Lumber Glossary

Browse over 100+ terms
A compilation of construction industry terms that you should know.

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A

Automated Clearing House (ACH)

An Electronic network used for processing financial transactions in the United States, facilitating direct deposits, bill payments, and other transfers between bank accounts.

Attestation

The process of verifying and certifying the accuracy and compliance of payroll records, typically through signatures or electronic confirmation.

Availability

The state of resources, equipment, materials, or personnel being accessible and ready for use on a project as needed.

Arrears Payroll

The payment of wages or salary for work previously performed but not paid during the regular payroll period, often due to administrative errors or delays

Amended Rate Notice

A document issued to inform employees of changes to their wage or salary rates, typically due to adjustments in company policies, labor laws, or contractual agreements.

Affordable Care Act

The requirement for certain employers to contribute toward healthcare coverage for their employees or face penalties under the law's employer mandate provisions.

All-In Rate

A comprehensive price or fee that encompasses all associated costs, expenses, and charges for a particular service or product, providing a single, inclusive figure

Aggregate

A mixture of sand, gravel, crushed stone, or other materials used as a foundational component in concrete, asphalt, and other building materials.

Accrual

In payroll refers to the process of recording and recognizing expenses or liabilities related to employee compensation as they are incurred, rather than when they are paid.

Absence Management

Involves effectively tracking and managing employee time off, including sick leave, vacation, and other absences, to ensure project schedules are maintained and labor costs are controlled.

After-tax deduction

Any deduction made from an employee's paycheck after taxes have been withheld, such as voluntary contributions to retirement plans or charitable donations.

B

Business Case Development

The process of creating a comprehensive justification for a proposed project or initiative, outlining its potential benefits, costs, risks, and alternatives to support decision-making

Base Rate Pay

The fundamental fixed amount of compensation an employee receives for standard hours worked, excluding bonuses, overtime, or other additional earnings

Building Code

A set of regulations and standards governing the design, construction, and occupancy of buildings to ensure safety, health, and welfare of occupants and the public

Brace

A supportive device worn to provide stability or alignment for a specific body part, typically joints or muscles

BOQ (Bill of Quantities)

A detailed list of materials, parts, and labor required for a construction project, serving as a basis for cost estimation and tendering

Body Harness

A safety device worn around the torso with attachment points for securing a person to prevent falls or injury in elevated work environments

Bonus Taxes

Additional taxes or higher tax rates applied to bonuses or supplemental income received by employees, often subject to different withholding rules than regular wages.

Body Belt

A safety device worn around the waist to provide support and attachment points for tools or equipment during work at heights

Blueprint

A detailed technical drawing or plan that outlines the specifications, dimensions, and construction details of a building or structure

Blocking

The process of adding small, intermediate pieces of material between structural components to provide additional support, stability, or attachment points

Bid Selection

The process of choosing a contractor or vendor from submitted bids based on criteria such as price, qualifications, and proposed approach to the project

Bell- bottom pier

A type of foundation support structure characterized by a widened base resembling a bell shape, used to increase stability and load-bearing capacity in soil with poor bearing capacity

BIM (Building Information Modeling)

A digital process that creates and manages comprehensive 3D representations of buildings, facilitating collaborative design, construction, and operation

Bid-Hit Ratio

The proportion of bids submitted by a contractor that result in successful contract awards, indicating their competitiveness and success rate in securing projects

Bid

A formal proposal submitted by a contractor or vendor outlining the cost and terms for completing a specific project or providing services

Best Value Method

A procurement approach that prioritizes selecting vendors or contractors based on a combination of quality, price, and other relevant factors to achieve optimal overall value rather than solely focusing on the lowest cost

Benching

The process of creating horizontal steps or ledges in excavated soil or rock to prevent collapses and provide safe access during trenching or excavation work

Balanced Scorecard

A strategic management tool that measures organizational performance across financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth perspectives

Backfill

The process of refilling an excavated area, such as a trench or foundation, with soil or other material to restore the ground to its original level or to provide support for structures.

