CM Glossary

Glossary of Construction Management Terms
Construction Management Standards of Practice, 2010 Edition.
Construction Management Association of America, 2010, pages 3-14.


  A supplement to documents, issued prior to taking receipt of bids, for the purpose of clarifying, correcting, or otherwise changing bid documents previously issued.
Additional Services
  Services provided in addition to those specifically designated as basic services in the agreement between the owner and CM. Also known as Supplemental Services.
  A legal relationship by which one party is empowered and obligated to act on behalf of another party.
Agency Construction Management
  A form of Constructon Management performed in a defined relationship between the CM and owner. The agency form of Construction Management establishes a specific role of the CM acting as the owner's principal agent in connedtion with the project/program.
  A document setting forth the relationships and obligations between two parties, as the CM and owner or contractor and owner. It may incorporate other documents by reference.
Apparent Low Bidder
  The bidder who has submitted the lowest bid for a division of work described in bid documents, a proposal form, or proposed contract.
Approved Bidders List
  The list of contractors that have been prequalified for the purpose of submitting responsible, competitive bids.
Approved Changes
  Changes in the contract documents that have been subjected to an agreed upon change approval process and have been approved by the party empowered to approve such changes.
See Also: Change Order
As-Built Drawings
  Drawings (plans) that show the work, as actually installed. Also known as Record Drawings.
At-Risk Construction Management
  A delivery method which entails a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The construction manager acts as consultant to the owner in the development and design phases, but as the equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase. When a construction manager is bound to a GMP, the most fundamental character of the relationship is changed. In addition to acting in the owner's interest, the construction manager also protects him/herself.
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Basic Services
  Scope of service as defined in the original agreement between owner and CM as basic services.
Beneficial Occupancy
  The use of the constructed facility by the owner prior to final completion of the construction.
  An offer to perform the work described in contract documents at a specified cost.
Bid Bond
  A pledge from a surety to pay the bond amount to the owner in the event the Bidder defaults on its commitment to enter into a contract to perform the Work described in the Bid Documents for the bid price
Bid Documents
  The documents issued to the contractor(s) by the owner which describe the proposed Work and contract terms. Bid documents typically include: drawings, specifications, contract forms, general and supplementary general conditions, proposal or bid forms, and other information.
  The degree to which a set of Bid Documents could be reasonably expected to permit a bidder to establish a competitive price to perform the Work as defined in the Bid Documents.
Biddability Review
  A formal review of the contract documents, addendum, and reference documents to be accomplished with respect to the local construction marketplace and the bid packaging strategy so as to eliminate ambiguities, errors, omissions, and contradictions, for the purpose of minimizing bid prices in the procurement phase and disputes during construction.
  A pledge from a surety guaranteeing the performance of the obligation defined in the bond, including the completion of work or payment of the bond amount to the obligee (owner or contractor) in the event of a default, or non-payment by a principal (contractor or subcontractor), as with bid, performance and labor and material bonds.
  Additional compensation paid or to be paid to a contractor by the owner as a reward for accomplishing predetermined objectives that are over and above the basic requirements of the contract between the owner and contractor.
  The dollar amount allocated by the owner for a project/program.
Budget Estimate
  An estimate of the cost of work based on preliminary information, with a qualified degree of accuracy.
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Change Order

A written agreement or directive between contracted parties which represents an addition, deletion, or revision to the contract documents, identifies the change in price and time and describes the nature (scope) of the work involved. Also known as Contract Modifications.
See Also: Contract Modifications

Changed Conditions
  Conditions or circumstances, physical or otherwise, which alter the conditions or circumstances on which the contract documents were based.
  A formal demand for compensation, filed by a contractor or the owner with the other party, in accordance with provisions of the contract documents.
CM Fee
  A form of contractual payment for services, where the CM is paid a fee for services performed.
Code of Accounts
  The owner's written description of the cost elements of the project, used for the owner's accounting purposes.
  Start up, calibration, and certification of a facility.
  An amount of money reserved by the owner to pay for unforseen changes in the work or increases in cost.
  The ease with which a project can be built, based upon the clarity, consistency, and completeness of the contract documents for bidding, administration, and interpretation to achieve overall project objectives.
Constructibility Reviews
  The process of evaluating the construction documents for clarity, consistency, completeness, and ease of construction to achieve overall project objectives.
Construction Budget
  The sum established, normally during the planning or design phase, as available for construction of the project.
Construction Cost

