Glossary for real estate development and construction

We bring together the top 20 words and expressions to better understand the world of real estate development and construction and all phases of project development.


Do you know what BIM, BREAM, PDM means or a Preliminary Study? The construction, promotion and asset management business have a particular language that, like any other industry, characterizes many of the conversations, meetings, documents and decisions about a real estate project. Find out the meaning of each real estate development and construction term in detail.


ADENE: Agência para a Energia: a public utility institution whose objective is to promote and carry out public interest activities in the energy sector, guaranteeing the rational use of water and energy efficiency in mobility.

Alvará is a license issued by a competent authority that authorizes or approves certain acts or rights based on legal provisions. Civil construction is a fundamental document for carrying out any project, as it enables the construction exercise.

Gross Area: value (m2) that results from the sum of the total surface of the house, measured by the exterior walls and axes of the walls separating the houses, including private balconies, accessory places and the corresponding share in the typical circulations of the Building.

Construction Area: sum of all areas, in square meters, of all floors (ceiling or covered floor areas).

BIM: Building Information Modeling (BIM) it’s a technology that integrates all the information produced during the whole building lifecycle into a three-dimensional model, enabling the optimization and automation of the organization, management, access and use of that information. On the other hand, it’s a collaborative methodology that enables the implementation of new processes in an agile way, significantly increasing the value of the information produced within the construction industry.

O que é o BIM

BREEAM – Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method: it was the first international sustainability assessment system in construction developed by the BRE (Building Research Establishment) in 1990. This environmental seal, one of the largest globally and in more than 80 countries, can be applied to any work, both in the tertiary and residential sectors.

Energy Certification is a mandatory document when properties are placed on the market for sale or lease, issued by the Energy Agency (ADENE). This certificate indicates the energy efficiency, following a scale starting with A+ (very efficient) and ending with F (inefficient).

Consortium: association of several companies, singular or collective, to jointly carry out a financial or economic operation and pursue common goals.

Classified Building: real estate of cultural interest and architectural, social and historical value, protected by special legislation that aims to preserve its artistic value, as well as that of its surroundings.

Public Deed: a public legal act transversal to many areas, required by Portuguese law, and performed by the notary in the presence of all parties. The real estate development and construction sector can be applied to content such as real estate, inheritances and divisions, associations and commercials.

real estate development and construction

Green spaces and collective use: outdoor spaces framed in the municipal or urban ecological structure that, in addition to the functions of environmental and landscape protection and enhancement, are intended for free use by the population for the practice of outdoor leisure activities.

Preliminary study: initial phase of a project, in which all the necessary information is collected to understand the objectives, problems, needs and to elaborate a first architectural approach, through the creation of plans, for each floor of the property.

Investment Fund: assets constituted by the collective investment of different participants/investors in securities, real estate or both. The help investment funds are typically divided into units and managed by professionals in the field, also known as fund or portfolio managers.

Construction License: authorization from the City Council regarding the request for licensing of private works, urbanization works and allotment operations.

Obra Creative Ops

Lot: portion of land destined for construction, or the portion of land resulting from a subdivision operation, bordered by a public road or access to it.

Pedido de Informação Prévia – Request for Prior Information (PIP): autonomous and optional procedure, addressed to the City Council, which may precede a licensing or prior communication, requesting information on the possibility of carrying out a particular urban intervention, as well as on its legal or regulatory constraints.

Plano Director Municipal – Municipal Master Plan (PDM): a legal instrument for managing the municipal territory, which synthesizes the strategic framework for development and local planning of a municipality, integrating national and regional legislation.

Real Estate Developers: professionals and/or companies that develop real estate promotion activities and real estate programs, which directly or indirectly decide, promote, schedule, direct and finance real estate construction/acquisition projects.

Sede Castro Group - Fachada

Urban Rehabilitation: strongly linked to what requalification means, in the context of real estate promotion and construction, the execution of restoration, conservation and rehabilitation works of buildings and urban spaces. It must respect the architectural character of the buildings, revitalize their functional part, improve the lives of those who live in them and make them more attractive for those who can visit them. The enhancement of existing buildings, often with a primordial location in the urban fabric, rehabilitates the city itself and makes it more cared for.

Urbanism: human and multidisciplinary science, which studies and analyzes the urban space to transform, control and plan area, thus aiming at an aesthetic improvement and the quality of life in cities.

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