Back Pay

Compensation for wages or salary owed to an employee for work performed in the past but not previously paid, typically resulting from a retroactive adjustment or settlement

C

Contract worker

An individual hired by a company for a specific job or project on a temporary basis under the terms of a contract, often without being considered an employee entitled to benefits.

Cut and fill

A construction method involving the excavation (cut) of soil from one area and its placement (fill) in another to create a desired grade or level.

Current Payroll

The total amount of wages and salaries paid to employees by a company within a specific pay period, typically on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.

Cross bracing

A structural reinforcement technique in construction involving diagonal braces placed between beams or columns to increase stability and prevent lateral movement.

Court-Ordered Deduction

A legal mandate requiring the withholding of a portion of an individual's income or assets to satisfy a debt or obligation determined by a court.

Course

A horizontal layer of bricks, stones, or other building materials laid in a continuous line to form a part of a structure.

Cost codes

Numerical or alphanumeric identifiers used in construction accounting and project management to categorize and track expenses related to specific tasks, activities, or items

Controlled Access Zone

A designated area in a construction site where access is restricted to authorized personnel for safety and security purposes

Construction Management Software

A digital platform designed to streamline project planning, scheduling, budgeting, communication, and collaboration for construction projects.

Concrete

A composite material made of cement, aggregate (such as gravel or sand), and water, used in construction for its strength and durability.

Compliance Reporting

Documenting adherence to laws, regulations, or standards by organizations, typically to demonstrate conformity with legal or industry requirements

Compensation

The financial and non-financial rewards provided to employees in exchange for their work and contributions to an organization

Compensatory Time

Additional time off provided to employees in lieu of overtime pay for hours worked beyond regular hours

Circuit Breaker

A safety device designed to automatically interrupt electrical flow in the event of an overload or short circuit, preventing damage to electrical circuits and reducing the risk of fire.

Closeout

The final phase of a project where remaining tasks, documentation, and financial matters are completed, marking the official end of the project

Cleat

A cleat is a metal or wooden strip used to fasten or support materials, such as securing panels or providing reinforcement in structural components

City tax

A levy imposed by a municipal government on residents and businesses within its jurisdiction to generate revenue for public services and infrastructure maintenance.

Change order

A formal document used in construction projects to request modifications to the original contract scope, schedule, or costs.

Chock

A wedge-shaped object or device used to secure or stabilize objects, typically in place to prevent movement or slipping

Change Management

The structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state in order to achieve organizational goals

Certified Payroll

A system of payroll reporting used in construction projects to verify that workers are paid correctly and in compliance with prevailing wage laws and contractual obligations.

Certified

A professional or product has met specific standards, regulations, or qualifications set forth by industry authorities or governing bodies.

Ceiling joist

A horizontal structural member in a building's framework that supports the ceiling's weight and distributes it to the walls or beams.

Cave-in

The sudden collapse or falling in of an excavation or underground structure due to instability or inadequate support, posing significant safety risks in construction.

Caulking

The process of sealing joints or gaps in buildings or structures using a waterproof filler material to prevent air, water, or pests from entering.

Cant

A beveled or sloped surface, typically found on edges or corners of structures or materials, designed for specific purposes such as drainage or safety.

California Department of Industrial relations (Ca DIR)

Oversees labor laws, workers' compensation, apprenticeship programs, and occupational safety and health standards in California

Calculated driver

A specific factor or variable deliberately analyzed and manipulated to achieve desired outcomes within a system, process, or project

Cafeteria plan

An employee benefit arrangement allowing workers to choose from a menu of pre-tax benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and flexible spending accounts, tailored to their individual needs

CAD (computer aided design)

The use of computer software to create precise digital representations of objects or systems for design, analysis, and manufacturing purposes.

D

Drywall

A construction material comprising gypsum plaster sandwiched between paper layers, used to create interior walls and ceilings in buildings.

Ducts

Conduits or channels used for conveying air, fluids, or other substances within a building's HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.

Direct deposit

A payment method where funds are electronically transferred directly into an individual's bank account, eliminating the need for paper checks or physical cash transactions

Dimension

A measurable extent of an object or space in one direction, such as length, width, or height.

Designated person

An individual appointed or assigned to perform specific duties, responsibilities, or tasks within an organization or project

Digital Workplace Strategy

an organization's plan for leveraging technology to optimize productivity, collaboration, and efficiency among employees in a modern work environment.

