Barrier Free -Freeing a building of barriers means: Recognizing the features that could form barriers for some people; Thinking inclusively about the whole range of impairments; Reviewing everything - from structure to smallest detail; Seeking feedback from users and learning from mistakes. Consists of modifying buildings or facilities so that they can be used by the physically disadvantaged or disabled. An example would be installing a ramp for wheelchairs alongside or in place of some steps. The idea of barrier free modification has largely been superseded by the concept of Universal Design, which seeks to design things from the outset to support easy access for all.

Certified/Licensed -Many professions are required by state and/or local authorities to go through a licensing process. This often requires pre licensing education, testing, fees and continuing education. Check with your state or local government to make sure your building professional is licensed if necessary. “Certification” is similar to licensing but the certificate or endorsement originates from an organization other than government, such as a professional association. Certification is often expressed through letters or abbreviation following a professional’s name.

Commercial Rated -Most municipalities require buildings and homes to meet building codes. Since commercial structures face more punishing use, materials and systems used must be able to hold up to higher stress than those used in residential settings. Materials suited for commercial uses are often labeled as “Commercially Rated”.

Green Build - The practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal. Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment. Green products often are made up of recycled materials or are recyclable, they will contribute to increased energy efficiency or they are locally/regionally produced.

Hurricane Resistant - Planning for storms through materials and practices meant to resist high winds, rain and other effects of hurricanes. Hurricane proofing is nearly impossible, but Hurricane resistance is achievable. Often this means building on stilts, concrete construction, upgraded windows, braces and straps to strengthen roof connections, and use of energy generators.

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) - Forms or molds with built-in insulation for accepting reinforced concrete. These large, hollow, “LEGO-like” blocks are stacked right off of the truck and filled with reinforcing bar and concrete. The end result leaves you with a high-performing wall that is structurally sound, insulated, strapped, has a vapor barrier and is ready to accept final exterior and interior finishes. Forms are often made of foam or cement bonded wood fiber materials.

LEED - Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED for Homes is the residential program. Currently, the USGBC has no residential remodeling certification program but they offer REGREEN guidelines.

Log Homes - There are two kinds of log homes: "handcrafted" and "milled" (also called "machine-profiled"), made with a log house moulder. A handcrafted log home is typically made of logs that have been peeled but are otherwise essentially unchanged from their original natural appearance when they were trees. A milled or machine-profiled log home is one constructed of logs that have run through a manufacturing process to remove natural features and imperfections of the log and convert them into timbers that are consistent in size and appearance.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) - High performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Other skin material can be used for specific purposes. SIPs are manufactured under factory-controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each home. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs typically save money on labor.

Suitable For Remodel - Some materials make more sense when building a new structure. Many others are designed for use in existing homes or for home improvement/retrofit situations. Products and services like this are noted as being “Suitable for Remodel”.

Timber Frame - Exposed timbers used as beams that offer a rustic, traditional housing experience. Open floor plans and a “cabin” feel are common with this style of framing.

Universal Design - The art of creating environments that are attractive and user friendly for people of all ages and abilities. It is the only design concept that consciously designs to accommodate peoples’ differences— not their similarities. Often confused with accessible design, universal refers to homes designed to be accessible and useable by everyone regardless of ability. The temptation is to equate universal design with wheelchair ramps, but that is accessible design—not universal design. As the name implies, universal design elements should have universal appeal and application.