Owner Builder Definitions
Owner builders & homeowners these definitions will help you understand the building process when dealing with the industry.
Ant Capping – Termite barrier (shield), usually of galvanised iron, placed over piers and dwarf walls to control the entry of termites.
Arch – A structure of wedged shaped blocks, or square blocks with wedge shaped joints, over an opening so disposed as to hold together when supported from the sides, and capable of carrying a load over the opening.
Architrave – A moulded section covering the joint between window and door frames and the wall lining.
Backfill – To fill the earth, any remaining space after placing concrete, brickwork, timber, pipes etc. in an excavation.
Bagging – A masonry process in which thin mortar is applied to the face of the work with some coarse material.
Barge Board – The board covering the roof timbers on the gable or skillion end of a roof, fixed parallel to the roof slope.
Bead – A moulding, generally of small size in cross section.
Beam – A horizontal load-bearing structural member.
Bearer – A member of floor framing, spanning piers and supporting joists.
Bed Joint – Horizontal joint in brickwork.
Bowing – Deformation of timber at right angles to its face.
Brace – Usually a diagonal, which resists lateral loads and/or movements of a structure.
Brick Construction – A construction where the external and internal walls are built of brick.
Brick Veneer – Timber framed construction with an outside skin of brickwork tied to the frame.
Building Line – A line established by the local council which is the minimum distance that must be maintained from the building to the street boundary.
Cantilever – A projecting beam supported at one end, or a large bracket for supporting a balcony or cornice.
Capping – The uppermost part on top of a piece of work.
Cavity Wall – A hollow wall, usually consisting of two brick walls erected 40-50mm apart and joined together with ties of metal.
Ceiling Joist – A structural member which binds the wall and roof framing together and carries the mass of the ceiling sheeting.
Cladding – Any material used to face a building or structure.
Cornice – A horizontal decorative moulding that is designed to provide an attractive finish at the junction of the wall and ceiling.
Crazing – Fine cracks that may occur on a plastered or rendered surface.
Cupping – Distorting of wide boards showing curvature across the grain causing the broad surface to be concave.
Damp Proof Course (DPC) – A barrier, usually physical, built into masonry to prevent moisture migrating up from the ground or down from above, e.g. chimneys, parapets.
Door Jambs – The two vertical members of a door or window frame.
Eave – The lower part of a roof that overhangs the walls.
Efflorescence – A white or coloured powder sometimes formed on the surface of masonry by the deposit of soluble salts.
Elevation – A geometrical drawing of a facade/wall of a building.
Expansion Joint – A joint in a building to permit thermal movement or creep.
Expansion Strip – A soft, resilient material used to fill the void provided for the expansion and contraction of any two adjacent substances.
Fascia – A board fixed horizontally to the lower ends of the rafters, to which guttering may be fixed. Also forms the outside board of a boxed eave.
Finishes – The final applied coat or natural surface of a material used in walls, ceilings or floors of a building.
Footing – The construction whereby the weight of the structure is transferred from the base structure to the foundation.
Foundation – The ground upon which the footings of a building are constructed.
Gable – The triangular end of a house formed at the end of a pitched roof, from eaves level to apex.
Hip – A slanting ridge formed by the intersection of two sloping roof surfaces at an external corner.
Lintel – A structural member or beam carrying loads over an opening.
Lyctus Borer – A borer that attacks sapwood or hardwoods. Masonry Brick, concrete, stone, artificial stone or terracotta laid in mortar.
Mitre- Half the angle of a joint, e.g. corners of door/window architraves.
Moisture Barrier – Material which is used to retard the flow of vapour or moisture into the floor or walls.
Moisture Content – Mass of water contained in timber expressed as a percentage of dry wood fibre.
Mortar – A composition of lime and/or cement and sand mixed with water in various proportions.
Nogging – A horizontal piece of timber fixed between studs in a framed wall.
Non-Load Bearing Wall – One which supports no vertical load except that of its own weight and merely defines spaces.
Overhang (Roof) – The section of a roof extending over the external wall.
Parapet – Low wall at the edge of a roof, balcony, bridge or terrace.
Party Wall – The wall between two adjoining buildings but common to and used to advantage of both buildings.
Pergola – An open framework over a path, terrace or patio.
Perpends – The vertical joints in a masonry wall. Plumb Vertical or perpendicular.
Quoin – The dressed or finished stones at the corners of a masonry home, sometimes faked in a stucco or wood structure.
Rafter (Common) – In roof construction, a timber framing member providing the principal support for the roofing material.
Reinforcing Fabric (Reo) – Prefabricated steel reinforcement for concrete, consisting of an oblong or square mesh of parallel steel wires welded at points of contact and manufactured in flat sheets or rolls.
Retaining Wall – Any wall subjected to lateral pressure other than wind pressure and built to retain material.
Ridge – The horizontal member at the highest point of a roof where the common rafters meet.
Roof Pitch – The angle formed between a sloping roof surface and a horizontal line.
Roof Truss – A frame designed to carry the loads of a roof and its covering over the full span without intermediate support.
Rough in – To lay out the basic lines of electrical or plumbing requirements, without making the final connections.
Sarking – A covering of water-proof building paper beneath the external roof covering.
Sash – The framework in a window, into which the glass is fitted.
Soffit – The lower face or under-surface of anything (arch, eaves of a roof).
Stud – A vertical member in wall framing.
Suspended Ceiling – A ceiling which is suspended from and is not in direct contact with the floor or roof construction above and generally used to conceal services.
Underpinning – The construction of new footing and walling under the footings of an existing structure which have failed or may fail.
Valley – The internal angle formed by two inclined slopes of a roof or an internal corner.
Wall Tie – A steel wire tying brickwork to a timber frame.
Weep Holes – Openings left in the perpend of a brickwork course over flashings and at the bottom of wall cavities for drainage purposes.