The employment of methods of completing work in a shorter duration than planned or required by the contract. Such methods can include overtime work, additional equipment, weekend work, additional crews, or double shift work.

Acceptance Testing

When a full commissioning program is not justified, specific pieces of equipment or systems can be subject to acceptance testing for purposes of owner acceptance. Acceptance testing requirements are clearly identified in contract documents. Training owner personnel in operation and maintenance is typically part of the acceptance test.

Activity Duration

The length of time, from start to finish, estimated or actual, in working or calendar day time units.

Actual Pricing

The pricing is done while the changed work is being performed and, thus, represents actual costs based on job cost records of man hours consumed and material and equipment used. Comprehensive cost records are imperative. On force account or time and material (T&M) work, the work should also be documented and verified daily by both the CM and the contractor.


A supplement to documents, issued prior to taking receipt of bids, for the purpose of clarifying, correcting, or otherwise changing bid documents previously issued.

Advanced Pricing

Pricing prepared in advance of work performance

Agency Construction Management

A form of construction 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 connection with the project/program.

Allocable Cost

A cost that is assignable or chargeable to one or more activities on a project.

Analogous Estimating

Uses actual costs of similar previous projects as a basis for estimating the cost of a project. When using this form of estimating, some judgment may have to be applied insofar as project location, project timing, etc.

Approved Bidders List

The list of contractors that have been prequalified for the purpose of submitting responsible, competitive bids.

As Allowed

Whenever the term “as ordered,” “as directed,” “as required,” “as allowed,” “as approved,” or terms of like effect or import is used in the Contract Documents to describe a requirement, direction, review, or judgment of the CM or designer as to the work, it is intended that such requirement, direction, review, or judgment shall be solely to evaluate the work for compliance with the Contract Documents. The use of any such term or adjective shall not be deemed to assign to the owner, CM, or designer any duty or authority to supervise, control, or direct the furnishing or performance of the work.

As Directed

Whenever the term “as ordered,” “as directed,” “as required,” “as allowed,” “as approved,” or terms of like effect or import is used in the Contract Documents to describe a requirement, direction, review or judgment of the CM or designer as to the work, it is intended that such requirement, direction, review, or judgment shall be solely to evaluate the work for compliance with the Contract Documents. The use of any such term or adjective shall not be deemed to assign to the owner, CM, or designer any duty or authority to supervise, control, or direct the furnishing or performance of the work.

As Required

Whenever the term “as ordered,” “as directed,” “as required,” “as allowed,” “as approved,” or terms of like effect or import is used in the Contract Documents to describe a requirement, direction, review or judgment of the CM or designer as to the work, it is intended that such requirement, direction, review, or judgment shall be solely to evaluate the work for compliance with the Contract Documents. The use of any such term or adjective shall not be deemed to assign to the owner, CM, or designer any duty or authority to supervise, control, or direct the furnishing or performance of the work.

At-Risk Construction Management (CM-at-Risk)

A delivery method that entails a commitment by the CM for construction performance to deliver the project within a defined budget and schedule, often for a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The CM acts as consultant to the owner in the predesign and design phases, but as the legal equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase. When a CM is bound to a price, either fixed or a GMP, the most fundamental character of the relationship is changed.


A sanctioning or approval by an individual or a body with the right, authority, and power to do so.

Award Fee

A contractual provision by which the owner determined the fee paid to the contractor on the basis of performance on the project.



A billing made to collect an expense incurred in a previous billing period. A backcharge may be an adjustment due to an error, a cost caused by defective or deficient work by the contractor or it may be to collect an expense that was not billable until a later period due to timing issues.

Basic Services

Scope of service as defined in the original agreement between the owner and CM as basic services.

Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)

A systematic process for calculating and comparing benefits and costs of a project, decision, or government policy. BCA has two purposes: 1. To determine if it is a sound investment/decision (justification/feasibility); 2. To provide a basis for comparing projects. It involves comparing the total expected cost of each option against the total expected benefits, to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs, and by how much. Benefits and costs are expressed in monetary terms and are adjusted for the time-value of money, so that all flows of benefits and flows of project costs over time (which tend to occur at different points in time) are expressed on a common basis in terms of their net present value.

Best Estimate

Usually, but not necessarily, the most likely value (the value that occurs most frequently in a set of values).

