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Home Building Terms

Building Construction Jargon.

Adjudication — A quick and inexpensive method of dispute resolution resulting in an immediately enforceable, non-binding dispute settlement by an Adjudicator.

Arbitration — The main alternative to the court system where the parties have the power to decide many of the procedures that will govern the conduct of their arbitration. The decision is binding in law.

Architrave — Moulding around openings such as doors or windows.

Barge Board — Wide board fitted on edge of tiles following the slope of the roof.

Batten — timber strips to which roof tiles are fitted.

Bead (or Beading) — Small moulding to cover a join.

Blown or Live — Plaster that has lost its bond with the wall.

Bond — Arrangement of bricks to ensure stability of brickwork.

Conciliation — The main difference between mediation and conciliation is that in conciliation the agreement reached is binding in honour only.

Consumer Unit — like a fuse box; the mechanism by which circuits are protected from overload.

Cooling off period — Period of time allowed to change your mind about a purchase decision. Currently, goods and services that are sold unsolicited are subject in law to a seven day cooling off period.

Coping — Protective capping to the top of a wall.

Corbelling — Successive projecting courses of brickwork.

Damp proof course — An impervious membrane laid about two brick courses above ground level to prevent damp from rising.

Distemper — Wall paint made from water, pigment and glue (traditional)

Distribution Board — An assembly containing switches or protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit-breakers, residual current operated devices).

Drip — Moulding or groove in external sill to prevent water creeping back

Eaves — Overhang of roof beyond wall below.

Efflorescence — Unsightly powdery white salts brought to surface of brickwork.

Estimate — An informed guess, a rough price.

First fix — joiner, plumber and electrical carcassing prior to plaster

Flashing — Metal sheet used to deflect water at junction between roof and wall.

Flaunching — Cement mortar filler round the top of a chimney stack.

Flush Door — Door with completely flat faces.

Frog — Indent on bed face of a brick.

Gable or Verge — Upper part of an outer wall at the end of a pitched roof

Glazing Bar — Thin bar shaped to receive pane of glass

Grout — Material used to fill the joints in wall tiles.

Header — The end face of a brick

Header Tank — Small open cistern (tank) that feeds water to central heating system

Herringbone — Zigzag pattern of brickwork

Hip — Line of adjoining sections of pitched roof at external angle of building

Hipped Roof — Pitched roof, the ends of which are also sloped

Hip Tile — Roof tile shaped to cover hip of roof

In situ — to work on an item where it is sited rather than take it offsite

Jamb — The side of an opening in a wall for a door or window

Joist — Support for floor and ceiling

Knotting — Varnish to stabilise knots in wood

Lean-to Roof — Sloping roof supported along its highest part by a taller adjoining wall

Light — Subdivision of a window

Lintel — Concrete, timber or steel beam over opening to support wall above

Loose-Fill Insulation — loose material for insulating cavity walls and lofts

Making good — The finishing touches that bring work up to scratch.

Mansard Roof — Form of pitched roof designed to provide more space for rooms

Mediation — A voluntary, non-binding 'without prejudice' process in which trained third party negotiators attempt to bring people together to reach settlement.

Mezzanine — Extra floor

Mitre — Angled joint (similar to joint in picture frame)

Muck — A bricklayer's slang term for mortar

Mullion — Upright post in window

Newel — Vertical post at top and bottom of staircase

Nogging — Short wooden stiffeners inserted between joists

Nosing — Rounded edge of a stair tread projecting beyond the riser

Parapet — Low wall at the edge of a roof

Pebble Dash — Roughcast wall finish with stones bedded in rendered wall

Pitch — Slope of roof

Plain tile — Rectangular 'flat' roofing tile

Plasterboard — Prefabricated sheets of plaster for walls and ceilings

Purlin — Horizontal beam, part way up a rafter to prevent sagging

Quote — A fixed price that is binding.

Rafters — Series of structural timbers rising from eaves to ridge to support pitched roof covering

RCD — Residual Current Device, a protective device on an electric circuit.

Render — External sand-cement coating for walls

Reveal — Vertical side of door or window opening

Ridge — Top of a pitched roof

Ring Main — Power circuit for sockets.

Rise — Vertical distance between two adjacent stair treads

Riser — Upright part of a stair OR vertical water pipe from the mains

Roof Truss — Prefabricated structural timber framework to support roof

RSJ — Rolled steel joist

Sash — Framework for glass

Screed — Layer of fine concrete used to provide smooth surface prior to floor finish

Sarking Felt — Waterproof felt under roof tile battens

Second Fix — Items fitted following plastering

Sill — Bottom horizontal member of a door or window frame

Skim — Finishing coat of plaster

Skirting — Horizontal board at junction between floor and wall

Soil pipe — vertical pipe to take waste water and sewage out of a building

Soffit — Visible underside of a projecting surface

Span — Horizontal distance covered by a beam or lintel etc.

Spoil — Material dug out during excavation

Stack — Vertical pipe carrying waste from sinks and toilets

Stretcher — The side face of a brick

String — Sloping board carrying the treads and risers of a staircase

Trap — A curved section of drain that holds water, providing a seal that prevents odours from escaping.

Tread — Horizontal part of a stair

T&G boarding — Tongue and Groove, traditional softwood floor boards

TRV — Thermostatic radiator valve

Verge tile — edge of a roof which runs from eaves to ridge at a gable.



NOTE - These are general discussion articles only.



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Architectural and Building Design Services - for planning permission and building regulations within Marlow, High Wycombe, Maidenhead, Bucks, Berks and Oxon areas.

Residential development for household extensions, conversions and new dwellings.

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