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Glossary (From A To U)
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Aggregates - Aggregates are those chemically inert materials which when bonded by cement paste form concrete.

Arch - An Arch may be defined as mechanical arrangement of wedge shaped blocks of stones or bricks mutually supporting each other and supported at the end by abutments.

Abutments - Abutment is the part of the wall or pier on which the arch resists.

Arch ring - It is a course of stones or bricks having a curve similar to that of the arch.

Acoustics - Acoustics or sound is a form of wave motion created by a vibrating body and is transmitted in all directions in the form of spherical waves consisting of alternate compressions and rarefactions.

Acoustical plaster - This is gypsum mixture , which is employed as a final coat to serve the purpose of a sound-repellent finish.

Airborne sound - An airborne sound is one, which is transmitted through air, and travels direct to the ear of the person.

Anchor piles - In foundations, when piles are used to provide anchorage against horizontal pull from sheet piling walls or other pulling forces , they are termed as Anchor piles.

Alteration - A change in usage of building or a structural change , such as some addition or some deletion or change of the fixtures or equipment.

Assembly building - These shall include any building or part of a building where group of people gathers for amusement , recreation , social religious or for some other reason.

Asphalt varnish - This is made by dissolving melted hard asphalt in linseed oil and thinned with turpentine or petroleum spirit. This varnish is chiefly used to give a black shop coat to fabricated iron and steel products. 


Balcony - A horizontal cantilevered projection including a hand-rail or balustrade to serve as passage or sitting out place.

Back - The inner surface of the wall, which is not exposed to weather, is termed as back.

Back flap hinges - This type of hinges are used with thin shutters where butt hinges are not used. These hinges are fixed to the back side of the shutters and frame.

Barsati - Habitable room on the roof with or without toilet / kitchen. Bat - It is the portion of a brick cut across the width or a brick cut by some fraction of its length.

Basement - The lower storey of a building below or partly below ground level.

Baluster - It is a wooden , metal or masonary vertical member supporting a hand rail.

Balustrade - It usually consists of a row of balusters surmounted by a rail and is provided to perform the function of a fence or guard for the users of the stair-way.

Bay Window - A window projecting outward from the walls of a room is termed as a bay window.

Bead - It is a rounded or semi-circular moulding provided on the edges of surface of wood.

Batten - It is the name given to a narrow strip of wood normally nailed over joints of boards.

Beam or R. C. C. Beam - These are the supporting elements. For bigger span and heavy loading conditions or in situations where intermediate walls are not provided, to reduce the span of the floor slab , R.C.C beam and slab construction is adopted.

Bearing capacity of soil - The maximum load per unit area, which the soil or rock can carry without yielding or displacement is termed as the bearing capacity of soil.

Blowing - This is commonly known as blistering of plaster. This consists the formation of small patches of plaster swelling out beyond the plastered surface.

Balanced footing - It is commonly known as Strap footing. In this the load from the outer column is balanced by the load from the inner column through a cantilever beam , acting through a fulcrum.

Barge board - It is a timber board used to hold the common rafters forming verge.

Beamless slab - It is also known as flat slab , it is a type of construction in which the flooring slab is directly supported on columns without the agency of beams or girders.

Bifurcated stairs - This type of stair is provided in modern public buildings. In this type of stairs , the flights are so arranged there is a wide flight at the start which is sub-divided into narrow flights at the mid-landing.

Blocking course - It is a course of stone masonary provided immediately above the cornice to check the tendency of the cornice to overturn and incidentally it adds to its appearance.

Bond - It is a term applied to the over-lapping of bricks or stones in a wall in alternate courses , to bind the whole wall together.

Breast walls - They are stone walls provided to protect the slopes of cutting in natural ground from the action of weather.

Brick masonry - These walls are also provided to support earth , loose stone , coal etc. The wall acts as one mass to resist the thrust from the backing and is much stronger than dry stone masonry wall.

Butt hinges - This type of hinge is most commonly used for fixing door or window shutters to the frame. The sizes of hinges vary from 50mm long x 37mm wide to 125mm long x 75mm wide.

Back flap hinges - This type of hinges are used with thin shutters where butt hinges cannot be used.

Barrel bolt - This type of bolt is similar to tower bolt except that the stapples are replaced by a barrel.

Buttress - It is similar to a pier built on the exterior of a wall and properly binded to it. Buttresses are placed at intervals along wall to make it stable for resisting outward.

Bulking of sand - When dry sand comes in contact with moisture, thin film is formed around the particles , which causes them to get apart from each other. This result in increasing the volume of sand. This phenomenon is known as bulking of sand.

Building line - The line upto, which the plinth of a building adjoining a street or extension of a street or on a future may lawfully extend. 


Cabin - A room constructed with non-load bearing partitions with adequate provision of light and ventilation.

Cement - Cement in broadest term means any substance that acts as a binding agent for materials. Cement as applied to construction and engineering is produced by calcining at high temperature an intimate mixture of calcareous , siliceous and aluminous substances and crushing the resulting clinkers to a fine powder.

