List of Abbreviations Used in Civil Engineering & Construction

A list of common abbreviations in Civil Engineering found on drawings or in general used in structural engineering, architecture and construction. As a rule it is beggarly practice to use specialist Fullforms on technical drawings. The space and time saved are rarely significant & the possibility of the drawing being mistaken and is even more serious in these times when many of those working on UK or united kingdoms building sites learnt their trades in other countries.

Where an fullform or abbreviation is mostly found on a certain kind of drawing the type of drawing is indicated in brackets. Here is a very comprehensive list of abbreviations used in the field of engineering:


AB: Air Brick
ABR: Alternate Bars Reversed
AC: Alternating current or air conditioning
ACOP: Approved code of practice
AGG: Aggregate
AISTRUCTE: Associate of the Institution of Structural Engineers
ALT: Alternate, Alternately
ALUM: Aluminium
AMISTRUCTE: Associate Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers
AMICE: Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
ARCH.: Architect
ASP.: Asphalt
ATTCHD: Attached
AV.: Average


BAL: Baluster
BBA: British Board of Agreement
BCA: British Cement Association
BCO: Building Control Officer
BCSA: British Constructional Steel work Association
BCWS: Boosted cold water service (services)
BD.: Bond/Board/Bead
BDG: Boarding
BH: Bore Hole or Beam Height(survey)
BHWS: Boosted Hot Water Service(services)
BIG: Back Inlet Gully
BLK: Blockwork


CH: Cill Height (survey)
CA: Contract Administrator
CAD: Computer Aided Design
CAM: Computer Aided Manufacture
CBF: Close Boarded Fence (survey)
CBW: Concrete Block Wall (survey)
CC: Centre to Centre
CDM: Construction (Design and Management) Regulations
CENG: Chartered Engineer
CGI: Corrugated Galvanized Iron
CH: Ceiling Height
CHS: circular hollow section
CI: cast iron
CIF: corrugated iron fence (survey)
CJ: construction joint
CL: cover level or centre line
CLF: chain link fence (survey)
CP: code of practice
CPF: concrete panel fence (survey)
CPS: concrete paving slabs (survey)
CR: crown height of arch (survey)
CRS: centres
CRW: concrete retaining wall (survey)
CS: Concrete Society
CV: commissioning valve (services)
CW: concrete wall (survey)
CWS: cold water service (services)


D: Diameter
DC: drain cock (services)
DCV: double check valve (services)
DHW: domestic hot water
DL: dead load
DOV: drain off valve (services)
DP: down pipe
DPC: damp-proof course
DPDT: double pole double throw switch (electrical)
DPM: damp-proof membrane
DPST: double pole single throw switch (electrical)
DRG: drawing
DS: District Surveyor
DSSO: double switched socket outlet (electrical)


ECB: electricity control box
ECUK: Engineering Council United Kingdom
EL: existing level
ENGTECH: engineering technician
EPP: expanded polypropylene or environmentally preferred product
ERV: expansion relief valve (services)


FB: flower bed (survey) or from below (services)
FBTA: from below to above (services)
FC: flexible connection (services)
FF: far face (reinforcement)
FFL: finished floor level
FH: fire hydrant (survey)
FICE: Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers
FISTRUCTE: Fellow of the Institution of Structural Engineers
FL: floor level
FOS: factor of safety
FS: full size or fused spur (electrical)
FSC: forest stewardship council (timber)


G: Gully (survey)
GGBS: ground granulated blastfurnace slag
GS: general structural (timber)


H or HT:window head height (survey)
HAC: high alumina cement
HDF: high density fibreboard
HL: high level
HSFG: high strength friction grip (steel connection)
HT: high tensile
HWS: hot water service (services)


IC: inspection cover (survey) or inspection chamber
ICE: Institution of Civil Engineers
ID: inside diameter
IEng: incorporated engineer
IL: invert level
INTER: intermediate switch (electrical)
IRF: iron railing fence (survey)
IStructE: Institution of Structural Engineers
IV: isolating valve (services)
IWF: interwoven fence (survey)


JCB J C Bamford – manufacturer of wheeled excavators
JCT: Joint Contracts Tribunal


kG: kilogramme
kN: kiloNewton


L: light (survey)
LA: local authority
LL: live load
LOLER: Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
LP: lamp post (survey)
LSL: laminated strand lumber
LSV: lockshield valve (services)


M: metre
MC: mass concrete or moderately conservative
MCW: mains cold water (services)
MDF: medium density fibreboard
MH: manhole
MHSW: Management of health and Safety at Work Regulations
MICE: Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
MIStructE: Member of the Institution of Structural Engineers
MM: millimetre
MMMF: man made mineral fibres
MS: mild steel


N: Newton
NASC: National Access and Scaffolding Confederation
NF: near face (reinforcement)
NRV: non return valve (services)
NTS: not to scale


OD: outside diameter or Ordnance datum
OH: over head
OPC: ordinary Portland cement


P: Post
PALF: palisade fence (survey)
PC: Precast concrete
PCC: Portland cement concrete
PF: Picket fence (survey)
PFA: Pulverised fuel ash
PFC: Parallel flange channel
PKT: Pocket (RC)
PL or PLT: plate (steel connection)
PPE: personal protective equipment, Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations
PRF: post and rail fence (survey)
PWD: Permanent Works Designer
PWF: post and wire fence (survey)


QS: Quantity surveyor
QC: Quality Control
QA: Quality Analysis


R: render (survey)
RAD: radiator
RC: reinforced concrete
RE: rodding eye (survey)
RHPC: rapid hardening Portland cement
RHS: rectangular hollow section
RIBA: Royal Institute of British Architects
RICS: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
RMC: ready-mixed concrete
RSA: rolled steel angle
RSJ: rolled steel joist
RWP: rain water pipe


SC: stop cock
SE: structural engineer
SHS: square hollow section
SI: Systeme Internationale
SL: soffite level or sky light or sill level
SOL: setting-out line
SOP: setting-out point
SP: soil pipe (services); arch springer height (survey)
SPDT: single pole double throw switch (electrical)
SPS: stone paving slabs (survey)
SPST: single pole single throw switch (electrical)
SRC: sulphate resisting cement
SS: stainless steel or simply supported or special structural (timber)
SSL: structural slab level
SSSO: single switched socket outlet (electrical)
STG: staggered (RC)
STR: strainer (services)
SV: safety valve (services)
SVP: soil and vent pipe
SW: stone wall (survey)


TA: to above (services)
TBM: temporary bench mark
TIStructE: Technician of the Institution of Structural Engineers
TMICE: Technician Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
TOB: top of beam
TOC: top of concrete
TOS: top of steel
TOW: top of wall
TP: town planning or trial pit
TPO: tree preservation order
TPRV: temperature/pressure relief valve (services)
TWC: temporary works coordinator
TWS: temporary works supervisor
T&G: tongued and grooved


UB: universal beam
UC: universal column
UF: urea formaldehyde
UNO: unless noted otherwise
U/S: underside
UTL: unable to lift (survey)


V: vent (survey)
VP: vent pipe (survey)


W: window (survey)
WAHR: Work at Height Regulations
WL: water level (survey)
WMF: wire mesh fence (survey)
WPF: wooden panel fence (survey)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *