The Americans with Disabilities Act which gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.


(Addenda) Written information adding to, clarifying or modifying the bidding documents. An addendum is generally issued by the owner to the contractor during the bidding process and as such, addenda are intended to become part of the contract documents when the construction contract is executed.


One authorized by a client (principal) to act in his/her stead or behalf and owes the client a "fiduciary duty" (Trust). Example: Construction Manager for fee but classified as an independent contractor for tax purposes. A construction manager for fee does not have any financial responsibility whereas a construction manager at-risk does have financial risk similar to a general contractor.


An arrangement between the parties regarding a method of action.


1. A term used to describe partial construction work performed within an existing structure 2. Remodeling without a building addition.


1. An offer or proposal of a price 2. The amount offered or proposed. (see RFP)

Bid Bond

A written form of security executed by the bidder as principal and by a surety for the purpose of guaranteeing that the bidder will sign the contract, if awarded the contract, for the stated bid amount.

Change Order

A written document between the owner and the contractor signed by the owner and the contractor authorizing a change in the work or an adjustment in the contract sum or the contract time. A change order may be signed by the architect or engineer, provided they have written authority from the owner for such procedure and that a copy of such written authority is furnished to the contractor upon request. The contract sum and the contract time may be changed only by change order. A change order may be in the form of additional compensation or time; or less compensation or time known as a Deduction (from the contract) the amount deducted from the contract sum by change order.

Closed Bid/Estimate

A service offered where only invited bidders or estimators are given access to the project specific RFP (Request for Proposal) information.This option is for those seeking bids/estimates from a prequalified and selected list of professionals or service. For security and easy access, the RFP poster receives an e-mail showing the list of bidders/estimators and links to View the RFP Details and View any Bids as they are received.This e-mail gives the poster the ability to file and track their respective RFP's using their own e-mail filing system. (see Open Bid/Estimate)

CSI Master Format

The CSI Master Format is a system of numbers and titles for organizing construction information into a regular, standard order or sequence. By establishing a master list of titles and numbers Master Format promotes standardization and thereby facilitates the retrieval of information and improves construction communication. It provides a uniform system for organizing information in project manuals, for organizing project cost data, and for filing product information and other technical data.

Daily Construction Report

A written document and record that has two main purposes: 1. they furnish information to off-site persons who need and have a right to know important details of events as they occur daily and hourly, and 2. they furnish historical documentation that might later have a legal bearing in cases of disputes. Daily reports should be as factual and impersonal as possible, free from the expression of personal opinions and feelings. Each report should be numbered to correspond with the working days established on the progress schedule. In the event of no-work days, a daily report should still be made, stating "no work today" ( due to rain, strike, or other causes). The report includes a description of the weather; a record of the total number of employees, subcontractors by name, work started and completed today, equipment on the job site, job progress today, names and titles of visitors, accidents and/or safety meetings, and a remarks column for other job related information.

Date of Agreement

1. Usually on the front page of the agreement 2. If not on front page it may be the date opposite the signatures when the agreement was actually signed 3. or when it was recorded 4. or the date the agreement was actually awarded to the contractor.

Demising Walls

The boundaries that separate your space from your neighbors' and from the public corridor.


1. To calculate approximately the amount, extent or value of something 2. To form an opinion of estimated costs

Estimate of Construction Cost, Detailed

A calculation of costs prepared on the basis of a detailed analysis of materials and labor for all items of work, as contrasted with an estimate based on current area, volume or similar unit costs. *195

Facility or Site Analysis

A visual inspection of a building and on-site improvements for functional or physical deterioration; prepare optional Replacement Cost Estimate for making recommendations to improve functional and physical deficiencies to increase market value; AND/OR prepare a Reserve Study over five (5) years to increase Net Operating Income (NOI) for the facility.(See Site Analysis)

Fast Track Construction (Fast Tracking)

A method of construction management which involves a continuous design-construction operation. When a prime or main contractor starts the construction work BEFORE the plans and specifications are complete. (See Design-Build Construction)


1. An abbreviation for furniture, fixtures and equipment 2. Items classified as personal property rather than real property 3. An abbreviation generally associated with interior design and planning of retail stores or office facilities.

Gantt Chart

The schedule of activities for a project. A Gantt Chart shows start and finish dates, critical and non-critical activities, slack time, and predecessor relationships.

General Conditions

A written portion of the contract documents set forth by the owner stipulating the contractor’s minimum acceptable performance requirements including the rights, responsibilities and relationships of the parties involved in the performance of the contract. General conditions are usually included in the book of specifications but are sometimes found in the architectural drawings.

Hard Costs

(see Construction Costs and Direct Costs)


1. A term sometimes used to describe TI'S or Tenant Improvements. 2. Improvements can be in the form of new construction or remodel work. (see TI'S)

Independent Contractor

One free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others and does not owe a "fiduciary duty". Example: architect, engineer, prime or main contractor, construction manager at-risk.