Caisson - A caisson may be defined as a watertight structure made up of wood , steel or reinforced concrete , constructed in connection with excavation for foundation of bridges , piers.

Capital - In making of the columns, at their head the columns are enlarged so as to form a suitable diameter of a particular span. This flared up portion of column head is called capital.

Cast-in-situ piles - The piles, which are cast in position inside the ground, are called the cast-in-situ piles.

Cavity wall - This consists of two walls so they form a cavity in between. The outer wall is half brick width and the inner wall is sufficiently thick.

Cellulose paints - This paint is made from celluloid sheets and amyl-acetate substitutes.

Casein paints - Casein is a protein substance extracted from milk curd, which is mixed up with a base to form the paint, which is usually available in the powder or pasty form.

Cement-based paints - This is a type of water paint in which white or coloured pigment and cements form the base.

Chamfering - It consists in taking off the edges of wooden members. Thus a chamfered member has a sloping or bevelled edge.

Chajja - A sloping or horizontal structural overhang usually provided over openings on external walls for protection from sun and rain.

Cofferdam - A cofferdam may be defined as a temporary structure constructed in a river or a lake or any other water-bearing surface for excluding water form a given site to enable the building operation to be performed on dry surface.

Courtyard - A space permanently open to sky , enclosed fully or partially by building and may be at ground level or any other level within or adjacent to a building.

Covered area - Ground area covered by the building immediately above plinth level. It does not include the spaces covered by some projections.

Counter flap hinges - This type of hinges has three parts and two centres. Provision of this type of hinge enable the shutters to be folded back to back.

Circular stairs - These stairs are circular in nature, in this form of stairs, al the steps radiate from a newel post or well hole , in the form of winders. These are generally constructed in R.C.C, cast iron or stone.

Clere story window - This type of window is used to achieve better ventilation and cooling effect in the living or main rooms of a building which have ceiling height greater than the surrounding rooms.

Closer - It is a portion of a brick cut in such a manner that its one long face remains uncut.

Cut string - It is a stringer with its upper surface having carriages or houses accurately cut to receive the treads and risers and the lower edge being parallel to the pitch of the stair.

Cogged joint - This joint is commonly provided between wall plate and the tie beam of wooden truss where it is essential to utilise the entire depth of the wall plate for bearing the tie-beam.

Colour washing - Colour wash is prepared by adding mineral colours (which are not affected by lime ) of desired shade to the prepared white-wash. This is applied in the same manner as whitewash.

Collar roof - With excessive loading conditions or increased spans the rafter of the couple closed roof tends to bend in the middle. This tendency is overcome by fixing the tie near the middle of the rafters. The truss then formed is called collar roof.

Common rafters - These are inclines wooden members laid from the ridge to the eaves. Cleats - These are short sections of wood or steel , nailed , screwed or bolted to the rafters of the truss for supporting purlins.

Column - A column may be defined as an isolated vertical load bearing member the width of which is neither less than the thickness nor more than four times its thickness.

Combined footing - A combined footing is so proportioned that the centre of gravity of the supporting area is in line with the centre of gravity of the two column loads.

Composite masonry - Walls constructed from two or more building materials are termed as composite walls.

Composite roof trusses - Trusses built with the combination of wood and steel are termed as composite trusses.

Curing of concrete - It is the process of keeping the set concrete continuously damo for some days in order to enable the concrete gain more strength.

Connectors - These are the metallic members used for connecting timber pieces in such a way that transmission of stress from one member to another is adequately ensured.

Coping - It is a covering placed on the exposed top of an external wall. It is essentially provided to prevent the seepage of water through the joints of the topmost couse of wall.

Corbel - It is the extension of one or more courses or brick or stone from the face of a wall.

Corner window - This type of window , as the name suggests , is essentially located in the corner of a room. By use of this window it is possible to ensure light and ventilation from two directions at right angles.

Cornice - It is a horizontal molded projection provided near the top of a building or at the junction of a wall and ceiling.

Couple close roof - In a coupled roof, the notches provided at the feet of the rafters prevent them from spreading, but with the time span , they spend and roof will collapse , thus to prevent this , the feet of the rafters are joined by a tie , which by holding them in position , prevents them from spreading and thrusting out of the wall. This is called couple closed roof.

Course - A horizontal layer of bricks or stones is termed a course.

Cramped joint - The function of cramp which may be of slate or any metal , is to prevent the tendency of the joint to be pulled apart.

Crown - In arches, it is the highest point of the extrados or it is the highest part of the arch. 


Door - A door may be defined as a barrier secured in an opening left in a wall to provide usual means of access to a building, room or passage.

Depth of the arch - It is the perpendicular distance between the intrados and the extrados.

Doorframe - The doorframe is permanently held in position and fixed to the masonry of the opening with the help of hold-fasts or rawl plugs.

Door shutter - Door shutter is the moving part of the door and their number varies.

Damp proof course - A course consisting of some appropriate water proofing material provided to prevent penetration of dampness or moisture.

