D. Gavin Associates

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Construction terms

Abutment
An Intersection between a roof slop and wall that rises above it.

Aerated Concrete
Lightweight and insulating cellular material cast into moulds.

Aggregate
Granular material used as a main component of concrete, mortar or plaster.

Air brick
Perforated brick or grating set into wall to provide ventilation. Found at the base of walls to ventilate timber ground floors.

Asbestos
A thin fibrous mineral crystal. Asbestos poses a significant health risk and is covered and controlled by the Health and Safety Executive and the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987.

Binder
A tie fixed to main framing members to provide further support and to minimise movement.

Bressumer
Beam supporting walls over openings in main walls.

Cavity Wall
External wall, comprising inner and outer skins with a cavity between. Offers greater resistant to damp penetration superior thermal insulation.

Damp Proof Course (DPC)
Layer of some impervious material the same width of the wall. Prevents dampness through porous materials.

Damp Proof Membrane (DPM)
The same principal as a DPC but laid beneath solid ground floors to prevent rising damp.

Dry Rot
The decay of timber due to dampness resulting in the fungus, Serpula Lacrymans. See BRE digest 299 and 364.

Eaves
The lowest part of a sloping roof or the area directly beneath.

Expanding Metal Lath
Galvanised or stainless steel mesh used to provide a key for render and plaster. For internal and external applications.

Expansion Tank
Small storage tank linked with the central heating system, independent of the main water tank.

Fascia
Vertical board at eaves level.

Flashing
Impervious sheet material such as 1.8mm thick lead found at a roof and wall abutment to prevent the ingress of water.

Foundations
Part of the building founded beneath ground to support the substructure. Often concrete but older properties often have brick corbelled foundations.

Gable
Triangular part of a building beneath a pitched roof.

Gutter
Half round semi-circular section fixed to fascia.

Heave
The upward movement or swelling of the ground on which a building stands. Often occurs in cohesive soils following the removal of significant vegetation that is older than the property or due to change in the water table.

Helical Bar
Stainless steel reinforcing bar in varying diameter and length used for strengthening and stabilising masonry.

Hip (End)
Side of a roof formed by a sloping triangle instead of gable.

Lath and Plaster
Traditional Plaster finish on ceilings or wall partitions. Formed using horizontal battens or laths which beneath the plaster finish.

Lintel or Lintol
Beam over a door or window opening.Can be formed in concrete or steel. Timber Lintels are present in older properties.

Purlin
Horizontal timber in roof space which provides intermediate support. Usually in timber but steel Z Purlins are also available.

Rafters
Sloping roof beam usually running from eave to ridge.

Resin Bond
Thixotropic adhesive used for masonry repairs.

Reveal
The visible part of jamb in a door or window opening.

Ridge
The horizontal line at the top of a pitched roof.

Subsidence
The downward movement of the ground on which a building stands. Often the result of shrinkage of the clay soil.

Soffit
The underside of the overhanging part of a building.

Strut
Structural timbers normally supporting purlins.

Stud Partitions
Timber wall covered with plasterboard or plaster.

Trussed Rafter
Derivative of roof truss (see above). Factory made timber framework used instead of common rafters, joined together by metal connectors or adhesive.

Underpinning
Concrete cast beneath the existing foundation to transfer the load to a deeper level. See BRE Digest 352.

Verge
Edge of a pitched roof to a gable wall.

Wall Plate
Timber section at the top of wall to attach floor or roof timbers.

Wall Tie
Fastener connecting the outer and inner skins of a cavity wall.