||Broken stone, gravel or sand used with cement
to form concrete. Aggregates may be coarse or fine and are
often used in the construction of 'soakaways'.
||A perforated brick built into a wall for the purposes of providing air
for ventilation purposes. Used for instance, to ventilate the underside of a
wooden floor or a roof space.
||A moulding around a doorway or window opening. It
usually covers the joints between the frame and the wall finish, thus hiding any shrinkage gaps
which may occur.
||Material used in the past for insulation and other uses. Asbestos is a
deleterious material which should only be removed or worked upon by a licensed contractor. Whilst
items remain in good condition and are left undisturbed, the current informed view is that they
present no significant hazard to health. However, some potential purchasers may be deterred by
their presence and in the event of damage or disturbance, the applicants should anticipate
potentially significant costs to have them removed safely.
||Cement mixed with 15% asbestos fibre as
reinforcement. Fragile - will not usually bear heavy
weights. Hazardous fibres may be released if cut, drilled or otherwise damaged
or disturbed. See comments above in relation to Asbestos.
||Black, tar-like substance, designed to be impervious to
moisture. Used on flat roofs and floors.
||See 'Verge Board'.
||Common metal device normally serving gas appliances which allows air to
be drawn to the appliance whilst also allowing fumes to escape.
||A post or vertical pillar supporting a handrail or parapet
||A collective name for a row of balusters or other in filling below a
handrail on a stair or parapet.
||(Wood boring insects, eg. woodworm). Larvae of
various species of beetle can tunnel into timber causing damage. Specialist
treatment normally required. Can also affect furniture.
||Shaped concrete slope beside drainage channel within an inspection
chamber. Also known as 'haunching'.
||Black, sticky substance, similar to asphalt. Used in
sealants, mineral felts and damp proof courses.
||The regular arrangement of bricks or stones in a wall so that the units
may be joined together. The principal types of "bond" used in domestic
construction being English, flemish, header, stretcher, diagonal or garden wall
||Originally made from clinker cinders or ('breeze') - the term now
commonly but incorrectly used to refer to various types of concrete and cement building
||A natural process affecting the outer layer of
concrete. Metal reinforcement within that layer is liable to early corrosion,
with consequent fracturing of the concrete in some cases.
||A window composed of hinged, pivoted or fixed sashes.
||Traditional method of building external walls of houses comprising two
leaves of brick or blockwork usually separated by a gap ('cavity') of about 50 mm
|Cavity Wall Insulation
Filling of wall cavities by one of various forms of insulation
Polystyrene beads pumped into the cavities. Will easily fall out if the wall is broken open for any
Foam: Urea formaldehyde foam, mixed
on site, and then pumped into the cavities where it sets. Can lead to problems
of dampness and make replacement of wall ties more difficult.
Fibreglass: Inert mineral fibre
pumped into the cavity.
||A simple method of drain comprising a holding tank which needs frequent
emptying. Not to be confused with 'septic tank'.
||Often referred to as 'particle board'. Chips of wood
compressed and glued into sheet form. Cheap method of decking to flat roofs,
floors and (with formica or melamine surface) furniture, especially kitchen
||Sometimes known as an 'access eyes' or 'rodding eye'.
An opening in a drain or ventilation pipe, covered by a plate, the removal of which allows the
drain to be rodded to clear blockages.
||A horizontal tie beam of a roof, which is joined to opposing rafters at
a level above that of the wall plates.
||Horizontal timber member designed to restrain opposing roof
slopes. Absence, removal or weakening can lead to roof
||Modern form of gas boiler which activates on demand usually within a
pressurized system. With this form of boiler there is no need for water
storage tanks, hot water cylinders, etc.
||Usually stone or concrete, laid on top of a wall as a decorative finish
and designed to stop rainwater soaking into the wall.
||Projection of stone, brick, timber or metal jutting out from a wall to
support a weight above it.
||A large moulding at the junction between an inside wall and a
ceiling. Can also include a moulding at the top of an outside wall designed to
project and throw raindrops clear of the wall.
||Curved junction between wall and
||A wooden moulding fixed to the wall or capping paneling and forming the
top most part of a dado. Originally designed to avoid damage to the wall where
people or furniture brushed against it.
Proof Course (or
||Layer of impervious material (mineral felt, PVC, etc)
incorporated into a wall and designed to prevent dampness rising up to the
wall or lateral dampness around windows, doors, etc. Various proprietary
methods are available for damp proofing existing walls including 'electro-osmosis' and chemical
||(Xestobium Refovillosum). Extremely serious insect
pest which attacks structural timbers. Usually affects old hardwoods with
fungal decay already present.
