<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> FES Construction /n



Construction Glossary

This will help with both the level 2 and 3 construction courses




Acoustic Ceilings

Special materials absorb sound, used in theatres and music halls.


Looks / Appearance. Making sure that something looks good. Eg a tower block is not normally aesthetically pleasing.


A mixture of crushed concrete and brick, used in hardcore.



Beam and Block Floor

A method for building a ground floor, it uses concrete beams that have a T shaped cross section, concrete blocks are placed between these.


Come in a range of colours from yellow to red. Engineering ones are stronger and less porous.

British Standard

A range of written documents that tell us how to build or use a material. The main purpose is to inform people how to use them safely.

Brownfield Site

A site that has already been used, eg the site of an old building that has fallen into disrepair.



Cavity Closer

Closes the cavity around an opening in a wall such as window or door to improve insulation.

Cavity Fire Barriers

These stop fire spreading through a building, they are built into the design of the walls.

Cavity Tray

A damp proof course inside a cavity wall that funnels water towards a weep hole.

Cavity Wall

An external or supporting wall that is made up of two layers, to increase insulation. Normally has some form of insulation in the gap.

Civil Engineer

Someone who carries out calculations to determine the size and strength of a building, for example they may need to calculate the strength of a roofing truss.


A covering or cladding on the outside of a building.


A mixture of sand, gravel, cement and water. Very strong in compression, but needs steel to make it stronger if it’s being used for something like a suspended floor.


Softwood trees, that have cones and needles, not leaves. Pine is coniferous and the most common timber used in a house.

Cross Wall Construction

The building is supported by the side walls.



Damp Proof Course

Also known as the damp proof membrane, it stops moisture rising up through the external walls.

Dead Load

A load or force that does not move, for example the weight of the building on the foundations.


Trees that have leaves, such as oak, also known as hardwoods. Normally stronger than softwoods, but cost more.


A house that is not joined to any other house.

Dynamic Load

A load or a force that can change or move such as the load of the furniture or people in a house.



Embodied Energy

The energy needed to produce something, for example the energy needed to produce a brick.


The world surrounds us, can be natural or man made, construction should aim to have a minimal impact on the local and global environment.




This describes a window sill having a slope so that water runs away from the building and does not form a puddle.

Fire Alarms and Smoke Alarms

Alerts people to a fire, can be set off by heat or smoke.

Fire Escape

An exit from a building that is only used in the case of fires, can be opened from the inside without a key, normally on upper floors with a staircase.

Fire Resistance

The ability of a building to resist the effects of fire, or to not catch fire.

Fire Resistant Materials

Materials that resist the spread of fire in a building, such as plasterboard, concrete, blockwork and intumescent paint.


Metal sheets normally made of lead that seal the gap between a brick wall and a roof. Also used to seal the edge of chimney.

Flat Roof

These roofs are more prone to leaking, but they provide additional space for the user.

Fossil Fuels

Fuels such as coal, oil and gas that cannot be renewed.


The Forestry Stewardship Council endorse wood that has come from sustainable forests.



Grading Materials

All materials in the building industry normally have a number or code that will tell us how strong they are and where they can be used, eg. Inside or outside.

Greenfield Site

A site that has never been built on, if possible the construction industry should avid building on this type of land.




A dry mixture used to provide an even base under the ground floor. Made up of broken bricks, crushed concrete, sand and gravel (also known as aggregate).


Something that may happen as a result of a risk and may cause harm.

Heavy Density Blockwork

Can be used to build walls that are more sound proof, can be found between apartments and adjacent houses.



Impact Load

A load that hits a building, such as a falling tree.


Not allowing water to pass through.

Intumescent Paint

A paint that expands with heat and makes a material more fireproof. Normally used in areas that can’t be seen such as on flooring timbers or joists.




A timber support normally used to support a the upstairs floor.



Lateral Restraint

Stopping a building moving or twisting sideways.


A strong material that goes above window and door openings to support the bricks and blocks above them.




