Construction Glossary of Terms

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The Construction Team incorporates a suite of terminology to describe our services and processes.  We've created a glossary to help you understand the language of the SLAC Construction Services Group.


A - F         G - L          M - Q         R - T        U - Z


A - F


Advisory and Assistance Services (AAS):  

Contract services that provide SLAC support in policy development, decision-making; management and administration functions; program and/or project management; or technical or scientific expertise.  Outputs may take the form of information, advice, opinions, alternatives, analyses, evaluations, recommendations, training and the day-to-day aid of support personnel needed for the successful performance of ongoing SLAC operations.



A document issued to change a solicitation before contract award.


Architect and Engineering Services

Professional services of an architectural or engineering nature that are required to be performed or approved by a person licensed, registered, or certified to provide those services. These services are associated with research, planning, development, design, construction, alteration, or repair of real property.


Bio based Product

A product derived from renewable resources, including fiber crops, like as sugarcane and chemical extracts from oilseeds, nuts, fruits; agricultural residues, such as wood wastes generated from processing and manufacturing operations.



A financial guarantee by a surety company that contractual work will be completed.


Capital Equipment

An article of non-expendable (tangible) personal property having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or greater per unit. Items that cost less than $5,000, or have a useful life of less than one year, are considered materials and supplies.


Certificate of Insurance

A document issued by an insurance company stating the types, amounts, and effective dates of insurance in force for a designated insured.


Certified 8(a) Business

A business owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and eligible to receive Federal contracts under the Federal Government’s Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program.


Change Order

A unilateral, written, contract modification issued to a contractor to modify contractual requirements within the general scope of the contract. Such changes are limited to changes to the drawings, designs, specifications, the method of shipment or packing, or the place of delivery under the authority of the subcontract Changes clause.


Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS)

A readily available item available in the commercial marketplace with prices dictated by market forces.


Commercial Item

An item customarily used and offered to the general public for sale, lease, or license.  Pricing is normally found on public web sites or catalogs.  SLAC follows the expanded list of definitions and examples of commercial items found in the FAR.


Commercial Service

A service customarily used and offered to the general public.  Pricing is normally found on public web sites or catalogs. SLAC follows the expanded list of definitions and examples of commercial services found in the FAR.


Comprehensive General Liability Insurance

A broad form of liability insurance covering claims for bodily injury and property damage.


Conflict of Interest (COI) - Personal

A situation in which an individual, in the performance of their job responsibilities, has a personal interest with a proposed or actual supplier and where there actions may be influenced, or be perceived to be influenced, by this interest. (Example:  buying from a supplier owned by a family member).


Consent of Surety

Written consent of the surety on a performance bond and/or labor and material payment bond to such contract charges as change orders or reductions in the contractor’s retainage, or to final payment, or to waiving notification of contract changes.



An individual acting on his or her own behalf that provides AAS services.  



Construction means building, altering, repairing, improving or demolishing any structure, building or highway, and any draining, dredging, excavation, grading or similar work upon real property.


Construction Management (CM) Subcontract

A subcontract in which a party is retained by SLAC to coordinate and administer subcontracts for construction services for the benefit of SLAC.  The CM subcontract may also be structured to furnish construction services.


Contractor’s Liability Insurance:

Insurance purchased and maintained by the contractor to protect him from specified claims which may arise out of, or result from, his operations under the contract, whether such operations be by himself or by any subcontractor or by anyone directly or indirectly employed by any of them, or by anyone for whose acts any of them may be liable.



The body of regulations governing the Department of Energy procurement process issued which supplements the FAR.


Design-Build Contract

A type of construction subcontract where the performing subcontractor is responsible for both design and build requirements.


Equitable Adjustment Request

A subcontractor request for monetary or schedule relief based on their belief SLAC has changed the terms of the subcontract or some unforeseen, extraordinary event has occurred.


Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)

Government procurement regulations that govern the Federal procurement process.


Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program

Contracts awarded by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by numerous Federal agencies and authorized contractors.  SLAC is an authorized user of the FSS contracts.


Field Change Orders

A process that allows subcontract changes to be put into immediate effect by designated SLAC personnel. At SLAC, associated with construction subcontracts usually for differeing site conditions.




G - L


Government Furnished Property

Property owned by the Government and furnished to the subcontractor as part of a subcontract. It also includes all property acquired by the subcontractor in connection with the performance of the subcontract, title to which passes to and vests in the Government pursuant to the terms of the subcontract.