All costs attributed to the construction of the project, including the cost of contracts with the contractor(s), construction support items, general condition items, all purchased labor, material and fixed equipment.
See Also: Cost of Construction

Construction Management
  A professional management practice consisting of an array of services applied to construction projects and programs through the planning, design, construction and post construction phases for the purpose of achieving project objectives including the management of quality, cost, time and scope.
Construction Manager (CM)
  A professional Construction Manager (CM) acts as an extension of staff to the Owner and manages the entire project with pre-planning, design, construction, engineering and management expertise that can assure the best possible project outcome no matter what type of project delivery method used. A CM is NOT a general contractor. Few owners maintain the staff resources necessary to pay close, continuing attention to every detail--yet these details can "make or break" a project. CM is often used interchangeably with Project Manager.
Construction Management Plan (CMP)
  The written document prepared by the CM, which clearly identifies the roles, responsibilities and authority of the project team and the procedures to be followed during construction.
Construction Schedule

A graphic, tabular or narrative representation or depiction of the time of construction of the project, showing activities and duration of activities in sequential order.

Contract Administration
  The function of implementing the terms and conditions of a contract, based upon established systems, policies, and procedures.
  The organization or individual who undertakes responsibility for the performance of the work, in accordance with plans, specifications and contract documents, providing and controlling the labor, material and equipment to accomplish the work.
Construction Contract Documents

The documents which provide the basis for the contract entered into between parties. They typically include the bid documents updated to reflect the agreement between the owner and the contractor(s).

Cost Control

The function of limiting the cost of the construction project to the established budget based upon owner-approved procedures and authority.

Cost Management

The act of managing all or partial costs of a planning, design, and construction process to remain within the budget.

Cost of Construction

All costs attributed to the construction of the project, including the cost of contracts with the Contractor(s), constructin support items, general condition items, all purchased labor, material and fixed equipment.

Critical Date Schedule

A schedule representing important events along the path to project completion. All milestones may not be equally significant. The most significant are termed "major milestones" and usually represent the completion of a group of activities.
See Also: Milestone Schedule