A method of thermal insulation usually
Sealed Unit: two panes of glass fixed and hermetically sealed
Secondary: in effect a second 'window' positioned inside the
|Double Hung Sash
A window in which the opening lights slides vertically within a
casement window, counter balanced by weights supported on sash cords which passes over
pulleys in the frame.
||(Serpula Lacrymans). A very serious form of fungas
which attacks structural and joinery timbers, often with devastating results.
Can flourish in moist, unventilated areas.
||The overhanging edge of a roof.
||Powdery white salts crystallized on the surface of a wall as a result of
||Particularly strong and dense type of brick, often used as a damp proof
course in older buildings.
||The Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme. FENSA Limited is a wholly owned
subsidiary of the Glass and Glazing Federation.
||Cheap, lightweight board material of little strength, used in ceilings
or as insulation to attics.
||Building technique designed to prevent leakage at a roof
joint. Normally ,metal (lead, zinc, copper) but can be cement, felt or
||A cement mortar weathering on the top of a chimney stack surrounding the
base of the chimney pots to throw off the rain and thus prevent it from saturating the
||A smoke duct in a chimney, or a proprietary pipe serving a heat
producing appliance such as a central heating boiler.
||Metal (usually stainless steel) tube within a flue - essential for high
output appliances such as boilers. May also be manufactured from clay and
built into the flue. Other proprietary flue liners are also
||Normally concrete, laid underground as a structural base to a wall: in
older buildings these may be brick or stone.
||An indentation, usually V shaped in the bedding face of the brick to
reduce it's weight. 'Frog down' or 'frog up' are the generally accepted ways
of describing how the bricks are laid.
||Upper section of a wall, usually triangular in shape, at either end of a
||This replaced CORGI as the official stamp for gas safety in Great
Britain and the Isle of Man on 1 April 2009. CORGI registration is not valid or recognised by law
in these regions. To work legally on gas appliances and installations, a contractor must be on
the Gas Safe Register https://engineers.gassaferegister.co.uk
||Swelling of clay sub-soil due to the presence of moisture: can cause an
upward movement of foundations in extreme cases.
||An opening into which rain and waste water are collected before entering
||A channel along the eaves of a roof or the edge of a path for the
removal of rainwater.
||Broken bricks or stones which, consolidated, are used as a foundation
for paths, drives or solid floors.
||See 'Benching'. Also term used to describe the
support to a drain underground.
||Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme
||The external junction between two intersecting roof
||A saddle shaped or angular tile fitting over the intersection of those
roof tiles which meet at a hip.
||'In position' - applied to work done in the position where it is finally
required, eg. concrete may be precast in sections which are later taken to the position where
they are required or it may be cast 'in situ'.
||Commonly called the 'manhole' - access point to a drain comprising a
chamber (of brick, concrete or plastic) with the drainage channel at it's base and a removable
cover at ground level.
||Vertical side face of a doorway or window.
||A timber or steel beam directly supporting a floor and sometimes
alternatively or additionally supporting a ceiling. Steel beams are usually
referred to as RSJ's (rolled steel joists).
||The roughness of a surface which provided a bond for any application of
paint, plaster, rendering, tiles, etc, or spaces between laths or wire meshes which provide a
grip for plaster.
||Downhill movement of unstable earth, clay, rock, etc, often following
prolonged heavy rain or coastal erosion, but sometimes due to sub-soil having poor
||Thin strip of wood used in the fixing of roof tiles or slates, or as a
backing to plaster.
||A horizontal beam over a door or window opening usually carrying the
load of the wall above. Often lintels can be partially or completely hidden
||(Hylotrupe Bajulus). A serious insect pest mainly
confined to the extreme south-east of England, which can totally destroy the structural strength
||Liquid Petroleum Gas or
Propane. Available to serve gas appliances in areas without mains
gas. Requires a storage tank.
||Mixture of sand, cement, water and sometimes lime used to join stones or
||Vertical bar dividing individual lights in a window.
||Stout post supporting a staircase at top and bottom. Also, the
central pillar of a winding spiral staircase.
||National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation
||Oil Firing Technical Association
||Rough concrete below timber ground floors.
||Low wall along the edge of a roof, balcony,
||A timber gutter of rectangular cross-section usually provided with a flexible metal
or other impervious lining. Used behind a parapet or sometimes at a
||'Property Care Association' formerly known as the 'British Wood Preserving and Damp-proofing Association'
||A vertical column of brickwork or other material, used to strengthen the wall or to
support a weight.
||Stiff 'sandwich' of plaster between coarse paper. Now in
widespread use for ceilings and walls.
||Outer edge of mortar joint between bricks, stones, etc.