Drain - A line of pipes including all fittings and equipment such as manholes, traps, floor traps used for the drainage of a building.

Drainage - The removal of any liquid (storm water, wastewater, sewage etc.) by a system constructed for this purpose.

Dead load - It is the sum of loads comprising of the self-weight of the structure (weight of walls, floors, roofs etc.) weight of its footings foundation and loads of all other permanent construction in the building.

Dead shores - This is the system of shoring which is used to render vertical support to walls and roofs, floors etc.

Disc piles - It consists of hollow mettalic pipe attached with a cast iron disc to its foot so as to enlarge the bearing area of the pile.

Dispersion trenches - This is an alternative method of disposal of effulent from septic tank by soil absorption system.

Distemper - Distempers may be defined as water paints consisting of whiting (powered chalk), some colouring pigment and glue size mixed in water.

Dog-legged stair - It consists of two straight flights of steps with abrupt turn between them. This type of stair is useful where the width of the stair-case hall is just sufficient to accommodate two widths of stair.

Dormer window - It is a vertical window built in the sloping side of a pitched roof. This window is provided to achieve proper ventilation and lighting of the enclosed space below the roof.

Double flemish bond - In this type of bonding brick work, each course presents the same appearance both in the front and back elevations.

Dovetail joint - In this method of fastening woodwork, wedge-shaped or flaring shaped pieces are cut out of each member and hooking the projection of one member into the other one forms the joint.

Dowel joint - This type of joint ensures stability of the components against displacement or sliding.

Dressing of stone - Building stone has to be quarried out from the rock formation before it can be put into use and the process is called dressing of stone. The quarry of stone may be done either by hands or machines.

Drier - These are the materials containing mettalic compounds and are used in small quantities for accelerating the drying of paint film. They act as catalysts for the oxidation and polymerization of the vehicle used in the paint.

Durability - It is the property of concrete by virtue of which it is capable of resisting its disintegration and decay, which is caused due to any condition. 


Exit - A passage, channel or means of egress from any building, storey or floor area to a street or other open space of safety.

External wall - An outer wall of a building not being a party wall even though adjoining to a wall of another building and also means a wall abutting on an interior open space of any building.

Eaves - The lower edge of the inclined roof surface of a pitched roof is termed as eaves.

Echoes - When a reflecting surface is so far away from the source that the sound is reflected back as a distinct repetition of the direct sound, the reflected sound is called an echo.

Efflorescence - If soluble salts are present in bricks or the mortar, they absorb moisture from atmosphere and go into solution which appears on the surface in the form of whitish substance as the moisture dries out and the salts crystallise.

Extrados - It is the outer surface of an arch or the outer curve of the arch ring. Enamel paint - It is made by adding pigments like white lead or zinc white to a vehicle which is a varnish.

English bond - This bond consists of alternate course of headers and stretchers. In this arrangement, vertical joints in the header courses come over each other and the vertical joints in the stretcher course are also in the same line.

Expansion joints - These joints are provided to accommodate the expansion of adjacent building parts and to relieve compressive stress that may otherwise develop. 


Foundation - It is the lowest part of the structure below the ground level, which is in direct contact with the ground and transmits all the dead, live and other loads to the soil on which the structure rests.

Floors - Floors are flat supporting elements of a building. They divide building into different levels thereby creating more accommodation on a given plot of land.

Footing - A foundation unit constructed in brickwork, masonry or concrete under the base of a wall or column for the purpose of distributing the load over a large area.

Fanlight - The function of fanlight is to ensure cross ventilation in the room even when the door is closed. It also assists in providing natural light in the corridors or passages.

Front - As applied to a building means the portion facing the street from which it has access.

Frog - It is a depression on the top face of a brick. It provides a recess for the mortar, which on setting forms a key and prevents the displacement of the brick above.

Facia board - It is a wooden plank usually 25mm thick and 15cm wide fixed along the eaves connecting the feet of the common rafters.

Fender piles - When the piles are used to protect concrete deck or other water front structures from the abrasion or impact that may be caused from the ships or barges (when they are tied up at the deck ) they are called fender piles.

Finishing coat - This is the last coat applied on the surface after the undercoat is properly dry.

Flag stone - Any laminiscated sandstone available in uniform thickness is called flag stone.

Flat arch - It is also known as straight or camber arch and are laid with its bed joints radiating to centre. When used over opening of door or window, the flat arch acts similar to a lintel.

Flat slab flooring - Flat slab , also known as beamless slab , is a type of construction in which the flooring slab is directly supported on columns without the agency of beams and girders.

Flat roof - A roof laid at an angle of less than 10 degrees to the horizontal is known as flat roof.

Flat varnish - It is sometimes desired that the varnished surface should present dull appearance. To attain this, manufactures make varnishes, which dry with reduced gloss by adding such material as wax, metallic, soap and finely divided silica.

Flemish bond - In this arrangement of bonding brickwork, each course consists of alternate headers and stretchers. The alternate headers of each course are centered over the stretchers in the course below. Every alternate course starts with a header at the corner.

