Can You Plow Through This Construction Quiz in 7 Minutes?


By: Amanda Monell

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jung Getty / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you are one of the brave souls who work in construction, we tip our hats to you. We have absolutely no idea how you are able to stand on busy highways during the hot summer days watching cars zip past you at insane speed while attempting to get your work done. And those construction workers aren't the only daredevils in the bunch. Roofers have to deal with the extreme heat while working with hot material, all while on a slanted surface. Then there's the most daring of them all, skyscraper construction workers. In some cases, these workers end up high in the air doing what they do best, build things. Even though all of these workers have their own places where they belong, a lot of the things and phases used are the same.

For all the differences that one construction worker's trade has from the others, a lot of the phrases are universal. That is a perk for many of these individuals, because a lot of construction work is seasonal and when starting with a new crew at the beginning of the following season makes the waters a little less choppy. Why? Because everyone is speaking the same language.

With all this being said, do you think you can take a break from building and look this quiz over? Great, we were hoping you would!

When it comes to the construction of a new commercial building, what is the name of the 1990 law that builders need to abide by?

If you’ve ever been to a big box retail store, you probably have run into some ADA-compliant construction; wheelchair ramps, automatic door openers, curb ramps and push-button door handles are just a few.


If you’re pouring foundation, you’re going to need to wait for the cement to do this before putting any structural beams in. What term are we thinking of?

The curing of concrete is important to maintain the strength of the building. This is especially the case in locations where earthquakes are prevalent; the bond is stronger with reinforcing materials and therefore it prevents damage caused by vibrations.


Everyone knows that a floor plan shows you what a specific building is going to look like looking down, but what do you call a drawing of the ceiling?

Just like a floor plan, reflective ceiling plans can be either super detailed or rough outlines of what you should expect. Details that may be included in a reflective ceiling plan are light fixture and molding locations.


What acronym is used to describe equipment that workers are supposed to wear to protect themselves from getting hurt on the site?

Personal protective equipment (or PPD) comes in pretty much all shapes and sizes. For example, if you were to be working around a construction site, glasses, earplugs and hard hats are a must, and if the weather suddenly changes, you’d probably need to purchase lined jumpsuits.


When a builder is looking to determine what materials to use on a project, they may refer to one of these forms; what are we thinking of?

If you’ve ever done a home improvement project, you’ve probably used a specification. These sheets will often tell you the components, durability and type of material an item is made out of.


It’s the dead of winter and your furnace decided to quit; which professional would you call?

Be careful when it comes to selecting your HVAC company; many of them have specific brands that they service. Luckily, if you get in contact with a company that has been around for a while, they'll know to ask before wasting both your and their times.


If you are working on the exterior of a building, you may have heard this word describing the perimeter; what word is it?

Just like humans, buildings leave depressed spots where they have been placed, which is why a building has what is called a footprint; it comes from the base of the structure, similar to a human's foot.


You’re pouring some concrete for a floor, but are unsure of its durability; what unit of measure would be best to describe how much pressure the concrete can withstand before cracking?

PSI, or pound-force per square inch, is not only used in construction. It also can be used to measure the strength of an animal’s bite; a Nile crocodile has the highest psi rating out of the entire animal kingdom with a measurement of 5,000 psi.


Can you tell us what the name of the manually operated piece of equipment used to break cement is?

If you ever get the chance to operate a jackhammer, be sure to wear earplugs; a typical jackhammer has a decibel rating of 130 dBa, which is louder than a hairdryer, chain saw and a rock concert.


In the cases of room additions to a home, you will probably need to do a little bit of this kind of work to set up the new frame: what kind of job are we talking about?

Demolition work can be done on various scales; in a home, it could be done to remove a wall or wall-mounted cabinetry or on the biggest scale, dynamite and other explosives are used to demolish old buildings.


Considered a slap in a contractor’s face, this word is used to describe workers who deliberately underperform to get extra money; what word is it?

Even though the contractors may end up getting more money from this deceptive practice, it won’t last; experienced construction managers can see straight through these practices and tend to avoid companies that utilize this practice.


Ugh! You're running late and your blow dryer won't power on. What kind of outlet is the reason behind this inconvenience?

GCFI, or ground fault circuit interrupters, are pretty common in homes; these outlets are usually found in kitchens and bathrooms and are easy to distinguish by the two small buttons between the plugs.


Do you have a heavy pile to move? If so and you work in construction, you’ve probably driven one of these before; which piece of equipment are we thinking of?

If you first look at a bulldozer you may be a little intimidated by its size, but fear not! Driving a bulldozer is very similar to a car because they have steering wheels, gear shift and pedals.


What happens when a small network of cracks appears on concrete?

There are many reasons why crazing happens, however if it does, it never is an easy fix. If you put a patch of concrete over it, the cracks will come back and it is probably best that a professional addresses it.


When it comes to wiring, what kind of wire keeps the current safe to use?

Ground wires are essential to the circuitry of a building; a ground (or earth wire) helps prevent shocks by giving the electrical current an extra way to make its way back to its service panel in case of a fault.


