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Terms & Definitions

General Contractor Terms & Definitions:

Construction is a process that consists of the building or assembling of an infrastructure, were effective planning is essential and environmental impact of the job, successful scheduling, budgeting, site safety, availability of materials and logistics must be carefully considered.

The construction process usually involves the design consisting of drawings and specifications, usually prepared by a design team (architects, interior designers, surveyors, civil engineers, cost engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, structural engineers, and fire protection engineers).

In a design-build system the owner is able to integrate the services of architects, interior designers, engineers, and constructors throughout design and construction.

The project must adhere to zoning and building code requirements.

The 3 most common types of contracts are:

1. Traditional (Design-bid-build) Were the architect or engineer acts as the project coordinator. 2. Design and Build Contract includes an entire completed package to produce a completed fully functional building.
3. Construction Management The client takes on the contractual role, while the construction manager provides the active role of managing the separate trade contracts, and ensuring that they all work smoothly and effectively together.


Renovation is the process of improving a commercial or residential building structure, and can usually be broken down into several processes:

  • Planning
  • Engineering
  • Structural repair
  • Rebuilding
  • Finishes


Demolition is the opposite of construction: the tearing-down of buildings and other structures.

Building implosion
Demolition by building implosion using explosives, ensureing that the building falls into its own footprint, so as not to damage neighboring structures.

There are many steps that need to take place before any demolition activities, including but not limited to performing asbestos abatement, obtaining necessary permits, submitting necessary notifications, disconnecting utilities, rodent baiting, and development of site-specific safety and work plans.

Loaders or bulldozers may be used to demolish a building. Typically equipped with "rakes" they are used to ram building walls. Skid loaders and loaders will also be used to take materials out and sort steel.


An act of construction. Any man-made structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy.


Construction Bidding
The process of submitting a proposal to carry out a described residential or commercial construction project for an agreed price.

Bid Solicitation
The process of making published construction data readily available to interested parties, including construction managers, contractors, and the public.

The process that begins with an owner selecting an architect to prepare construction documents. Then, the architect will release these construction documents publicly, or to a select group of general contractors, who will then place a bid on the project which reflects what they believe the cost of construction will total.

Design-build or design/build
A construction project delivery system where the design and construction aspects are contracted for with a single entity known as the design-builder or design-build contractor, usually the general contractor. This system is used to minimize the project risk for an owner and to reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design phase and construction phase of a project.


The person who is qualified for, and shall only be responsible for, the project contracted for and means, except as exempted in this part, the person who, for compensation, undertakes to, submits a bid to, or does himself or herself or by others construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others.


Certified Contractor
A contractor who possesses a certificate of competency issued by the state and who shall be allowed to contract in any jurisdiction in the state. Designated by an occupation code which begins with the letter "C".


Registered Contractor
A contractor who has registered in the jurisdiction for which the registration is issued and who may contract only in such jurisdictions. Designated by an occupation code which begins with the letter "R".


General Contractor
A contractor whose services are unlimited as to the type of work which he or she may do.

A general contractor is a group or individual that contracts with another organization or individual (the owner) for the construction, renovation or demolition of a building, road or other structure, being the signatory as the builder of the prime construction contract for the project, being responsible for the means and methods to be used in the construction execution of the such project in accordance with the contract documents. Usually including the contract agreement including budget, the general and special conditions and the plans and specification of the project that are prepared by a design professional such as an architect.

A general contractor responsabilities are: supplying of all material, labor, equipment and services necessary for the construction of the project.

The general contractor can subcontract part of the work to other persons and companies that specialize in different types of work. These are called subcontractors.

Contractors are those who contract, bid, negotiate a price or offers to construct, supervise, oversee, schedule, direct, alter, repair, install, improve, move, demolish, furnish labor, etc.


An individual or in many cases a business that signs a contract to perform part or all of the obligations of another's contract.

A subcontractor is hired by a general contractor (or prime contractor) to perform a specific task as part of the overall project.


Independent Contractor
An independent contractor is a natural person, business, or corporation which provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor does not work regularly for an employer but works as and when required, retaining control over their schedule and number of hours worked, jobs accepted, and performance of their job. This contrasts with the situation for regular employees, who usually work at the schedule required by the employer and whose performance is directly supervised by the employer.


Building Contractor
A contractor whose services are limited to the construction of commercial buildings and single-dwelling or multiple-dwelling residential buildings that cannot exceed three stories in height, and who's services are limited to remodeling, repair, or improvement of any size building, if the services do not affect the structural elements of the building.


Residential Contractor
A contractor whose services are limited to construction, remodeling, repair, or improvement of one-family, two-family, or three-family residences which are not more than two stories and the "accessory use structures" in connection with these buildings.


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