Flight - A series of steps without any platform , break or landing in their direction.

Flier - It is a straight step having a parallel width of tread.

Floor traps - Trap provided in floors to collect used water from floors of bathroom , kitchen or washing floor etc. are known as the floor traps.

Flying shores - It is a system of providing temporary support to the party walls of two buildings where the intermediate building is to be pulled down and rebuild.

Flush pointing - In this type of pointing, the mortar is pressed into the raked joints and finished off flush with the edges of the bricks or stones, so as to give a smooth appearance.

Flushing cistern - A flushing cistern is used for storage and discharge of water for flushing of contents from a W.C. or urinal.

Float valve - It is used to supply water to a storage tank or flushing cistern and to automatically shut off the supply when the pre-determined level is reached. 


Gable - It is the triangular portion of the end wall of a sloped roof formed by continuing the end wall up within the roof. Thus , the gable has two slopes with ridge in between.

Gallery - An intermediate floor or platform projecting from a wall of an auditorium or a hall providing extra floor area , additional seating , accomodation etc.

Garage - A building or portion thereof used for shelter , storage or parking of a wheeled vehicle.

Ground floor - Means the storey of the building which has its floor surface nearest to the ground around the building.

Garden wall bound - This type of bond is suitably adopted for one brick thick wall which may act as a garden wall or a boundary wall.

Gate valve - This type of valve is used to control flow of water or for completely stopping the flow of water in a pipe line.

Gauged brick arches - Gaiged bricks are those which have been accurately prepared to a wedge shape for the arch construction.

Geometrical stair - This is similar to the open-newel stair with the difference that the open well between the forward and the backward flight is curved.

Glass partitions - These are the partitions which are made either from the sheet glass or hollow glass blocks.

Glazing - Glazing consists in securing glass , in prepared opening in iron , steel , masonry or wood work.

Globe valve - This is the most commonly used type of valve for manually controlling or completely closing the flow of water in domestic water installation.

Going of step - The run of a step in a stair or the width of the tread between the direction of a stair.

Goose neck - This is 40 to 50 cm long flexible curved pipe made up of brass , copper or lead inserted between the ferrule and the service pipe.

Grease trap - These traps are especially designed for removing the grease content of waste water before discharging the same into the drain.

Grillage foundation - When heavy structural loads from columns , piers or stanchions are required to be transferred to a soil of low bearing capacity , grillage foundation is often found to be lighter and more economical.

Gully trap - Gully trap is a deep seal trap which is provided on the external face of the wall for disconnecting the waste water flowing from kitchen , bath , wash basin & floors from the main drainage system.

Guniting - This is a method to prevent the defect of dampness in the structure. This consists in depositing an impervious layer of rich cement mortar over the surface to be water proofed. 


Habitable room - A room occupied or designed for occupancy by one or more persons for study , living , sleeping , eating , kitchen but not including bathroom , water closet , store , pantry , corridor etc.

Head room - It is the clear vertical distance between the tread of a step and the so fit of the flight or the ceiling of a landing immediately above it and it should not be less than 2.14m.

Halving joint - This joint is used in members crossing or meeting at an angle. In this method, each member on opposite sides is cut to half of its thickness, at the joint and lapped.

Handrail - It is provided to render assistance in negotiating a stair-way. It is supported on balustrades and usually run parallel to the slope of the stair.

Haunch of an arch - It is the portion of the arch situated centrally between the key and skew backs.

Hazardous buildings - These shall include any building or part of building which is used for the storage , handling , manufacture or processing of highly combustible explosive materials or products which are liable to burn with extreme rapidity and which may produce poisonous fumes or explosions.

Header - It is a full brick or stone, which is laid with its length perpendicular to the face of the wall.

Heading bond - In this type of bonding , all the bricks are laid as headers on the faces. The overlap , which is usually of half the width of the brick is abstained by introducing a three-quarter bat in each alternate course at quoins.

Hip rafters - These are the rafters which form the hip of a sloped roof. These rafters run from the ridge to the corners of the wall to support the covering over the hip.

Housed joint - In this joint , the entire end or thickness of one member is let into the notch in another. This is commonly used in works of heavy nature.


Industrial building - These shall include any building or part of a building or structure , in which products or materials of all kinds and properties are fabricated , assembled or processed for example refineries , mills , dairies , industries etc.

Institutional building - These shall include any building or part thereof which is used for purposes such as medical or other treatment or care of persons suffering from physical or mental illness or disease. These buildings ordinarily provide sleeping accomodation for the occupants. It includes hospitals, sanatoria , orphanages , prisons , reformatories.

Insulation of sound - It is the control of noise transmission which is essential to minimise the disturbing effect of sound passing from one room to another through walls , partitions and floors or ceilings.

Integral damp-proofing - This consists in adding certain water-proofing compounds with the concrete mix to increase its impermeability.

Intercepting trap - This trap is provided at the junction of house drain (inspection chamber) and street sewer to prevent entry of foul gases from sewer into the house drain. This trap is thus provided to disconnect the house drain from the street sewer.