Labor and Material Payment Bond

1. A written form of security from a surety (bonding) company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing payment to the owner in the event the contractor fails to pay for all labor, materials, equipment, or services in accordance with the contract. (see Performance Bond and Surety Bond)

Leasehold Improvements

A term used to mean Tenant Improvements. Generally, this term is used when building in retail stores as contrasted with the term Tenant Improvements which are generally associated with office buildings. The terms are often used interchangeably. (see TI'S)

Lien, Mechanic's or Material

The right to take and hold or sell an owner’s property to satisfy unpaid debts to a qualified contractor for labor, materials, equipment or services to improve the property. (see Preliminary Lien Notice)


An individual or corporation that owns a real property.

Owner-Architect Agreement

A written form of contract between architect and client for professional architectural services.

Performance Bond

1. A written form of security from a surety (bonding) company to the owner, on behalf of an acceptable prime or main contractor or subcontractor, guaranteeing payment to the owner in the event the contractor fails to perform all labor, materials, equipment, or services in accordance with the contract. 2. The surety companies generally reserve the right to have the original prime or main or subcontractor remedy any claims before paying on the bond or hiring other contractors. (see Labor and Material Payment Bond and Surety Bond)

Performance Specifications

The written material containing the minimum acceptable standards and actions, as may be necessary to complete a project. Including the minimum acceptable quality standards and aesthetic values expected upon completion of the project.


An abbreviation for Program Evaluating and Review Technique. (see Activity; Critical Path Method)


An individual or firm with a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his/her abilities to identify and solve or resolve problems associated with a specific subject matter or project type.


1. An abbreviation for Request for Information. 2. A written request from a contractor to the owner or architect for clarification or information about the contract documents following contract award.

Release of Lien

A written action properly executed by and individual or firm supplying labor, materials or professional services on a project which releases his mechanic's lien against the project property. (see Mechanic's Lien)

Replacement Cost Estimate

A cost of constructing a building or structure that would have similar utility, but constructed with modern materials, current building standards, design and layout less depreciation. A land value and cost of on-site improvements can be added if desired.

Safety Report

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 clearly states the common goal of safe and healthful working conditions. A Safety Report is prepared following a regularly scheduled project safety inspection of the specific project.

Schedule of Values

A statement furnished by the contractor to the architect or engineer reflecting the portions of the contract sum allotted for the various parts of the work and used as the basis for reviewing the contractor's applications for progress payments.

Slack Time

The flexibility with non-critical jobs that allows their start dates to be adjusted without affecting the project completion date.

Special Conditions

A section of the conditions of the contract, other than the General Conditions and Supplementary Conditions, which may be prepared for a particular project. Specific clauses setting forth conditions or requirements peculiar to the project under consideration, and covering work or materials involved in the proposal and estimate, but not satisfactorily covered by the General Conditions. (See General Conditions)


1. An abbreviation for a contracting method called Time and Materials ( 2) A written agreement between the owner and the contractor wherein payment is based on the contractor's actual cost for labor, equipment, materials, and services plus a fixed add-on amount to cover the contractor’s overhead and profit.

Tenant's Rentable Square Feet

Usable square feet plus a percentage (the core factor) of the common areas on the floor, including hallways, bathrooms and telephone closets, and some main lobbies. Rentable square footage is the number on which a tenant's rent is usually based.

TI'S (Tenant Improvements)

TI'S is a term used to define the interior improvements of the project after the Building Envelope is complete. TI'S usually include finish floor coverings; ceilings; partitions; doors, frames, hardware; fire protection; HVAC consisting of branch distribution duct work, control boxes, and registers; electrical consisting of lighting, switches, power outlets, phone/data outlets, exit and energy lighting; window coverings; general conditions; and the general contractor’s fee. The cost of tenant improvements are generally born by the tenant and the costs of tenant improvements will vary with every building, and with tenant requirements. (see Work Letter)

U.B.C. (Uniform Building Code)

The Uniform Building Code is one of the family of codes and related publications published by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and other organizations, such as the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which have similar goals as far as code publications are concerned. The Uniform Building Code is designed to be compatible with these other codes, as together they make up the enforcement tools of a jurisdiction.

Underwriter's Laboratories Label (UL)

A label on a product or manufactured item showing the material is regularly tested by, and complies with the minimum standards of the Underwriter's Laboratories specification for safety and quality.


One that sells materials or equipment not fabricated to a special design.

Verbal Quotation

A written document used by the contractor to receive a subcontract or material cost proposal over the telephone prior to the subcontractor or supplier sending their written proposal via mail or facsimile.


The successful performance of the entire scope of the project being performed for a specific construction project including labor, materials, equipment, and other associated items necessary to fulfill all obligations under the contract.

Work Letter

A written statement (often called Exhibit B to a lease or rental agreement) of the specific materials and quantities the owner will provide at his own expense. The work letter defines the building standards, including the type of ceiling , the type and number of light fixtures, the size and construction of the suite-entry and interior doors. Building standards define the quality of tenant spaces. Generally, a Work Letter is associated with the leasing or renting of office space by a tenant within a Building Envelope. (see TI'S and Building Envelope)

Work Order

A written order, signed by the owner or his representative, of a contractual status requiring performance by the contractor without negotiation of any sort.


Restrictions of areas or regions of land within specific geographical areas based on permitted building size, character, and uses as established by governing urban authorities.

Zoning Permit

A document issued by a governing urban authority permitting land to be used for a specific purpose.