Glossary - Unica Construction Group

Commercial Construction Glossary

Understanding the terminology used in commercial construction is essential for effective communication and project success. At Unica Construction Group, we strive to ensure clarity and transparency by familiarizing our clients with the industry’s jargon and acronyms. To facilitate your understanding, we have compiled a comprehensive glossary of commercial construction terms:


An estimate provided by contractors based on project designs and specifications.

Bid Selection: 

The process of evaluating and comparing contractors’ bids to choose the most suitable one based on factors such as price, services, timeline, and unique project requirements.

Building Information Model (BIM): 

A 3D model-based process that encompasses architectural, engineering, and construction details of a building.

Change Order: 

A document that outlines revisions to the original construction plans or pricing as specified in the contract.


The traditional approach to construction projects where design and construction are separate phases. A design firm creates the design, and then bids are obtained from general contractors.


A construction scenario where the contractor is responsible for both the design and final construction. This fosters collaboration and accelerates project delivery.

Field Work Order: 

Documentation provided by the main contractor to subcontractors, specifying additional work items beyond the original scope.


A visual representation of a building’s layout when viewed from above.

General Contractor: 

The primary contractor overseeing day-to-day operations, managing vendors and trades, and facilitating communication among all project stakeholders.

Lean Construction: 

A collaborative approach where all parties involved work together to minimize waste and optimize project output.

Light Commercial Construction: 

Construction projects involving smaller-scale businesses, such as offices, retail spaces, restaurants, and small medical facilities, typically under four stories and less than 25,000 square feet.

New Construction: 

The process of constructing a building or structure from the ground up.

Project Manager: 

An individual responsible for overseeing various aspects of construction projects, including schedules, deliverables, costs, and client satisfaction.

Punch List: 

A document identifying items that require attention or resolution before project completion and final payment. These items are typically based on client feedback.


Projects focused on restoring or repairing existing structures. While remodeling aims to change the structure, renovations primarily aim to repair and enhance functionality.

Request for Information (RFI): 

A formal document seeking additional information and specifications to inform construction decision-making, such as for contracts. RFIs often include project overviews, timelines, and occasionally pricing details.

Request for Quote (RFQ): 

A formal document requesting information from potential suppliers. RFQs typically include pricing estimates, projected timelines, delivery speed, and level of customer service.


Adding new elements or technologies to an existing building or structure to enhance functionality, such as incorporating new building systems or equipment.


Detailed documentation outlining the materials and desired quality standards for a construction project.


Specialized contractors engaged by the general contractor to perform specific tasks within the commercial construction project, such as drywall, mechanical, concrete, or electrical work.

Tenant Improvements (TIs): 

Construction elements implemented to make a commercial building move-in ready for tenants. This includes wall finishes, carpeting, lighting, and fixtures, among other considerations.

Time and Materials: 

A billing method based on the cost of time and materials used, along with any other agreed-upon charges.

We hope that this glossary provides you with a better understanding of the commercial construction industry. If you have any further questions or require additional information, please feel free to reach out to us.