AEC ABCs blog final

Accelerated schedule: A building and/or design schedule that operates on a faster deadline than the norm, often so the owner can begin realizing revenue sooner. This can be accomplished by the contractor bidding the project based on 24-hour workdays and/or extended workweeks, dividing the work into smaller portions, or by the owner providing a cost incentive if the work is completed faster than scheduled.
Brownfield: Abandoned, idled, or underused industrial and commercial facilities/sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA’s brownfield initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties.
Change order: The client's written order to the contractor, issued after execution of the construction contract, which authorizes a change in the construction work and contract time and/or amount. Typically, the design professional also signs the change order and then issues it to the contractor.
Drainage: The method of removing surface or sub-surface water from a given area, the objective of which is to collect and remove waste matter systematically to maintain healthy conditions in a building
Earthquake Strap: A metal strap used to secure gas hot water heaters to the framing or foundation of a house; intended to reduce the chances of having the water heater fall over in an earthquake and causing a gas leak
Flashing: Thin pieces of impervious material installed in joints, intersections, and other vulnerable areas to prevent water seepage into a building
Grade: Ground level. Can also be used to describe the process of altering ground level.
Heating Load: The amount of heating required to keep a building at a specified temperature during the winter, usually 65° F, regardless of outside temperature
Infill: A construction method of redeveloping obsolete or underutilized land OR rough material used to fill in a framework to create walls
Joint Venture: An agreement, possessing the legal characteristics of a partnership, between two or more parties that join forces to achieve a specific short-term goal such as the design and construction of a project.
Knee Brace: A corner brace; a diagonal member placed across the angle between two members that are joined; serves to stiffen and strengthen a constructed framework
Leech Field: A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system; sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field
Master Plan: An overall scheme for phased work or construction. It combines forecasts of future activities, services and strategic planning with the organized development of physical facilities to meet staffing and space needs projections, typically for a period of 10 to 20 years.
Net Fee: Total fee less any sub-consulting fees.
Oriel Window: A form of bay window which protrudes from the main wall of a building but does not reach to the ground
Programming: The early stages of a project, during which the architect and owner discuss the goals, needs and function of the project; design expectations and available budget; and pertinent building code and zoning regulations. The architect then prepares a written statement setting forth design objectives, constraints, and criteria for the project, including special requirements and systems and site requirements.
QA/QC: Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Retaining Wall: A structure that holds back a slope and prevents erosion
Settlement: Shifts in a structure, usually caused by freeze-thaw cycles underground
Trunk line: The main line from which other lines originate. This term is used for a number of systems, including HVAC, wastewater and transportation.
Utility Easement: The area of the earth that has electric, gas, or telephone lines
Veneer: A thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material OR a layer of wood used to make plywood
Water Table: A projection of lower masonry on the outside of a wall slightly above the ground OR the location of the underground water, and the vertical distance from the surface of the earth to this underground water
X-bracing: Cross-bracing, a system utilized to reinforce building structures in which diagonal supports intersect
Yield Point: The point on a stress-strain curve that indicates the limit of elastic behavior in materials and the beginning of plastic behavior
Zoning: Outlines what types of developmental and operational use of land is allowed on a given tract


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