All professions have a short hand. They frequently use acronyms to make communication easier, but leave nonprofessionals scratching their heads. Learn the lingo to participate intelligently in conversations about your construction project.

ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act. This federal legislation mandates that public buildings must be accessible to those with mobility limitations.

AFC- Approved/ Accepted for Construction

Ar.- Architect

BP or B/P- Blueprint

CP- Construction Planning or Cost Proposal, depending on the context

CO- Certificate of Occupancy is issued to buildings that meet all building codes and inspections. A TCO or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy gives the same guarantees but for a limited amount of time.

D-B- Design Build, where design and construction services are delivered by one person or business

EER- Energy Efficiency Ratio tells you how efficient your air conditioning unit is.

FRPF- Fireproof

GC- General Contractor

GMP- Guaranteed Maximum Price means that you won’t pay more than this set amount for the project, and your contractor will be solely responsible for overruns.

GSF- Gross Square Footage is the actual footprint of a structure.

HERS- Home Energy Rating System is the industry standard for determining how energy efficient a home is.

HVAC- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning group of trades

LM- List of Materials

Mas.- Masonry

MEP- Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection group of trades

PCO- Potential/ Proposed Change Order will be used frequently because every change to materials, budget, plans or timeline should be documented.

PL- Can be plaster or property line, depending on the context

PM- Project Manager

PSCM- Preconstruction Services and Construction Management. These are companies that offer planning services as well as general contractor services.

RFB/RFQ- Request for Bids/ Quote is put out by a property owner who is seeking several bids on a project to compare. Some may also use Invitation for Bid (IFB).

SOW- Statement of Work outlines the entire project

VA- Voltage

VDC- Virtual Design and Construction offers clients a digital model of the completed project.

Wd.- Wood

Wdw.- Window

While each sector of the construction industry has and uses its own unique acronyms and abbreviations, these are the basic ones you may see when planning a renovation project. If you see something you don’t understand, ask your contractor or trade pro. They know you don’t work in the same industry and should be happy to explain any unfamiliar terms.