Glossary of Building Inspection Terms

Posted by Brad Porteus on 15 January 2015

When you need a residential or commercial building inspection and report, you bring in the professionals like BSP Construction Consultants to look into all the technical details for you.

We do our best to provide a clear and easily-understandable report, but if you’re unfamiliar with some building terms it might get confusing when you’re reviewing the report at home. You may need a little background info, so check out the following terms to help you out if you’re a little confused.

DWV (drain waste vent) - The DWV provides a way for waste from water and sewage gasses to exit a building.

Eaves - Eaves are extensions of the roof that create an overhang outside of the building.

Electrical Conduit - Electrical conduit is a pipe system that encases electrical wires. Usually made of metal or plastic and is intended to protect and direct the wiring.

If there are any other terms in your report you’re unsure of just give us a call. One of our staff will be happy to help, and we will update this resource as any queries arise.

Fascia - Fascia are attached to a rafter or truss, and provide support to the roof gutters. If there is an eave, the fascia is fitted to the outside edge of the roof eave.

Footings (and Floors) - The footings of a structure are part of the foundation. Footings consist of concrete that are installed below the first level of the building that support the foundation walls.

Foundation - The foundation of a building is the structure below the ground level construction, including footings. The foundation supports the building.

Joist - Joists are parallel beams made of timber or steel, and support walls ceilings and floor linings.

Load Bearing Wall - Bearing walls support additional weight and are critical to the structure of the building.

Plumbing gully - Plumbing gully is a sewer drain outlet that other outlets run into such as bathroom of kitchen outlets. The gully provides an outlet for sewerage in the event of a blockage.

Rafter - Rafters are made of timber or steel, and are intended to support the roof sheeting. Rafters can make up trusses, or they can make up flat roofs.

Roof Truss - A truss is the supporting framework for a roof, and is usually made from a series of triangular frame supports. There are several types of trusses, like a girder truss and a scissor truss.

Scissor Truss - A scissor truss has two chords that cross each other on the bottom of the truss, similar to the way an open pair of scissors looks. It is intended to both support a pitched roof and to create a sloped or raised ceiling.

Screen Wall – screen walls do not support additional weight and are also called non-bearing walls.

Sewer Stack - A sewer stack is a vertical pipe run that conveys sewer from multiple floor levels to ground.

Strut – A strut is an upright roof member that provides support to roof beams to ensure the shape of the roof frame remains straight and without deflections.

Subsidence - Subsidence, when used in relation to buildings and inspections, refers to the sinking of the earth below or near a building. It can cause the foundation to weaken, or affect the structure itself.

Underpurlin beam – An underpurlin beam is a roof member that runs across the underside of the roof rafters and transfers support from the struts to prevent the rafters from deflecting under the weight of the roof frame and covering.

Water Table - This will tell you the location of the underground water and the distance from that water to the ground surface.