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The Funnel Effect: Tips to Successfully Navigate the Bottleneck in Housing and Residence Life

11/8/2020 » 11/10/2020
2020 Annual Conference - Springfield, Illinois

Glossary of Facilities Terminology
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Item that is added to the design after a project has begun. In some cases, this addition item will affect the cost of the project.

Application for Payment

Paperwork submitted to client from contractors to receive payment for work done up to the current moment in project timeline.

Change Order

Reasons may arise during construction to change the design. Document is issued to contractor for change, deletion or addition to the building’s design.


Regulations that control all aspects of the building and maintenance process. Guidelines determine materials used, amount of materials, safety of structure, etc.

General Contractors

Contractor that takes responsibility for construction of building. They hire and monitor subcontractors who handle the work of various trades such as plumbing, electrical, elevators, etc. General contractors hire and pay subcontractors.

Prime Contractors

Hired in addition to general contractor by owner of building. General contractor schedules work but the prime contractor is paid by owner.

Punch List

List compiled at the end of the project that indicates the remaining items that each contractors needs to complete, fix or re-do because it does not meet the owner or architect’s approval.


Outside business used by university to obtain supplies and services. Examples of vendors can be found at housing conferences. They supply everything from furniture, maintenance and cleaning materials and technology equipment.


University will hire companies to complete work that the university was doing in-house. Universities have outsourced food service, housekeeping and even the management of housing to non-university companies for a fee.

Physical Plant

Main university office whose purpose is to maintain university buildings, systems and plan for future construction and renovation. Depending on the university’s organizational structure, the Physical Plant may be directly responsible for housing buildings and building systems or housing may have their own physical facilities unit that works in conjunction with the Physical Plant.




"Request for Information”- Contractors will use this document to ask the architects and project manager for further clarification on drawings or construction issues.


"Request for Proposal” - A document provided to vendors to ask them to propose hardware and system software that will meet the requirements of a new system.


Term refers to contractors doing work to get an area of project ready for permanent completion of a particular contractor’s work. (i.e.- "Electrical conduit has been roughed-in and we’re waiting for the wall to be finished to add the outlets and switches.”)


Technique used to clean or change the texture of material. Sand is sprayed with high pressure at item to obtain necessary result. Water can also be used in a similar manner. Sandblasting can be used to remove stains, effects of weathering, paint, etc.


Project manager give the approval that work has been successfully completion of work.


A passage or hall from the outer door to the interior.

Architectural/ Construction

Reflective Ceiling Drawing

Drawing that is a view looking straight up at the building’s ceiling and lighting plan.

As-built Drawings

Drawings that accurately reflect the changes in a building’s design as it was built.


Elevation drawings are horizontal views of the building’s exterior taken from a perpendicular point of view.

Floor Plan

Drawing that is a view looking straight down after a horizontal plane is cut approximately 4’ above the floor.

Site Plan

Drawing that is a view looking straight down at the building illustrating its location and orientation on a plot of land.


Drawing that is a horizontal view of the building after a vertical plane is cut through significant spaces of the building. The drawing will give user a sense of space and thickness of floors, ceilings and walls.


More commonly referred to as "Specs”. A part of the construction documents contained in the project manual consisting of written requirements for materials, equipment, construction systems, standards and workmanship.

Electrical/ Lighting

Battery Back Up

Back up system used to power emergency lights, life-safety system and other essential services when power goes out.


Wiring that distributes electricity to all aspects of electrical system

Cover Plates

Cover over electrical units such as outlets and junction boxes not in use.


Part of light fixture used to spread light out evenly from fixture.

Distribution Panel (DP)

Main switchboard that controls and protects the main feeder lines into a building. Distributes large incoming power into smaller parcels.

Electrical Panel

Panels that control branch circuits. Fuses or circuit breakers are located in this panel and used when individual circuits are tripped.


Something that is permanently "fixed” to the building. Examples of fixtures related to the electrical system are outlets, overhead lighting units, etc.

GFI Receptacles

Ground Fault Interrupters receptacles (outlet) used in areas where power needs to be turned off quickly in case of shock potential. Used especially around water sources.

Junction Box

Also referred to as a J-box. Box is used to connect fixtures to circuitry.

Tripped Circuit

Circuit that was overloaded resulting in a blown fuse or tripped breaker. Problem can be eliminated by determining how students are overloading circuit and reducing the load. After load is reduced, fuse should be replaced or circuit breaker flipped back to the "on” position.



