Terms of Architecture

Terms for Architecture

Need help with architectural terms like RA, DD, or FBC? They ain’t slang of course, that is why we bring you with such terms to get your doubts and questions cleared for various definitions, terms, and construction permitting authorities that you will come across as you work on your architecture and engineering projects.

Architecture and Engineering.

Architect and Engineering is a backronym of A&E. Architecture and engineers are associated with A&E services that are catered to cover topics related to your construction sector.

Construction work employs architecture designing, MEP mapping and modeling, structural design and drawings, Structural engineering, and various services to assist you with the construction documentation and project success.

Acoustic Ceiling Tile

Whether you have a problem with sounds and echo reverberation. Acoustic Ceiling tiles are there to solve your problem. They come in metal, wood, microfibre glass fiber, and more materials and are attached to the ceilings easily through gluing or various other means.

Acoustic tiles are attached in schools, hospitals, corporate offices, and various other places to enhance the acoustics of the area. This means they can absorb sound and prevent echoing noises, are fire resistant, and are highly durable.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aims to provide equal rights to disabled and impaired people with the same civil rights and opportunities as everyone else. It involves all the necessary build codes to be adopted during the construction of a project to give equal opportunity and access to everyone.

It does not provide any build codes but local authorities assert to comply with ADA to construct buildings and approve construction permits in accordance. They may not issue a permit for construction which violates the civil rights of impaired people.

It is required by contractors, subcontractors, homeowners, and more to pursue construction projects considering the established build codes with the ADA legislation.

Add Alternate.

The term Add Alternate defines the cost of the extra material that can be added instead of the existing one. These alternates may be specified by the contractor under the construction budget. This bidding technique could be significant in winning project bids and quality outcomes.

The Add alternate should form at least 10% of the construction project documentation and 50% of the base. For example, alternative materials concerning quality for flooring, carpeting, ceiling, windowing, and more. It affects site logistics, pathing, and other plans of construction projects.

Additional Services.

AS or Additional services are extra services that are beyond the project scope and documentation. Adding more services may also enhance the cost of the project.

Additional services may be provided for improving interior designs, landscape designs, demolition, acoustics, and the security of the construction project. It may require extra call plans, products, labor third-party services, and more, bringing additional cost to the construction project.


Addendum is changes that the client may require from the contractor during the construction phase. Instead of making the project documentation from scratch, necessary adjustments can be made to meet the client’s requirements.

It may involve modification of Bidding documents, components, and instructions provided. It is beneficial to make changes in the construction process while complying with the agreement between the parties.

Above Finished Floor

The above Finished Floor is abbreviated as AFF. AFF is used to define dimensions for the elevation process.

It serves the purpose of uplifting the length between the ceiling to the floor for extending comfortable living space and home improvements. For example, a ceiling that is 10 feet high can be labeled as 10AFF.

Authorities Having Jurisdiction.

AHJ is the abbreviation of Authorities Having Jurisdiction. It involves all such authorities which are consented to the approval and issuance of permits for the construction project.

These authorities make sure that the project follows the established code and ensures stability,  construction compliance, and secure outcomes.

Air Handling Unit.

AHU is a system of air control and handling in a commercial building or residence. AHU involves air filters, blowers, heaters, a cooler, thermostats, ductwork, and more elements.

The purpose of the Air Handling Unit is to ensure Purified air, smooth ventilation, and temperature regulation. The AHU is either fitted inside a room or above the ceiling.

American Institute of Architects

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the industry that provides membership and license to architects to ensure professionalism and credibility. The AIA website can be searched to find whether an architect is registered with the organization.

This license is beneficial to ensure that the construction is not controlled by unprofessional and inexperienced designers. AIA experts provide quality consultancy, insights, and professional services to cover construction project regulations with ease.


An alternate is required by the Contractor to take notice of during the design phase. It may include an add alternative that relates to any components, requirements, or terms that may be added to the project and are above the scope of the signed agreement, while a deductive alternate would define the deduction of such conditions and plans, which were prescribed before the starting of the construction for client satisfaction.


An architect is a person who defines design, plans, and procedures for the operation and the aesthetics of the construction sector. An architect may provide interior/exterior designs and roof, floor, structural, and renovation plans to ensure efficacious results.

