Glossary For Garage Plans and Construction
by Jay Behm
Aggregate (in concrete): stones and sand mixed into concrete to give strength and bulk
Anchor Bolts (in concrete): Commonly 1/2" dia. x 10" bolts embedded into top of concrete foundation to attach framed wall bottom plate, with square flat washers and hex nut
Architect: A building design professional qualified by professional degree in architecture, internship and licensed by state examination to practice architecture within that state.
Architectural Drawings: Construction drawings provided and certified (stamped) by an architect
Apron (concrete): A slab of concrete sloped up almost to top of adjacent garage floor slab
Attic: A space within a roof which is a result of the roof structure such as rafters, joist and trusses. Often used as light storage space but is not habitable space.
Attic Access: An opening through the finished ceiling or adjacent wall which allows entry into attic. Minimum size is 22" x 30" by code. Often, folding, pull-down ladders are used instead of the simple removable panel.
Attic Truss: A roof truss configured with a basically rectangular space within the truss triangular profile. When trusses are repeated at regular spacing they creates a void within the roof. Depending on size and loading can be used for attic storage to usable space (loft)
Attic Vents: Screened openings in roof eaves, soffits, gables and ridges to permit outside air flow through non-conditioned air within roof which prevents moisture damage to structure.
Back-fill: Earth which has been excavated and returned to fill against new foundation structure of outside walls
Backing Boards: Framing lumber which is positioned in wall framing to attach and support hardware, cabinets, fixtures, etc. installed after sheetrock has been installed
Barn Roof: Refers to Gambrel roof form which usually has upper and lower roof slopes made to allow wader attic space within the roof
Base Trim Board: A finished piece of molding placed on wall, at floor, around the room to finish the edge of wall and floor finish. Additional base shoe is often added
Base Shoe: Usually a quarter-round small trim molding attached to base trim board to cover edge of flooring material at wall
Basic Plan: A plan set for construction which a builder/developer gets approved by local building authority which is left on file for repeated building use. It saves time and cost by not having to be re-checked for every building use
Batt Insulation: Fiberglas or rockwool insulation material cut into widths to fit between framing members in wall, floor or roof with specific thickness and specified R value. May or may not have paper / foil backing
Beam: A structural spanning member which collects loads and distributes them to bearing points, such as posts, columns, foundations,pilasters, girders and piers.
Bearing Line or Point: The location to which loads are brought to bear on another structural member, such as girder, pier, column, post or foundation. Bearing ultimately brings all loads to the earth resolving to a state of equilibrium
Bearing Wall: A wall which is placed to carry an imposed load from above to a bearing structure below (as opposed to a non-bearing partition wall)
Bender Board: Thin, flexible wood or other material which is used to create curved shapes in concrete walks, patios and landscaping. Aso used to describe the thin, bendable materials for building interior arches over openings in walls.
Bi-Fold Door: A door which has 2 panels that fold together about a center hinge line which, when opened, requires less opening space than a standard swing door.
Blocking: 2x framing material that is located to stabilize and support other members with structural loading, such as between floor joists, rafters and wall studs. Also used to nail horizontal sheathing edges in shear or braced walls. See also "Backing Boards " above
Blown-In Insulation: Small pieces of insulating material which are blown into a wall cavity or attic space through a tube and pressure source feed to create a layer of insulation of a particular thickness resulting in a specific R value
Bottom Chord: The bottom member of a truss which collects and distributes loads within the engineered truss network
Bottom Plate: A 2x wall framing member which serves as the base for the studs bearing and rests on foundation or bearing structure below - often pressure-treated - often attached to foundation with embedded anchor bolts.
Bracing: Lumber boards placed at incline, nailed to newly built walls and anchored at base to stabilize walls until permanently secured
Braced Walls: Walls that are built to resist lateral forces using prescriptive code compliance (as opposed to engineered shear walls)
Bracket: A structural / decorative support which supports a roof overhang rafter and rake or other architectural element. Often made of wood or metal for structural purpose or of molded plastic if decorative only
Breezeway: A roofed-over walkway which connects separate building. Walls are open to outside air.
Brick Molding: A standardized profile of molding used around door frames which siding or brick veneer butt into
Brick Veneer: A 3 or 4 inch unit thickness of brick masonry built as outside surface for a framed wall and is not structurally load bearing (if load bearing is called a "wythe"). The veneer is supported by a ledge in the concrete foundation below and is separated from framed wall by 1 in air space. Corrugated ties secure the veneer to the wall and there are weep holes in the mortar joints for condensation to drip away
Building Codes (and zoning codes): The rules, regulations and standards adopted by a community to govern and police the development and construction industry for the safety and protection of the public
Built Up Roofing: Several layers of asphalt impregnated felt layered to be a membrane with tar or asphalt with ballast of gravel on top. Used on flat and low slope roofs.
