Five Common Real Estate Terms Explained

real estate terms

In the world of commercial real estate, architecture, engineering and construction, there are so many terms, abbreviations and acronyms. When you are working on your business’s real estate transaction, keeping track of all of this vocabulary can be daunting.  We’ve put together a list of real estate terms to help as you navigate through the complicated real estate process. Third party project managers are involved through every step of the real estate process- from conception to completion. Managing the entire project team means knowing the ins and outs of these terms and many more.

TI Allowance- Tenant Improvement Allowance

TI refers to the customized alterations that a building owner makes to a space in order to configure it to the needs of the specific tenant, as stated in the lease agreement. This can include flooring, wall coverings, air conditioning, fire protection, security, etc. The TI costs are negotiated between the owner and the tenant and are documented in the lease agreement.

FF&E  Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

This term refers to moveable furniture, fixtures or other equipment that are not permanently affixed to the structure of the building or utilities. Ie- desks, chairs computers, electronic equipment, lighting equipment, etc.  FF&E becomes an important budget line item as these assets depreciate substantially over time.

BOD- Basis of Design  

The BOD is developed by the architect or engineer in the early stages of design and are based on the owner’s project requirements. It translates the tenant’s needs into building components such as HVAC, building envelope, building automation systems (BAS) and more. It defines the technical approach and the design parameters for the project.

GC- General Contractor

The person or firm responsible for building a project designed by someone else.

CD- Construction Documents  

The set of all building plans, specifications and supporting documentation used during the completion of a construction project. CDs are used for multiple purposes:

  1. They translate the needs of the owner into a format that can be universally understood in the construction industry.
  2. They are sent out to bid the project and to obtain permits from local authorities.
  3. They provide comprehensive instructions so that the contractor and subcontractors know how the building should be constructed.


Related: The ABCs of Third Party Project Management

Katie Craven
Katie Craven is Marketing, Communication and Brand Manager at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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