Construction Terms



Value engineering (VE)

An analysis and comparison of cost versus value of building materials, equipment, and systems. VE considers the initial cost of construction, coupled with the estimated cost of maintenance, energy use, life expectancy, and replacement cost.


Design-bid-build (DBB)

A traditional method of construction project delivery involving the selection and award of professional design services followed by a separate process for construction services once the design documents are complete.


Construction management

A professional service that applies to effective management techniques to the planning, design, and construction of a project from inception to completion for the purpose of controlling time, cost, and quality, as defined by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).


Thermal block

The use of low thermal conductance materials to prevent thermal bridges from forming.


Bonding capacity

The maximum total contract value a bonding company will extend to a contractor in performance bonds. The total bonding capacity is the sum of all contracts being bonded.

Built-up roofing

A continuous roof covering made up of various plies or sheets of saturated or coated felts cemented together with asphalt. The felt sheets are topped with a cap sheet or a flood coat of asphalt or pitch, which may have a surfacing of applied gravel or slag.


Modified bitumen

A heavy roofing material employing multiple layers of asphalt and reinforcers around a core of plastic or rubber modifiers. Installed with a special torching apparatus, a cold adhesive or hot mopped into place using methods of asphalt application.



A method of concrete construction in which members are cast horizontally at a location adjacent to their eventual position and tilted into place after removal of forms.


Return on investment (ROI)

A calculation in investment analysis that expresses income as a percentage of capital. There are several specific varieties in general use, such as the internal rate of return (IRR), and the rate of return on equity capital (ROE).


Net present value (NPV)

The current dollar value of future cash flow.

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