all other labor, materials, equipment and services provided or to be provided by the Contractor to fulfill the Contractor’s obligations. The Work may constitute the whole or a part of the Project. (1) All labor and materials required to complete a project in accordance with the contract documents.
Work Order System See CMMS.
worksheet The paper on which the calculations supporting the final estimate are recorded.
Workstation Defined as any type of space designated for occupant usage (either open or enclosed area), where an
occupant can be seated. (Source: Project Management Benchmarks, IFMA © 2002)
WOTUS Waters of the United States
woven-wire fabric A prefabricated steel reinforcement for concrete composed of cold-drawn steel wires mechanically twisted together to form hexagonally shaped openings.
Wrapped drywall Areas that get complete drywall covering, as in the doorway openings of bifold and bipass closet doors.
wrecking The process of demolishing a structure.
wrecking ball A heavy steel ball or concrete mass on a heavy chain or cable swung by a crane to demolish parts of a structure.
X experimental
XLP Cross-linked polyethylene
y yard
Y yttrium, wye, Y-branch
yard (1) A unit of length in the English system equal to 3′. (2) A term applied to that part of a plot not occupied by the building or driveway.
Z modulus of section
z zero, zone
Z-bar flashing Bent, galvanized metal flashing that’s installed above a horizontal trim board of an exterior window, door, or brick run. It prevents water from getting behind the trim/brick and into the home.
Zone The section of a building that is served by one heating or cooling loop because it has noticeably distinct heating or cooling needs. Also, the section of property that will be watered from a lawn sprinkler system.
Zone valve A device, usually placed near the heater or cooler, which controls the flow of water or steam to parts of the building; it is controlled by a zone thermostat.
Zoning A governmental process and specification which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure. Also see building codes.
zoning permit A permit issued by municipal or local government officials authorizing the use of a piece of land for a stated purpose.