High Risk Property

Property whose potential impact on public health and safety, the environment, national security interests, or proliferation concerns, must be controlled and disposed of in other than the routine manner.


Independent Cost Estimate

An estimate of what the specific supply or service will cost. This estimate is generally prepared before the solicitation for the supply or service is issued and it is compared with the offers received. The comparison can be used as a basis to determine if the offered price/cost is reasonable.  An ICE is prepared by SLAC staff, or a third party, not associated with the project.   


Independent Contractor

An independent contractor relationship exists when the agency/buyer has the right to control only the result of the service, not the manner of performance. The following elements are essential to establish the relationship of an independent contractor to its client, as contrasted with the relationship of an agent to its principal. An independent contractor must:
  1. Exercise independent judgment as to the means used to accomplish the result
  2. Is free from control or orders from any other person; and
  3. Are responsible only under the contract with the client for the result obtained.


Latent Defect

A deficiency or imperfection in a deliverable that impairs it’s worth or utility that is not readily detected from visual examination of a product. Examples would be the use of non-specification materials in manufacture, building materials that are not to specifications, or missing internal parts such as a gasket, gear, or electrical circuit, etc.



A contract conveying from one entity to another the use of real or personal property for a designated period of time in return for payment or other consideration.


Liability Insurance

Insurance that protects the insured against liability on account of injury to the person or property of another.



A term for any sort of charge or encumbrance against an item of property that secures the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation.


Life Cycle Cost

The cost of a building or equipment based not only on the initial expenditure, but also on its maintenance and operating cost over its entire lifetime.


List Price

The price of an article published in a catalog, advertisement or printed list from which discounts, if any, may be subtracted.


Liquidated Damages

A sum stated in a contract, to be paid as ascertained damages for failure to perform in accordance with the contract. The damage figure stipulated must be a reasonable estimate of the probable loss to the agency and not calculated simply to impose a penalty on the vendor.




M - Q


Market Survey

An attempt to determine the availability of qualified sources capable or satisfying an agency’s procurement requirements. This testing of the marketplace may range from written or telephone contacts with knowledgeable experts regarding similar or duplicate requirements, and the results of any market test recently undertaken, to the more formal sources-sought announcements in pertinent publications (e.g., technical/scientific journals, or the FedBizOps, or requests for information (RFIs) for planning purposes).


Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.)

Expression of mutual understanding of an issue without implying commitments by parties to the understanding which is not a contract and without the commitment to pay funds.



A supplemental agreement that, except for strictly administrative matters, requires the mutual agreement of the contracting parties. Bilateral modifications are issued when the cost/price and/or terms and conditions of the changes required by a Change Order.



A bargaining process between two or more parties, each with its own viewpoints and objectives, seeking to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on, or settlement of, a matter of common concern.


Net Price

Price after all discounts, rebates, and the like have been allowed.


Notice of Award

A Notice of Award is written notification to a subcontractor stating that the subcontractor has received an award.


Notice to Proceed

Written communication issued by the owner to the contractor authorizing him to proceed with the work and establishing the date of commencement of the work.



A response to a solicitation that it is a promise to fulfill the terms of the solicitation if the terms proposed in the offer are satisfactory.



An entity or person who makes an offer in response to a solicitation.



A contract right which enables SLAC, within a specified time, to purchase additional supplies or services, or to extend the period of performance, or both.



Post-Consumer Material

A finished material which would normally be disposed of as a solid waste after its life cycle as a consumer item is completed. Refers to material collected for recycling from office buildings, homes, retail stores, etc.


Pre-Consumer Material

Material or by-products generated after the manufacture of a product but before the product reaches the consumer, such as damaged or obsolete products. Pre-consumer material does  not include mill and manufacturing trim, scrap, or broken material which is generated at a manufacturing site and commonly reused on-site in the same or another manufacturing process.


Pre-Proposal Conference

A meeting held with prospective offerors prior to submission of proposals offers, to review, discuss, and clarify technical considerations, specifications, and standards relative to the proposed procurement.


Preliminary Drawings

Drawings prepared during the early stages of the design of a project.


Priced Option

A priced subcontract line item (SLIN) that allows SLAC the unilateral right to exercise the SLIN and obtain additional quantities or services. Option prices are established at time of subcontract award. 


Procurement Specialist (PS)

As used in this PD, generically refers to the SLAC buyer or subcontract administrator.



Progress Payment

A partial payment made during the life of the subcontract based on actual work completed or materials delivered and appropriately accepted by SLAC. 