Bid Bond

A pledge from a surety to pay up to 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. The bond is designed to protect the owner for the difference in price between the accepted bid and the next lowest acceptable bid.


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.

Bidding Documents

The advertisement for bids, instructions for bidders, information available to bidders, bid form with all attachments, and proposed contract documents (including all addenda issued prior to receipt of bids).

BIM 3D (parametric modeling)

A digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility that serves as a superior design environment when compared to traditional 2D drawings. 3D modeling applications have the ability to capture design intent parametrically, which facilitates model creation and editing and therefore reduces the likelihood of coordination errors.

BIM 5D (Cost Management)

A 5D BIM model (5D is 3D + schedule + cost) can display potential sequences of every element in the BIM model attributed to what it will actually represent in terms of resources and respective costs. This capability will allow a parametric and dynamic quantity take-off for bills of materials, which will result in more accurate estimates.

Boiler Plate

A popular slang term used to describe the standard language or template of a set of contract documents (generally including the General Conditions and Requirements, Special Provisions, and Instructions to Bidders).


Additional compensation paid or to be paid to the 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.

Bottom-Up Models

Uses a method of estimation that estimates each component of the project separately and the results are combined (or rolled up) to produce an estimate of the entire project.

Budget Authorization

An administrative action by management approving an operating budget for use on the project.

Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP)

The sum of the budgets for completed portions of in-process work, plus the appropriate portion of the budget for level of effort and apportioned effort for the relevant time period. BCWP is a term commonly used in Earned Value processes.


The process of translating approved or negotiated resource requirements (manpower, equipment, and materials) into a funding profile or time-phased financial targets and goals.

Building Information Model (BIM)

The process of generating and managing building data with a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. BIM includes building geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, and quantities and properties of building components. The process includes three-dimensional (3D), real-time, dynamic building modeling software, and can include time as a fourth dimension (4D), and cost capability as the fifth dimension (5D) for model-based estimating.


Capital Budgeting

A systematic procedure for classifying, evaluating and ranking proposed capital expenditures for the purposes of comparison and selection, combined with the analysis of the financial requirements.

Carbon Footprint

The overall volume, over a specified period, of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, or product.

Cash Flow

The net flow of dollars into or out of a project. The algebraic sum, in any time period, of all cash receipts, expenses, and investments.


Alteration or variation to a scope of work and/or the schedule for completing the work.

Change in Sequence

A change in the order of work initially specified or planned by the contractor.

Changed Conditions

Conditions or circumstances, physical or otherwise, which differ from the conditions or circumstances on which the contract documents were based.

Clash detection

Since the 3D model represents virtual true space, a BIM process known as “clash detection” can be utilized to check for interferences by searching for intersecting volumes. It is often the case to use a third-party application not only to clash a single model but combine and clash multiple models from disparate sources in a common environment.

Code of Accounts

A systematic numeric accounting method of identifying various categories of costs incurred in the progress of a project. The segregation of engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, and associated project costs into elements for accounting purposes, for example.

Commissioning Agent (CA)

The Commissioning Agent (CxA) is responsible for developing and coordinating the execution of the Commissioning Plan, and for observation and for documentation of performance that is, determining whether systems are functioning in accordance with the documented design intent and in accordance with the contract documents. The CxA is not responsible for design concept, design criteria, compliance with codes, design or general construction scheduling, cost estimating, or construction management. (Commissioning Agent is often synonymous with Commissioning Authority.) The CxA should be an independent, third party consultant that is directly accountable to the owner.

Computerized Estimating

A computer software system that has national cost databases embedded within them for estimating costs. The system can develop a conceptual estimate based on the data contained within the software by inserting conceptual project information into the computer models.

Configuration Control or Management

The systematic evaluation, coordination, approval or disapproval and implementation of all approved changes in the project after formal establishment of the project configuration.

Constructibility Reviews

The process of evaluating the construction documents for clarity, consistency, completeness, and ease of construction to facilitate the achievement of overall project objectives.

Construction Contract Documents

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

Construction Management

A professional management practice applied to construction projects from project inception to completion for the purpose of controlling time, cost, scope, and quality.

Construction Management-at-Risk (CM-at-Risk)

A delivery method that entails a commitment by the CM for construction performance to deliver the project within a defined budget and schedule, often for a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The CM acts as consultant to the owner in the predesign and design phases, but as the legal equivalent of a general contractor during the construction phase. When a CM is bound to a price, either fixed or a GMP, the most fundamental character of the relationship is changed.

