HCSS Terminology

Different construction companies refer to similar concepts with different terminology.  (e.g., jobs vs projects).  Here is a glossary of common HCSS terms:

Business Unit

A business unit is a subdivision of a company.  Data between business units is not shared.  This is useful for larger companies that may have several operating divisions in separate parts of the country.  Smaller companies usually have a single business unit.


A job is synonymous with a project, and represents a construction job at a particular location.

Cost Code/Phase Code

Cost codes represent specific work done on a job.  (e.g., pouring concrete).  Some companies use phase codes, which further subdivides cost codes into job phases.  At HCSS, cost codes and phase codes are synonymous.

Advanced Budget

An advanced budget is simply the intersection of a cost code and a material.  (i.e., the quantity of a material recorded against a cost code)

Cost Adjustment

A cost adjustment is applied to a resource on a time card (employee or equipment) to increase or decrease its cost for that particular day.  For example, a per-diem may be added for certain employees.  (and the per-diem is a cost adjustment in the HCSS system).

Rate Set

A rate set represents the hourly cost of one or more resources for a specified period of time.  The cost can be different for each resource in the rate set.  For example, your company may mirror the IRS standard mileage reimbursement rates.  This could be implemented as a 2018 rate set having 54.5 cents/mile and a 2019 rate set having 58 cents/mile.