If a contractor purchased materials from a supplier, they may refer to this type of document to make sure that everything that was ordered arrived; which document is it?

If you've ever ordered anything from an online retailer you've run into a packing list as well; those are the little slips of paper that you often will find inside boxes that often accompany return labels.


If you're looking to smooth out an aggregate floor, you may want to apply a top coat of this substance. What are we thinking of?

Epoxies serve many different purposes, but in most cases it is to protect. In the case of the aggregate floor, it could protect the stones from scuffing or pulling up from foundation or in some cases injuries from walking on uneven surfaces.


Time to repaint your home! Which of these items would you use to help prevent bleed through?

When selecting a primer, you may want to take a couple of things into consideration; the location of the room (bathrooms and any room that holds moisture require special primers) and the paint itself (some paints come with primer already in them).


Can you tell us what kind of finish you would use to produce an aged surface?

If you've run out of crackling medium, one thing you could use is glue to produce the same result. It is a bit of a time-intensive process because you have to apply various types of paints on the same piece of material, but it is worth it.


When it comes to wood, which of these items would you use to make it have a shiny surface?

Varnishing can revitalize a wooden floor. After sanding, apply the varnish with a clean brush (older brushes may have residue from previous use) and allow to dry, which is around 24 hours.


While working on an older building, you discover asbestos! Which of these terms are used to describe making the building safe to inhabit?

When it comes to asbestos, instead of removing it, it may be best to cover it up with another product. Why? Because when you’re working with asbestos, it gets airborne and if inhaled can lead to cancer.


If you're working on an older building and want to bring it up to code, you may need to do this with some of the utilities; what term is it?

If you ever are doing some extensive work on your home, don't be surprised if the building inspector requires a retrofit on some of your plumbing or electrical items. Retrofitting an outlet with a GFCI outlet or removal of copper piping are common examples.


Just like any other trade, you need the perfect tool to get the desired look; which of these paintbrushes would be used to cover broad surfaces?

If you're painting a primed wall, it is best to paint a majority of it with a roller brush. Coming in both short and longer filaments, a short filament roller brush is ideal for smoother walls.


What style of paint is used to produce a flat finish?

If you're looking to use a matte finish paint but are unsure where to use it, take a look in the bedroom. Bedrooms have less foot traffic, and because of that it can have a finish without gloss.


You've decided to put down some ceramic tile in your kitchen; what is the material that is placed between the tiles called?

Types of grout come in all different colors and two different types: sanded and unsanded. Sanded grout typically costs less and is perfect for a kitchen or bathroom floor, but if it comes to working on a shower, unsanded is the way to go.


Do you know what the area between the counter tops and the upper cabinets is called?

When you're working in a kitchen, take it from home cooks and chefs everywhere; if you put a backsplash in your kitchen, it will be a lifesaver. Typically made of tile, this surface is usually made easy to clean.


In commercial kitchens, you may need to install one of these to remove excess smoke. What are we thinking of?

In addition to removing smoke from the air, an exhaust hood helps remove steam and grease. If you use your exhaust hood often, you definitely want to get it cleaned to prevent fires from discarded grease.


If you're getting ready to lay some asphalt, you may use one of these to prepare the ground for it; which piece of equipment is it?

A steamroller is a classic example of a tool that's got a very specific job: to flatten things. That's why it's become a euphemism for anytime something/someone gets flattened, literally or metaphorically.


Can you tell us a type of lighting used in nighttime construction?

If you're ever concerned about the safety of construction workers who have the graveyard shift, consider the following factors: Because there's less traffic at night, fewer accidents occur and cooler temperatures help concrete set better.


What kind of lighting has fixtures called cans?

If you are looking to light a room without eating up a ton of floor or ceiling space, you definitely need to check out recessed lighting. Coming in various shapes and sizes, recessed lighting affixes to the ceiling giving any room a more open feel.


Oh no! You've mismeasured some trim. What can you use to help cover your error?

Coming in pretty much every kind of wood used in construction, shims are a godsend to the builders who forget the golden rule of "measure twice, cut once." Alternately, shims can also be used to give additional support to decorative items.


Painting along trim on a wall can be a daunting experience; what is the term painters use to describe this activity?

While many professional painters will be able to cut in without the use of painter's tape, many DIY painters may want to use the tape. Even though it costs a bit of money, you'll save time and frustration by using the tape.


Many residential buildings will have this type of finish in order to create a seamless concrete surface; what are we thinking of?

Even though there are many similarities between the exterior and interior applications of stucco, there is one real difference. Interior stucco doesn't require the waterproofing seal coat that protects the finish from the elements.


If you're looking to patch a hole in a floor with a piece of wood, what kind would you use?

Plywood comes in all sizes and is great for patching up holes in floors or any other location. Why? Not only because of the variance in size, but it is pretty cheap, so you won't have to spend a lot of money on something you won't see.


Ugh! You've started a project that seems to have more problems spring up than what you've budgeted for; what will you have to give your client in order to get your budget under control?

Change orders can be the bane of many general contractors because not only does it throw off the projected costs of the job, but it also can make clients question your credibility. By miscalculating your workers' abilities, you may end up with a sandbagging situation.


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