Guide to People in the Construction Process

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Anyone who works in the design and construction industry or even dips their toes into it encounters and possibly must work with a number of individuals in a variety of roles. Below is a list of most of those people and what they do.


Acoustic Consultant:

  • a professional -- usually an engineer -- who makes design recommendations to reduce the transmission of noise into a building, out from a building, or between spaces within a building

Architect:

  • a professional hired by the Owner, who develops a building design, prepares associated drawings and specifications, and reviews the building during and at the end of construction

Authority Having Jurisdiction:

  • the governmental body responsible for approving or rejecting what buildings can be built and occupied and for approving or rejecting how those buildings are built

Builder:

  • the company that builds the building

  • may be a General Contractor

Building Envelope Consultant:

  • a registered professional specializing in the design of the thermal and moisture barrier function of roofs, exterior walls, and exterior-facing floors

Building Inspector:

  • a representative of a city's Building Department who reviews the building during and at the end of construction to check that it matches the approved building permit drawings and that is compliant with building codes

Building Official:

  • a member of a city's Building or Planning Departments

  • may be a Planner, Plan Reviewer, or Inspector

Carpenter:

  • a tradesperson who assembles and alters wood framing, cabinetry, and other lumber elements

Certified Professional:

  • a registered professional who has completed the training of the CP program and provides his/her professional assurance to the AHJ that the design will substantially comply and the construction of the project will substantially conform in all material respects with the fire and life safety, and accessibility aspects of the building code, other applicable safety enactments, and the related development permit

Civil Engineer:

  • an engineer or engineering firm that creates the design of and prepares drawings for supplying water and electricity to a building and rainwater and sanitary sewer drainage from the building

Code Consultant:

  • a consultant who provides detailed, expert analysis of a project's compliance with the building code - almost exclusively for buildings that do not fall under Part 9 of the Building Code

Construction Manager:

  • an individual who coordinates the hiring and the work of consultants and subcontractors

Consultant:

  • an individual or company whom the Owner hires to provide professional / expert advice and/or prepare certain documents

  • may be a Registered Professional or other expert

Contractor:

  • (see General Contractor)

Coordinating Registered Professional:

  • a Registered Professional responsible for confirming that all Registered Professionals necessary to design a project have been hired by the Owner, that their respective designs are coordinated with each other, and that all Registered Professionals on the project have confirmed their acceptance of the building

Design-Builder:

  • a Builder or Contractor that hires all Registered Professionals and othr required consultants itself

Developer:

  • (see Land Developer)

Distributor:

  • a company that sells construction products to suppliers

Drafting Service:

  • a company that prepares technical drawings according to the client's direction

  • may offer some guidance to basic building code compliance issues

Electrical Consultant / Electrical Engineer:

  • an engineer or engineering firm that designs the the electrical system for a building including exit signs, fire alarm system, power outlets, and electrical connections for equipment

Electrical Inspector:

  • a building inspector who reviews only the electrical components of a building during and at the end of construction

Electrician:

  • a tradesperson who installs wiring and all electrical components including some telecommunications equipment

Energy Modeler:

  • an individual or company that creates a calculation computer model that reports the energy consumption of a building for heating, cooling, lighting, and general electrical power usage

Engineer:

  • a person who designs structures or systems by using a combination of calculations and other numerical references

Estimator:

  • an individual who provides a dollar cost estimate of a project's construction labour and materials

General Contractor:

  • a type of builder that hires and coordinates separate subcontractors to construct a building

Geotechnical Engineer

  • an engineer or engineering firm that tests the soil on a property to determine its composition and loadbearing capacity

  • makes recommendations for the design of a building's foundation

  • creates the design of and prepares drawings for excavations for below-grade structures

Glazier:

  • the company that provides and installs windows and other glazing

Health Authority:

  • in BC, the governmental department responsible for reviewing a project's suitability where it involves food or hygiene

Home Builder:

  • a builder of typically one- and two-family houses

Home Designer / House Designer:

  • an individual who designs houses and prepares drawings for use by a home builder

Interior Decorator:

  • an individual who selects interior finishes and furnishings

Interior Designer:

  • an individual who designs interior spaces, custom millwork/cabinetry

Kitchen Consultant:

  • A company that designs the layout of commercial kitchens and specifies the commercial cooking equipment

Land Developer:

  • a company that buys and sells land and typically constructs buildings on the land to subsequently sell for a profit

Landscape Architect:

Mechanical Consultant / Mechanical Engineer:

  • an engineer or engineering firm that creates the design of and prepares drawings for the plumbing systems, ventilation systems, and heating/cooling systems

Manufacturer:

  • a company that fabricates a building component or construction material out of raw materials

Marketing Consultant:

  • a company that suggests branding strategies and develops promotional materials for projects

Owner:

  • the person or business that owns the land and virtually always everything built on it

Plan Reviewer / Plan Checker:

  • an individual in a city's Building Department who reviews drawings for a proposed project to check for compliance with the Building Code, Zoning Bylaw, and other municipal regulations

Planner / City Planner:

  • an individual in a city's Planning Department who reviews Development Permit drawings for a proposed project to check for compliance with the Zoning Bylaw

Plumber:

  • a tradesperson who installs water, stormwater, and sewage piping, drains, and plumbing fixtures such as sinks, toilets, and bathtubs

Plumbing Inspector:

  • a building inspector who reviews only the plumbing systems and fixtures of a building during and at the end of construction

Project Manager:

  • an architectural firm, an Owner, a builder, and subcontractors may each have its own Project Manager

  • an individual hired by the Owner, who coordinates consultants, the Owner, and a builder

Quantity Surveyor:

  • a consultant who determines how much of each construction material is required for a given project and the resulting cost

Real Estate Agent:

  • an individual who helps a person or firm buy or sell land by acting as a middleman

Registered Professional:

  • either an engineer or architect

Sprinkler Engineer:

  • an engineer who creates the design of and prepares drawings for automatic fire suppression sprinkler systems

Structural Consultant / Structural Engineer:

  • an engineer who creates the design of and prepares drawings for the structural system and components of a building

Subcontractor / Subtrade:

  • a company hired by a general contractor to construct some part or some aspect of a building

Supplier:

  • a company that sells construction products from multiple manufacturers

Surveyor / Land Surveyor:

  • a professional -- often an engineer -- who measures and registers the legal boundaries of parcels of land, maps land features, and maps out the topography of a piece of land



Disclaimer:

The information above is correct to the best of my understanding, hopefully eliminates some mystery, reduces confusion, and piques your interest. However, the information is provided as mainly entertainment and should not be relied upon as legal reference. Please consult with the authorities, registered professionals, and legislation in your area, as I will not be liable for any differences you may encounter.

If you would like to offer suggestions for correction or clarification on the definitions above, please feel free to contact me.