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Construction Glossary of Terms

During the process of home building, or buying a new home, you may come across some vocabulary that you’re not yet familiar with. To help make the home buying process a little easier from start to finish, here’s a guide to some terminology you’ll see often:

At grade: this is a portion of the structure that sits on the same level as the ground.

Backfilling: this is the replacement of soil removed during excavation, that’s placed around building foundations.

Blacklines: these are detailed home layouts that show the design.

Building Permit (BP):  approval from the City to start development on a building.

Casing: this is a type of trim used around windows and doors.

Concrete footing: a widened section at the base or bottom of a foundation wall and/or column. 

Concrete forms: wood or metal panels which concrete is poured into, that will form the foundation, wall or other parts of the structure.

Deep services: these are underground services such as sewer, water and storm water management.

Deficiencies: this refers to imperfections in the home that are resolved before the owner(s) move in, or during the home warranty period. 

Development Permit (DP): approval from the City for blueprints of the land or development.

Downspout: this is a pipe which carries water from the eavestrough to the ground or the storm drainage system.

EnerGuide: this is a measuring system of your home’s energy performance.

Excavating: this is the removal of soil for the construction of a home.

Finish grading: this refers to final adjustments to the surface after construction of buildings, usually applying to raking of topsoil, etc.

Foundations: this is the base of the home, made from concrete.

Framing: this is is the rough outline of the home made with wood, and includes flooring, roofing, partitioning, ceiling and beams.

Grade: this is the average level of surface ground around the foundation.

HVAC: this term refers to ‘Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning’.

Low E: this refers to low-emissions, referring usually to windows and insulation, etc. 

Possession: this is the date when homeowners take possession of their new home.

Rebar: these are structural metal bars used in the foundation of a home.

Roofply: this is the framing for the roof.

Rough-ins: these are the interior installation of the homes mechanics: plumbing, heating, etc.

Sheething: materials used to cover the framework of a home. 

Slab on grade: this is the concrete slab that covers the basement or garage.

Spec home: this is a home available for purchase where the specifications have already been chosen.

Trusses: this is the supporting framework for a roof, or other structure like a bridge.

Walk-through: this is when the homeowners get to go through their new home in its entirety to ensure everything is good to go for move-in.