Glossary of Terms



A person learning their craft or trade on the job under the supervision and direction of a certified journeyperson or tradesperson; someone working full time in an apprentice-able trade and registered as an apprentice.



Plans of a project are usually called blueprints even if copies are made using another process. The term originates from a practice rarely used today; that is, creating a positive print with white lines on blue background, made on ferroprussiate paper from a translucent drawing as negative, and developing in water.


Commercial Construction

Construction activities related to the building and renovating of retail stores, office space, warehouses, restaurants, hotels and other non-industrial business activities.



The individual, firm, or corporation undertaking the execution of the work under the terms of the contract and acting directly or through agents or employees; a person or company who agrees to furnish materials and labour to do work for a certain price.



A process of judging or calculating the amount of material required for a given piece of work, as well as the amount of labour and equipment necessary to do the work. This process involves multiplying the volume by costs per unit of measurement to finally reach an approximate, projected evaluation of the finished product.


Industrial Construction

Construction activities related to the building, maintenance and renovation of buildings, process machinery and equipment used for the purposes of manufacturing and processing of materials. Industrial activities are frequently divided between light and heavy industrial activity based on the size and nature of the operation. Examples of heavy industrial activities would occur in pulp and paper processing facilities, electrical generating units, and oil refineries.



A skilled worker, competent in his/her trade, who has served as an apprentice and completed the requirements established for the trade under the Apprenticeship Act.



Personal protective equipment required to be worn or used for safety purposes. Examples of PPE include hard hats, safety glasses, certified work boots, safety vests, and fall protection harnesses. PPE is determined by the employer, in consultation with the employees, and is based on the hazards related to the assigned task and the location and condition of the workplace.


Red Seal Trade

In any province or territory of Canada where the trade is designated, the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal program provides qualified tradespersons the opportunity to practice their trade without having to write further examinations. There are currently forty-four Red Seal trades in Canada.



A description for contract purposes of the quantities and qualities of materials and work required for the construction or renovation of a structure. The work may also be shown by the related working drawings.



Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System regulation establishes requirements for labeling as well as safe storage and usage information for a number of substances. The regulation requires that employers ensure this information is available for materials in their workplace and that employees are appropriately trained. WHMIS training can be accessed through the NS Community College’s online training facilities at www.access.nscc.ca/safety/index as well as other public and private training institutions.


An agreement between an apprentice, an employer, and the government in which the apprentice agrees to work for the employer in exchange for extensive supervised, on-the-job experience and technical training. A Certification of Apprenticeship and a Certificate of Qualification are awarded to the apprentice when the certification examination is successfully completed.


Certified Trade

A compulsory certified trade is one in which a person employed in the trade must either have a current certificate of qualification, be a registered apprentice, be a registered improver, or have a certificate of qualification from another jurisdiction bearing an Interprovincial Red Seal. Certified construction trades include: construction electrician; bricklayer; plumber; and refrigeration/air conditioning mechanic.



(1) The process of assembling material and building a structure; that which is constructed of various elements. (2) A service industry whose primary responsibility is to convert plans and specifications into a finished project.


Designated Trade

A trade which is regulated by the Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act and for which certificates of qualification have been designated. Certificates of qualification in a designated trade demonstrate proof of a person’s qualifications to work in a specific trade to a provincial or national standard (Red Seal).


Gold Seal Occupation

A Canadian certification program developed by the construction industry to provide recognition and mobility for construction estimators, superintendents and project managers within the disciplines of general, road building, mechanical and electrical contracting. A Gold Seal is awarded to a candidate who possesses a minimum level of three years of occupational experience; has undertaken a base level of construction- specific education; and has successfully passed the national Gold Seal exam.


Institutional Construction

Construction activities related to the building and renovating of hospitals, schools, prisons, court houses, and other government operated facilities.



Occupational Health and Safety programs and policies are required by law for all workplaces in Nova Scotia. Each employer, in consultation with their employees, will develop activities appropriate to the workplace. Safety training requirements may include first aid, WHMIS, safety orientation, and the use of PPE. More information on Health and Safety laws and regulations are available from the NS Department of Environment and Labour at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/ohs/.



(1) The total construction designed by the architect or engineer of which the work performed under the contract documents may be the whole or part. (2) Two or more activities or tasks that when performed lead to a common goal. A project has a single starting point and a single ending point.


Residential Construction

Construction activities related to the building and renovating of homes and apartments.



From the information contained in drawings and plans, a process of preparing a list of materials by quantities.