Glossary of Construction Project Management Terms
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Glossary of Construction Project Management Terms

You may not need to know project management terms every day, but when you are working on a construction project at home or at work, this glossary will become very useful. Construction project management has a standardized terminology so that when one person talks about risks, scope, issues, requirements, and other project concerns, everyone else knows what he or she is referring to. This glossary contains common terms used in construction project management and can help start the standardization process in your organization.

This list defines most of the common terms used in the design, bidding, and construction process. If you are planning a major home additional, remodeling, or business expansion, you may see several of these terms.

  • Addendum: A written or graphic instrument issued by the Consultant prior to bid which modifies or interprets the Bidding Documents, including drawings or specifications, by additions, deletions, clarifications or corrections. An addendum becomes part of the Contract Documents when the Construction Contract is executed.
  • As-built Drawings, also called Record Drawings: Construction drawings revised by the Consultant to show changes made during construction, based on marked-up prints, drawings and other data furnished by the Contractor.
  • Base Bid: A written Bid in the Bid Form for the Basic Services of the Construction Contract. The Base Bid does not include amounts for alternates.
  • Bid Documents: The proposed Contract Documents given to Bidders to allow them to prepare a bid.
  • Bid Requirements: Contract Documents used to attract bidders and explain the procedures bidders are to follow in preparing and submitting their bids.
  • Bid Security: The deposit of cash, certified check, cashier’s check, bank draft, money order, or bid bond submitted with a bid and serving to guarantee that the bidder, if awarded the contract, will execute such contract in accordance with the bidding requirements and the contract documents.
  • Breakdown of Costs: A contractor’s unit cost breakdown by task (labor and materials costs).
  • Change Order: A written agreement executed between the owner and the contractor after execution of the original contract, which authorizes a change in the work, contract amount, or contract completion date.
  • Codes: Regulations, ordinances or statutory requirements of a governmental unit relating to building construction and occupancy, adopted and administered for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare.
  • Competitive Bid: A complete and properly signed proposal to do the work described in the contract documents at a specified cost.
  • Construction Contract: A legally enforceable promise or agreement between the owner and a contractor describing their respective obligations in completing construction work for the owner.
  • Construction Coordination Meeting: A meeting scheduled and conducted at least once a month by the Owner’s Representative, and attended by the consultant, contractor and client, for the purpose of discussing project progress and keeping participants informed of activities surrounding the project.
  • Construction Project Manager: See Owner’s Representative.
  • Consultant: A person or organization duly licensed (where required) to perform architectural or engineering services, including analysis of project requirements, creation and development of project design, preparation of drawings, specifications and bidding requirements, and review of construction activity.
  • Contract Documents: Are all the written and graphic documents prepared for communicating the design and administering the Construction contract. The contract documents include: the Information for Bidders, Advertisement for Bids, Construction Agreement, Completed Bid for Lump Sum Contract, Performance/Payment Bond, General Conditions, Special Conditions, drawings, specifications, addenda, modifications and changes, together with any items stipulated as being specifically included.
  • Contract Price: The total amount payable by the Owner to the Contractor for performance of the work under the Contract Documents.
  • Contractor: An individual or firm performing construction work for the University, including labor and materials, in accordance with plans and specifications, and under a contract specifying the cost and a schedule for completion of the work.
  • Contractor’s Superintendent: The contractor’s representative responsible for continuous field supervision, coordination and completion of the work. The superintendent is identified at the Pre -construction Meeting.
  • Design-Build: Procurement of complete design and construction goods and services for a project under a single contract.


  • Drawings: Graphic and pictorial documents showing the design, location, and dimensions of the elements of a Project. Drawings generally include plans, elevations, sections, details, schedules, and diagrams.
  • Field Order: A minor field change in the project that does not need owner approval so long as it does not exceed a predetermined value.
  • Final Completion: The date certified by the Consultant when the work is complete, in accordance with the contract documents, and the final payment to the Contractor is authorized.
  • Final Payment: The unpaid balance of the adjusted contract amount paid by the Owner to the contractor, upon issuance of the consultant’s certification that the project requirements have been met.
  • General Conditions: That part of the contract documents which sets forth many of the rights, responsibilities and relationships of the parties involved. General Conditions may also include a fee based on insurance, constructions bonds, and overhead and profit for the general contractor.
  • Miscellaneous Adjustments: An adjustment to project contingency for any financial transaction not originally budgeted or not covered by a Change Order.
  • Notice of Contract Award: An official notification sent by the Owner to the successful bidder awarding the construction contract. The notice is accompanied by the contract documents.
  • Notice to Proceed: A written communication issued by the Owner to the contractor authorizing commencement of the work.
  • Owner’s Representative: Also known as the Construction Project Manager. The Owner’s on-site field representative who coordinates the administration of the construction contract. Communication among the Contractor, Consultant and the Owner flows through the Owner’s Representative.
  • Partial Occupancy: Occupancy by the owner or client of a portion of a project or system, prior to final acceptance.
  • Performance/Payment Bond: A bond of the contractor in which a surety guarantees to the Owner that the work will be performed in accordance with the contract documents.
  • Periodic Request for Partial Payment: A monthly request for payment submitted by the contractor to the Owner’s Representative.
  • Pre-bid Meeting: A meeting conducted by the Construction Administrator and Consultant prior to bidding large, complex projects. The meeting is attended by interested plan holders and a tour of the construction site and a question-and-answer period are held. The Consultant issues addenda, if necessary, to clarify or modify contract items identified at the meeting.
  • Pre-construction Meeting: A meeting conducted by the Construction Administrator and attended by the Consultant, contractor and Owner’s Representative to review and discuss contract documents and project requirements.
  • Project Account: An account established by the owner for the allocation and expenditure of funds for any financial activity on the project.
  • Project Manager: Person assigned by the owner to manage a project through the design, bidding and award phases. This person is responsible for the coordination of the consultant selection and design process. Serves as point of contact between the Consultant and the Owner.
  • Project Schedule: A contractor’s schedule of planned work and payment by task.
  • Punch List: A list of corrections, adjustments, modifications or additions required of the contractor before final acceptance of a project. This list may be developed by the Project Manager, Architect, Consultant, or a combination of the individuals.
  • Sole Source Contract: Contracts issued where the service required can only be obtained from one vendor.
  • Special Conditions: A section of the conditions of the contract, other than the General Conditions, prepared for a particular project. Modifications to the General Conditions are contained in the Special Conditions.
  • Specifications: A part of the contract documents consisting of written technical descriptions of materials, equipment construction systems, standards and workmanship.
  • Subcontractor: A person or organization who has a contract with the prime contractor, or another subcontractor, to perform a portion of the work on the project or to supply equipment or material.
  • Submittal: Documents, drawings, samples, or other items, required of the contractor prior to commencement of work or purchase of selected materials.

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Comments (2)

As the fourth generation of Parks Construction I can appreciate and respect your knowledge of the industry.My oldest son is now running the company and I pass on your articles as a learning tool for him and the crew. Comparing the culinary industry to the construction industry; it's about taking a product and creating something wonderful to be enjoyed by the recipient...voted up.

Very impressive and educational work. Thanks