Over the next many weeks, UrbanToronto's Explainer is going to look at the process of constructing new buildings, covering the various stages, materials, and methods used to create what's going up all around us today. The aim is to eventually provide expanded definitions for all of the terms that you may run into in an UrbanToronto article, to give you a better idea of what's happening when we write about 'transfer slabs' or 'raft slabs', what the difference is between 'shoring poles' and 'shoring walls', and many more things, (and we'll even go over the different types of shoring walls and why one site may have caisson wall while another site is using pile and lagging to keep the excavation site from caving in).

Construction about the begin in Toronto, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor jsmith77

In previous Explainer articles we have already covered a lot of the planning aspects and situations where new buildings could be going in, covering such things as BrownfieldsGreenfields, The Greenbelt, and more, (you can click on the magenta-coloured EXPLAINER button above to get the whole list of previous articles), but we haven't really covered the planning process itself yet — anything that goes up in the GTA seems to face a rather fraught approvals system — and that is worthy of one or even multiple Explainer stories in the future, but we are skipping over the whole planning morass for the next while so that we can jump right into what goes on after shovels hit the ground.

Construction well underway in Toronto, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Rascacielo

We'll go over hoarding, ground breaking (ceremonial and actual), shoring, backfill, excavation, tiebacks and rakers, foundations and underpinning, cranes and derricks, poured concrete and precast, timber-framed and mass timber, steel frame and steel rebar, fly forms and self-climbing formwork, and, like we said earlier, raft slabs and transfer slabs, plus much, much more.

All that said, admittedly today's Explainer is a bit of a copout, only explaining what we are going to be explaining, without putting much on the table now… but still, we thought you should know what's coming up, and we have linked a few of older articles for your clicking pleasure. We will be back next week to start the construction journey!

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From 2015 to 2017, UrbanToronto and its sister publication, SkyriseCities, ran an occasional series of articles under the heading Explainer. Each one took a concept from Urban Planning, Architecture, Construction, or other topics that often wind up in our publications, and presented an in depth look at it. It's time to revisit (and update where necessary) those articles for readers who are unfamiliar with them. While you may already know what some of these terms mean, others may be new to you. We are publishing or updating and republishing Explainer on a weekly basis. This article is an update to one originally published in 2017.

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Do you have other planning terms that you would like to see featured on Explainer? Share your comments and questions in the comments section below!

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Want to read other Explainers? Click on the magenta Explainer box at the top of the page.

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UrbanToronto’s new data research service, UrbanToronto Pro, offers comprehensive information on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal right through to completion stages. In addition, our subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, drops in your mailbox daily to help you track projects through the planning process.