Critical Path Method (CPM)
  A scheduling technique used to plan and control a project. CPM combines all relevant information into a single plan defining the sequence and duration of operations, and depicting the interrelationship of the work elements required to complete the project. The critical path is defined as the longest sequence of activities in a network which establishes the minimum length of time for accomplishment of the end event of the project. Arrow Diagramming Method (ADM) and Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) are both common forms of CPM scheduling.
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  Design-Build is a project delivery method which combines architectural and engineering design services with construction performance under one contract agreement.
  The individual or organization that performs the design and prepares plans and specifications for the work to be performed. The designer can be an architect, an engineer, or an organization which combines professional services.
Design - Schematic
  Traditionally the first stage of the designer’s basic services. In the schematic stage, the designer ascertains the requirements of the project and prepares schematic design studies consisting of drawings and other documents illustrating the scale and relationships of the project.
Design - Preliminary
  The transition from the schematic phase to the completion of the design development. During this stage ancillary space is developed and dimensions are finalized. Outline specifications are developed into technical specifications; sections are delineated and elevations are defined. Also known as Design Development.
See Also: Design Development
Design - Final
  The stage of the design process when drawings and specifications are completed for construction bid purposes. It is preceded by the preliminary design stage, and followed by the procurement phase. The designation used by designers for the last part of the design process prior to procurement.
Direct Costs
  The field costs directly attributed to the construction of a project, including labor, material, equipment, subcontracts and their associated costs.
  Graphic representations showing the relationships, geometry and dimensions of the elements of the work.
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Estimated Cost to Complete
  The current estimate of the remaining costs to be incurred on a project at a specific point in time.
Estimated Final Cost
  The anticipated cost of a project or project element when it is complete. The sum of the cost to date and the estimated cost to complete.
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Fast Track
  The process of dividing the design of a project into phases in such a manner as to permit construction to start before the entire design phase is complete. The overlapping of the construction phase with the design phase.
Field Order
  An order issued at the site by the owner or CM to clarify and/or require the contractor(s) to perform work not included in the contract documents. A field order normally represents a minor change not involving a change in contract price or time and may or may not be the basis of a change order.
Final Completion
  The date on which the terms of all construction contracts have been satisfied.
  Contingency time that exists on a schedule of activities. It is measured by comparing the early and late dates on a start and finish basis.
Force Account
  Directed work accomplished by the contractor outside of the contract agreement.
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General Conditions
  A section of general clauses in the Contract Specifications that establish how the project is to be administered. Included are obligations such as providing temporary work, insurance, field offices, etc.
  A legally enforceable assurance by a third party of satisfactory performance, quality or quantity of products or work during a specific period of time stated and included in the contract in the event the product or work fails to perform properly
Guaranteed Maximum Price
  A contractual form of agreement wherein a maximum price for the work is established based on an agreed-to scope.
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  A claim, encumbrance, or charge against or an interest in property to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation.
Life Cycle Cost
  Life cycle costs include all costs incident to the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and demolition of a facility, or system, for a given life expectancy, all in terms of present value.
Liquidated Damages
  An amount of money usually set on a per-day basis, which the contractor agrees to pay the owner for delay in completing the Work in accordance with the contract documents
Long-Lead Items
  The identification given to material and equipment having an extended delivery time and which may be considered for early procurement and purchase. Items which would be delivered too late for timely installation if their procurement or purchase were included as part of the procurement for the entire contract or project.
Long-Lead Time
  The time interval between purchase and delivery of long‑lead items.
Low Bidder
  The bidder who has submitted the lowest bid, which is determined to be responsive and responsible for a division of work described in a bid document, proposal form or contract.
Lump Sum Fee
  A fixed amount that includes the cost of overhead and profit paid, in addition to all other direct and indirect costs of performing work.
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Master Schedule
  An executive level summary schedule identifying the major components of a project, their sequence and durations. The schedule can be in the form of a network, Milestone Schedule, or bar chart.
Milestone Schedule
  A schedule representing important events along the path to project completion. All milestones may not be equally significant. The most significant are termed "major milestones" and usually represent the completion of a group of activities.
Multiple Prime Contracts
  Separate contractors contracting directly with the owner for specific and designated elements of the work.
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Non-Conforming Work
  Work that does not meet the requirements of the contract documents.
Notice of Award
  A formal document informing an individual or organization of successfully securing a contract.
Notice to Proceed
  A formal document and/or point in the project's life cycle authorizing an individual or organization to commence work under its contract. The issuance of the notice to proceed typically marks the end of a procurement phase.
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Owner Construction Management
  A form of Construction Management that does not use an independent construction management organization as a team member. The owner performs all required Construction Management services with in‑house staff.
Owner's Representative
  The individual representing the owner on the project team.
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  A punitive measure, usually associated with failure to fulfill a contractual obligation.
Performance Bond
  A pledge from a surety to pay the bond amount to the Obligee (owner or contractor) in the event of a default in performance of contractual obligations.
Phased Construction
  An incremental approach to construction or design and construction. Each overlapping or sequential phase or element to have a defined work scope and to be considered as a separate project.
  Also known as "Drawings".
See Also: Drawings
Post-Construction Phase
  The period following substantial completion.
Pre-Design Phase
  The period before schematic design commences, during which the project is initiated and the program is developed; the planning and conceptual phase.
Prime Contract