Proposal Offer

A document submitted by an offeror that is used by SLAC to evaluate the capabilities of a business, agency, or individual against a set of pre-established criteria that allows SLAC to determine the best business, agency, or individual for subcontract award. The proposal is designed to evaluate such criteria as previous work experience, past performance, and technical understanding; the qualifications of key personnel and the qualifications of the team that will be working on the subcontract; and if their previous work has been completed on time and within budget.


Purchase Order

A document an agency uses to execute a purchase transaction with a vendor. It serves as notice to a supplier that an award was made and that performance can be initiated under the terms and conditions of the contract.


Quality Assurance

The inspection, testing, and other relevant action taken to ensure that the desired level of quality is in accordance with the applicable standards or specifications for the product or work.




R - T


Recycled Product

A product that contains post-consumer or pre-consumer material.


Remanufactured Product

Any product diverted from the supply of discarded materials by refurbishing and marketing said product without substantial change to its original form.


Regular Dealer

A person or vendor that owns, operates, or maintains a store, warehouse, or other establishment in which the materials, supplies, articles, or equipment of the general character described by the specifications and required under the contract are bought, kept in stock, and sold to the public in the usual course of business.


Responsible Offeror

A business entity that has the financial, manufacturing, technical, facilities, staffing, and management capability to perform the subcontract.



A percentage of payments stated in the subcontract that will be withheld from a subcontractor’s progress payments.


Request for Quotation (RFQ)

A type of solicitation used typically with small dollar contracts or purchase, but may be used for commercial items up to an agency’s prescribed dollar limit.


Responsible Offeror

A business entity that has the capability in all respects to perform fully the contract requirements and whose integrity and reliability will assure good faith performance. Factors considered in evaluating responsibility may include financial resources, equipment, and facilities.



A sum withheld from progress payments (usually 10%) to a subcontractor, by prior agreement, for work completed. The retention is held in escrow for a stipulated time period after the acceptance of the completed work.


Service Contract

A contract, the principal purpose of which is to furnish services in the United States through the use of service employees.


Service Employee

Any person engaged in the performance of a service contract other than any person employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity, and includes computer and outside sales employees.
  • Administrative means an individual whose primary duty is the performance of office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers; and whose primary duty includes the exercise of discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.
  • Computer means an individual who performs systems analysis techniques and procedures, including consulting with users, to determine hardware, software or system functional specifications; who performs design, development, documentation, analysis, creation, testing or modification of computer systems or programs, including prototypes, based on and related to user or system design specifications; who performs design, documentation, testing, creation or modification thereof.
  • Executive means an individual whose primary duty is management of the enterprise in which the employee is employed or of a customarily recognized department or subdivision thereof; who customarily and regularly directs the work of two or more other employees; and who has the authority to hire or fire other employees or whose suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change of status of other employees are given particular weight.
  • Outside Sales means an individual whose primary duty is making sales within the meaning of section 3(k) of the Act, or obtaining orders or contracts for services or for the use of facilities for which a consideration will be paid by the client or customer; and who is customarily and regularly engaged away from the employer's place or places of business in performing such primary duty.</p>
  • Professional means an individual whose primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.



A subtract designated for small or minority business only.


Scope of Work/Work Scope

A statement of SLAC’s needs the purpose of which is to provide suppliers with a clear, accurate, and complete description of the work to be performed, including inspection, test and acceptance (see Statement of Work below).


Shop Drawings

Drawings, diagrams, illustrations, schedules, performances charts, brochures, and other data prepared by the contractor or any subcontractor, manufacturer, supplier, or distributor, which illustrates how specific portions of the work shall be fabricated and/or installed.


Site Investigation

An examination of the subsoil and surface of a site to obtain complete information necessary for the design of foundations and structures on them.


SLAC Customer

Field construction managers, service representatives, University Technical Representatives, Principal Investigators or requestors.


Small Business Subcontracting Plan

A written plan submitted by a prime contractor and approved by a SLAC, that describes goals and actions the contractor plans to take to use small and small disadvantaged businesses to the maximum practicable extent in performing the contract.



Software includes all applications software, whether packaged or requiring development, and all systems software such as assemblers, compilers, CPU performance measurement systems, data base management systems, file backup and recovery, job accounting, operating systems, programming aids and development systems and soft-merge utilities.


Sole Source Acquisition

The term used to state there is only one known source that can meet the SLAC purchase requirement.