An architect is equipped with a 4 years bachelor’s degree, which may be accompanied by a 2 years master’s degree and a few years internship internship-encompassing experience. He ensures the construction project fits according to the trending aesthetics which may be specified by the client.

Architectural Process.

The construction project includes the comprehensive process for the completion of the construction project. An architectural process includes 5 phases for the architectural design and development procedure.

The first phase is the pre-design phase which describes all the rooms, spaces, and necessary information of the construction project. Other phases of the development include schematic design, design development, and construction documents and the last phase includes the issuance of a permit.


As-built drawings are those final drawings that include all the changes that were made throughout the construction. It provides a detailed drawing of the project after the construction is completed.

It defines all the material types, processes, elements, dimensions, measurements, and every detail of the finalized building, which is visualized with a drawing. It enhances field records, renovation process, and onboarding.

Base Flood Elevation.

BFE or Base Flood Elevation describes how the project should be built at least 1 foot above the BFE. The standard is defined by the FEMA and the construction project must adhere to the federal requirements. Local build codes may provide stricter requirements.

The contractor must ensure the projects fulfill all established codes and requirements set by the authorities.

Below Finished Floor.

Below Finished Floor or BFF describes the elevation process. It is labeled on drawing blueprints. It defines extensive flooring information like what type of slab and material would be used below the floor etc. A flat floor would be noted as plus or minus 3/16 B.F.F.


A bid is the General contractor’s proposal for the construction project. The bid describes the cost evaluation considering the client’s specifications.

It is an important part of construction documentation and involves all the materials, components, and fixtures that may be required for the construction project, and the cost, those requirements may constitute, adding other relevant charges for timely and cost-effective project completion.

Bidding and Contract Negotiation:

The Bidding and contract negotiation process involves finding a contractor on bids submitted, and solutions offered under the budget of the project. The most satisfactory bid in the competitive market initiates a contract between the owner and the contractor.

Bid Set:

The bid set is the drawing that is used by the contractor or the general contractor to estimate the cost of the project and submit a bid.

The drawing may be the exact blueprint of the project but sometimes they provide such general drawings and requirements similar to what the client requires. The material quantitative analysis was done on the drawings provided.

Building Information Modeling.

BIM or business information modeling provides 2D/3D drawings, designs, drafting, mapping, and modeling concerning problem-solving and carrying out a successful construction project. It runs the foundation of (the AEC) the Architectural, engineering, and construction industry.

BIM consists of Rebar steel drawings, architectural blueprints, shop drawings, structural modeling, designing, and more drawings encompassing a broad range of construction sectors.

Bottom Of.

BO or bottom off is a clarification in the construction drawing. E.g it may be required to make a plane from inside to the exterior that may be specified by a note in the construction drawing.

Whether other notes can be added in the drawing for project completion adhering to the requirements provided.

Building Envelope:

The building envelope defines the exterior cover of the building. Its walls, roof, bricks, windows doors lead to a strong foundation for the construction project.

It may include insulation material or glazed video that might affect the comfort and stability of the structure. The purpose of a building envelope is to provide insulation from humidity, temperature, and energy efficiency ensuring enhanced structural integrity.

CA/ Construction Administration.

CA or construction administration is the process of carrying out construction projects following the specifications provided. CA involves the contractor adhering to the established codes, construction compliance, and client’s specifications.

The contractor ensures all the plans and procedures are employed, reports are tested and issues are addressed during the construction process.

Computer Aided Drafting.

Computer Aided Design or CAD defines the drawings and designs for construction projects. It employs the utilization of AutoCAD, a highly developed software that brings brilliance to construction designs. Digital drafting outruns designing construction maps by hand with precise clarification of details.Whether it’s shop drawings, architectural or engineering blueprints CAD drawings cover all construction endeavors.

CD’s/ Construction Documents:

The CD is not a compact disc, as you think. It’s construction documentation that includes all the engineer and architectural drawings created, quantity analysis of material, components, tools, budget and time management, Title work, and all other construction project specifications, processes, and procedures.

Construction documentation defines in detail how to carry out the given construction process within the time estimated.

