Terminology you may encounter in diyhousebuilder.com...

Below are some terms used throughout the website. It is probably best to be come extremely familiar with them, as they will be used not only through the website, but throughout the construction process.

  1. Architectural Review Committee
  2. A/C Disconnect: The main electrical ON-OFF switch near the A/C condenser.
  3. Backflow Device - A device or means to prevent backflow into the potable water supply. Some even will incorporate pressure reducing capabilities. I have used double chamber, pressure reducing back flow devices on probably 75% of my jobs.
  4. Builder's Risk Insurance - Insurance coverage on a construction project during construction, including extended coverage that may be added for the contract for the customer's protections.
  5. Building Code: Minimum local or state regulations established to protect health and safety. They apply to building design, construction, rehabilitation, repair, materials, occupancy and use. Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified.
  6. Bundle: A package of shingles. There are 3, 4 or 5 bundles per square.
  7. Change Order - A written document which modifies the plans and specifications and/or the price of the Construction Contract.
  8. Cut Sheets
  9. Dap Outs
  10. Design Pressures - Specified pressure a product is designed to withstand, normally associated with garage doors, exterior doors, windows, and sliding glass door, with both a positive and negative design pressure noted.
  11. Easement - A formal contract which allows a party to use another party's property for a specific purpose, e.g. a sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbor's property.
  12. Elevations - The page on the blue prints that depicts the house or room as if a vertical plane were passed through the structure. Normally it includes at minimum the front, rear, and two sides of the building, properly scaled. A bouns would be elevations of specific rooms or details in the house.
  13. Energy Calculation Form
  14. Engineered Floor Systems
  15. Expansion Joint - A device used to permit a structure to expand or contract without breakage. In residential construction, a bituminous fiber strip used to separate blocks or units of concrete to prevent cracking due to expansion as a result of temperature changes. Also used on concrete slabs.
  16. Expansive Soils - Earth that swells and contracts depending on the amount of water that is present.
  17. Flitch Plate
  18. Flood Zone
  19. Floor Plan - The basic layout of building or addition, which includes placement of walls, windows and doors as well as dimensions.
  20. Floor Trusses
  21. Footers - Wide pours of cement reinforced with re-bar (reinforcing bar) that support foundation walls, pillars, or posts. Footings are part of the foundation and are often poured before the foundation walls.
  22. Invert
  23. Keyway - A slot formed and poured on a footer or in a foundation wall when another wall will be installed at the slot location. This gives additional strength to the joint/meeting point.
  24. Laminated Beams
  25. Lead Time
  26. Leech field - A method used to treat/dispose of sewage in rural areas not accessible to a municipal sewer system. Sewage is permitted to be filtered and eventually discharged into a section of the lot called a leech field.
  27. Licensed Trades
  28. Load Bearing Walls - A wall which is supporting its own weight and some other structural elements of the house such as the roof and ceiling structures.
  29. Mechanics Lien - A lien on real property, created by statue in many years, in favor of persons supplying labor or materials for a building or structure for the value of labor or materials supplied by them. In some jurisdictions, a mechanics lien also exists for the value of professional services. Clear title to the property cannot be obtained until the claim for the labor, materials, or professional services is settled. Timely filing is essential to support the encumbrance, and prescribed filing dates vary by jurisdiction.
  30. Mixed Bearing Walls
  31. Mortar Types - Type M is suitable for general use and is recommended specifically for masonry below grade and in contact with earth, such as foundations, retaining walls and walks. Type M is the strongest type. Type S is suitable for general use and is recommended where high resistance to lateral forces is required. Type N is suitable for general use in exposed masonry above grade and is recommended specifically for exterior walls subject to severe exposures. Type O is recommended for load-bearing walls of solid units where the compressive stresses do not exceed 100 lbs. per square inch and the masonry wall not be subjected to freezing and thawing in the presence of excessive moisture.
  32. NOA
  33. Non Load Bearing Walls
  34. Payment Schedule - A pre-agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work completed. Such a schedule may include a deposit prior to the start of work. Payments are often scheduled for the beginning of the month and allow the contractor to subcontractors and suppliers by the 10th of the month. There may also be a temporary 'holdout' at the end of the contract for any small items which have not been completed.
  35. Perc Test - Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system.
  36. Permit: A governmental authorization to perform a building process as in: Zoning\Use permit - authorization to use a property for a specific use e.g. a factory, a single family residence etc. Grading permit - authorization to change the contour of the land. Septic permit - a health dept. authorization to build or modify a septic system. Building permit - authorization to build or modify a structure. Electrical permit - a separate permit required for most electrical work. Plumbing permit - a separate permit required for new plumbing and larger modifications of existing plumbing systems.
  37. Plans - Architectural plans for a building or construction project, which likely include floor plans, footing and foundation plans, elevations, plot plans, and various schedules and or details.
  38. Plot Plan - A bird’s eye view showing how a building sits on the building lot, typically showing setbacks (how far the building must sit from the road), easements, rights of way, and drainage. (See Site Plan)
  39. Prints
  40. Radon - A naturally-occurring, radioactive gas which is heavier than air and is common in many parts of the country. Radon gas exposure is associated with lung cancer. Mitigation measures may involve crawl space and basement venting and various forms of vapor barriers.
  41. Roof Pitch - The incline slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house, i.e., an 8-foot rise and 24-foot width is a one-third pitch roof. Roof slope is expressed in the inches of rise per foot of run.
  42. Scratch Coat: The first coat of stucco, which is scratched to form a bond for the second coat.
  43. Screed or Screeding - The wood or metal straightedge used to strike off or level newly placed concrete when doing cement work. Screeds can be the leveling device used or the form work used to level or establish the level of the concrete. Screeds can be hand used or mechanical.
  44. Septic Engineering
  45. Setback
  46. Sheathing - The structural covering, usually wood boards, plywood, gypsum or wood fiber, used over studs or rafters of framed buildings as the first layer of outer wall covering nailed to the studs or rafters.
  47. Siding - The finish covering of the outside wall of a frame building, whether made of horizontal weatherboards, vertical boards with battens, shingles, or other material.
  48. Sill Plate - The framing member anchored to the foundation wall upon which studs and other framing members will be attached. It is the bottom plate of exterior walls.
  49. Site Plan
  50. Slab on Grade - A type of construction in which footings are needed but little or no foundation wall is poured.
  51. Sonotube - Round, large cardboard tubes designed to hold wet concrete in place until it hardens.
  52. Square: A unit of measure, e.g. 100 square feet, usually applied to roofing material. Siding is sometimes packed to cover 100 square feet and are sold on that basis.
  53. Square Footage - Living and Under Roof
  54. Stack - The vertical pipe of a system of soil, waste or vent piping.
  55. Stop Work Order - A formal, written notification to a contractor to discontinue some or all work on a project for reasons such as safety violations, defective materials or workmanship, or cancellation of the contract.
  56. Stucco -A type of exterior finish. Most commonly refers to an outside plaster made with Portland cement as its base.
  57. Subcontractor - A contractor who specializes in a particular trade such as plumbing.
  58. Subcontractor Verification Form
  59. Survey
  60. Take Off - The material and labor list necessary to complete a job.
  61. Termite Shield - A shield, usually of non-corrodible metal, placed in or on a foundation wall or other mass of masonry or around pipes to prevent passage of termites.
  62. Truss - A frame or jointed structure designed to act as a beam of long span, while each member is usually subjected to longitudinal stress only—either tension or compression.
  63. Turnkey - A term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labor) for a job.
  64. Window Buck - Square or rectangular box that is installed within a concrete foundation or block wall. A window will eventually be installed in this "buck" during the siding stage of construction.