Welcome to Assignar’s Construction Glossary!
- Terms are organized by their subject area
- Clicking on the term will take you to its definition
Data & Insights
Bidding & Budgeting
Refers to the money owed to vendors and subcontractors for costs accrued during a construction project; typically, these payments are made once the contractor has been paid by their custom
This is the money that is still owed to you for a specific project and its associated roles, including the cost of goods and products.
Independent, third-party evaluation of ability, authority, or credibility in a particular field of activity. Gaining accreditation may require successfully completing a course, inspection, or test.
Duties that take place in the back office. For construction, this typically includes creating and managing documents and contracts, creating schedules, meeting with key stakeholders to discuss progress and evaluating data from the field.
Work on civil or heavy highways.
Assist in the pouring, smoothing, and setting of asphalt on roads, pathways, and parking lots. Their main role is to look after the mat, which includes raking, sweeping, and lining out the road, as well as working alongside the tractor, mill, paver, and the screed.
The monitoring and maintenance of the location, condition, and status of physical assets, such as trucks, heavy equipment, tools, machines, building infrastructure and more. Most often involves using a unique identifier, like a barcode or GPS locator to track the equipment.
A group of construction workers assigned to a certain project.
The process of developing and submitting a proposal for a construction project to the owner or general contractor. It typically includes the specific items that will be completed and their associated costs, as well as a timeline for completion.
Best practice for improving productivity and profitability. Hold employees accountable by setting performance benchmarks. Set benchmarks for the overall business, including safety and quality, based on industry standards and the performances of similar companies.
A best practice for ensuring that project expenses remain in line with original goals, this process includes managing and monitoring a job and its costs to flag any concerns to stakeholders and make changes, as needed.
A document or designation that proves competency or mastery in a specific role.
Chain of Responsibility (CoR)
Helps to increase accountability, effective communication, and safety — both across the job site itself and in other parts of the construction lifecycle.
The process of integrating a procedure for recognizing, planning, and evaluating changes to a project’s scope in an effective manner. Poor change management can hinder project success and increase timeline delays and cost overruns.
The construction, design, and renovation of buildings, facilities and structures for commercial purposes. This can include restaurants, office spaces, schools and universities, healthcare facilities and more.
The process of ensuring that operations and processes are compliant with the rules and regulations of the industry, specifically as it relates to health and safety.
Work on civil or heavy highways.
Specialize in building structures from concrete materials. Their duties include designing and building forms, pouring concrete, then spreading and smoothing it using various tools and equipment.
A solid mold or barrier that holds concrete in place once it has been poured in. It ensures that the concrete stays in the desired shape while it hardens.
Powered by technology, the connected jobsite connects those in the back office with those in the field, allowing for real-time information and visibility for informed decision-making.
The cost of all the work and components of a given project to the owner.
Valuable information and insights that help teams and companies optimize their operations and processes and inform decision-making. It is critical to drive improvements in terms of productivity, profitability and efficiency.
Ability to oversee projects and capture relevant data, which improves operations and productivity. Teams are adopting construction management technology to access the needed tools to do this effectively and gain better control over what is happening on site.
Occurring daily, this helps teams understand progress made on specific projects and if there may be a potential for delays. Reporting enables teams to record day-to-day information. Should any issues or concerns arise, teams now have a detailed overview of what’s occurred during the duration of the project.
This entails the effective scheduling of crews and equipment across projects, while improving productivity, profitability, and safety. Assignar’s construction operations platform ensures teams are at the right job site, at the right time, with the correct resources and documentation.
A standardized list of codes that are associated with specific types of work for a construction project. They are used to inform project and budget management and tracking.
Cost to Complete
The sum of all costs for a construction project; this is utilized throughout a project’s lifecycle to evaluate the cost of work that has already been completed with the expected costs of the work that will still be done to inform budget tracking.
The process of monitoring the actual costs of jobs on a project as they are completed. This is important for tracking progress toward the budget.
An agreement between relevant parties – often the owner and contractor – that details terms and conditions of a given project, including the work that will be done and agreed upon budget.
The coordination, planning, scheduling, controlling and maintenance of cranes and associated equipment. This is an important aspect of working on a jobsite as this machinery is costly to have repaired if damaged.
A group of laborers who will execute work on a specific project. Always includes a foreman or supervisor who oversees the construction site and ensures progress is being made according to deadlines, assures quality, etc.
Determining the availability and assigning crews to a specific jobsite based on the required timeline, certifications and jobs.
