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Glossary of Terms for Home Building

A B C D E F G H L M N O P R S T V W

 

A

  • Architectural Drawings - a set of blueprints also known as construction drawings
  • Attic Trusses - a pre-engineered roof truss incorporating the floor, walls and roof system into one truss

 

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B

  • Basement Foundation - the foundation below the living area of the first floor that is accessible by stairs that can either be finished for habitable space or left unfinished for storage
  • Building Codes - building standards that are established to regulate and ensure the structural soundness of newly constructed buildings
  • Brick Veneer - the brick finish on the exterior of a home or other building
  • Building Officials - people hired by the city or county in which you are building that oversee planning and zoning, plan review, issuing permits and construction inspections
  • Building Permits - documents provided by the city or county authorizing you to build a home or garage once they have reviewed your plans

 

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C

  • Cabinet Elevations - two dimensional drawings of the kitchen and bath cabinets that indicate the height, width and placement of the cabinets
  • CAD Files - electronic files on a CD or DVD that contain the actual construction drawings (blueprints); file types are available in a .DWG or .DXF file format
  • Coffered Ceiling - the interior portion of a ceiling in a room that is higher than the ceiling around the perimeter of the room. It's purpose is decorative rather than structural
  • Construction Drawings - a set of blueprints or architectural drawings
  • Copyright - laws used to protect the intellectual property of others from being copied illegally
  • Crawl Space Foundation - the shallow space below the floor of a house built above the ground and generally surrounded with the foundation wall

 

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D

  • Department of Public Works - a city or county department that oversees building codes, plan reviewing, issuing permits, building inspections and other functions related to the development of property
  • Designer - a reference to a draftsman that is typically not a licensed architect
  • Design Professional - a residential designer, architect or engineer
  • Dormer - a vertical structure, usually housing a window, which projects from a sloping roof and is covered by a separate roof structure

 

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E

  • Electrical Plan - a scaled drawing of the floor plan indicating the locations of lighting fixtures, receptacles and switches
  • Electronic Files - construction drawings in an electronic format, also referred to as CAD drawings or files
  • Exterior Elevations - the exterior views of a home design that shows the faces of the home with the exterior finish materials indicated as well as the position of the house relative to the grade of the land

 

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F

  • Floor Plan - the layout or design of a building such as a home providing room dimensions and measurements necessary for construction
  • Floor Trusses - pre-engineered floor trusses that are factory fabricated and shipped to the job site. They are used in lieu of conventional 2x framing lumber and are designed to span greater distances than conventional lumber
  • Footprint - the overall outline of a building revealing it's shape and size
  • Foundation - the supporting portion of a structure below the first-floor construction, or below grade, including the footings
  • Foundation Plan - the portion of the construction drawings that direct how the foundation is to be built

 

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G

  • Gable - the triangular, vertical end-area enclosed between the lines of a simple two-surface roof
  • Gable Roof - a double sloping roof that forms a gable at each end
  • General Contractor - the individual hired to oversee the construction of a building.

 

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H

  • Header - the beam or support member over an opening, usually a door or window, that supports the floors, walls or roof above it
  • Hip Roof - a roof with four pitched sides, the line where two slopes of a roof meet is called a hip; a roof which slopes to the eaves on all sides, a roof without gables
  • House Section - a detail on construction drawings that is drawn as if the house was cut in sections vertically. It indicates footing and foundation types and sizes, framing and other structural members, ceiling heights and any other detail pertinent to the construction of the building

 

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L

  • Load Bearing Wall - a wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight, usually in reference to supporting the floor above it or the roof

 

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M

  • Material List - a list of all the materials, including quantities and sizes, needed to construct a building (this does not include foundation materials, heating and cooling, rough plumbing and appliances)
  • Mirror Reverse - a mirrored copy of a blueprint by which the floor plan is flipped right to left, the floor plan and text appear backwards just as if you are looking in a mirror
  • Multi-Use License - a license available for a fee permitting a builder to construct more than on home or structure from the same set of blueprints

 

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N

  • Nonbearing Wall - a wall supporting no load other than its own weight

 

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O

  • Over-Head Garage Door - the large door on the garage through which vehicles pass (preferably when in the open position!)

 

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P

  • Plans - blueprints or construction drawings
  • Prefabricated - a house whose substantial parts are made entirely or in sections away from the building site

 

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R

  • Readable Reverse - the reversed image of the home plan with readable text
  • Reproducible Masters - a complete set of construction drawings typically printed on erasable paper such as vellum, sepia or mylar specifically for the purpose of making changes to the blueprints; these plans come with a copyright release granting permission to change and make copies of the blueprints
  • Ridge Height - the maximum distance measured from the top of the foundation to the highest point on the roof
  • Roof Pitch - the angle at which the roof slopes
  • Roof Plan - the detail on construction drawings that indicates the appearance of the roof as seen from above. Often times it will indicate roof types, roof pitches and framing members.
  • Roof Trusses - a pre-engineered component that forms the ceiling and roof of the home or building. They are fabricated elsewhere and shipped to the job site to be put in place by the carpenters. Roof trusses are used in lieu of framing the ceilings and roof with conventional 2x lumber one piece at a time
  • RDS - Residential Design Services, Inc.
  • RV - a recreational vehicle or motor home

 

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S

  • Sealed Drawings - drawings that bear the seal of a registered architect or engineer indicated the plans have been developed under their supervision or otherwise reviewed by them
  • Septic System - a system designed to receive, handle and treat sewage from a building when there is no access to city or county sewers
  • Site Plan - a drawing showing the location of the home or other structure on the lot on which it is to be built
  • Slab on Grade Foundation - a concrete slab, in conjunction with footings, that serves as the foundation for a home or building with no space between the floor and earth
  • Square Footage (Living) - the square footage in a home that is heated and/or cooled; the space occupied by two-story rooms and stairwells is counted once in the lower floor's square footage; it does not include garages, bonus rooms, or porches unless otherwise noted
  • Stair Section - a detail on the construction drawings that indicates how the stairs are to be constructed and what material types and sizes are to be used. This detail will indicate tread sizes and riser heights
  • Stock Plans - pre-drawn blueprints designed to meet national building codes at the time they were created; a less expensive alternative to a custom-drawn blueprint

 

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T

  • Tradesmen - contractors and subcontractors who have the knowledge and skills needed to perform specific tasks at a jobsite such as an electrician or plumber
  • Tray Ceiling - a decorative ceiling treatment used to add volume and/or height to a room. There are two common types: 1) angled area toward the center leading to a flat ceiling surface, and 2) stepped square edged leading toward the center of the ceiling

 

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V

  • Vaulted Ceiling - a ceiling that slopes up from one or two sides that creates a volume ceiling
  • Volume Ceiling - any ceiling type, either sloped or raised, that creates volume by being higher than surrounding ceilings

 

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W

  • Walk-In Door - a service door in a garage for pedestrian traffic versus vehicle passage
  • Wall Section - a detail on construction drawings that indicates the type, sizes, spacing and dimensions of all of the materials used to construct the home or building from the footing to the top of the roof

 

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