Certificate of Use:

The Certificate of Use is a validation document by the local government authority to make sure the construction building meets the safety regulations and code compliance to serve various purposes.

Fire department or code compliance department inspection is also involved in such certification. It is useful to ensure whether the existing building could be used for other means.

Change Order

Whenever any change is made in the construction project, a change order is made. A change order is made by the contractor or the owner, considering various aspects and requirements.

Center Line:

CL or center line is a common point of different aspects within a drawing. For Example, a drawing may point out the CL of a wall and the CL of a roof to align.


Clerestory are high-level windows that are installed in certain parts of the house for smooth air ventilation. They are often found in basements of houses, minarets of churches, and large buildings.

Construction Management

CM is abbreviated for Construction Management or Construction Manager. A CM is the person who is appointed by the owner to make sure the project is carried out within the range of time, budget, and specifications provided, ensuring satisfactory results.

Concrete Masonry Unit :

Concrete Masonry unit CMU is composed of three elements; water cement and aggregate. It constitutes a single block which is most commonly used in building walls and various structures in Florida.

Certificate of Occupancy :

Certificate of Occupancy, often acronym as C.O. is a certification acquired after the completion of the construction project. The permitting agency inspects the building after construction to make sure that the project complies with the construction compliance, building codes, and safety regulations.

Condenser Unit:

A condenser unit is a part of an air conditioning unit that is usually placed outside the house. It operates with the help of several coils and condensing refrigerant gas, which expels latent heat effects from the air and produces cool air for your house’s air conditioning.

Construction Cost:

Construction cost is the cost for the practical work of the project. It is only the cost of physically constructing the building. Project cost involves the construction cost and all the other expenses relating to the components, tools, and more.

Construction Permit:

A construction Permit refers to the master permit that is issued by the relevant government authority. After the permit has been issued the contractor starts working on the construction project. Even after the construction permit is issued, it is required for more permits during the construction process.


A consultant is an expert who provides analysis and guidance for a particular project. Various consultants may assist in relative departments like financial consultancy, marketing consultancy, or environmental consultants.

Construction consultants provide guidance and suggestions relating to all sectors of the construction field. Consultancy may also be provided for the engineering and architectural endeavors of a project.


Contemporary in terms of architecture is referred to as several styles upon which the structures are built from the 20th century to the present. A house can be designed and styled in various ways. Most often these styles can be innovated for enhanced aesthetics of the construction building.

Cost Plus:

Cost Plus is a way of structuring bids and calculating the cost of the construction project. It includes all the relevant construction project costs in addition to the cost of labor, contractor fees, and general contractor fees along with markup including the profits from a certain project.

Construction Specifications Institute.

Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) is an organization that sets certain standards and principles for providing construction specifications and bid organization.

It employs a format for the organizing and communication of the construction requirements with ease. CSI MasterFormat is currently preferred for architectural requirements and documentation.

Design Development:

The design development phase of DD is the architectural project phase that includes the finalization of the project design.

It is also specified in the phase all the necessary materials, fixtures, and appliances that may be employed for the construction development. If any changes are applied to the project after the completion of the Design and development phase can be assigned as additional services.

Deductive Alternative:

When the construction owner may be required to remove certain components, requirements, or services from the project to comply with the budget, it is called a deductive alternative.

It can be used to expel certain components from the project that may not hold importance within the construction endeavor. Deductive alternatives are provided by the architect or the bidder of the materials that can be used and subtracted to fit the project cost.


Demolition is carried out at the start of construction. If the construction needs renovation or reconstruction a part or the entire building may be demolished to commence the construction project.

Demo Permit:

A demolition permit is given by a local government authority to make sure that the demolishing process begins with the government’s consent.

Demo Set:

A demolition Set or DS are drawings to acquire a demolition permit. These demo assets are provided to the local authorities. These are basic structural drawings for the future project given to the authorities for the demo permit.

During when the constructional documents are either being created or viewed by the construction permit authority.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) provides permits for the construction of projects in environment-sensitive areas. These areas include beaches, coastline construction, and more areas to ensure the perseverance of natural resources and Health measures for humans, wildlife, and marine animals.

