I often find the spanish term "Obra Negra" which is a construction and masonry domain-specific term translated as "Black Work".

Although that is in fact, a valid literal translation I am sure there is an equivalent domain-specific term in english, rendering "Black Work" as a "false-friend" translation

The meaning of Obra Negra is of an unfinished or barely started construction. A house or office is considered obra negra until interior finishes and fixtures are applied.

Bare cement and bricks, no flooring tiles, exposed ducting and cabling all belong in obra negra

Please, enlighten me.

  • 2
    Possibly unfinished or, if furniture is required to take it out of that state, unfurnished.
    – Lawrence
    Feb 16 '17 at 11:27
  • @Lawrence unfortunately​, unfinished has a connotation (at least in Spanish) of missing something essential, such as a roof or load bearing walls. In fact, a dwelling in "obra negra" Is habitable. It is not uncommon in my country to buy a house, and move in while it is still "obra negra" maybe not cozy but better than no roof over your head. So actually, a home may be furnished, and still in "obra negra" thats why I selected the answer below "Rough In"
    – hlecuanda
    Apr 2 '17 at 20:47

I think that rough construction is the expression you are looking for:

  • The rough construction means the building of the load-bearing structure of the building – its frame. The process includes foundation (formwork, rebar and pouring of the foundations), the construction of the walls above the ground, slabs, reinforced concrete floors and load bearing walls (anti-earthquake washers), columns, beams, brickwork, stairs, staircase landings, chimneys, shafts, lift shafts, etc. (including formwork, rebar and pouring of concrete for each of the enumerated elements) and roofing.


Note also "Rough In":

  • As applied to home building and remodeling, to rough in means to lay out the basic lines without making the final connections. Walls are still open and the drywall is not yet installed.

  • The absence of wall and floor coverings allows for easier modification if the rough in does not pass inspection or if the homeowner makes a change order to alter the project.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.