  A direct contract with an owner. It can be a single contract and/or include the work specified for several contracts depending upon division of work.
Prime Contractor
  A contractor who has a contract with an owner.
Professional Services
  Services provided by a professional or by an organization that has specific competence in a field of endeavor that requires professional (and technical) knowledge and capabilities and that meets recognized standards of performance.
Program Management
  The practice of professional construction management applied to a capital improvement program of one or more projects from inception to completion. Program Management provides additional benefits such as standardization, leveraged purchasing and economies of scale.
See Also: Construction Management
Progress Meeting
  A meeting dedicated to the subject of progress during any phase of project delivery.
Progress Payment
  Partial payment of the contract amount periodically paid by the owner, upon approval by the CM, verifying that portions of the Work have been accomplished.
  The total effort required in all phases from conception through design and construction completion to accomplish the owner's objectives.
Project Budget
  The sum or target figure established to cover all the owner's costs of the project. It includes the cost of construction and all other costs such as land, legal and professional fees, interest, and other project‑related costs.
Project Cost
  The actual cost of the entire project.
Project Management
  The use of integrated systems and procedures by a team of professionals during project design and construction. As applied to a construction project, Project Management can be used synonymously with Construction Management.
Project Management Plan
  A document prepared by the CM, and approved by the owner, which defines the owner's goals ans expectations including scope, budget, schedule, and quality and the strategies to be used to fulfill the requirements of the project.
Project Procedures Manual
  A detailed definition of the project team responsibilities and authority, project systems, and procedures.
Project Team
  Initially consists of the owner, design professional, and CM. Thereafter, as prime construction contractors are engaged they are added to the Team.
Project Team Meeting
  A meeting dedicated to all aspects of the project, involving the project team members (owner, design professional, CM, contractor(s)).
Punch List
  A list made near the completion of the construction work indicating items of work that remain unfinished, do not meet quality or quantity requirements as specified or are yet to be performed by the contractor prior to completing the terms of the contract.
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  The degree to which the project and its components meet the owner's expectations, objectives, standards, and intended purpose; determined by measuring conformity of the project to the plans, specifications, and applicable standards.
Quality Assurance (QA)
  The application of planned and systematic methods to verify that quality control procedures are being effectively implemented.
Quality Control (QC)
  The continuous review, certification, inspection, and testing of project components, including persons, systems, materials, documents, techniques, and workmanship to determine whether or not such components conform to the plans, specifications, and applicable standards.
Quality Management
  The process of planning, organization, implementation, monitoring and documenting of a system of policies and procedures that coordinate and direct relevant project resources and activities in a manner that will achieve quality.
See Also: Quality
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Record Drawings
  Drawings (plans), prepared after construction is complete that represent the work, accomplished under the contract.
Recovery Schedule
  The schedule that depicts action(s) and special effort(s) required to recover lost time in the original Master Schedule. It can depict activities of any member of the project Team.
Request for Change Proposal
  A delineation and/or narrative issued by the CM to the contractor that describes a proposed change to the contract documents for purposes of establishing cost and time impacts. May also be known as Bulletin, Request for Information, and Request for Quote.
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Schedule of Values
  A list of basic contract segments in both labor and material, where each line item consists of a description of a portion of work and a related cost and the sum of the lines of the contract equals the total contract price. Generally used to determine progress payments to contractor(s).
  Identification of all requirements of a project or contract.
Scope Changes
  Changes that expand or reduce the requirements of the project during design or construction.
Shop Drawings
  Drawings typically prepared by the contractor, based upon the contract documents and provided in sufficient detail that indicate to the designer that the contractor intends to construct the referenced work in a manner that is consistent with the design intent and the contract documents.
Short Term Construction Activity Plan
  The planning and scheduling of prime contractor(s) activities on site, for the short duration or "foreseeable future" usually developed on a week-by-week basis using milestones for planning intervals and coordinated by Construction Management personnel. Also known as Rolling Schedule, Look Ahead Schedule, and Short Interval Schedule
Special Conditions (of the Contract for Construction)
  Also known as "Supplementary General Conditions".
See Also: Supplementary General Conditions
Special Consultants
  The designation for various professionals, including engineers, architects, designers and other experts, who provide expertise in specialized fields.
  The detailed written descriptions of materials, equipment, systems, and required workmanship and other qualitative information pertaining to the work.
  The period prior to occupancy when systems are activated and checked out, and the owner's operating and maintenance staff assumes the control and operation of the systems.
  A contractor who has a contract with a prime contractor to perform work.
  Transmittals of information as required by the contract documents.
Substantial Completion
  The date, certified by the design professional or CM or both, that a contractor has reached that stage of completion when the owner accepts use of the facility for its intended purposes, even though all work is not completed.
Supplementary General Conditions
  Additions and/or modifications to the General Conditions, which are part of the Bid Documents and/or contract documents.
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  The application of specific procedures to determine if work has been completed in the prescribed manner and at the required levels of workmanship.
See Also: Non-conforming Work
Trade Contractors
  Construction contractors who specialize in providing and/or installing specific elements of the overall construction requirements of a complete project.
Trade-Off Study
  The study to define the comparative values and risks of a substitution or exchange of a design component. The trade-off can identify both monetary and functional values. Also known as Alternatives Analysis.


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Value Analysis
  Also known as "Value Engineering".
See Also: Value Engineering
Value Engineering
  A specialized cost control technique, which utilizes a systematic and creative analysis of the functions of a project or operation to determine how best to achieve the necessary function, performance, and reliability at the minimum life cycle cost.


  Assurance by a party that it will assume stipulated responsibility for its own work.
  All construction-incorporating labor, material and equipment required by the contract documents.







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