Diagrid

A structural system consisting of diagonal members forming a grid-like pattern, providing both support and aesthetic appeal in architectural design

De-energize

The act of removing electrical power or energy from a system or device, typically to ensure safety during maintenance or repair procedures.

Demand Forecasting

The process of estimating future customer demand for products or services based on historical data, market trends, and other relevant factors to guide production, inventory management, and strategic decision-making

Defects

Flaws, imperfections, or abnormalities in materials, products, or structures that deviate from specified standards or requirements

Decelaration device

A safety mechanism designed to slow down or stop the movement of an object or person in a controlled manner, typically used in equipment like fall arrest systems or vehicle braking systems.

Davis-bacon

A U.S. federal law requiring contractors and subcontractors on federally funded construction projects to pay prevailing wages to workers, as determined by the Department of Labor, to ensure fair compensation and prevent wage exploitation

Daily report

A concise document summarizing activities, progress, or events that occurred within a single day, often used for project management or record-keeping purposes

Damp proofing

The process of applying materials or treatments to prevent moisture from penetrating into buildings, typically to protect against rising damp or water seepage.

E

Exempt employee

A worker who is not entitled to receive overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) due to their job duties, salary level, and classification.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

The principle of fair treatment and non-discrimination in employment practices, ensuring individuals are not subjected to bias or prejudice based on factors such as race, gender, religion, or disability

Engineered labour standards

Predetermined benchmarks set for specific tasks or activities based on thorough analysis of time, motion, and other factors, used to measure and improve efficiency in workforce management

Excavation

The process of removing earth, soil, or rock from a site to create a depression, hole, or trench for construction, mining, or archaeological purposes.

End-user adoption

The degree to which individuals within an organization effectively integrate and utilize a new technology, process, or system in their daily work routines.

Encasement

The process of covering or surrounding something completely, often for protection or containment purposes

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

A unique nine-digit identifier assigned by the IRS to businesses and other entities for tax reporting purposes.

Employer

An entity, typically a company or organization, that hires and pays individuals to perform work or provide services, often in exchange for wages or salary

Employee Self-Service

A system allowing employees to access and manage their personal information, benefits, and work-related tasks electronically, typically through a web-based portal.

Employee Surveys

Tools used by organizations to gather feedback and insights from employees on various aspects of their work environment, job satisfaction, and organizational culture.

Employee Engagement

The measure of the emotional connection, motivation, and commitment that employees have towards their work and their organization

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

A method of transferring money electronically from one bank account to another, typically used for transactions such as payroll deposits or bill payments

Electricity

A form of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles, typically electrons, through conductive materials, which can be harnessed to power various devices and systems.

Elevation drawing

A two-dimensional representation showing the vertical view or facade of a building or structure, typically detailing its exterior features, proportions, and dimensions.

Employee attendance tracker

A software tool used by organizations to monitor and record the attendance and absence of employees, facilitating payroll processing and workforce management.

Employee

An individual who works for an organization or employer in exchange for compensation, subject to the employer's direction and control

Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)

A free service provided by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, enabling taxpayers to make federal tax payments electronically

Electrode

A conductor through which electricity enters or leaves a non-metallic medium, such as an electrolyte or vacuum

Egress

The act of exiting or the means of exiting a building or space, typically used in the context of safety and evacuation

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

A refundable tax credit in the United States designed to provide financial assistance to low-to-moderate income working individuals and familiesa refundable tax credit in the United States designed to provide financial assistance to low-to-moderate income working individuals and families

F

Floor plan

A scaled diagram or drawing representing the layout and dimensions of rooms, spaces, and features within a building, typically viewed from above.

Foundations

The structural components of a building that transfer the load of the structure to the ground, providing stability and support for the entire construction

Federal Income Tax

A tax imposed by the United States government on individuals and businesses based on their income, with rates determined by income level and filing status

G

Gross Pay

The total amount of money earned by an employee before deductions such as taxes and insurance.

N

Net Pay

The amount of money an employee receives after deductions, including taxes, insurance, and other withholdings.