||(Bostrychide or Lyctidae family of beetles). A relatively
uncommon pest which can, if untreated, cause widespread damage to structural
||Horizontal beam in a roof upon which rafters rest.
||The external angle of a building: or specifically, bricks or stone blocks forming
||A sloping roof beam, usually timber, forming the carcass of a
||Basic early method of stone wall construction with no attempt at bonding or
||Vertical covering of a wall, either plaster (internally) or cement (externally),
sometimes with pebbledash, stucco or Tyrolean textured finish.
||The side faces of a window or door opening.
||The highest part or apex of a roof, usually horizontal.
||A specially shaped tile for covering and making weather tight the ridge of a
roof. These tiles may have a rounded or angular cross
||The vertical part of a step or stair.
||Moisture soaking up a wall from below ground, by capillary action which can cause
rot in timbers, plaster decay, decoration failure, etc.
||Outward bowing of a wall caused by the thrust of a badly restrained roof framework
||Frequently used abbreviation for a rolled steel joist.
||Final, smooth finish of a solid floor: usually cement, concrete or
||Drain installation whereby sewage decomposes through the action of bacteria, which
can be slowed down or stopped altogether by the use of chemicals such as bleach, biological
washing powders, etc.
||All properties settle to some extent, and this can show as cracking and/or
distortion in walls. Very often minor settlement is not of great significance
to the building as a whole.
|| A large underground pipe or drain used for conveying
waste water and sewage. The Local Authority is
usually responsible for the sewers, which collect the effluent from various drains, the drains being
the responsibility of the land owners.
||Naturally occurring cracks in timber: in building timbers, shakes can appear quite
dramatic, but strength is not always impaired.
||Damage to roof slates and tiles caused by weather action (see
||Small rectangular slabs of wood used on roofs instead of tiles, slates,
||A pit, filled with broken stones, etc, below ground to take drainage from rainwater
pipes or land drains and allow it to disperse.
||Piece of flexible metal fitted to interlock with slates or tiles and make a water
tight joint between a wall and a roof or at a hip or valley. Stepped flashings
are used over the soakers at a joint against a wall.
||The underside of an arch, beam, staircase, eaves or other feature of a
|Soil Pipe/Soil Stack
||A vertical pipe which conveys sewage to the
drains. It's upper end is usually vented above the
||Heating fuel, normally wood, coke or one of a variety of proprietary
||Deterioration of brickwork through the action of weathering caused by freeze/thaw
action, especially during inclement weather conditions.
||Space above and to the sides of an arch: also the space below a
||A valve on a gas or water supply pipe which is used to cut off the
||Lightweight, sometimes non load bearing wall construction comprising a framework of
timber faced with plaster, plasterboard or other finish.
||Ground movement, generally downwards, possibly a result of mining activities or
failure of the sub soil.
||Soil lying immediately below the top-soil.
||Chemical reaction, activated by water, between tricalcium aliminate and soluble
sulphates which can cause deterioration of brick walls and concrete floors.
||Metal bar passing through a wall, or walls in an attempt to
brace a structure suffering from structural instability.
||Mortar applied on the underside of roof tiles or slates to help prevent moisture
penetration. Not necessary when a roof is underdrawn in
||Horizontal bar of wood or stone across a window or top of door.
||The horizontal part of a step or stair.
||Method of roof construction utilising prefabricated triangular framework of
timbers. Now widely used in domestic construction.
||Method of strengthening weak foundations whereby a new,
stronger foundation is placed beneath the original.
||Horizontal or sloping gutter, usually lead or tile lined, at the intersection
between two roof slopes.
Necessary in all buildings to disperse moisture resulting from bathing, cooking,
breathing, etc, and to assist in prevention of condensation.
Floors: necessary to avoid rot, especially dry rot, achieved by airbricks
near to the ground level.
Roofs: necessary to disperse condensation within
roof spaces; achieved either by airbricks in gables or ducts at the eaves.
||The edge of a roof, especially over a gable or around a dormer window or
||Timber, sometimes decorative, placed at the verge of a roof; also known
as 'barge board'.
||Timber placed at the eaves of a roof, designed to take the weight of the
roof timbers and coverings.
||See 'Cavity Wall Tie'.
||A pipe from a wash hand basin, sink or bath to carry away the waste
water into the drain.
||Horizontal overlapping boards nailed on the outside of a building to
provide the finished wall surface.
||(Coniophora Puteana). Decay of
timber due to damp conditions. Not to be confused with the more serious dry
||Colloquial term for beetle infestation; usually intended to mean Common
Furniture Beetle (Anobium Punctatum); by far the most frequently encountered insect attack in
structural and joinery timbers.