Waterproof material used to seal building exterior to reduce outside weather from permeating interior. Typically used to seal windows and doors.

Channeling (Wall or Floor)

Act of cutting a trench through wall or floor material to place items such as conduit or piping. Channel is then filled in to cover over the hole.


Building material containing a mixture of cement, aggregate (small stones, particles), and water. By itself, works very well in compression but steel reinforcement is needed on projects affected by tension and compression loads.

Door Closer

Piece of door hardware that is used to close door automatically after door is opened.

Door Strikes

Door hardware where door latch enters the doorframe.

Dry Wall

Application of gypsum board to wall.

Expansion Joint

Separation between material to allow for expansion or contraction due to temperature, moisture, etc.

Face Brick

Masonry brick used on exterior of building.


The skeletal structural units that make up the basic components that hold a structure up. Term typically used in wood construction.


Plastic used in place of glass in a window.

Gypsum Board

A non-combustible board with a gypsum (calcium sulfate) core enclosed in tough, smooth paper.


Material necessary to enable building doors to operate effectively.


An arrangement of metal blades to provide air slots that will permit airflow.


A built-up construction or combination of masonry units bonded together with mortar. Masonry units include brick, concrete block (solid and hollow), glass block, etc.


A finishing substance to cover walls.


Floor finish containing two parts marble chips to one part portland cement. Color pigment may be added and material is polished.


Vinyl tile for floor covering. Material is very resilient and durable.

Plumbing/ Ventilation


The act of emptying out building pipes. Typically used when emptying heating and cooling systems or emptying out domestic water systems.


A tank that is used to heat water for building or unit that stores hot water.

Chase (Pipe)

Areas furrowed into building for pipes to traverse structure without being visible. Typically, piping is accessible through removable access panels.


An arrangement of sheet-metal ducts to distribute supply air, return air and exhaust air.

Fan Coil

Heating and cooling unit.


Something that is permanently "fixed” to the building. Examples of fixtures related to plumbing are faucets, tubs and toilets.


"Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning”- System that is responsible for the building’s climate control.


Science that deals with the use and flow of water.


Vertical Pipes in building. Separate risers/ stacks are used for supplying fresh water and removing wastewater.

Shower Base

One piece, pre-cast unit placed in bottom of shower unit.


Device incorporated into pipelines to control the flow of water into, through and from them. Valves are placed to control water at individual fixtures, risers, branches and buildings.

Valve Tags

Tag used by plumbers to identify what part of the plumbing system is controlled by the valve.


Pipes that permit gas to escape piping system and admit fresh air into pipes.



Structural member located at base of foundation used to spread building’s weight out over a large area of ground and prevent the building from sinking.

"I” Beam

Structural steel identified by its cross sectional characteristic.


Beams arranged parallel from wall to wall in a structure to support floor or ceiling.


Structural member used to carry load over opening. Typically, used over window or door opening.


Shortened terminology for "deformed steel bars for concrete reinforcement”. Steel rebars are placed in patterns depending on the load being held up and concrete is pour over the steel. The concrete and steel act as one structural system to handle loads in tension and compression.

Retaining Wall

Wall used to keep a material or substance out of a space.


Formwork used to stabilize and add additional support to structure during facilities improvement project.


Concrete floor system. Types of slabs include one-way, and two-way systems.


Material that is breaking off structure. Typically found in concrete or masonry structures. Spalling can be caused by moisture and temperature problems.


One member of structural system used in building framing.



Process of removing an item from area. Typically used to describe the process of removing asbestos from a building.


Fibrous material used as a fire resistant covering that has been determined to be a health risk. Anytime, building is being renovated and an area is opened up, asbestos must be removed or "abated” before work can start.

Fire Rating

Materials and structural systems are tested to determine how long they can withstand fire. Building codes mandate certain levels of fire ratings depending on materials used and building use. Fire rating is identified in hours of ability to withstand fire.

Fire Stop

Term describing solid filling set in all wall holes to stop fire from easily spreading from room to room.

Life Safety Inspection

Inspection of building to determine if safety equipment in building is functioning correctly.


Occupational Safety & Health Administration- Government agency that defines safety protocol for worksites and workers.

"Red Tagged”

Represents item that didn’t pass inspection.

Temporary Occupancy

Inspection that gives owner the ability to inhabit structure with stipulations. If specific repairs are not completed by a date, the owner will not be allowed to continue using building.