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.


Supplies and materials used up during construction including fuel and lubricants, utilities, welding supplies, worker’s supplies, medical supplies, etc.

Contingency Fund

Money set aside to provide for unforeseen expenditures or for anticipated expenditures of an uncertain amount.

Contract Budget

The cost of the contract plus the actual or estimated cost for authorized changes, which have not yet been fully priced.

Contract Change Proposal

A formal price proposal to perform work changed under the contract.

Contract Documents

The collective term used to define the contract between an owner and the contractor. This includes the signed agreement, as well as, the Instruction to Bidders, the Contract, the General Conditions, any Supplemental Conditions furnished to the contractor, the drawings and specifications and all exhibits thereto, addendum, amendments, attachments, modifications, and change orders issued in accordance with the General Conditions, and all other documents specified as part of the project. The documents may also include references to standard specifications, manuals or codes of a technical society, organization, or association or to the laws or regulations of a governmental authority in effect at the time of opening of bids, except as may be otherwise specifically stated.

Contract Time

The number of days included in the Contract Documents for completion of the work specified therein.

Contractor Price Indexes

A group of specialized indexes indicating a normalized average (typically a weighted average) of prices for a given class of goods or services in a given region, during a given interval of time. They are designed to help to compare how prices, taken differ between time periods or geographical locations.

Cost Analysis

A historical and/or predictive method of ascertaining for what purposes expenditures on a project were made and utilizing this information to project the cost of a project as well as costs on future projects.

Cost Breakdown Structure

A system for subdividing a project into system elements and sub-elements, functions and sub-functions and cost categories, to provide for more effective management and control of the project. See Work Breakdown Structure.

Cost Effectiveness Analysis

A method of comparison utilized when the benefits of the alternatives cannot be quantified in terms of dollars.

Cost Growth

The net change in an estimated or actual cost amount over a base figure previously established.

Cost Management System

An accounting system established to monitor a company's costs, providing management with information on operations and performance.

Cost of Construction

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.

Cost of the Work

The sum of all costs necessarily incurred and paid by the contractor in the proper performance of the work. CMAR-3; page 27; 11.3.4 c2004

Cost Performance Index (CPI)

A cost efficiency factor representing the relationship between the actual costs expended and the value of the physical work performed. (Earned workhours or dollars-to-date) / (Actual workhours or dollars-to-date) = BCWP/ACWP

Cost Reimbursement

Contract pricing method under which allowable and reasonable costs incurred by a contractor in the performance of a contract are reimbursed in accordance with the terms of the contract.

Cost Underrun

The amount by which actual contract cost is less than either the estimated contract cost or the final limitation (ceiling) of the contract.

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.


Date of Final Completion

The date determined by the CM in consultation with the designer when all work is complete, accessible, operable, and usable by the owner and all parts, systems and site work are complete and cleaned for the owner’s full use, and all drawings, certificates, bonds, guarantees, releases or waivers of liens, and documents required by the Contract Documents have been provided to the owner by the contractor.

Defective Cost or Pricing Data

Certified cost and pricing data subsequently determined to have been inaccurate, incomplete, or not current as of the effective date of the certification.

Delay, Compensable

Delay that results from the owner's actions or inactions that entitle the contractor to both a time extension and delay damages.

Delay, Excusable

An unforeseeable delay caused by an event beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the contractor. Excusable delays may be compensable or non-compensable depending upon the terms of the contract.

Design – Preliminary

The transition from the schematic stage to the completion of 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.

Design Document Review

The periodic review of design documents for the purpose of managing cost, time, quality, and risks.

Design Phase Cost Management

Provision of ongoing estimating and cost management services to ensure that the design budget is preserved as the designs are developed by the designer,


A project delivery method which combines architectural and engineering design services with construction performance under one contract agreement.

Detailed Estimating

The logical buildup of estimated hours and materials by use of design documents, or other data whereby each operation is assigned a time value.

Differing Site Conditions

Either a subsurface or latent physical condition at the site that differs materially from the conditions represented in the contract documents or a condition that differs materially from conditions generally encountered and recognized as inherent in the work.


An event that hinders a party from proceeding with construction as it was planned.


The time planned to accomplish an activity.


Earned Hours

The time in standard hours credited to a workman or group of workmen as a result of their completion of a given task or group of tasks.