Design Build:

It is a term used to define collaboration between the designer and builder for a construction project. Design-build allows both contractors and builders to unite under a single agreement and carry out the construction project delivering quality.

It includes the process of construction and designing including quantity and cost calculation, site selection, design phase, and physical construction phase of the project.

Florida Department of Health

DOH or Florida Department of Health is an organization that employs measures to improve and promote the health safety of its individuals. Construction projects that might concern the health of people in Florida need approval from the DOH.

Design Review Board:

DRB is particular to Miami Beach and provides such rules and regulations to approve new construction and renovation of the existing property. Other cities have their particular review boards to make sure they are accurate architecturally and comply with long-term sustenance.


An easement is defined as the area of the property that the government has the right to build upon in Florida. It may include making government roads, commercial parking lots, parks, and more. The easement may also involve the perseverance of historical buildings that exhibit architecture.


Egress means to Exit. Egress is a term that defines safety measures and requirements that are needed to be adopted, in the cases of fire, earthquake, and other hazards. It involves measures, equipment, and passage for quick escaping and dealing with such situations.

Elevation Certificate:

The elevation certificate is a permit that defines a new building and renovation improvements are made with proper elevation. It is issued by SFHA Special Flood Zone Hazard Areas(SFHAs).

If you are doing any renovation in such areas it can be subject to floods often. These areas may include construction on the coastline or near rivers. Then an elevation certificate is issued by the SFHA which is given to the architect before the renovation.

However, if you’re constructing a new building then the renovation certificate is issued after the completion of the project.

Floor Area Ratio:

Floor Area Ratio is a backronym of FAR. FAR is the total calculated flooring area divided by the total size of the lot. A percentage is specified in build codes that define how much area is subjected to flooding, according to the local build codes. The architect will consider the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for the construction of your project.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)  is responsible for Medicaid. It ensures better healthcare for low-income families in the United States.

It is required for the construction project of hospitals, hospices, clinic dialysis centers, ambulatory surgical centers, and other medical facilities to be approved by AHCA. To ensure the safety and stability of medical construction endeavors.

Florida Building Codes:

Florida Building Codes or FBCs are certain codes and regulations that must be followed for construction in Florida. These rules and regulations are designed by the Florida Building Commission to be followed throughout Florida. FBC is listed on the mentioned website.


Feasibility Study:

A feasibility study is a study conducted in the initial stage of an architectural project. The owner may hire a contractor to analyze whether his requirements meet the established build codes and standards of the construction. This can be achieved by making a rough sketch.

A contractor through his experience also gives a rough estimate of how much could be the calculated cost of the project. The contractor defines whether the desired project is feasible to achieve under the code.

Finish Floor

Finish Floor Stands for FF and typically defines the uppermost layer of the floor. This layer is usually the decorative layer to enhance the appeal and is different from the layers beneath.

Furniture Fixtures and Equipment.

Furniture Fixtures and Budget is a backronym of F.F.E. It defines all the furniture, equipment, and assets involved in the building but not part of the construction. The FFE is added after construction, to increase the aesthetics and appeal of the project.


The finish is the outermost layer of any project that is designed to enhance the appeal of the construction. For example,  the finish of a floor is its outermost layer, the finish of the walls may be painted or the bricks added to the outer layer..

Fire Protection

Fire Protection (FP)  systems are installed in the building to minimize the harm to the building and the people in case of a fire.


Framing refers to the Wood, structural steel reinforcement, and all the materials responsible for the structure’s shape, support, and stability in construction buildings.


Furring in terms of architecture and engineering refers to strips of wood or metal that are added to create space for insulation in the ceiling or walls or to avoid dampness. The strips are added before the finish layer of any part of the construction.

Furring Channel:

The Furring Channel or Hat Channel consists of battens(Strips of timber) or steel. They are attached to the furrings. The ceiling tiles, walls, or basement finish are attached to these strips.

Furr Out:

Furr Out means to build an area for furring, serving the purpose of insulation and more. The furring is applied with strips of wood or metal. It’s usually 1X2 or 2X2 inches. The wooden strips can also be used to fur out for straightening the wall or to pass wire, or pipe too.

 Furr Down:

Furr down is often called a soffit but the actual term is Furr down. It is the wall that is placed at the top of the cabinet in your house or building.