To complete construction projects on time, many contractors will use the critical path method for project scheduling that breaks down required activities using a diagram to calculate the duration required to complete each activity.
Also known as plant hire, refers to the process of renting tools, machinery, and other equipment to another company to complete a construction project.
A daily record that compiles all information from the jobsite for the day, including progress, incidents, delays and more.
The process of analyzing construction data to improve decision-making and anticipate problems before they happen. It includes looking at data from past performance and analyzing for patterns.
The process of collecting data in near real-time and looking at it to track progress.
The cost of hiring a contractor for one day of work.
Dial Before You Dig Plan
Dial Before You Dig acts as a single point of contact between underground asset owners and excavators. Excavators will lodge an inquiry with asset owners regarding a new project, and they will receive a response in the form of plans. People excavating should get these plans before doing any digging work to ensure they do not damage this underground infrastructure.
The hiring of equipment, machinery, or vehicles on its own without an operator. In the case of machinery hire, whoever hires the equipment is also responsible for its operation or finding someone qualified to operate it.
Refers to construction or engineering of the topography on a jobsite. It can include excavating and backfilling.
Maintain an extensive range of electrical systems, from micro-currents to high voltage components. Typical jobs include installing electrical systems and components for the manufacturing industry’s process equipment.
Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA)
A form of collective bargaining, in which wages and working conditions are negotiated at an enterprise level between employers and employees and their union.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
A construction ERP is a specialized system that is designed for companies to review and improve their processes and the lifecycle of their projects.
Heavy-duty machinery and tools that are utilized to complete specific roles on the jobsite. Role examples include demolition, excavation, trench digging, etc.
Confirms education of proper equipment and techniques to promote construction zone safety. Courses are offered for construction workers to provide technical and practical knowledge of heavy equipment prior to use.
A company’s ability to evaluate their construction equipment fleet and the fleet’s costs on a consistent basis to reduce equipment breakdowns and failures, projects running over budget, stalls of productivity and decreased profitability. Involves taking a company’s evaluation of their fleet and comparing it against their current projects.
Operates a piece of machinery on the jobsite.
Determining the availability of equipment needed for construction projects and scheduling assets based on deadlines and current progress.
Sometimes referred to as asset utilization, this is a measurement of the use and performance of site machinery. Based on the calculated utilization rate, businesses can better understand how to best use their equipment and make more informed decisions on project timelines, inventory, or equipment rentals.
The process of forecasting the costs of a given construction project. The construction estimate is used by general contractors when bidding for a project.
In charge of preparing a cost estimate for the overall construction project.
Also known as dirt contractors, they move things like earth, rock or other materials with tools, equipment, or explosives. Their roles include earthwork, trenching, wall shafts, tunneling and underground.
The on-site location for a construction project; refer to those completing these activities as ‘in the field.’
Field Data & Reporting
The collection of data from the field through daily logs to paint a larger picture of progress for the project. It informs planning and scheduling.
The laborer who assembles the metal parts of a project; they assemble, install, and repair pipework in large buildings and this often involves welding.
Fleet Logistics and Management
Includes the efficient assignment of vehicles to construction sites. It includes the planning and controlling of the fleet based on the type of project and its specific needs.
The process of maintaining, repairing and fueling the vehicles used on the jobsite to ensure all machinery is prepared to be sent into the field.
A process of determining how profitable a project will be for a contractor, this includes forecasting the associated profitability for a project based on cost to complete estimates. This can be conducted throughout the lifecycle to see if improvements can be made and where.
The individuals responsible for managing and leading the crew in the field. They ensure deadlines are met, progress is being made and that the crew remains safe.
The means in which contractors collect data from the field. Historically, these have been completed via pen and paper, but construction technology is making it easier to gather insights in real-time.
The person responsible for all aspects of a construction project, including the supervision of daily roles and management of subcontractors.
The record of all costs and relevant documents associated with a project.
Heavy Civil Contractors
Build sewers, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels and other large government and city projects.
Heavy Highway Construction Professionals
Build infrastructure and work on roads, bridges and ports, or non-building construction. These workers have knowledge of heavy equipment and operations, safety, earthmoving, hand tools and traffic regulations.
This is the construction of structures that are wider than they are tall and typically includes roads, bridges, railways, landfills, etc. It requires more land space and involves massive project.
Workers compensated at a set hourly rate.
Equipment, machinery, tools, etc., that are not actively used on jobsites and therefore not generating revenue. These assets usually have a maintenance cost associated with them, so contractors attempt to keep the amount of idle assets on a jobsite to a minimum.