Earned Value Calculation

A method for determining overall percent complete for a combination of unlike work tasks or an entire project. Under the earned value concept, a direct relationship is established between percent complete of an activity and the budget for that activity. See Cost Engineering.

Empirical Cost Estimating

The step-by-step creation of a cost estimate based only on the skills, knowledge, intuition and working files of a proficient cost estimator.

Energy Modeling

Energy modeling or simulation models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilating, and other energy flows as well as water in buildings.

Engineering Analysis

The application of scientific analytic principles and processes to reveal the properties and state of a system, device, or mechanism under study.


A legal term referring to the legitimacy of contractual and factual bases of claims by owners, contractors, and other parties to construction contracts.

Errors or Omissions

Design deficiencies in the plans or specifications that must be corrected in order for the project to function or be built as intended.


To evaluate and calculate the approximate quantity, cost or extent of a given item or task. Calculation of the total resources required to perform a task and the cost of such resources.

Estimated Cost at Completion

The current estimate of what the final cost will be for a specific task consisting of actual costs-to-date plus the estimated cost of the remaining work to be accomplished.

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.


Factored Items

Labor or material estimated by the application of a factor to a labor base of hours or dollars.

Feasibility Study

The study of the applicability or desirability of any management or procedural system from the standpoint of advantages versus disadvantages in any given case.

Field Labor Overhead

The sum of the cost of payroll burden, temporary construction facilities, consumables, field supervision and construction tools and equipment directly related to the completion of the project.

Field Overhead (replaces "Field Labor Overhead")

Expenses incurred by a contractor at the job site in support of a project that cannot be directly associated with a specific work item such as project management staff, job site office and temporary utilities.

Fixed Fee

A set amount (fee) paid for work or a service, that does not change with the time the work takes or the scope of the service provided.


Contingency time that exists on a schedule of activities. It represents the amount of time that activities may be delayed without effecting the end date of the schedule. It is measured by comparing the early start and late start, or early finish and late finish dates, of an activity.

Forward Pricing

The change order pricing is done prior to the start of, or early in, the performance of the changed work. The estimates of costs might itemize production rates, crew composition, hours, and equipment


General Overhead

The fixed cost in the operation of a business. General overhead is most often associated with office, plant, equipment, staffing and expenses thereof, maintained by a contractor for general business operations, which are not specifically applicable to any given job or project.

Green Building Initiative (GBI)

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate the adoption of building practices that result in energy-efficient, healthier, and environmentally sustainable buildings by promoting credible and practical green building approaches for residential and commercial construction.

Greywater System

Greywater is wash water: bath, dish, and laundry water excluding toilet wastes and garbage. A greywater system is designed to assure isolation of greywater collection and treatment from blackwater (sewage), which contains higher concentrations of nitrogen and bacteria.

Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) Contract

A type of contract commonly used in the private sector and increasingly in the public sector and often in conjunction with the fast-track process (the overlapping of the design and construction activities). It is often associated with a CM-at-Risk delivery method. Under the GMP concept, a guaranteed maximum price is established before construction starts. The contractor agrees to perform within a cap or ceiling that is commonly based on the completion and approval of the preliminary design stage drawings and specifications.


High Performance Building

A building that integrates and optimizes all major high performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity.

Home Office Cost

Those necessary costs involved in the conduct of everyday business which can be directly assigned to specific projects or end products, such as engineering, procurement, expediting, legal fees, audit fees, inspection, estimating, taxes, travel, reproduction, communications, etc.


Impact Cost

Added expenses due to the indirect results of a changed condition, delay, or changes that are a consequence of the initial event. Examples of such costs include premium time, lost efficiency and extended overhead costs.

Indirect Cost

Expenses incurred as a result of delays or other impacts and which expenses are not directly allocable to a specific work item such as field and home office overhead.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

A project delivery process that integrates a project’s design, construction, and operational functions through a team-based approach that includes the designer, owner, CM, key technical consultants, the contractor, and key subcontractors. Project risks are fairly allocated among the stakeholders who work as one to achieve faster delivery, lower costs, and avoid litigation.

ISO 14000

An international environmental management system standard. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental organization and the world's largest developer and publisher of voluntary International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 159 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. The U.S. is represented by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The ISO 14000 family addresses various aspects of environmental management. The very first two standards, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 14004:2004 deal with environmental management systems (EMS). ISO 14001:2004 provides the requirements for an EMS and ISO 14004:2004 gives general EMS guidelines. Other ISO 14000 standards and guidelines address issues including labeling, performance evaluation, lifecycle analysis, communication, and auditing.




