A Handy Guide to What it All Means

When you’ve worked in a particular industry for a long time it’s easy to assume everyone understands the work-based language you use. And of course, the team at BHR Commercial Construction are immersed in it.

We’re accustomed to speaking in acronyms, or throwing around words and phrases that we know the meaning of. But it’s important to ensure it doesn’t go over the heads of others on the site.

You may be interested in getting a building project completed, or be looking for a construction partner to make that happen. Does that mean you’ll know all these definitions? Kudos if you do.

But if you’ve ever felt lost in a sea of construction gobbledegook, fear not!

In this jargon-busting blog post, we unravel some of the often-perplexing language of commercial construction. From VO to MEP, let’s break down the barriers and make construction a more understandable industry for everyone.

Building Vernacular – What it All Means

HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)

People hate it when it’s too hot. They are equally averse to being too cold. If your building is going to work for those using it, you need to ensure they are comfortable. And that’s the job of HVAC.

MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing)

What makes a finished building a success? Especially when it comes to its human occupiers? MEP refers to the systems that make it comfort to work or live in. 

For example, the mechanical aspects include HVAC, as defined above. It can also mean something as simple as making sure the windows and doors open and close as they should.

Electrical and plumbing really do speak for themselves. Lights that illuminate, sockets that keep the computers on, toilets that flush, taps with clean water on hand. All those factors we expect to simply work.

Variation Order (VO) or Change Order

This is a document that specifies changes to the original construction contract. It might cover modifications in scope, schedule, or cost.

Where possible, we prefer to stick to the original contract. Small changes in scope or schedule we absorb. But what about when a client wants to alter something fundamental? Any construction firm will need to look at the knock-on effects.

If they mean a significant hike in costs or schedule, it’s time to break out the VO to clarify and formalise the amendments.

Snagging List or Punch List

Punch list? No, this isn’t a collection of the people who’ve annoyed us during a project… as if! In fact, ‘punch list’ is a term used outside the UK. For us it’s known as the ‘snagging’ list.

It’s a list of tasks to be completed or corrected before a construction project is finished and signed off.

We run a tight ship during our construction works, and we monitor everything as we go. As a result we don’t tend to generate long snagging lists.

However, that final check before you hand over the building to the client is essential.

Cohesive Construction Document

Architects, engineers and construction firms – all distinct but tightly connected in construction. And they create the best projects when they work together in a truly ‘cohesive’ manner.

What does this mean? Every project begins with a comprehensive set of drawings and specifications. These guide the construction process and provide all the information needed to see it through to success.

But what if the drawings are all created on different software? What if they’re drawn to a different scale, and following different formats? It’s much harder to coordinate all the elements.

Working to a common standard lets all the documents be compared, overlaid and understood against each other. It’s a much simpler way of working together. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

Sort of what it says on tin. LEED is a green building certification program that recognises sustainable construction practices.

It mostly applies to the early elements of the project. LEED compliant strategies are specified during the design phase. The credential is most often associated with architects, project developers and interior designers.

And when BHR is involved in the development phase? Then we need to understand and help to flesh out the LEED requirements alongside our project partners.

VE (Value Engineering)

The cost of a construction project can have a major influence on its success. That’s where value engineering comes into play.

The clearest priority? Deliver on time and on budget, having met all the required specifications. In the modern construction environment, there is a balance to be struck in terms of value. It’s between the cost of initial materials, and the running cost of the finished building.

In other works, how does ‘cost’ stack up against ‘value’?

Value Engineering is a systematic method of ensuring the function of systems and facilities in the building do the best job at the lowest cost. Its job is to achieve that cost/value balance, whilst delivering a project that serves now, and in the future.

Fast-Track Construction

Most construction projects are planned along traditional timelines. Each part of the project is undertaken consecutively – once ‘that’ gets done, ‘this’ happens. But what if a client really needs the project completed by a particular date? And what if that date can’t be met within the usual schedules?

That’s when fast-track construction steps up.

This delivery method can speed up the schedule by overlapping phases of the construction, usually the design and build phases.

It doesn’t suit every type of project. But it can work well if you’re using familiar, regular and element-designed construction. Then, partners can cooperate to get the building complete and on spec, and well within time.

An example of how this can be achieved? Let’s say the design of the groundworks and foundations are completed first. Where it’s a repeat or familiar project, work on site can begin before other plans are designed.

As you can imagine, being asked to fast-track a scheme carries a little risk – you can’t see all the way to the end of the work. That’s why an efficient and reliable construction partner really matters. Excellent logistics control and an experienced eye can make a fast-tracked project achievable.

So how can BHR Commercial Construction help to fast-track a project? We bring a mass of experience, a stack of reliability, and an expert grasp of logistics to all our projects.

Understanding Each Other

Navigating the jargon of commercial construction shouldn’t be a challenge. When jargon or acronyms confuse, BHR are always happy to explain.

When you speak a common industry language, working together becomes simpler, and success is much easier to achieve.

Need someone to turn your project into a successful result? Give BHR Construction a call.

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