Intrados - Also known as so fit , it is the under-surface of an arch.

Inverted arch footing - This type of foundation used to be provided for multistoried buildings in olden times. It is rarely done these days. 


Jamb - Door frame is made up of two vertical members known as Jambs.

Joggie joint - This type of joint is commonly used for framing the studs into the sill of a wooden partition wall.

Joint - The junction of two or more bricks or stones is called a joint. 


Key stone - It is the highest central wedge shaped block of an arch.

King closer - It is a brick which is cut in such a way that the width of one of its end is half that of a full brick. It is formed by cutting off the triangular piece , between the centre of one end and the centre of one side.

King post roof truss - It is a form of roof truss which is commonly used for spans varying from 5m to 9m.

Knotting - Knots exude resin. Knotting is the process of sealing the knots by suitable means so that the resin from the knots may not destroy the paint film by way of cracking, peeling or brown discoloration. 


Landing - A platform or resting place provided between two flights. A landing extending right across a staircase is termed as half space landing and the one extending only half across a staircase is called a quarter-space landing.

Line of Nosing - It is an imaginary line touching the nosing of each tread and is parallel to the slope of the stair.

Lapping joint - This is the simplest form of lengthening joint and is formed by lapping the end of one member over that of the other and fastening them together by bolting or using connections.

Lean to roof - This is the simplest type of pitched roof consisting of rafters sloping on one side only.

Lengthening joint - These joints are used to lengthen a wooden member. The method of lengthening the member varies with its situation in a framed structure.

Lime plaster - Lime used in plastering may be fat lime or hydraulic lime. Fat limes make best plaster as they yield good putty after shaking. Hydraulic lime on the other hand yields harder and stronger plaster.

Linoleum flooring - Linoleum is a covering laid over wooden or concrete floors in order to hide the defects of flooring or to enhance its appearance.

Lintel - The support to the load above the opening is usually given by providing an arch or a lintel. Lintel acts like a beam and transfers the load vertically to the supporting walls.

Linseed oil - This is extensively used as a vehicle in oil paints. It is obtained by pressing crushed flax seeds. The drying of the oil takes place due to its oxidation when exposed to air.

Lithopone - This pigment is obtained from the precipitate formed by mixing equal quantities of the solutions of barium sulphate and zinc sulphate under carefully controlled conditions.

Loft - An intermediary floor space created by introduction of a slab between floor and ceiling of a room , passage or wherever it is provided with maximum clear height of 1.5m for storage purposes only.


Mercantile buildings - These shall include any building or part of a building which is used as shops, stores , market , for display and sale of merchandise either wholesale or retail.

Mumti - A structure with a covering roof over a staircase and its landing built to enclose only the stairs for the purpose of providing protection from weather and not used for human habitation.

Mezzanine floor - An intermediate floor between two floor levels aqbove ground floor and at least one side of it should form an integral part of space floor /below.

Manhole - These are the masonry chambers provided at suitable location and on the line of the sewer for the purposes of inspection and cleaning the sewers.

Mansard Truss - This truss is now rarely constructed. This truss has two pitches , the lower varying from 60 degrees to 70 degrees and the upper from 30 degrees to 40 degrees. This truss is more or less a combination of king post and queen post trusses.

Mortar - It is usually a mixture of cement and sand or lime and sand , or a mixture of three. It not only acts as a cementing material but also imparts strength to the work by holding the individual bricks together to act as a homogeneous mass.

Measurement of Cement - Cement should always be measured by weight and not by volume.

Measurement of Fine Aggregates - Fine aggregates i.e. sand is normally measured by volume in case of ordinary works whereas in case of all important projects , it is measured by weight.

Measurement of Coarse Aggregates - Coarse aggregate may be measured either by volume (litres) or by weight. In case of wet aggregate , allowance for surface water should be made while determining the quantity of water to be used in the mix.

Measurement of Water - Water may be measured by weight or by volume.

Mitre - It may be defined as a cut formed at the required corner by cutting the corner of the sheet for a length of 15cm or the length of the end lap whichever is more along the vertical edge and for a width equal to the width of one corrugation along the horizontal edge of the sheet.

Mullion - It is the central member usually used in the revolving doors, which is attached with ball-bearing at the bottom and bush bearing at the top so as to enable the door to revolve smoothly without producing jerks.

Mud Plastering - This type of plastering is commonly seen in kuccha construction in villages and in other structures of temporary character. This is the cheapest form of plastering.


Nahani trap - Trap provided in floors to collect used water from floors of bathroom , kitchen or washing floor etc. are known as Nahani traps.

New concrete - The concrete developed based on new concept has been termed as new concrete.

Newel - It is a wooden or metallic post supporting the hand rail and is usually provided at the hand, foot or at points where the balustrade changes its direction.

Nippers - This is another device for lifting stones. The pointed ends of the nippers are inserted in the holes made little below the stone top face and the stone block is raised by attaching a chain to the central ring of the nipper assembly.