Labor Burden

Taxes and insurance the employer is required to pay by law, based on labor payroll, or on behalf of or for the benefit of labor.

Labor Productivity

The rate of output of a workman or groups of workers per unit of time, usually compared to an established standard or expected rate of output.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED®)

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices and is a consensus guideline developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy a graduated performance-based rating system of earned points with four increasingly rigorous levels of attainment: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.


LEED Accredited Professional, the professional credential awarded to an individual that has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the LEED green building rating system by successfully passing the LEED AP examination. The LEED professional credential program is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute, an independent organization that provides third-party certification.


The consecutive, interlinked stages of a product’s production and use, beginning with raw materials acquisition and manufacture and continuing with its fabrication, manufacture, construction, use, and depletion, concluding with any of a variety of recovery, recycling, or waste management options.

Lifecycle Cost

All costs incident to the consecutive, interlinked stages of a product’s production and use, beginning with raw materials acquisition, manufacture, and continuing with its fabrication, manufacture, construction, use, and depletion, concluding with any of a variety of recovery, recycling, or waste management options.

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.

Location Indexes

An adjustment index used to estimate the costs of a project from one location to another. Typical indexes are compiled by Engineering News Record, and R. S. Means Construction Cost Data, etc.

Low Bidder

The responsible bidder who has submitted the lowest bid, which is determined to be responsive to the request for bids for a division of work described in a bid document, proposal form or contract.


Management Control Systems

The systems (e.g., planning, scheduling, budgeting, estimating, work authorization, cost accumulation, performance measurements, etc.) used by owners, designers, CMs and contractors to plan and control the cost and scheduling of the work of a project.

Management Reserve

A portion of the total allocated budget withheld for management control purposes rather than designated for the accomplishment of a specific task or set of tasks.

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.

Mitigation of Damages

To take all possible measures to avoid damage and delay and, if not avoidable, to reduce or lessen the extra costs incurred due to the occurrence of an event.

Multiple of Equipment Cost Method

Most commonly used in chemical and process plants, this method depends on a calculation of the cost of the equipment in the facility multiplied by some historical factor to estimate the total project cost.


Non-Conforming Work

Work that does not meet the requirements of the contract documents.

Notice to Proceed

A formal document and/or point in the project’s lifecycle authorizing an individual or organization to commence work under its contract. The issuance of the notice to proceed typically marks the end of the Procurement Phase and establishes the date for commencement of the contract time.



The organization that submits a proposal in response to an advertisement or solicitation.

Outside Estimating Services

An alternative is to hire the services of an outside estimating firm and provide it all known project data. This outside service then produces the estimate and sends it back to the CM.

Overhead Rates

Indirect dollars per hour or cost-to-cost relationships that mathematically reflect the distribution of overhead costs over a labor or cost base.

Owner’s Equity

The total assets of an entity, minus its total liabilities, which represents the capital theoretically available for distribution to shareholders. Owners' equity is known as shareholders' equity if the legal entity of a business is a corporation.


Parametric Modeling

This form of estimating uses known project characteristics (parameters) in a mathematical equation to arrive at current project costs. Square footage cost, per bed cost, megawatt cost, etc. may all be used in parametric modeling to arrive at a conceptual estimate.

Performance Bond

A pledge from a surety guaranteeing the performance of the work or payment of 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 has a defined scope of work.


Graphic representations showing the relationships, geometry, and dimensions of the elements of the work.

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.

Present Value Factor

The discount factor used to convert future values to present value.

Pricing, Retrospective

The pricing of work after it has been accomplished.

Prime Contractor

A contractor who has a contract with an owner.

Procurement Process

The establishment of acquisition processes and contracting format for bidding and contracting procedures to be employed.


Relative measure of labor efficiency, either good or bad, when compared to an established base or norm as determined from an area of great experience. Alternatively, productivity is defined as the reciprocal of the labor factor.

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.

Progress Meeting

A meeting dedicated to the subject of progress during any phase of project delivery.


The total effort required in all phases from conception through design and construction completion to accomplish the owner’s objectives. Also, defined as all work to be furnished or provided in accordance with the Contract Documents prepared by the designer.

