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Common Building Terms

Backfill: The replacement of earth into a trench or pier excavation around and against a basement foundation.

Batt Insulation: Flexible, blanket like pieces, usually fiberglass used for thermal or sound insulation. As opposed to loose fill insulation which is blown in place.

Built Up Roof: A roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt. The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel. Generally used on flat or low-pitch roofs.

Easement: A right or privilege that one party has in the property of another that entitles the holder to a specific limited use of the property.

EIFS: Exterior Insulation and Finishing System (EIFS) is a type of building product that provides exterior walls with an insulated finished surface and waterproofing in an integrated composite material system. This product gives buildings a Stucco look.

Finish Grade: Final ground level around a building.

Floor Joist: Framing pieces that rest on outer foundation walls or interior beams or girders, to support the floor.

Footing: A masonry section, usually concrete, in a rectangular form wider than the bottom of the foundation wall or pier it supports.  It can be level, stepped level, or follow the contour of the ground.

Foundation: The part of a building or wall which supports the superstructure.

Gable: A vertical, triangular part of a building, contained between the slopes of a double-sloped roof.

HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning.

LEED Construction: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

On Center: The measurement of spacing for studs, rafters, joists, and similar members in a building from the center of one member to the center of the next.

Purlin: In a roof, a horizontal timber which supports rafters, or one that supports the roof sheathing directly.

Punch List: A trade term referring to the process of correcting deficiencies and making minor adjustments at the end of the job.

Rain Garden: A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground.

Rafter: One of a series of structural members of a roof, designed to support roof loads. The rafters of a flat roof are sometimes called roof joists.

Rebar: Steel rods for reinforcing concrete.

Section View: A drawing showing what would be seen by cutting through a building or part.

Site Plan: The drawing that shows the boundaries of the building, its location, site utilities.

Site Work: Normally includes excavation, but always refers to the preparation of a site for construction.

Slab: A concrete floor placed directly on earth or on a gravel base; usually about 4 inches thick.

Soldier: Brick position in which the bricks are stood on end.

Outline Specifications: Detailed, precise engineering instructions that include the kinds of materials to be used and the method of construction

Stick Build: A trade term meaning to build a structure on-site with conventional construction methods.

T.E.A.M. Design/Build Construction: T.E.A.M. Build is a method of project delivery in which one company - J&S Construction- forms a single contract with the client to provide for architectural & engineering design services as well as construction services. As a result, the client has no third or fourth-party dealings. As the design is developed the price is developed as well. Then the price given to the client is not an estimate but a GUARANTEE! In Low-bid construction work, by contrast, there is no means for guaranteeing the price. After the architect completes the drawings and the documents are put out for public bid it becomes a waiting game for the owner to learn what the price will be. When the bids are submitted it is simply impossible for the contractor to guarantee the architect's drawings to be free from error.

Topography: A drawing that indicates the configuration of the earth's surface and the locations of the natural or man-made monuments.

Turnkey: Projects that include materials and labor, as well as necessary permits, drawings, inspections, etc. A builder that gives you a turnkey job does everything from initial drawings to handing you the keys to move in.