Home building terminology you should know

When it comes to the world of home building and real estate, industry buzzwords can sometimes make things confusing. Having an understanding of the common lingo and terminology can make the process of buying a home a lot easier.

Here is a guide to home building terminology you should know:

  • Block plan: a plan view of adjacent buildings, used to establish context.
  • Building permit: an application which gives authorization or consent to erect, demolish, relocate, alter, or repair a structure.
  • Densification: planning aimed at increasing population density in key urban areas.
  • Developed area: an existing area within the city that has completed its initial residential development. 
  • Developing area: new area within the city that has yet to complete its initial residential development.
  • Development permit: a planning application that allows the City to review a development, in accordance with relevant bylaws and policies, and includes the plans and conditions of approval.
  • Duplex: building which contains two dwelling units, one located above the other, with each having a separate entrance.
  • Energuide: this is a measuring system of your home’s energy performance.
  • HVAC: this term refers to ‘Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning’.
  • Land Use Bylaw: the Land Use Bylaw is the key tool used to regulate and control the use and development of all land and buildings in Calgary.
  • Land use district: designation or zoning term given to parcels of land within the city. It describes uses that are either a permitted or discretionary use.
  • Low-E: this refers to low-emissions, referring usually to windows and insulation, etc.
  • Multi-residential development: building that contains three or more dwelling units.
  • Parcel: a piece of land enclosed by property lines.
  • Permitted use: a use listed in a land use district where approval is guaranteed as long as all the rules are met.
  • Placemaking: this buzzword refers to an approach to urban design that foregrounds the health, happiness and experiences of people in public spaces.
  • Property line: a use listed in a land use district where approval is guaranteed as long as all the rules are met.
  • Semi-detached dwelling: a building that contains two dwelling units located side by side and separated by a common party wall extending from foundation to roof.
  • Single detached dwelling: a building that may contain one dwelling unit, and may include a secondary suite in districts where the secondary suite is a listed use.
  • Single construction permit: a new home construction permit that includes the building permit and trades installations for the construction of one dwelling.
  • Spec home: this is a home available for purchase where the specifications have already been chosen.
  • Streetscape: an elevation drawing of adjacent buildings, used to establish context.
  • Subdivision: the division of a property.
  • Townhouse: a building that contains three or more dwelling units.
  • Zero lot line:  a legal provision which allows you to build up to your side property line