Project Closeout

Development and implementation of all procedures to complete the project and close the contract.

Project Cost

The actual cost of the entire project.

Project Documentation

The establishment and maintenance of recording systems for receipt, handling and distribution of project documentation.

Project Management Plan

The Project Management Plan, prepared by the CM and approved by the owner, defines the owner’s goals and expectations, including scope, budget, schedule, and quality. IT also outlines the strategies to be used to fulfill the requirements of the project.

Project Team

All project stakeholders engaged in completing the project and consisting of the owner, designer, CM, and prime contractors engaged in the design and construction.


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 and which must be accomplished by the contractor prior to completing the terms of the contract.


Quality Assurance (QA)

The application of planned and systematic methods to verify that quality control procedures are being effectively implemented

Quality Management (QM)

The process of planning, organizing, implementing, monitoring, and documenting a system of policies and procedures that coordinate and direct relevant project resources and activities in a manner that will achieve the desired quality

Quantity Take-Off Method

This is the most detailed type of estimate. To perform, the CM has to have the completed design documents in order to take off or measure and catalogue the various quantities of work to be performed. To this sum the CM then adds in labor, labor productivity, equipment, overhead, etc.


Range of Accuracy

The values between the top and the bottom of the range. For example, if the outcomes might be from $100 to $1,000, the range is $900 while the range of accuracy is $100 to $1,000. Usually, the range of accuracy has defined upper and lower limits (such as 10% confidence and 90% confidence; known as 10.90 range of accuracy).

Record Drawings

Drawings (plans), prepared after construction is complete, that represent the work accomplished under the contract.

Renewable Energy

Energy generated from renewable resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and some geothermal applications, which are naturally and readily replenished, or renewable.


Something saved for future use. An amount of funding set aside for savings, contingencies, or other purposes.

Resource Histogram

A graphic display of the amount of resource required as a function of time on a graph. Individual, summary, incremental and cumulative resource curve levels can be shown.

Resource Pool Description

Market survey to determine what resources are available and in what quantity.


Usually refers to a percent of the contract value (5 or 10 percent) retained by the owner until work is finished and testing of equipment, etc., is satisfactorily completed.

Retro-Commissioning (RCx)

A systematic process that identifies operational and maintenance improvements in existing buildings with the objective of improving energy performance. RCx typically focuses on mechanical equipment, lighting and controls and usually optimizes existing system rather than replacing equipment. RCx typically includes an energy audit, diagnostic monitoring, and functional tests. EPA offers guidance on retro-commissioning through its ENERGY STAR program.


Risk is the potential for loss, damage, or any other undesirable event, including the loss of opportunity.

Risk Assessment

The first phase of risk management, which includes the identification of risks, or uncertainties, which may impact a project.

Risk Mitigation

The third phase of risk management, developing a plan to manage the risks should they arise during the performance of the project.

Risk Uncertainty.

The potential hazards or problems inherent in any activity. A measurable probability of consequence associated with a set of conditions or actions.


Salary Times Multiplier Plus Direct Expenses

A cost reimbursement approach that is based on direct salaries (actual salaries of the individuals working on the project) times a multiplier. The multiplier is a number that is derived from the sum of the indirect salary costs (such as FICA, unemployment insurance and salary benefits) and overhead costs (general and administrative office and other indirect costs) divided by the total salaries paid.

Scale of Operations Method

This estimating method uses historically derived empirical equations to obtain an estimate of approximate costs for different sizes of the same type of facility.

Schedule Performance Index (SPI)

A planned schedule efficiency factor representing the relationship between the value of the initial planned schedule and the value of the physical work performed (the earned value). See EVM (Earned workhours or dollars to date) ÷ (budgeted workhours or dollars to date) = BCWP ÷ BCWS


Identification of all requirements of a project or contract.

Scope of Work

Sets forth the requirements for performance of the work to achieve the project objectives.

Shop Drawings

All drawings, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, and other data which are specifically prepared by or for the contractor to illustrate some portion of the work and all illustrations, brochures, standard schedules, performance charts, instructions, diagrams, and other information prepared by a supplier and submitted by the contractor to the designer or CM to demonstrate understanding of and compliance with the provisions of the contract documents. Also known as submittals.


An official document or notice, seeking prospective contractors to submit bids or proposals.

Special Conditions (of the Contract for Construction)

See Supplementary General Conditions.