Generically refers to the formal request to submit an offer to SLAC for goods and services. May be in writing or oral.  Requests for Quote and Requests for Proposals are the two most widely used examples used at SLAC.


Sole Proprietorship

A contract for the purchase of supplies or services that is entered into or proposed to be entered into by an agency after soliciting and negotiating with only one source.


Source Selection Authority (SSA)

Is the official designated to direct the source selection process, approve the selection plan, select the source(s), and announce contract award.


Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB)

Personnel, representing functional and technical disciplines, selected by the SSA and charged with establishing the source selection plan, evaluating proposals and developing summary facts and findings during source selection.


Special Conditions

A section of the conditions of the contract, other than general conditions and supplemental conditions, which may be prepared for a particular project. Same as conditions of the contract.



A description of the technical requirements for a material, product, or service that includes the criteria for determining whether these requirements are met. A specification may describe the performance parameters that a supplier has to meet, or it may provide a complete design disclosure of the work or job to be done. Specifications for service contracts normally take the form of a statement of work.



A mutually binding legal relationship obligating the subcontractor to furnish the supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that are authorized in writing.&nbsp; Subcontracts include but are not limited to awards and notices of award, releases issued under basic ordering agreements, letter subcontracts, and orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance, Personal Services Agreements, Consultant Agreements subcontracts and bilateral contract modifications.


Subcontract Line Item (SLIN)

Usually contained in the purchase order or Schedule B of a Subcontract.  States items/services and associated pricing being performed by the subcontractor under the purchase order or subcontract.



An entity in the business of providing supplies and services who is a potential subcontractor with SLAC.


Surplus Property

Property which is in excess of the needs of an agency and which is not required for its foreseeable need. The property may be used or new, but possesses some usefulness for the purpose for which it was intended or for some other purpose. It includes scrap, which is material that is damaged, defective, or deteriorated to the extent that it has no value except for its basic material content.


Technical Proposal

An unpriced proposal that sets forth in detail that which a supplier proposes to furnish in a response to a solicitation.


Terms And Conditions

Generally, refers to the set of subcontract terms that are attached to the subcontract, or incorporated by reference, that include the “boiler plate” clauses used in all subcontracts of a similar nature.


Term Contracting

A technique by which the subcontract is established for a specific period of time. For example, Basic Ordering Agreements can be established based on definite or indefinite quantities to be ordered “as needed” over a stated contract period.


Termination For Convenience

A form or contract termination where SLAC may, at its discretion, terminate the performance of work in whole or in part and makes settlement of the subcontractor’s claims in accordance with appropriate policy and procedures.


Termination For Default

An order by the Procurement Specialist to a subcontract to cease work in whole or in part because of the subcontractors failure to comply with the subcontract’s provisions.


Termination Settlement

A written agreement, in the form of a modification of the subcontract, between the subcontractor and SLAC settling all or a reasonable portion of a subcontractor’s claim.



 A person’s occupation or craft, usually involving manual skill.


Turnkey Job

A job in which the subcontractor completes all work and furnishing of a building or other project so that it is ready for immediate use.




U - Z


Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)

Codification of uniform laws concerning commercial transactions. For our purposes generally refers to the state laws governing the sale of tangible personal property.


University Technical Representative

The SLAC staff member responsible for the oversight of the subcontractor’s technical performance.


Unit Price

The price of a selected unit of a good or service (e.g., price/pound, labor hours, etc.).


Unsolicited Proposal

A written proposal that is submitted by an outside source offering to perform work that is not submitted in response to a solicitation. Any unsolicited proposal such be returned to the supplier or destroyed with the concurrence of the SCM Director.


Used Equipment

Equipment that has been previously owned and used and is offered “where is” “as <a name="Used Equipment"></a>is”. It does not include demonstration or factory rebuilt or remanufactured equipment marketed through normal distribution outlets.


Value Engineering

An organized effort to analyze the functions of systems, equipment, facilities, services, and supplies for achieving the required functions at the lowest life-cycle cost consistent with required performance, reliability, quality, and safety.


Virgin Product

A product that is made with 100% new raw materials and contains no recycled materials.



The representation, either expressed or implied, that a certain fact regarding the subject matter of a contract is now true or will be true. Not to be confused with “guarantee,” this means a contract or promise by one person to answer for the performance of another person.


Working Drawings

Drawings, intended for use by a contractor, subcontractor, or fabricator, which form part of the contract documents for a building project.