Market Insights

Construction 101: A Comprehensive Glossary of Terms

Many construction projects involve complex terms that can be unfamiliar to those not directly in the field. This glossary aims to bridge that gap by offering clear and understandable definitions. With this resource, anyone involved in a construction project — from architects reading plans to clients wanting a better understanding of the building process — will have the tools to ask informed questions and participate effectively in a project.

Backfilling: The process of filling in an excavation with soil or other suitable material after construction work is complete. This is typically done around foundations, trenches, or basements.

Clearing: This involves removing all surface vegetation and other unwanted materials from the construction area.

Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU): A prefabricated rectangular block made from concrete that is commonly used in construction. CMUs are widely used for building walls — both interior and exterior — due to their affordability, ease of installation, and various functional benefits.

Dewater Site: A construction location where the groundwater or surface water has been removed to create a dry working environment.

Dry-in: A stage where the building envelope is sufficiently complete to shield the interior from the elements like rain, wind, and snow. This allows for interior work to progress without weather interruptions and protects sensitive materials.

Earthwork: The excavation, movement, and manipulation of soil or rock to prepare a site for various construction activities. It’s essentially the groundwork that sets the stage for the building process.

Final Cleaning: Also sometimes called a touch-up clean, is the final stage of post-construction cleaning. It’s the meticulous process of ensuring the space is spotless and ready for occupancy.

Footings: The foundation of a structure, the lowest part that rests directly on the ground.

Foundation Pads: Also sometimes called pad footings or spread footings, are a type of shallow foundation used to distribute the weight of a structure over a larger area of soil.

Framing: Framing can be thought of as the skeleton of any building or the bones of a structure, created by assembling various elements to provide the building with its initial shape and support.

Grubbing: Once the surface is clear, grubbing tackles what’s left underground. This means removing any remaining root systems, stumps, buried logs, and other debris that could interfere with the construction project.

Gypcrete: A common term for gypsum concrete,  a lightweight underlayment material used in floor construction particularly for wood-framed and concrete buildings. This material provides several benefits such as fire resistance, sound reduction, and a level surface for floor coverings.

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP):

Mechanical: Deals with the systems that control a building’s climate (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning – HVAC)

Electrical: Focuses on the design and installation of electrical wiring, lighting systems, power distribution, communication systems, and fire alarm systems.

Plumbing: Involves the design and installation of piping systems for potable water supply, and wastewater drainage.

Moisture Conditioning (MC): Moisture conditioning of the soil involves managing the moisture content in the soil to properly prepare for footings, foundations, and ultimately going vertical. It is primarily done in Texas and Arizona where soil conditions require it.

Precast: Concrete elements that are manufactured off-site in a controlled environment and then transported to the construction site for assembly.

Precast Grouting: The process of filling the gaps between prefabricated concrete elements with a specialized grout material.

Pre-Punch Walk: A collaborative walkthrough of a construction project before specific elements are installed. It’s a crucial step that helps identify and address potential issues early on, saving time and money during the construction process.

Post-Tension (PT): A technique where high-strength steel tendons (strands or bars) are placed within concrete and then stretched after the concrete has cured. This pre-compresses the concrete, making it stronger and more resistant to cracking.

Punch List: A list of all items that need to be fixed before the building or project can be turned over. Punch list items are also known as snags or deficiencies, and include things like paint scratches, damaged siding, cleanup, etc. This process comes at the end of the project after a preliminary walkthrough of the jobsite.

Rebar: Steel bars used to strengthen concrete. They typically have ridges to improve the bond between the steel and concrete.

Retaining Walls: Relatively rigid structures designed to support soil laterally, or from the side, so that it can be retained at different elevations on two sides. In simpler terms, they are walls that hold back dirt or other materials on one side to create a level area on the other side.

Rough-in: The initial stage of the wall framing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing installation. This includes all of the components that won’t be seen after the completion of the project. All trade rough-ins must generally be inspected prior to insulation and application of finishes.

Roers General Contracting (RCG): The RGC team oversees construction budgets, schedules, and contracts for select Roers Companies projects, working with subcontractors and vendors as well as Roers Cos.’ in-house development teams to bring new projects to fruition. The RGC staff are typically assigned to projects in regions such as Minnesota, Texas, Arizona, and Florida.

Shoring: The temporary system of supports used to stabilize a structure, excavation, or trench. Shoring is crucial for preventing the collapse of structures, especially when they are weakened.

Slab-on-Grade (SOG): A shallow foundation system where a concrete slab is poured directly on the ground (grade) level. It acts as the subfloor for the first level whether that be a parking garage or apartments.

Storm Sewer Work: The tasks and processes involved in installing the underground piping system that collects and directs rainwater runoff away from buildings and developed areas.

Storm Vault System: Also sometimes called a stormwater vault or detention vault, is an underground structure designed to manage excess rainwater runoff on a developed site.

Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO): Acts like a permit for early occupancy. It allows the partial use of a building before all construction is complete.

Tyvek: A brand name for a type of material called flashspun high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fibers. It’s a unique, non-woven material used in a wide range of applications due to its versatility and beneficial properties. Commonly used as building wrap or a moisture barrier for buildings, creating air barriers, and providing temporary covers.

Utilities: This refers to the network of pipes and cables buried beneath the ground that deliver essential services. Utilities could also be the systems within a building that provide essential services for its occupants (heating, ventilation, electrical, or plumbing)

Vapor Mitigation System: A series of components installed in a building to reduce the health risks associated with contaminants that have entered the structure through vapor intrusion.

Roers Cos. values genuine partnerships – we’re happy to offer resources like this one to empower investors. Contact us today to discuss your goals and explore how Roers Cos. can guide you toward financial success in multifamily real estate.

NO OFFER OF SECURITIES; DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS: Under no circumstances should any material or information contained herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy an interest in any investment. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of the  confidential Private Placement Memorandum relating to the particular investment. Access to information about investments with projects undertaken by Roers Companies LLC, Roers Companies Project Holdings LLC, or any of their respective affiliates is limited to investors who either qualify as accredited investors within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or those investors who are generally are sophisticated in financial matters, such that they are capable of evaluating the merits and risks of prospective investments.

Photos by Spacecrafting

Investing Opportunities

Current Investment Opportunities

Investment opportunities for new multifamily projects are now open.

View Opportunities