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Self Build Home - Self build glossary
Category: Architecture and Buildings > Self build homes
Date & country: 03/12/2007, UK
Words: 143


Abutment
A wall that rises above the slope of the roof that separates different sections of the roof..

Airbrick
A brick designed with holes through it so as to provide ventilation. Widely used by the construction industry and self build land enthusiasts..

Article 4 Direction
Permitted development rights have been granted by Parliament and Government policy that should be withdrawn only in exceptional circumstances, including evidence of a real and specific threat that permitted development is likely to take place which could damage an interest of acknowledged importance. Some small scale alterations / extensions to pro…

Backland
A land-locked site, such as a back garden or an open public space. They are usually found in developed residential areas. Self build land enthusiasts tend to develop this land after they have built their self build home..

Balustrade
A collective term for describing hand rails, baluster rails and sections of steps or balconies upon which they are mounted..

Barge board
Timber boards fixed to the gable end of a roof to protect the roof timbers against the weather. Widely used by self builders..

Base slab
The large foundation concrete slab underneath a self build or other home..

Bat
A brick of half the normal length, used to complete a wall course bond..

Batt
A slab of insulating material..

Batten
A small section of timber, to which sheet materials, slates and tiles may be fixed..

Block
A section of masonry designed to make the construction of self build homes quicker and more efficient. Larger than a normal house brick..

Blockwork
A wall built from blocks, widely used by self build land enthusiasts and the home-building industry.

Bolster
A hardwood cap attached to the end of a wooden post to increase it capacity to bear loads..

Butt
To push or otherwise fit together..

Buttress
An additional bracing wall, often set at right angles to the main wall. It is usually constructed from brick or stone, and tapers towards its summit..

Cant
The angle between two walls, which is greater or lesser than a right angle..

Cantilever
A beam, which is fixed at one end..

Capillary Action
This is when fluids such as water get sucked into narrow spaces, such as the gaps between bricks, usually in porous material. This particularly can lead to rising damp..

Capital Gains Tax
A tax levied on the proceeds generated from the sale of property or other assets. Highly relevant to self builders, since they may need to pay it, depending on whether they own their own home at the time of self-building. Watch out for a new page on this site covering the relevance of CGT for self builders..

Capital growth
The rise in value of a property over time. Self build land enthusiasts tend to enjoy quite a lot of this!.

Carassing
The timber used in structural sections of a building - for example, roof rafters and floor joists..

Casement
A window hinged on one of its vertical edges..

Cavity
The gap between the external and internal walls of a house, often filled with insulating material such as expanded polystyrene..

Cavity tie
Galvanised metal fixings used to bond the external and internal walls together..

Cavity tray
Cavity walls were introduced in the early 1900's to eliminate the problem of water penetrating to the inside of a building. This is achieved because the inner and outer leaves of the wall are totally separate except for the wall ties which are designed to prevent water from crossing from the outer wall to the inner wall. (Wall ties are now, almost …

Ceiling binder
A tie running between the joists or trussed rafters..

Charge certificate
A certificate from the Land Registry that shows the boundaries of a property and gives details of covenants affecting it. If there is a mortgage on the land, a charge certificate will be issued instead of the normal land certificate. It also shows a record of the deed creating the mortgage..

Chase
To cut a groove in brickwork or other material, so as to make it possible to embed a cable or pipe into it..

Cladding
The outermost weatherproof material, fixed to a wall, designed to be decorative and / or functional..

Cleared site
A site that once had an industrial, manufacturing or other operation located on it, but which is now clear. Due to the previous use of the land, their is a potential of contamination..

Completion certificate
A notice issued by the local authority after the final visit by the building inspector, confirming that the self build home or other structure complies with building regulations..

Completion notice
A certificate issued by the architect to authorize a payment to a main contractor, which establishes the value of retention money to be held over a defects period.

Contaminated land
Land with a prior history of having toxic substances, chemical waste or manufacturing by-products contained in the soil structure. Something to probably steer clear of for self builders!.

Conveyancing
The legal process involved in buying and / or selling self build land, or land in general, or property..

Cornice
A decorative addition to the top of an external or internal wall..

Course
A single layer of bricks or blocks..

Covenant
An agreement to do or not do something contained in a deed. Covenants can be made by the current or any prior owner of the land. An example would be to maintain a particular wall..

Coving
Decorative moulding adjoining the top of an interior wall and the ceiling..

Dado
Panels fixed to the lower half of internal walls.

Dado rail
Decorative and/or functional rails, usually made from moulded timber, fitted traditionally to internal walls to protect them from damage by chairs.

Damp-proof course
A waterproof membrane installed in walls and floors to pre- vent moisture causing damage by rising upwards through the structure. Also termed 'damp course' or 'DPC'.

DPC
The standard and widely used abbreviation for damp-proof course.

Dry joint
A brick or timber joint that is not bonded with mortar or adhesive.

Dry lined
An internal partition or cladding constructed usually with a timber frame and plasterboard.

Ducting
A system of shafts or tubes designed to carry and protect cables or pipes.

Dwarf wall
A low wall, for example one constructed to support joists under the ground floor.