Butt, Butted: One member connects to another with perpendicular juxtaposition.
Building Permit, Review / Plancheck: The building authority issues approval for a project construction. Often, it is required that building plans are submitted and reviewed for code compliance. Upon approval of plans permit is issued. Typically a fee is charged based on value of proposed project
Building Inspection: A project under valid permit is periodically inspected by the local building authority, inspector or official. Approval of each phase of construction allows proceeding to next phase. There is a final inspection which, when approval is granted, allows occupancy.
Camber: An upward or reverse deflection in a beam designed to level out under applied loads
Cant Strip: A triangle profile strip of wood or other material used to build up roof substrate for correct flashing installation
Cantilever: A structural beam which is supported on one end only(often confused with overhanging beam)
Casing: Profiled trim that wraps around a door or window opening
Casement Window: Window which has sash hinged on one side and swings out - usually crank activated
Cast-In-Place Concrete (CIP): Wet concrete is poured into formwork containing steel reinforcing and allowed to set and cure
Caulk: A flexible sealant applied in bead from lever action gun to prevent air, dust and water leakage
Ceiling Joist: A spanning member used in spaced repetition used to support ceiling surface - usually sheet rock - and attic space above
Cement: A gray colored powder that is mixed with water and aggregate to cure as cement concrete. Also refers to types of glue.
Cementitious: A material that uses portland cement as binder of its structure, such as cementitious wood fiber roofing shingles
Concrete Expansion Anchor Bolt: A hole is drilled into cured concrete and a bolt equipped with a holding mechanism is driven into it with force. The anchored bolt is then resistant to a maximum specified withdrawal force
Concrete Formwork: The rigid panels erected in trenched or graded bearing soil to cast poured concrete, typically, footings, foundation walls and related cast-in-place objects.
Control Joint: A groove either tooled into fresh concrete or saw cut into set concrete intended to guide unavoidable cracking in concrete so not visible
Course: A horizontal layer of a building material unit which, with additional layers become a continuous structure (as in wall) or layer (as in roof)
Crawl Space: The space within a building's perimeter foundation underneath a framed floor. Requires ventilation and access panel.
Cross-Section: A 2-dimensional line drawing which represents the cut through view of a building
Designer: A person who creates a design or arrangement and conveys it by drafting, drawing or some other method. Usually a technically trained or educated practitioner but not licensed by state examination process. Often performs the duties of an architect but without the recognized authority or liability. Also refers to an interior designer or decorator and similarly in many other fields.
Dimension: A measured distance between 2 points - usually shown in feet - inches. or feet (on plans)
Dimension Lines: Lines drawn to show extent of a dimension noted with it. Usually has arrows or marks at end to clarify extent
Dormer: A structure built atop a main roof surface which has its own roof and window facing out. Common shapes are gable, shed and arc.
Doubled Joist, Doubled Rafter: Framing members which are face-nailed together in lamination to increase capacity for load (also: "DBL")
Drafter, Draftsman: A person who creates the technical building plans, architectural drawings, illustrations and renderings to represent a design using the accepted graphical methods standard to the industry
Drip Edge: The lower edge of a trim, fascia or rakeboard extending below other parts of assembly for water to flow down and drip away. In some cases a small groove called a reglet is cut on the underside of a board or sill to force a drip edge.
Drip Edge Flashing: Flashing at roof edge or over a window head which is formed to extend downward and outward for water to drip away
Dry Wall: A manufactured panel for wall, ceiling and soffit finishing. Mad of a thickness of gypsum and bonded each side with paper. Also called Gypsum Wall Board, GWB, Plaster Board, Sheet Rock. Panel joints are taped and plastered over and sanded smooth. Surface is painted or layered over with wallpaper or other covering material
Ease: To remove a sharp edge or corner
Eaves: The continuation of roof beyond wall below, roof overhang
Egress Window: Bedrooms are generally required to have a window sized to exit the space in case of hazardous condition. Window manufacturers offer window assemblies which comply with specific egress requirements in the building code
Estimate: A methodical summation and projection of likely cost for construction. Includes materials, labor, overhead and profit
Expansive Soil Condition: A type of soil which expands and contracts due to moisture content. Usually not suited for bearing, requiring a non-standard foundation.
Exposed Aggregate: Type of concrete which has had the surfaced treated and washed to remove cement leaving the gravel exposed.
Fascia: The horizontal board which is nailed to roof framing ends or sub-fascia providing a finished end surface of the roof overhang.
