• Acoustical Consultant
    A consultant with a special expertise in acoustical design in spaces for live performance. Acoustical consultants also often provide noise-control consulting as well as audio equipment consulting services.
  • As-built drawings
    A set of drawings (plans, sections, details, etc.) that has been revised to reflect any changes made during construction. The as-builts should accurately document the building as it was constructed.
  • Bid package
    The drawings, specifications, and other documentation upon which contractors competing for a project will base their bid amounts.
  • Building code
    Regulations, ordinances or statutory requirements of a governmental unit relating to building construction and occupancy. Usually International Building Code (IBC) or Canadian Building Code (CBC) with amendments specific to the locality.
  • Building permit
    Permission granted by a local government to build or renovate a specific structure at a particular site. More than one permit may be required, depending on the situation.
  • Building program
    The list of spaces, their sizes and properties, that make up a proposed project.
  • Capital Campaign
    A fundraising drive that takes place outside of (and in addition to) annual operating fundraising, usually to raise funds for a facility (or capital project), an endowment, and/or reserves.
  • Case for support
    A document written for a capital campaign, that outlines an organization’s history, current status, and future plans, including facility plans and fundraising objectives. The case statement helps align board members, funders, and supporters to a shared organizational vision.
  • Certificate of occupancy
    A document from a local government building department that authorizes use of a certain space for specified activities by a certain number of people. Often required for construction projects prior to the occupancy of the space.
  • Change order
    “A written order to a facility project’s contractor, signed by the owner and the architect, issued after the execution of the contract, authorizing a change in the work’s scope or an adjustment to the payment or timing of the contract.”
  • Circulation
    Corridors, stairs, and other means of accessing spaces in a building. In the development of a building program, the square footage of these spaces is often added as a percentage allowance on top of the functional spaces.
  • CM At-Risk
    A method of project delivery where the Construction Manager is involved in the project in an advisory role during design, and negotiates a project cost with the owner prior to the completion of Construction Documents.
  • Contract documents
    The drawings, specifications, addenda, and other documentation upon which a construction contract is based.
  • Design competition
    A process where a number of design teams are invited to submit design proposals on the basis of a project brief. Usually a winning team is selected and awarded the project.
  • Design-Bid-Build
    A method of project delivery where completed construction documentation is released for a competetive bid between a number of General Contractors. A GC is typically chosen on the combined basis of the lowest bid and their ability to complete the project.
  • Elevations
    Non-perspective scaled drawings depicting ‘side views’ of a building or room.
  • Feasibility study
    A determination of the likelihood that a proposed idea, plan or project will fulfill certain economic and operational objectives. Often undertaken to predict the viability of a new venture, facility project or capital campaign.
  • General conditions
    The portion of the construction contract document itemizing the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of the involved parties. Items include security, job site insurance, temporary structures, demolition and utilities.
  • General contractor
    The main contractor for a construction project who provides on-site management and either performs the actual construction work or hires smaller, more specialized subcontractors to perform specific tasks.
  • Gift chart
    A planning tool showing the number of gifts and donor prospects needed at each level of giving in order to achieve a specified campaign amount.
  • Guaranteed maximum price
    A negotiated price for which a contractor agrees to deliver a building project.
  • Hard costs
    The direct costs to construct a building or structure. Otherwise known as “bricks and mortar” costs, as distinguished from indirect legal, financing, architect, and similar fees required for the project but not visible in the physical structure (soft costs).
  • HVAC
    Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems. In modern buildings, the design, installation and control of these functions are integrated into a single system.
  • Interpretive Planner
    A consultant with special expertise in planning spaces where interpretation will take place – e.g. museums, heritage sites, zoos, science centers, etc.
  • Leadership gift
    A donation at the top level of a capital campaign, one that ‘sets the pace’ for the remainder of the fundraising effort.
  • Massing
    The general shape of a building, or the components that make up its form in general.
  • MEP
    Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing – usually used to refer to the associated engineering disciplines.
  • MEPS
    Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing, and Structural – usually used to refer to the associated engineering disciplines.
  • Owner’s representative
    The person designated as the official representative of the owner in connection with a project, especially in monitoring construction progress on-site. Aka Project Manager.
  • Plans
    Non-perspective scaled drawings showing a building or room as seen from above.
  • Project delivery
    The contractual method under which a project is arranged.
  • Project manager
    The individual assigned or hired to manage and coordinate all aspects of the project.
  • Renderings
    An image which illustrates a proposed architectural design, usually for presentation purposes, often showing the building in 3D perspective.
  • Request for proposals
    A request sent to prospective consultants or contractors to bid for a clearly defined project or service. Includes everything requested in an RFQ, plus information about how the consultant would approach the work and what fees would be involved. A client uses an RFP to determine which consultant or contractor to hire.
  • Request for qualifications
    A request sent to prospective consultants or contractors asking for basic information about areas of expertise, references from former clients, services, methods and fee structure.
  • Scope creep
    Uncontrolled or unintentional growth in the scope of a project.
  • Scope of work
    A detailed description of the work to be done for a specific project, or by a specific party.
  • Selections
    Scaled drawings showing a building or room as if it was cut in a vertical plane.
  • Soft costs
    Expenses, other than “bricks and mortar, incurred in developing a real estate project. These costs include financing fees, fundraising fees, interest costs, inspection fees, permits, architectural fees, and legal fees.
  • Specifications
    Documents detailing an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product, or service.
  • Substantial Completion
    The point at which the contractor is ready to turn the property over to the client for acceptance (prior to final punchlisting).
  • Survey
    A document prepared by a surveyor or other qualified entity uniquely identifying the ocation and boundaries, including the legal description, of a real estate property. Usually required by the purchaser of the property and a mortgage lender.
  • Swing space
    Interim space occupied during a construction/renovation project.
  • Theatre consultant
    A design consultant who specializes in the planning and design of theatre spaces and specification of theatre equipment.
  • Value engineering
    “A creative, organized effort, which analyzes the requirements of a project for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest total costs (capital, staffing, energy, maintenance) over the life of the project.” (from