Easement
A legal right to use or cross over land owned by someone else.

Eaves
The lowest section of a roof, overhanging a supporting wall.

English bond
A particularly strong method of building walls by laying bricks together in staggered alternating courses using headers and stretchers.

Escutcheon
A protective plate around a keyhole or door handle.

Fascia
Boards installed to a roof to protect the ends of trusses or rafters and on which gutters are attached.

Finial
Ornamental timber section added to the highest point of barge boards or hanging from stair newels on landings.

Flange
A flat plate at the end of a pipe or beam, through which a bolted joint can be made.

Flashing
Waterproof material covering joints between walls and roofs, usually shaped out of lead.

Floating coat
The first coat of thick plaster put on a wall to cover irregularities.

Floor plate
A plate constructed from steel or timber bedded in mortar and designed to withstand heavy loads.

Footings
The foundations of a structure.

Footprint
The 'footprint' of the building refers to those parts within the external walls.

Formwork
Temporary boards used to keep wet mixtures, such as concrete, in a par- ticular shape until it sets.

Framed construction
A structure built with a strong skeleton frame made of timber or steel, against which a brick outer shell is added..

Gable
Triangular upper part of a wall at the end of a ridged roof.

Gable end
The gable shaped canopy over a door or window or a wall topped with a gable.

Hard landscaping
Elements include paths, driveways, garden walls and patios. Header. Brick or block laid across a wall to bond together its two sides. It also means the exposed end part of a brick.

Herringbone strutting
The type of cross bracing used between floor joists to increase stiffness.

Hip
The sharp edge of a roof from ridge to eaves where the two sides meet.

Hipped roof
A roof with sloping ends instead of vertical ones.

Infill site
The redevelopment of land that has adjacent buildings, for example along a row of terraced houses where one has been demolished or where a gap always existed.

Jamb
Vertical side post of a window or doorway.

Joist
A beam that supports a ceiling or floor.

Joist hanger
A fabricated metal slot installed in a wall to keep a joist securely in position.

Kite
The kite-shaped tread mostly used where stairs turn a comer.

Land bank
A supply of potential development plots purchased and retained by builders, which allows them to trade and construct on a continuous basis by moving on to the next plot as completion occurs on the current one.

Land certificate
A document issued by the Land Registry giving details of who owns the land. However, a land certificate should not be accepted as absolute proof of ownership as it may be out of date. 'Office copy entries' are accepted by solicitors to prove ownership.

Land-locked
A plot of land with no independent route providing access onto it and no obvious means of creating one. Examples include surplus areas of an owner's private garden.

Lath
A long slender piece of economical timber.

Lath and plaster
Old-fashioned method of plastering a wall or ceiling using slen- der timbers to construct a narrow gauge frame as a base for the wet plaster.

Leaf
The inner or outer wall of a cavity wall construction.

Leasehold
Land ownership restricted to a number of years and with conditions written in a lease.

Line-boards
Timber boards laid on the ground and used to mark out the widths and position of inner and outer walls and the foundations (setting-out), prior to excavating.

Lintel
Horizontal section of timber, concrete or metal, installed to the top of a door- way or window opening, designed to support the structure above.

Massing
The outline of a dwelling's external shape and form.

Mullion
The vertical sections of material that divide a window frame into smaller lights.

Newel
The main post supporting the end of a balustrade.

Nog
A wooden peg.

Nogging
Short cross-pieces of timber used to brace studs.

Nose
The extending front edge of a staircase step.

Office copy entries
Copies of the entries recorded at the Land Registry proving ownership.

Over-building
The term applies to building a structure that is inconsistent in size, quality and/ or style with other buildings nearby or has excessively filled the lim- ited amount of land space available. Also known as an 'over development'.

Party wall
A wall shared between two properties, such as is the case with semi-detached houses.

Pile
A deep foundation. These are formed by creating a hole deep enough to locate solid sub-soil. The hole is usually filled with concrete and reinforced or a section of solid steel is installed.

Pink land
Land with a 'residential use class'. The term is used largely by local authority planners and originates from the ink colour used to identify residential development areas on maps and plans.

Pitch
The angle or slope of a roof or staircase.

Planning permission
Authority granted by the local council for land to be developed or additions made to an existing property, usually with certain conditions attached.

Plate
A length of timber or steel placed either on top of a wall to support the roof trusses (a wall plate) or fixed to a floor so that studs or a timber-framed partition can be installed (a floor plate).

Precast concrete
Concrete components cast in a factory or on site prior to being placed in their final positions.

Profile boards
Boards of about a meter long used to transfer the plan outline of a building onto the ground. They are held securely in place by timber stakes. Lines are stretched between saw-cuts or marks, so the position of a wall can be fixed.

Property register
One of the three parts of a land or charge certificate describing the property and rights associated with it.

Purlin
Positioned half-way up the slope of a roof, purlins are timber beams installed to support the rafters.

Raft
A firm slab, usually made from concrete, designed to spread the weight of a structure on soft ground.

Rafter
Timbers that form the main part of the roof frame going from the wall plate up to the ridge.