Face-nail: Nailing one framing member to another with full face contact (i.e.: rafter / ceiling joist )
Facet: One distinct surface area among others
Faucet: A plumbing fixture which controls the flow of water ( Indoor faucets usually include controls to mix hot and cold water)
Fee: A specific amount of money charges for a specific permit, service or product
Final Inspection: The last overall building inspection of a project. When passed, issues Certificate Of Occupancy as completion
Fire Blocking: 2 x framing material placed perpendicular between studs to separate stud space and prevent fire spread
Fire Wall: A wall constructed with non-combustible material designed to resist fire penetration for a tested duration
Flatwork: The concrete slab floors of garages and basements, concrete walks and patios.
Flitch Beam: A composite beam made with alternating vertical layers of 2x lumber and steel plate, bolted together, exceeding the strength of standard wood beam.
Formwork: The temporary panels and assembly hardware used for building cast-in-place concrete structures, such as foundations, footings, slabs
Foundation: The permanent structure built at or below grade designed to support all building structures above. Can be built of concrete, concrete blocks, treated wood products or other specialized materials.
Fluorescent: A glass tube light unit filled with gas and electrified to produce a glowing light source.
Framer: A construction worker specialized in wood frame construction. A contemporary word for "carpenter" of the past.
Framing: In the building codes called "conventional light wood frame construction" which utilizes 2x, 4x and 6x standard lumber framing as well as manufactured wood materials such as OSB, LVL and GLB.
Framing Inspection: The building inspection to verify building code compliance of an framed portion of a construction project. Any errors or problems noted must be corrected and approved before any project work can continue.
Frost Line Depth: The depth below finished grade to which the earth can freeze in coldest season.This determines how deep the bottom for footings must be placed by local authority.
Furring: Strips of wood attached to an un-nailable surface, such as concrete, to permit easier nailing of finish material, such as paneling
Fillet Weld: A welding bead which is created in the inside corner of intersecting plate material to create a permanent structural connection. Used in engineered structural fabrication.
G.C, General Contractor:
GFI or GFCI: Ground Fault Circuit interrupter, A receptacle which is designed to break the circuit in the case of sudden load due to short or accidental grounding. It is usually required to be used in bathrooms and kitchens or wherever moisture or ground contact may occur as a safety precaution.
Girder: A large beam which collects concentrated point loads from secondary beams and posts - often of steel or timber
Girder Truss: A truss which collects concentrated loads from other trusses, cross-members, dormer structures. Usually 2 or more laminations of the main truss profile
Glazing: Installing glass into a window structure / or / the windows in a building
Grade: the surface of the earth around a building structure / or / using powered and bladed equipment to change the elevation or profile of the earth
Ground, Grounding: The part of a electrical circuit which brings current to the earth to dissipate energy
Gross Floor Area: The calculated total floor area of a building including all wall thicknesses.
Grade Beam: An engineered structural beam at grade, as foundation support for floor and other loads above. Often supported by piling or piers.
Grain (of wood): The varying density of fibers in wood resulting from growth seasonal rates and branches formed with darker areas being more dense than lighter areas.
Gravity Loads: Loads or weight created by the gravity of the earth acting upon objects and materials downward and vertical, or perpendicular to the earth's surface.
Grid (ceiling): A system of inverted T bars in perpendicular crossing pattern, supported by wire tie suspension at ceiling level, for the purpose of containing ceiling tiles, light fixtures and other modular elements. A common size is 4' x 2' and most often used in non-residential buildings
Grout: A liquid cementitious mix used for sealing openings, filling voids and creating a solid leveling base for pre-positioned, load bearing, flanged structures.
Gusset: A flat panel of wood or metal used to connect intersecting members together, acting as a shear plate, and transferring stress from one member to the other. As example: metal plate connectors in manufactured wood truss or plywood gusset in reinforced gambrel roof rafter assembly.
Gypsum Wall Board, G.W.B.: A panel made of gypsum with thin cardboard/paper on each side used for interior ceiling and wall surfaces. Attached to framing with butted joints taped , filled and sanded smooth. Comes in various thicknesses and with several properties available including moisture-resistant, fire-resistive and in various panel sizes.
Hardware: Miscellaneous types of products made of numerous durable materials, such as fasteners, connectors, attachments, etc.used in building construction
H Clip: H shaped metal clips used to stabilize sheathing panels' edges together in a roof
Header (Beam): A beam over an opening in a wall which transfers the applied loads over the opening to side supports called trimmer or jack studs
Heel: The vertical piece of a manufactured truss directly above the point of bearing. The heel height controls the elevation of the roof plane above.
Heel Cut: The notch cut in a lumber rafter to create a horizontal bearing surface to match the top of bearing surface below. Sometimes called a "birdsmouth notch".
Hollow Core: Refers to a door built with outer panels on a frame to lighten its weight and reduce materials used leaving the inside of the door hollow. Typically used for interior doors
Hip or Hipped Roof:
Hurricane Clip Connector:
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