Nogging of bricks - It consists of brick work built within a framework of wooden members. The frame work consists of vertical posts called studs and held in position by horizontal members called nogging pieces.

Nosing - The outer projecting edge of a tread is termed as nosing. Nosing is usually rounded to give good architectural effect to treads and makes the stair-case easy to negotiate.

Notching joint - This joint is commonly provided at the junction of two members meeting at right angle. It consists in cutting a depression to the full width of one member to enable it to be fixed to another member.

Nut oil - It is a cheap vehicle and generally used for painting ordinary works of temporary character. It is colourless , less durable and it dries very quickly. 


Oblique - shouldered joint - These joints are commonly adopted in timber truss construction where members are jointed in acute or obtuse fashion.

Oil bound distemper - It is a form of distemper in which the drying oil is rendered mixable with water. When required , it is diluted with water.

One - pipe system - In this system , all soil and waste fitting discharge into a single pipe termed as soil cum waste pipe and a separate vent pipe is provided to which all floor traps are connected for ventilation of the system.

Open newel stair - It consists of two or more straight flights arranged in such a manner that a clear space called a well occurs between the backward and the forward flights.

Outlet pipe - This pipe is installed at 3 to 5 cm above the floor of the tank. The pipe is always provided with a stop valve to stop supply of water to downtake pipe.

Over flow pipe - This pipe is provided a little above the inlet pipe to allow the incoming water to overflow in case the ball valve assembly does not function properly and it is not able to shut off the incoming supply of water.

Oxide of iron - It is a pigment produced from haematite ore. The pigment is obtained by grinding and levigating the red or brown haematite.


Parapet - A low wall or railing built along the edge of a roof or a floor.

Partition - A partition wall may be defined as a wall or division made up of bricks , studding , glass or other such material and provided for the purpose of dividing one room or portion of a room from another generally , these are non-load bearing walls.

Plinth - The portion of a structure between the surface of the surrounding ground and surface of the floor , immediately above the ground.

Plinth area - The built up covered area measured at the floor level of the basement or of any storey.

Porch - A covered surface supported on pillars or otherwise for the purpose of pedestrian or vehicular approach to the building.

Portland cement - This is the most widely used type of cement and is so named because of its resemblance of its properties with a well known natural stone quarried at portland. Lime , slica and alumina are its main constituents.

Parliamentary hinges - This type of hinges are used in situations where door or window opening is required to be kept free of obstruction due to shutters when open. These hinges permit the shutters , when open , to rest parallel to the wall clear of the opening.

Perpend - It is a vertical joint on the face of a wall directly over vertical joints in alternate course.

Pier foundation - When a heavily loaded building is to be situated in sandy soil or soft soil , overlying hard bed at reasonable depth , pier foundations are sometimes used to transfer the load of the building to the hard bed below. This method consists in sinking vertical shafts up to hard bed and filling them with concrete.

Pier or Pilaster - It is a vertical member of stone or brick masonry constructed to support an arch , beam or lintel , the width of which exceeds four times its thickness.

Purlins - These are horizontal members of wood or steel , used to support common rafters.

Post plate - This is similar to a wall plate with the only difference that it run continuously , parallel to the face of the wall , over posts and supports the rafters at their feet.

Pitch of roof - The inclination of the sides of a roof to the horizontal is termed as the "pitch of the roof".

Pointing - It consists in ranking out joints in brick work or in stone masonry to depth of about 13mm and filling the same with mortar of slightly richer mix.

Poppy oil - It is prepared by pressing poppy seeds. It is used for very delicate colours , it is expensive and is thus used for internal painting of light shades.

Priming - This consists in applying first coat or the priming coat on the surface to fill the pores of wood by penetrating the primer inside the wood.

Plaining - The process of taking the shavings of wooden member is called plaining.

Plank - It is the name given to a heavy , thick and wide wooden piece of timber.


Queen closer - It is a term applied to a brick, which is half as wide as a full brick. Cutting a brick lengthwise into two portions makes it.

Quick setting cement - When concrete is to be laid under still water or in running water , quick setting cement is used advantageously. The setting action starts within five minutes as it becomes stone-hard in less than an hour.

Quoin - The exterior angle or corner of a wall is termed as quoin. The brick or wedge shaped stone used for the corner of walls is also known as quoin.


Rise of roof - It is the vertical distance between the wall plate and the top of the ridge.

Ridge - It may be defined as the apex of the angle formed by the termination of the inclined surface at the top of the slope.

Ridge beam - It is a horizontal timber piece provided at the apex of a roof truss. The common rafters are fixed to this piece and are supported by it.

Raking bond - This is a bond in brick work in which the bonding bricks are laid at any angle other than zero ninety degrees.

Rain water pipe - This is the pipe provided to carry rain water.

Room height - The vertical distance measured from the finished floor surface to the finished ceiling surface.

Raw linseed oil - It is a transparent vehicle , yellowish in colour , sweet in taste and has very little smell . It has inferior drying qualities and is generally used for inside painting work.