A gable is a triangular wall on top, that supports the gable roof.

Gable Roof:

A gable roof is a triangular cover for the roof and is supported by two gable walls at the end.

General Contractor

A general contractor is a person hired by the construction owner to provide all the materials, components, labor, equipment, tools, and services for the construction project. A general contractor also hires subcontractors to accomplish various tasks in the construction process.


Geo tech comes from the word geo technology. Before a civil engineer, a geotechnical engineer is hired to inspect the earth elements. The mechanism of soil, rock, and sand is analyzed to find the foundation of the building and sustenance.

Ground Fault Interrupter

GFI stands for Ground Fault Interrupter or GFCI. In GFCI, C means circuit. A ground fault interrupter is a circuit breaker that is grounded. It is switched off when the current is not moving where it is supposed to move. It can be installed in bathrooms or garages, but wet areas are considered to reduce severe injuries in such areas having excess water.


Glazing refers to the installation of glass in any project. It may include glass in stores, windows, clerestory windows, and more.


Ghulam is a layer of wood beams that are joined together with a durable adhesive. A ghulam is less expensive than a solid wood but it is stronger.

Gross Maximum Price:

Gross maximum price or GMP is the cost or the budget that is given to the contractor to not exceed, whether with the construction bid or agreement. However, due to additional services, the price might go up later but the Gross maximum price is provided at the initial stages of the project.

It depends on the contractor how meets the requirements. He may hire subcontractors and make decisions but within the construction cost provided. GMP provides the highest price for the material, labor, and contractor fees under which the construction needs to be completed.


A green is a color however it can be used to give different meanings. For example, it can be used to define a product that could be recycled, or for wood that is taken from a forest where trees are grown again. In architectural terms, green is used to define a building that is environmentally friendly and maintains resources.

Gypsum Wall Board:

GWB is an abbreviation for Gypsum Wall Board. It is made from a mixture of plaster, starch, fiber-like paper, and various other additives. It is highly resistant to fire and water and durable.

Gypsum Wallboard is the most common material to be used for ceilings and walls in the USA. They are not installed in the outer wall. The reason is that it gets damped, even though it is water resistant but this property is not as effective as cement plasters for outer walls.

 Hat Channel:

A Hat channel also called a furring channel is a metal strip or barret that is used to attach masonry walls and ceilings with plasterboard.

Hip/Hipped Roof:

A Hip or Hipped roof is a pyramid-shaped roof, sloped on all sides. It is a roof without a gable. They ensure stability with structures and are easy to assemble.

Home Owner Association:

HOA is an abbreviation for Home Owner Association. The association enforces rules and regulations for the construction of houses in the division. It is required for the HOA community to be consulted with, and to know the regulations before the construction. Your property may be affected if such codes are not followed.


HVAC stands for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning. This is the system installed in houses,  buildings, stadiums, and more to control the airflow, temperature, and humidity of the structure. The system employs various components such as thermostats, blowers, ducts, condensers, and more to create a comfortable environment for your building.

Integrated Project Delivery

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a collaboration between the architect, engineer, consultants, contractors, and subcontracts from the beginning of the project to the physical construction phase or design phase.


The laminate material is an effective material for the interior appeal of the construction building. It consists of a durable material that is covered with resin. They can be used on floors, walls, stairs, and more for interior design.


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is led by USGBC. This organization ensures the construction of eco-friendly buildings. It ensures the conservation of energy, and water, and measures to prevent harmful gasses and carbon emissions in the environment.

Life Cycle Cost:

Life cycle cost is the total cost of the construction throughout the project. It involves the cost of materials, fixtures, services, labor, energy, and various resources. It includes all the costs in construction related to engineering, electrical, architecture, masonry, piping, and every other cost throughout the life cycle of the project. All the present and future cost of the facility is associated with the life cycle cost.


Level of Development (LOD) is a scale that defines the extent of details in a BIM forum. The scale is rated from 100 to 500 to describe how much information is added to the BIM. The more accurate and comprehensive the information, the higher the level of development. It defines extended information dependence in the constructional drawing part.

Master Permit:

The permit, which is given for the construction of a project, is called a master permit. It may also be followed by various other permits throughout the construction project.


