TL;DR: A Debatably Necessary Glossary of All the Architectural Acronyms in Existence

Stay up to date on the latest in BIM, Revit, and Architecture.

Stay up to date on the latest in BIM, Revit, and Architecture.

TL;DR: A Debatably Necessary Glossary of All the Architectural Acronyms in Existence

Matthew Goellner


TL;DR: A Debatably Necessary Glossary of the Top Architectural Acronyms in Existence

Welcome to the world of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) — a vibrant industry brimming with a multitude of acronyms that can make your head spin.  From CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to BIM (Building Information Modeling), and from MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), these abbreviations form the backbone of communication within the AEC community. 
We have pulled together a list from across the industry of the most common of these acronyms and what they mean.  So, let's dive in and decode the alphabet soup that defines the world of architecture, engineering, and construction.

Did we miss any crucial acronyms? Drop us a comment and let us know if we've overlooked any of your favorites.

Top AEC Acronyms

The following architectural acronyms from around the industry are in alphabetical order.

ACI: American Concrete Institute

ADA: Americans with Disability Act

AEC: Architecture, Engineering and Construction

AGC: Associated General Contractors

AIA: American Institute of Architects

ALA: Association of Licensed Architects

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

APA: American Plywood Association

ARE: Architect Registration Examination

ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers

ASID: American Society of Interior Designers

ASLA: American Society of Landscape Architects

ASME: American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials

BIM: Building Information Modeling

BILT: Buildings, Infrastructure, Lifecycle, Technology.  A national-level industry conference put on by DCBI. 

BOCA: Building Officials and Code Administrators International

BOMA: Building Owners and Managers Association International

CAD: Computer Aided Design

CAM: Computer Aided Manufacturing

CBO: Certified Building Official

CCA: Construction Contract Administration

CD: Construction Documents

CFL: Compact Fluorescent Lamp

CGI: Computer Generated Imagery

CM: Construction Management / Manager

CSA: Canadian Standards Association

CSBA: Certified Sustainable Building Advisor

CSI: Construction Specification Institute

DCBI: Digital Built Environment Institute

DD: Design Development

DEMO: Demolish or Demolition

DIA: Diameter

DOE: Department Of Energy

DWG: Drawing

EIR: Environmental Impact Report

EIT: Engineer in Training

EPA: Environmental Protective Agency

Ext: exterior

FAIA: Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

FAR: Floor Area Ratio

GMP: Guaranteed Maximum Price

HEPA: High-Efficiency Particulate Air

HERS: High Energy Rating Scheme

HUD: Housing and Urban Development

HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and cooling systems

IAQ: Indoor Air Quality

IBC: International Building Code

ICBO: International Conference of Building Officials

ICC: International Code Council

IDP: Intern Dvpmt. Program

IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

IIDA: International Interior Design Association

Int: interior

IPD: Integrated Project Delivery

ISO: International Organization for Standards

LEED AP: LEED Accredited Professional

LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environment Design

LID: Low Impact Development

MEP: Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing

MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet

NAAB: The National Architectural Accrediting Board

NAHB: National Association of Home Builders

NAHBRC: NAHB Research Center

NCARB: National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

NEC: National Electrical Code

NeoCon: National Exposition of Contract Interior Furnishings 

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association

NFRC: National Fenestration Rating Council

O&M: Operations & Maintenance

OSHA: Occupational Safety & Health Administration

PD: Pre Design

PE: Professional Engineer

PM: Project Manager

RA: Registered Architect

RFA: Revit Family File

RFB: Request For Bid

RFI: Request For Information

RFP: Request For Proposal

RVT: Revit Project File

RFQ: Request For Quote

SD: Schematic Design

SKB: Sketchup Component File

SKP: SketchUp Project File

SWPPP: Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans

TI: Tenant Improvement

UBC: Uniform Building Code

UFC: Uniform Fire Code

UL: Underwriters Laboratories

USGBC: United States Green Building Council

VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds



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