Rebating - It is the process of cutting a rectangular grove along the edge of a member , so as to enable the edge or tongue of other member to fit in the former.

Red lead - It is an oxide of lead , bright red in colour and is usually sold in powder form or in the form of paste made by grinding it with linseed oil.

Rough arches - These arches are built with ordinary bricks which are not cut to wedge shape.

Rubble arches - They are constructed with rubble stones which have been hammer-dressed , roughly to required shape and size of the voussoirs.

Residential buildings - These shall include one or two private dwellings, apartment houses(flats), dormitories, hotels etc.

Retaining wall - It may be defined as a wall built to resist the pressure of liquid , earth filling , sand or other granular material filled behind it after it is built.

Reveals - These are exposed vertical surfaces left on the sides of an opening after the door or window frame has been fitted in position.

Reverberation - The phenomenon of undue prolongation of sound of sound by successive reflections from surrounding surfaces , after the source sound has ceased , is called reverberation.

Revolving door - They provide entrance on one side and exit on the other simultaneously keeping the opening automatically closed when not in use. The door is so assembled as to exclude the wind draught.

Riser - The vertical portion of a step providing support to the tread.

Rise of steps - It is the vertical distance between the upper surface of the successive treads.

Rolling steel shutter doors - These doors are commonly used for show windows , stores , shop fronts and godowns etc. The door shutter acts like a steel curtain and provides adequate protection and safety against burglars and fire.

Roof - A roof may be defined as a covering provided over the top of a building with a view to keep out rain , snow and wind and to protect the building from the adverse effects of these elements.

Rough cast finishing - It is a finish in which the mortar for the final coat contains a proportion of fairly big size coarse aggregates.

Rough tooled surface - In this type of surface finish , the projection of the stone block are removed by means of chisels and the surface is nearly dressed true. The corners and the edges are made accurate , chisel-draughted margins sunk and the side and bed joints roughly treated to ensure proper bonding. 


Storage buildings - These shall include any building or part of a building primarily for the storage or sheltering of goods , wares or merchandise , garages , stables etc.

Stair - A stair may be defined as a structure comprising of a number of steps connecting one floor to another.

Service road - A road/lane provided at the rear or side of a plot for service purposes.

Set-back Line - A line usually parallel to the plot boundaries and laid down in each case by the local municipal bodies beyond which nothing can be constructed towards the plot boundary.

Site - A piece of land enclosed by definite boundaries.

Storey - The portion of a building included between the surface of any floor and the surface of the floor next above it.

Street - Any means of access i.e. highway road , lane , pathway over which public have a right of passage.

Sanitary fittings - The fittings or appliance used for collection and discharge of soil or waster matter is termed as sanitary fittings.

Sink - Sink is commonly used in kitchens , hospitals and laboratories. It is made of glazed fire clay , stainless steel , plastic etc.

Sliding window - In this type of window , the shutters move on roller bearing and can slide either horizontally or vertically.

Sash window - In this case , the window shutter consists of two vertical stiles , top rail and a bottom rail.

Sash door - This type of door is used in residential as well as public buildings with a view to supplement the natural lighting provided by windows or to make the interior of one room visible from the adjacent one.

Scaffolding - Scaffold is a temporary rigid structure having platforms raised up as the building increases in height. It enables the mason to work at different stages of a building and to hoist the materials for the immediate use at various angles.

Scarfing joint - This system of lengthening wooden member is especially suitable in places where it is necessary to maintain the same depth and width of the member throughout its length.

Service connection - It is a water connection given by the local body (municipal cooperation) from city water distribution mains to a consumer. The consumer may be the owner of a single house , a multistoried building , a planned block development or a water district buying water wholesale.

Stop cock - This is provided before water meter in a chamber with a cover to cut off the supply of water from the street main to the building for repairs to the plumbing system within the building.

Septic tank - In areas , where municipal underground sewage system is not available , the sewage from residential apartments , small residential colonies and isolated buildings like offices , schools , hospitals etc. is treated in a septic tank.

Sewage - It is combination of discharge from soil pipe , waste pipe with or without rain water.

Stack - It is a term used for any vertical pipeline of a drainage system.

Sewer - It is a system of underground pipe belonging to local municipal authority which collects discharge from drains or house drains from outside the private boundary of more than one property.

Stains - It is a liquid preparation which is used to change the color of various types of cheap quality wood to give them the appearance of wood of superior quality.

Shoring - The term shoring is applied to construction of the temporary structure required to support an unsafe structure.

Spalls - Chips or small pieces of stone broken off a large block are termed as spalls. They are used in filling the interstices in stone masonry.

Silt trap - Silt trap are provided only in situations where the waste water carries large amount of silt , sand , coarse particles etc. It is a masonry chamber which functions like grit chamber where the silt , sand etc. settle down before the waste water is discharged into the drainage.

Springer - It is the first voussoir at springing level on either side of the arch.

Springing line - It is an imaginary line joining the two springing points.

Span - It is the clear horizontal distance between the supports.