Required at every construction site by law, this is a form of introductory instruction that ensures that workers new to a site or facility are familiar with the organization and operation of that project, as well as with their responsibilities.
These organizations help the industry understand and share best practices, stay informed on changing laws or protocols, and provide an opportunity to network.
The construction of public and private physical structures that keep important functions alive. Also known as civil engineering, it can include roads, bridges, water-related projects, airports, and more.
The process of managing and optimizing operations on the jobsite for a project, which includes the crew and equipment in the field.
An insufficient number of skilled workers needed to complete a project on-time due to a variety of external factors. An ongoing labor shortage is occurring in the construction industry as a result of the pandemic.
A construction worker who does physical labor on jobsites. They are responsible for performing various roles to aid daily operations.
The set of requirements for a construction crew as identified by project owner and general contractor.
A type of contract where the contractor and owner agree to a single price for the project before work begins. It is also known as a stipulated sum contract. This is used when a project is straightforward and associated roles are easily defined.
It’s critical that equipment and assets receive ongoing maintenance to eliminate unnecessary breakdowns. Construction operations technology helps teams track maintenance records and who has used equipment and on which jobs.
A percentage that a contractor will charge on top of direct costs for a project.
A deficiency or lack of materials needed, expected or due to complete a construction project. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has been struggling with supply chain management and is in the midst of a materials shortage.
They repair equipment and vehicles to ensure that the site is able to run efficiently without delays or injury.
Also known as the ‘back office’. This is where the administrative aspects of a construction business take place. It includes all the roles that occur off-site, from operations and management to crew and equipment scheduling, and everything in between.
The implementation of a proper process ensuring all aspects of the job are covered and should give workers the opportunity to communicate with their bosses and co-workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency in the United States that establishes regulations and standard safety practices for the workplace. OSHA has set construction safety standards to minimize risks on the job that can be complex. It’s important for contractors to remain compliant to ensure the health of their workforce and company.
When a construction worker’s skills are underutilized and mismatched on a specific project. This can lead to decreased wages and job satisfaction, which suggests that the investment in skills for that individual has been somewhat wasted.
Package of Work
A unit or division of work for a given scope that helps breakdown the project into manageable pieces.
A percentage of the amount of work completed on a project at a given time.
To measure performance or progress based on industry standards, competitors and similar previous projects, which helps identify if improvements can be made.
Utilized in contracts, when a contractor is given possession of the site, it gives them the exclusive right to enter and use the site from the commencement to completion date of a project.
Pairing data from the field with machine learning to develop predictions about the future based on outcomes of previous projects. The helps teams assess potential risks and develop an action plan.
A basic hourly rate of wages and benefits paid to construction workers that are working on public projects within a particular geographical area.
An outline of the specific jobs that must be completed on a project. It is completed before work commences to identify the path forward for all involved. Also known as a master schedule.
Equivalent to a project manager’s assistant. They spend time helping to move along the day-to-day on site, managing paperwork for the project, and more.
The process of looking at progress made so far on a project and making forecasts about future performance.
Person in charge of making sure the project moves along. Typically, they look over one to two big projects. They report directly to the owner in most cases.
The process of managing and updating the execution of a project, including planning, building, and reporting. This is important for relaying information to key stakeholders accurately and timely.
An outline of the specific jobs and how and when they will be completed for a project. This is an important first step before commencing work to ensure alignment from the get-go.
Also known as QA, this is the process of preventing quality concerns for a project prior to work beginning through the creation of a systematic plan of activities that ensure requirements are met.
Putting processes and practices in place to ensure all involved in a project are aligned on specific requirements that are often outlined by the client or general contractor.
Typically included in the work order, this is the quantity of services or specific items that need to be completed on a project. It’s critical that teams track progress against the budgeted quantity for the project.
When a contractor asks a supplier for the price of materials needed for a given job.
Work on building new rail construction and maintenance of railways. The work is largely government funded.
The process of maintaining and repairing railroad tracks for rail projects.
COVID resulted in construction teams embracing remote work, especially considering work-from-home orders and limited capacity numbers on jobsites. These teams adopted tech for project information and data sharing, which is helping inform decision-making and boosting profitability.
Resource Loaded Schedule
A type of schedule that includes loading resources – including the crew, equipment, and materials – into one schedule with all associated projects to determine where to assign resources based on overall progress and the timeline.