The detailed written descriptions of materials, equipment, systems, and required workmanship and other qualitative information pertaining to the work.

Specifications, Prescriptive

A specification providing a detailed written and/or graphic presentation of the required properties of a product, materials or piece of equipment and prescribing the procedure for its fabrication, erection and/or installation.

Standard Cost

The normal, expected cost of an operation, process or product including labor, materials, equipment, and overhead charges, computed on the basis of past performance costs, estimates or work measurement.


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.


Any agreement or arrangement between a contractor and any person (in which the parties do not stand in a relationship of an employer to an employee) and where neither party is the owner.


All drawings, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, and other data which are specifically prepared by or for the contractor to illustrate some portion of the work and all illustrations, brochures, standard schedules, performance charts, instructions, diagrams, and other information prepared by a supplier and submitted by the contractor to the designer or CM to demonstrate understanding of and compliance with the provisions of the contract documents. Also known as shop drawings.

Substantial Completion

The date, certified by the designer or CM or both, that the contractor has reached that stage of completion when the facility may be used for its intended purposes, even though all work is not completed.

Sunk Cost

A cost that has already been incurred and which should not be considered in making a new investment decision.


Any manufacturer, fabricator, distributor, or vendor having a contract with the contractor or with any subcontractor to furnish materials or equipment to be incorporated into work by the contractor or any subcontractor.

Suspension of Work

A stoppage of a portion, or all, of the work either as directed or due to the act or failure to act by the owner.


The condition of being able to meet the needs of present generations without compromising resources for future generations.

Sustainable Development

A pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. Sustainable development, as a goal, aims to reconcile the carrying capacity of natural systems with the physical, social, and cultural demands of the system’s occupants. As defined by the Brundtland Commission in 1983, sustainable development is “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Sustainable Materials

Sustainable building materials are composed of renewable, rather than nonrenewable resources. Sustainable materials are environmentally responsible when their impacts are considered over the life of the product. Use of sustainable building materials can help reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction, transport, processing, fabrication, installation, reuse, recycling, and disposal of these source materials.



Measuring and listing from drawings the quantities of materials required in order to price their cost of supply and installation in an estimate and to proceed with procurement of materials.

Temporary Construction Cost

Includes costs of erecting, operating, and dismantling nonpermanent facilities such as field offices, workshops, staging and storage yards, etc., and providing associated services such as utilities.


The application of specific procedures to determine if work has been completed in the prescribed manner and at the required levels of workmanship. See Non-Conforming Work.

Time Extension

An increase in the contract time of performance, generally through a change order.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Total Quality Management is a structured process for continuous improvement whereby long-range quality goals are established at the highest levels of an organization and the means to reach those goals are defined. The TQM process must be consistently applied through all facets of the organization. It includes process documentation, staff empowerment, and training. Benchmark measurements and periodic audits must be performed to steer the continuous improvement efforts. A primary focus is directed to internal and external client satisfaction.

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.


U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit organization devoted to shifting the building industry towards sustainability by providing information and standards on how buildings are designed, built and operated. The USGBC is best known for the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system and Greenbuild, a green building conference.

Unit Price

A type of contractual method that includes specific estimated quantities based on cost per unit of measure, when the exact quantities may be unknown. This format is most closely associated with sealed-bid contracts and is primarily used for civil works and horizontal type construction projects. The total cost to the owner will vary with the actual quantities of units put in place and the owner assumes the risk of quantity overruns.


Value Engineering (VE)

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 lifecycle cost.

Variation in Estimated Quantity (VEQ)

The difference between the quantity estimated in the bid schedule and the quantity actually required to complete the bid item. Negotiation or adjustment of price for variations is generally called for when an increase or decrease exceeds a specific percentage designated in the contract.



Assurance by a party that it will assume stipulated responsibility for its own work.

Work Authorization

A company instrument, memorandum or document which authorizes work to be accomplished on a contract, project or program.

Work Directive Change

A written directive to the contractor, issued on or after the date of the agreement and signed by an authorized individual, ordering an addition, deletion, or revision in the work, or responding to differing or unforeseen physical conditions or emergencies under which the work is to be performed as provided in the general conditions. A work change directive may or may not change the contract price or time but is evidence that the parties expect that the change directed by a work change directive will be incorporated in a subsequently issued change order following negotiations by the parties as to its effect, if any, on the contract price or time.





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