SJCC Toolbox Terms & Glossary

Jan 1, 2016 | Learning Aid, Podcast, SJCC

Listen to our podcast for new terms and check out our glossary below.

Click on a term to find articles that reference that term.

Glossary of Terms



  • Aggregate – Coarse material such as sand, gravel, or other crushed rock. Often used as a substrate or base course.
  • Artics – Short for articulated dump trucks, or offroaders
  • Asset Management – Keeping track of a company’s tools, equipment, or other resources using a mobile/cloud application.
  • Assets – A company’s tools, equipment, or other resources.


  • Base Course – The base course or basecourse in pavements is a layer of material in an asphalt roadway, race track, riding arena, or sporting field.*
  • Balanced Bid Prices – A balanced bid price is when each of the bid items shares equally in shared costs and profit. Insurance, field and corporate overhead, and profit are all examples of costs which are spread across bid items, or shared amongst the bid items – if these dollars are not spread in proportion to the value of the bid item, and the estimator adjusts this mathematically proportioned sharing, the bid item is considered unbalanced.
  • BCY – bank cubic yard = arguably identical to an ECY
  • Beacon – BLE transmitting devices that broadcast their identifier to nearby smart devices to provide information or perform actions when they are near the beacon.
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) – A technology that allows a beacon to actively transmit data to another device such as a smartphone or a site monitoring network.
  • BMP – Best Management Practices


  • Calendar Day (CD) – A calendar day usually carries some sort of definition along the lines of a period of time from midnight to midnight. Mathematically it follows that there are 365 calendar days in a year (add one calendar day for a leap year making 366 calendar days per leap year).
  • Cardinal Change – those changes beyond the scope of the contract as coined by the Court of Claims.
  • Cement – Cement is a binder, a substance used for construction that sets, hardens, and adheres to other materials to bind them together.*
  • Cloud – Cloud service providers own and operate their SaaS applications at data centers and access is generally via the Internet.
  • Concrete – Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement (cement paste) that hardens (cures) over time.*
  • Connected Jobsite – A connected jobsite can entail many things from digital documents and plans, to smart devices and wearables, to complete site monitoring. The jobsite uses a wireless network to enable the communication between people, equipment, and all things digital.
  • Contemporaneous – In layman’s terms it means recording information as it happens. A note recorded immediately after the event is a note recorded contemporaneously. A note recorded days, weeks, months, or years later is not. – Listen
  • Contingency – a backup plan or alternate solution.
  • Contraction / shrinkage – the decrease in volume of earth when compacted or when water escapes the void space of compacted fill through drying
  • Contra Proferentum – this is a risk allocation principle which favors the non-drafting party. In other words, whomever writes the contract takes responsibility for any vagueness.
  • CPA – Certified Public Accountant
  • Crewhour – the entire crew working for one hour.
  • CWPPP – Certified Water Pollution Plan Preparer
  • CY – Cubic yard.


  • Delay – A construction delay in are often the result of miscommunication between contractors, subcontractors, and property owners.*
  • Doctrine – A doctrine is a simple and basic legal position which has been established by a solid precedent.
  • Drone – A remote-controlled or autonomous multi-rotor aircraft used for surveying or inspecting areas of a jobsite that are too difficult or dangerous for a worker. With their small size and maneuverability, they can be flown indoors as well as outdoors.
  • Dywidag – See Rebar


  • ECY – embankment cubic yard = a cubic yard as it exists in an embankment made by your crew
  • Eichleay formula – a calculation used to reimburse the contractor for additional expense related to home office overhead.
  • ESCP Coordinator – Erosion & Sediment Control Plan Coordinator


  • FAR – F.A.R. (Federal Acquisition Regulations) – Listen
  • FEIN – (federal tax identification number)
  • Fleet – Fleet vehicles are groups of motor vehicles owned or leased by a business, government agency or other organization rather than by an individual or family. *
  • Fluff – similar to swell, but usually not referring to expansion due to water
  • Formwork – Formwork is temporary or permanent molds into which concrete or similar materials are poured.* Listen


  • GPS – The Global Positioning System that allows location coordinates and therefore the tracking of a device.


  • HOOP – Home Office Overhead Payment
  • Hoptoe – What a backhoe is called in Hawai’i. Listen


  • Incidental – Incidentalincluded, or shall include, all communicate to the Contractor that, regardless of the description in the bid item, you must include the costs of “these other things listed here…” in your price.
  • IoT – The “Internet of Things” is a general name given to all kinds of smart devices that allow connectivity and communications to normally unconnected items.


