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A Building Zone is both a mode and an area that players use to assemble constructs.
Any player can enter build mode on a construct that they own, or which they have build permissions on; and that they did not make from a blueprint (players cannot edit designs owned by other players, to prevent copyright theft). When in build mode on a construct, the player can edit that construct within the build zone, which is a delineated area around each core unit in which construction is possible. The size of the build zone is determined by the size and type of the core unit.
Being in build mode allows the player to use a number of features and tools unique to the building process, as explained on this page. The build zone delineates the area in which those abilities can be used.
The player who owns the core unit that generates the build zone has a number of rights and powers that they can exercise or bestow on others.