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Glossary of building terms

A | B | C | C | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P |Q | R | S | T | U |V | W | X | Y |Z

Aggregate – a mixture of sand, gravel and stone. It can be compacted to firmly fill a space and is often bound together with cement to make concrete

Appraisal - A valuation of a building or project undertaken by an expert

Apron - A trim board, installed under a window sill

Bonding agent - A substance which is used to bond two different parts or objects together

Beam - A horizontal support which carries the weight of a building load

Bearing partition - A partition in a building which supports not just its own weight but also that of a vertical load

Bearing wall - A wall which supports its own weight and also that of any vertical load (e.g. upper storey or roof weight)

Blue print – a printed copy of the planned building structure. This term usually describes the architect’s drawing and is used for a variety of necessary activities including securing permissions from your local authority

British Standards - Specific standards established and approved by the British Standards Institute as regards the performance of products or construction methods

Bill of quantities - A costed list of the items which will be required in the construction of a building

Building Regulations – Legislation detailing the methods and requirements for the construction of buildings, taking into account health and safety issues as well as environmental sustainability requirements.

Cantilever - An overhang, such as where one floor juts out over a foundation wall.

Construction drywall - A type of construction in which the interior wall finish is applied in a dry condition, such as in the form of plasterboard or wood panelling

Damp Proof Course - Any course of impermeable material, such as plastic sheeting, placed in a vertical or horizontal position in the foundation walls near to the ground, which prevents the upwards or sideways progression of damp through the wall

Dead Walling - Building work carried out below ground level (wholly or in part), whose only purpose is to adjust for sloping ground under the building

Deadwork – see Dead Walling

Eaves - The horizontal exterior roof overhang at the lower edge of a roof

Estimate – A rough evaluation of the amount of labour, materials, and other costs that a contractor anticipates for his part of a building project

Flashing – The material used to provide the building with protection from water seepage

Foundation - The supporting portion of a structure below the first floor construction

Handling Costs - The costs incurred in transporting goods or labour to a building site. Handling costs are often quoted separately on the invoice as a part of costs incurred.

Headlap
- The distance a slate or tile overlaps the next lower slate or tile, usually in the context of roof tiling

Joist -
Beams sited from wall to wall or across girders which support a floor or ceiling

Joist hanger – A U-shaped metal bracket used to support the end of a floor joist

Mortar - A mixture of cement, sand and water used in masonry work

Non-bearing wall - A wall which just supports its own weight

Planning Act – The legislation which governs the permitted types and locations of building development

Plaster - A soft mixture of lime or sand, gypsum and water which hardens to a smooth solid and is used for finishing ceilings and walls

Quoins - The external vertical corner of a wall at a window, doorway or corner of a building, which must be built exactly vertical

Retaining Wall - A wall designed to ‘retain’, or hold back, the higher ground behind it

Schedule of Work - A list of all items of work included in a building project

Schedule of Materials - A list of all materials required for a project or job

Soffit – The area beneath the eaves. The underside of a structural component, such as a cornice

Sub-contractor - A labourer or business which is contracted to do certain works in a larger project by the main building contractor. The main contractor pays directly for any work undertaken by the sub-contractor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 
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