  • Jawcrusher – A rock crusher.
  • Jet Grout – Jet grout is a method of ground improvement wherein a drilling machine injects cement, water and air into the existing underground. What results is a homogenous mass soil-cement mixture. It is effective in mixable soils – for example, excellent in gravels but ineffective in rock mass.


  • Kip – Equal to 1,000 lbs.



  • Manday – one person working one shift.
  • Manhour – one person working one hour.
  • Mesh Network – A wireless network where each node is connected to many other nodes cooperating and routing data efficiently.
  • MCAA – Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc.
  • MS4 – Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – MFA is a method of confirming a user’s claimed identity and they are granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors). Most commonly 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) is used by using the user’s login credentials and a code sent to their mobile device.


  • NFC – Near Field Communication – A protocol that enables two devices, such as a smartphone and another object, to pass data. An example of this is when you might use your smartphone to “tap to pay” at the grocery store. NFC is a subset of RFID.
  • NPDES MS4 – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System


  • One day – One shift = 8 hours.
  • Outrigger – A vertically extended bar to provide stability for a construction machine.
  • Overcompaction / overconsolidation – usually refers to earth which is in a condition thought to be beyond ideal/expected maximum compaction


  • Password Security – Set a date on your calendar to remind you to change your passwords at least semi-yearly (every 180 days). Develop a pattern that you can remember, without using obvious or easy to guess dates, names, or patterns. #passwordisnotagoodpassword
  • Patent – Listen
  • Pawl Brake – A redundant brake system – Listen
  • PCO – Potential Change Order
  • PLI – Project Loss Insurance. An insurance product to mitigate the risk associated with catastrophic failure of a construction company.
  • Plumb – Something that is vertical – Listen
  • Purchase Order


  • QR Code – A QR code consists of black squares arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a smartphone. This matrix-style barcode can embed various data from a number to a full web URL.


  • Rebar – Rebar (short for reinforcing bar), known when massed as reinforcing steel or reinforcement steel, is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension.*
  • RFI – Request for Information
  • RFID – Radio Frequency Identification – Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. The tags contain electronically-stored information that is then passed to the scanning device and then processed.
  • RME – Responsible Managing Employee also known as: RMO – Responsible Managing Officer, RMI – Responsible Managing Individual, QI – Qualifying Individual, QA – Qualifying Agent, QM – Qualified Manager, QP – Qualifying Partner


  • Site-Monitoring Network – A mesh network setup on a jobsite to monitor connected devices on or near the project.
  • Social Media – Interactive computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and social networking services.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – Cloud infrastructure applications are accessible from various client devices through a client interface, such as a smart device, web browser, or an app.
  • Smart Devices – Smartphones, tablets, watches… devices that allow you to connect, generally over wifi to a network and exchange data and communications.
  • Squares
  • Substrate
  • Swell – the increase in volume of earth when excavated or perhaps when water is added to it


  • TCY – truck cubic yard = cubic yard as it exists in the back of a hauling truck after placed there by your excavator
  • Telematics – monitoring the location, movements, status, and behavior of fleet vehicles or heavy equipment.
  • Tool Tracking – See Asset Management.


  • Unbalanced Bid Price – A unit price for a bid item in a proposal which has an extraordinary allocation of profit and overhead in its value.


  • Valve – A mechanical means of controlling a flow through a pipe.


  • WAG – Wild-Ass Guess
  • Walers – Internal rings of structural steel inside the cofferdams preventing the sheetpiles from caving in on the crew inside.
  • Wearables – Smart devices that can be worn and will exchange data with a manufacturer, operator, and/or other connected devices, without requiring human intervention.
  • Work Day (WD) – A work day or a working day or a business day, as they are found in contracts, carries some version of the following definition: a day on the calendar excluding holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays.


  • Xylem – The botanical name for wood.


  • Yo-Yo – Two dozers connected by a length of cable, allowing the uphill dozer to prevent the downhill dozer from sliding.


  • Zinc – A metal used as a coating to prevent corrosion on steel.


Recent Articles

Forensic Reporting 101

Forensic Reporting 101

Executive Summary. In any formal forensic investigation, there’s going to be some sort of report. Knowing how to write this report is important in...

read more

Leave A Comment