A best practice for ensuring that resources are accurately and efficiently assigned based on the project scope and needs. Having real-time visibility into the current state of a project helps to make changes to resource assignments as needed based on progress being made on site.
The process of scheduling and assigning resources based on needs at a given time and jobs currently in progress or upcoming.
Measuring how effectively resources are being utilized over a period of time to determine performance.
The hiring of equipment, machinery, tools, or vehicles on a temporary basis for a given project.
A request for information (RFI) is used to confirm and clarify the details or components of a project.
A request for proposal (RFP) is a formal request from an owner that is looking to hire a contractor for a project. It provides an overview of the scope and the details necessary for a bid to be created.
A request for tender (RFT) is a request for suppliers to submit a proposal for the supplying of goods or materials for a given project.
Identifying potential risks for a construction project and identifying best practices for minimizing their impact.
A specific type of work that a person or piece of equipment can do. Assets are assigned to roles on a given jobsite based on needs.
In charge of making sure that everyone is compliant across jobs.
Schedule of Rates
A pre-determined list of rates for specific staff, labor and plant hire that may be needed on a given project.
A resource that outlines the specific roles on a project, who is assigned to what, and the expected timing of completion. It serves as a resource for stakeholders to ensure progress is being made in line with their expectations.
These highly-skilled workers are hired to complete one aspect of construction based on their specific area of expertise and experience. This oftentimes results in more accurate work and scheduling, and less risk. They do not require third-party subcontractors and use their own teams to complete roles.
A project can be temporarily shutdown based on a variety of factors. Whether planned or unplanned, it will impact the project.
A record of all the progress that’s been made on a given project. Teams capture all the timesheets, activities and approvals across projects, orders and dates.
These contractors have a specialized skillset that makes them a great fit for specific roles on a jobsite. Examples include plumbing, lighting, concrete, etc. They are often hired by the project owner or the general contractor.
Individuals or companies that are outsourced by the contractor to complete specific roles for a larger project.
The person in charge of managing the crew and ensuring roles are being completed in line with the scope and specified deadlines. They report to the project manager.
An individual or company who has agreed to supply materials, equipment or other assets to complete a specific project.
Supply Chain Management
A best practice for ensuring that a project and its associated supply chain are on time and within budget. This includes coordinating and communicating progress made or expected delays on a project or its needed materials to ensure the project is on track.
To define the special parameters and topographic features for a given project.
An invitation to submit bids for a project.
Time & Materials
Used in construction contracts. Time & Materials Contracts occur when timing is difficult to predict or if there are unpredictable elements. It means that the contractor will be reimbursed for the materials used and the time spent on the job.
A method of recording and tracking the hours worked by a construction employee or general contractor.
A system for reviewing estimates for a project, such as its timeline, and making adjustments based on data.
A subcontractor who specializes in a specific skilled job for a project; oftentimes, these are partners who the contractor frequently works with on projects, and they offer each other benefits.
Also known as a flagger, this person directs the traffic flow around the construction site.
Traffic Control Management
The design, auditing and implementation of traffic control plans at worksites and civil infrastructure projects; can include closures, detours, pedestrian access, traffic plans, and traffic management vehicles.
Traffic Control Supervisors
They oversee overall traffic control and devices surrounding road and highway construction projects. These supervisors must ensure the team is following safety protocols and eliminate any potential hazards.
Traffic Management Plan
This is an overview of plans to ensure safe work and traffic conditions surrounding the jobsite. It includes potential risks as they relate to traffic and how construction workers will be kept safe.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
A planning tool to help section out the deliverables for a project into smaller, relevant phases and deliverables. It is often presented as a diagram to depict the hierarchical aspects of a project, meaning what jobs lead up to specific objectives.
Work Health Safety (WHS)
This is a safety management plan developed before the project begins to outline specific risks and safety concerns on the site that everyone should be aware of when in the field.
Describes the specific details of a project, including the overall steps that will be taken for completion.
Work In Progress (WIP)
This report shows the status of a project, including what jobs are in progress, for stakeholders to understand the current state and overall performance, especially as it relates to finances.
The development of the actual plan that the team will use to execute a project, including how it will be managed and specific construction methods and technologies utilized. This typically does not include scheduling.
Allows contractors to track the amount of available time an employee has used on productive, billable work.
Also known as crew management. The process of ensuring that the right people are assigned to a given project at the right time and with the right equipment. This is critical to improve productivity as it ensures that the team remains on track in terms of progress and timing. It also includes ensuring that employees have the proper certifications for a given project.