Skew-back - It is the surface of the abutment on which the arch rests.

Springing points - These are the points at the extremities of the intrados.

Spandril - It is the triangular walling enclosed by the extrados of the arch , a horizontal line from the crown of the arch and a perpendicular line from the springing of the outer curves.

Skylight - This is a type of fixed window provided on the sloping surface of a pitched roof , the window being parallel to the sloping surface. The skylight is provided with a view to permit the room below to be fully lighted with natural light.

Sliding door - This type of door is considered suitable for shops , sheds , godowns etc. and in places where the use of hinges for fixing the shutter is to be avoided.

Swing door - This type of door is generally provided in passages of public buildings like offices , banks etc. The door may have single shutter or two shutters. Since these doors are pushed open ,they should have glazed shutters so as to enable the users to see the objects on other side.

Sludge soak pit - This is an alternative method of disposal of sewage from an individual house drain. The sludge soak pit can function effectively in situation where the ground water table is low and the sub-soil is of porous type.

Sound insulation - Control of noise transmission is essential to minimize the disturbing effect of sound passing from one person to another , through walls , partitions, floors and ceilings.

Spray painting - Painting with the spray gun is considered to be a highly developed and efficient method of applying all types of protective coatings.

Spread footings - In this , the base of the member transmitting load to the soil is made wider so as to distribute the load over wider area.

Squint joint - This is formed when two walls meet each other at an angle other than a right angle without forming a quoin.

Storage tanks - In the areas , where continuous supply of water is available the pressure of water in the mains may not be adequate to raise the water to upper floors. Thus provision of storage tank is made in a building to ensure availability of water during non supply hours or when the municipal supply is stopped.

Strecher course - It is a course of brickwork in which all the bricks are laid as strechers.

String course - It is a horizontal course of masonry projecting from the face of the wall and is generally at every floor or sill level throughout the length of the wall. It is intended to improve the elevation of the structure. 


Template - Block of stone or concrete of designed dimensions used under a beam or girder to distribute the concentrated load at the end of the beam or girder over a greater area of bearing surface.

Textured finish - In this finish , ornamental patterns or textured surfaces are produced by working with various tools on the freshly applied final coat.

Through stone - A stone passing through a wall from front to back face and acting as a binder for the two faces of the wall is termed as through stone.

Timbering of trenches - It is also known as shoring , consists of a temporary arrangement of boardings or poling boards, wailings and struts provided to give support to the sides of trench.

Tooled surface - In this type of surface finish continuous parallel chisel marks are produced throughout the width of the stone. The parallel corrugations or chisel ,arks are made at closer intervals rendering the surface truly planned.

Tower bolt - In this type , the bolt passes through two or three stapples attached to the base plate. The plate is screwed to inside face of door shutter and the bolt engages in a metal socket screwed to the frame.

Transmission loss - The reduction in the intensity of airborne sound that takes place during its transmission from the source to the recipient is called transmission loss.

Trap - A trap is a fitting provided in a drainage to prevent entry of foul air or gases from the sewer or drain into the building.

Travel distance - The distance from the remotest point on a floor of a building to a place of safety be it a vertical exit , horizontal exit or an outside exit measured along the line of travel.

Tread - The horizontal upper part of a step on which foot is placed in ascending or descending stairway.

Trunk sewer - It is a main sewer which receives discharges from all the smaller sewers and conveys it to a sewage treatment plant or to the point of final disposal.

Trussed partitions - In places where the provision of solid support below the sill is not possible, the wooden trussed partitions have to be employed. The weight from the trussed partition walls is borne by the side walls and thus it may be constructed quite independent of the floor.

Tuck pointing - In this , the mortar is first pressed in the raked joints and there after it is finished flush with the face of the wall.

Turpentine - It is the most common thinner used in the preparation of an oil paint. It is a spirit obtained by distilling balsam , which is the resin or gum obtained from pine tree.

Tusk tennon joint - This type is commonly adopted in the construction of timber floors. In order to obtain maximum rigidity and strength , the tennon must be mortised in the center of the members to be tenoned.

Two pipe system - This is the traditional system of removing the discharge from sanitary fitting wherein the foul matter from W.C and urinals is discharged into one pipe (known as soil pipe) and the waste water from kitchen , bath , floor traps etc. (other than W.C and urinals) is discharged into another pipe(known as waste pipe). 


Under-coat - After the primary coat is dry , second coat or under-coatings are applied on the primed surface. The color of the under-coat should approximately be of the same shade as that of the desired finish. It should be a thin opaque film , free from brush marks.

Under-pinning - This term is applied to the building of new work underneath an existing structure without disturbing its stability. It may be necessary when defective foundation of a wall is to be replaced with new foundation or when the existing foundation of a wall is required to be strengthened to enable it to carry more loads.

Urinals - They fall under the category of soil appliance and as such the discharge from urinals is connected to soil pipe either directly or through a trap provided with gun-metal or bass domed shaped removable grating. | Home | Sitemap | Contact Us