Like concrete, but without the gravel, so just sand, cement and water. Used like a glue to hold bricks and blocks together.




The direction a building faces.


Roofs that overhang the building provide more weather resistance.



Party Wall

A wall that is owned by two properties, normally the wall that joins two houses together.


How well a building provides a safe and comfortable environment for it’s occupants.

Pitched Roof

A sloping roof, the slope lets the water run into the gutters and away from the walls.

Plasterboard Layers

Using multiple layers of plasterboard can improve the sound insulation, as it is a very heavy and dense material.


Equipment that protects the user from various hazards on a construction site.

Pre Construction Work

Work that is taken out before construction can take place, like clearing the site of debris or trees.


A method by which buildings are made offsite in factories and then put together on site. This can be more cost effective and more sustainable.


A material used to make window frames, and gutters. PVC is a plastic that lasts a long time.




Updating and old building, in some cases this may involve knocking the building down and starting again.

Refuge Area

A fire proof area inside a building, normally used where disabled people may not be able to exit a building quickly in an emergency.


A type of plaster that can be applied to the outside of a building. It can help with a buildings looks and insulation.


A place where people live.


Something dangerous that may lead to a hazard if not controlled.


Function to discharge rainfall away from the building and make the structure waterproof.

Roofing Truss

A pre made timber support, normally triangular in shape that supports the roof.




A mixture of sand and cement that forms a level surface to build the ground floor on.

Semi Detached

A house that is joined to one other house.


A material that goes below a door or window and allow water to run away from the building.


Structurally Insulated Panels are built in factories and then erected with a crane on site.


The underside of an eave, eg the underside of the overhang of a roof.

Solid Floor

A floor that rests on the soil, normally has some form of ground insulation and then layers of screed.

Sound Insulation

Generally thicker and heavier than thermal insulation, designed to stop the spread of sound between walls and floors inside a house.

Sound Insulation Quilts

An additional layer of sound insulation that can be added to, walls and floors.

Sprinkler Systems

These are more common in commercial buildings, they automatically drop water onto a fire.


When a structure can balance, eg it doesn’t fall over.


The foundations of the building, or all the parts of the building that are below ground.


All the parts of the building that are above ground, includes the walls, windows, staircase, roof, etc.

Suspended Floor

A floor made from timber joists, a bit like a stud wall laid flat. It is attached to the side walls by joist hangers.


Minimising the impact of a building by using materials that are recycled or reused. Also designing a building so it doesn’t use as much energy.


Refers to designing and constructing buildings that minimise the damage they do to the environment.



Terrace House

A row of houses that have been joined together, they are normally narrow and smaller than detached houses.

Thermal Insulation

A material that stops heat escaping from a building, normally found in the roof and cavity walls.

Thermal Resistance

The ability of a material to reduce heat loss, using materials with a good thermal resistance reduces the amount if insulation needed.


A strip of material forming the bottom of a doorway.


Another word for wood, used in windows, stairs, floors and roofing trusses. Comes in a range of strengths.

Timber Framed Construction

Timber stud walls are clad with ply wood, this a quick and cheap way to build.

Traditional Construction

Using bricks and blocks to build a house, most houses in the UK are still built this way.

Trench Collapse

When the sides of a strip foundation collapse inwards.

Triple Glazing

Offers better sound and thermal insulation than double glazing.




This is a number that measures how well a material such as a window or wall will retain heat. The lower the better it is at keeping heat in.

Useful Life

The length of time that a building fulfils the needs of the people who live or work in it.



Wall Openings

An opening such as a window or door in a wall.

Wall Tie

A short piece of wire that goes between the layers of mortar on a cavity walls to add strength by holding the walls together.

Weather Stripping

Used to seal the gaps around doors and windows, they help to prevent drafts.

Weep Hole

A small opening in brickwork that allows moisture to escape.


Allow light into a building, can be opened to let air in. Double glazed ones generally have a lower U-Value.