MEP stands for mechanical electrical and Plumbing. In architecture, MEP ensures all the components of the project are thoroughly designed, planned, and positioned for accurate and effective outcomes.

MEP+Fire Protection:

MEP along with the Fire protection system is the term used to define the integration of the MEP system with fire protection measures to ensure a secure system from fire. It includes the addition of firefighting devices such as alarm systems, sprinkler systems, and smoke detection systems.


Miesian is a term used to describe a style of architecture, influenced by Mies Van Der Rohe, who is renowned for his Modernist, International Style designs. Some key features of this style include steel structures with glass doors and windows and an open plan.


Millwork refers to the woodwork. It is defined as the manufacturing of all the wooden materials that are involved in building construction, furniture, etc.


Modern architecture became popular in the 1930s in the West. It is different from the classic and historical designs used previously. It includes flat roofs, expansive windows, open floor plans, Curtains, and more.


A Mullion is a decorative element that is used to divide the window or screen. It is used for decorative purposes. This element is found in churches more often.


A muntin is an element found in windows, doors, and various other furniture of a building. Muntin involves dividing a window into sections. Wooden strips are used often to divide the window and each section contains glass panes. The glass panes are called lites. Muntin comes in various patterns like horizontal, vertical, diamond, and more.


The National American Vertical Datum (NAVD) defines the vertical elevation of the construction building. The reference is necessary, especially for those areas which are more open to flooding. National Geodetic Vertical Datum also provides a reference for the height of the elevation in a specific area.


NGVD is an abbreviation for National Geodetic Vertical Datum. It provides a reference for the sea level for the elevation of the property. It is now being replaced from NGVD to NAVD. The elevation height is necessary to maintain stability for the long term in those areas more prone to flooding.

Owner Provided/Contractor Installed.

Owner-provided (OP) or Contractor Installed (CI) is a way the owner purchases the items, products, and components and the contractor installs them. The other case would be the contractor may purchase things and install them.

There could be various reasons involved in such a process for buying of all the material components by the owner. This reason may include that the owner wants to know the prices of the product and is reluctant to pay the markup fee by the contractor.

Another reason may be the owner needs to know the price of the products for his future projects, and he could do this by buying all the materials himself.


A parapet is a wall that may be installed above the roof line. It is similar to a barrier that extends a few meters above the roof.


A phase includes dividing the project into achievable targets that may be achieved in an order. Each part of the total project is divided into a phase.


A permit is used to define a construction permit or master permit that may be issued for the construction project. There may be a series of permits required for building at a specific place.

Not getting a permit for construction and starting to build results in penalties and various other losses that might be faced later on after the completion of the project. Permits are issued by local government authorities of the area.

After completion, permits may also be required to ensure the building is built according to the construction compliance.

Permit Set:

A permit set are drawings provided to AHJ to issue a permit for the construction.


The build permit phase is the process in which the owner provides the set of drawings to the AHJ for obtaining a permit for construction.

Pre-Design Services:

Pre Design services are a part of the architectural phase that includes a meeting between the architect and the owner to discuss the budget requirement, materials, and services involved, zoning, and various other parts of the construction project. It involves the establishment of the requirements and code compliance with the project to attain a permit for the project.


RA is an abbreviation for registered Architect under AIA. These architects possess skills and expertise of the highest level of architectural practice.

Reflected Ceiling Plan:

A reflected ceiling plan is a set of architectural drawings that define the ceiling height, and material components. It defines all the requirements in a drawing of how the ceiling would look after it has been completed.


A Revision is a term of drawing that refers to the change in the permit set after it has been provided to AHJ for approval. If the revision in the permit is more than 25% then a new permit is issued and the old one is invalidated.


Revit is a software for the design and drafting of construction images. It employs 2D and 3D drawings, rendering, designing, and modeling for construction projects.

Return on Investment:

Return on investment is abbreviated as ROI to check how profitable the investment was. It is calculated by dividing the net profit or loss by the initial cost of the project.

ROW/ Right of Way:

Right of Way is defined by the AHJ as how much area could be used for construction purposes. ROW may define the way for the sidewalks of the house. It’s made for the transportation convenience in the project. Different mills, electricity, water, and more utilities require ROW from local government authorities.

