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1. The withholding of a portion (usually 10%) of a periodic payment to a contractor, by prior agreement, for work completed. The retention is held in escrow for a stipulated time period after the acceptance of the completed work by the architect and owner/payee.
2. The amount of preservative, fire-retardant salt, resin, etc., retained by treated or impregnated wood.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.