The Estimating Glossary: Building Terms & 1build Lingo

March 30, 2022
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The code words you need to estimate like a pro.

Here at 1build, we are all about making your estimating process easy, even if you would rather be in the field than crunching bid numbers. Every sector has its own language, and working in an estimating software adds even more “code words” you need to know to build out a professional and accurate estimate. Below are all the terms you’ll need to know when you are starting your 1build estimate. We included some basic building terms that apply to all of construction estimating, as well as some specialty lingo that we use in the 1build platform. With this glossary, you are all set to speak like an estimator.

Assembly: A collection of purchasable materials, labor, and equipment that can be used to construct a building component. E.g. an "interior partition wall" may be constructible as a '3 5/8" 20 Gauge Stud Wall with 5/8" Type X Gypsum with acoustical insulation.’

Bid: The estimate presented by a 1build subscriber to their client in the hopes of being awarded a construction contract.

Cost Database: The collection of localized material, labor, and equipment costs we store in conjunction with its related metadata and relationships. The data comes from a range of sources, such as construction suppliers, public organization, our own website, and other collection processes.

Detail: A measured, orthographic drawing of a particular collection of building elements that are represented with enough resolution to see each individual component and how they attach to one another.

Element: A purchasable unit of building construction. E.g. linear feet of a manufactured steel stud or a box of screws.

Equipment: Non-consumable good required to perform a labor step of an assembly.


  1. The finished document with quantities that are required to build a building represented by some set of drawings
  2. The process of producing the document

My Library: The ability for 1build subscribers to mark certain items or groups as main or popular so they can easily find them every time they create an estimate. Items and groups in My Library are not shared across accounts.

Markup: A step in the construction of an assembly that requires a human to complete.

Material: The individual marking on a drawing that represents a quantity to be added to an estimate.

Plan: A measured, orthographic drawing of one level, or a subset of a level, of a building created from an imaginary cut plane parallel to the ground.

Section: A measured, orthographic drawing of a building or part of a building created from an imaginary cut plane perpendicular to the ground.

Sheet Set: A collection of sheets that contain drawn or written information about a building project.


  1. The process of tracing elements on an architectural drawing to assign quantities to assemblies for creating an estimate.
  2. The finished document including the base drawing with the elements traced.

Trade: A collection of related skills for executing a certain part of a construction project. E.g. the "drywall" trade requires knowing how to attach sheets of wallboard to a frame, how to apply joint compound to the joints between sheets of wallboard, apply tape to the wet joints, and finishing to ensure the agreed-upon finish level for that contract, as well as the use of all of the equipment to complete those steps.

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