Roof Top Unit:

A Rooftop Unit or RTU is an HVAC unit that is placed over the roof. It is installed for cooling, heating, condensing, and purifying air in commercial buildings mostly.

Schematic Design:

It is the first phase of the architectural project. Architectural designs are provided through quality drawings detailing interior, exterior, electricity, plumbing, and various endeavors of construction projects.


The scope is defined as what is provided through A & E services for the architects and engineers.


Setback is the distance that needs to be left from the lot line to the construction building. It is provided by AHJ according to the area build codes.

Shop Drawings:

Shop drawings are required by the general contractor or manufacturer. It is used for detailed clarifications of a part of the project. Detailing all the material components, its foundation, and other details through drawing.


The side under the edge of the wood that connects with the walls is called Soffit. It is used to protect the rafters underneath the roof from moisture and damage.


The spandrel is the term used for the glass. Spandrel glass is a type of opaque glass that prevents people from looking inside. It does not allow see-through as many other glasses. It is used in plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems to prevent them from being seen from outside.

Specialty Engineer:

A specialty engineer has expertise in a specific part. They provide shop drawings for architects, engineers, and contractors with extensive information. He provides modeling, analysis, constructability, and life cycle of the project beyond the scope of an ordinary engineer.

Spec Book:

A spec book is a document that includes all the documentation specifications. It includes drawings, 3D models, materials, equipment lists, and all other specifications. The SPEC book is about 20-30 to 200 pages.


Specs of a construction project include scope, owner requirements, procurement list, schedules, calculated cost, and project turnaround along the complete lifecycle of the project.

Standard of Care:

Standard of Care is several standards according to which an AIA expert is licensed or registered. It defines what level of experience and expertise are required from an architect to make sure he possesses legal competence.


A stringer is a vertical support for the stair treads and risers. There are three types of stringers, which are housed stringers, open stringers, and mono stringers.


Stud ain’t a cool, attractive guy. In architectural terms, a stud refers to a wooden or metal framing of a wall. It offers support to windows, walls, interior finish, exterior siding, and ceilings.

Stud Wall:

A stud wall also called a stud is a system to frame interior walls. It is made from metal, wood, or timber and is used to provide support to floors, ceilings, and walls.


A sub is a subcontractor that is hired by the general contractor to perform various tasks of the construction project. A subcontractor may work under an engineer, architect or electrician for completing the project. A general contractor may divide the task into various parts which are accomplished by the hired subcontractors.


An architectural survey is a visit made by the architect on site. The architect can give a survey at the design phase of the project to make sure the construction process is being held as planned. He makes sure that the errors are avoided. For project success, an architect during the survey may help engineers and contractors to cover up the omissions too for a strong foundation of the building to be led.

Top Of

Top  Of is abbreviated as T.O. For example, top of roof or T.O. gable roof.


Traditional is a term used to define the style of construction that is usually adopted in a particular area. The architectural design adopted for walls, flooring, ceiling, exterior design, and interior design following norms and culture is called traditional architecture.

United States Green Building Council.

The United States Green Building Council is abbreviated as USGBC. It is a nongovernmental organization that makes sure your building follows certain measures to be certified under green building certification. It makes sure that the building environment is eco-friendly and supports a healthy community.


VDC is defined as Virtual Design and Construction. VDC is similar to BIM but presents a visualization of the project with details and graphic elements. It digitally visualizes the construction elements, materials, components processes, schedules, and costs for better understanding.

Value Engineer:

Value engineer or VE is a term for managing a procurement list with the lowest possible cost for each material and service. Value engineering may include providing alternatives for the elements, materials, and units at the lowest prices without losing functionality or quality.


Vernacular is a term to define architectural style. Building designs are made according to traditional architecture and norms, which may vary from place to place. These buildings are made with local materials, design, and climate conditions.

Furthermore, these materials are inexpensive, use local technology, and adapt to social conditions. For example, houses in Florida adopt a style of “Florida Cracker” that includes the wood frame style of houses even today.

These vernacular architecture are particular to Florida and differ as you go to New York, where the vernacular architecture of houses is a mixture of colonial and modern styles.