Your Handbook for understanding Architecture:


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Analogue Detector A fire Detector which gives electronic signals to represent what it senses, e.g. a data code. The central computer decides if there is a fire
Anchor 1) A primary fixing permanently built into a structure, to hold components, either directly or through secondary fixings. Anchor types include expansion bolts and resin anchors.

2) A secondary fixing made from a short length of angle, or form a steel plate, such as L-shaped clip or metal cleat. Anchors have bolt holes for connections to the primary fixing and the component to be secured
Anchor Plate A steel floor paving, about 305 x 305 mm and 2-3 mm thick, with downward projecting lugs or cross flanges. It is fully bedded in mortar 40 mm thick and is used for very traffic and impact loads
Anchorage A system for securing a component against a force, such as the uplift from a pressurized air house or the tension in a tendon for prestressed concrete
Angiosperms A large group of flowering plants that includes deciduous trees, therefore all hardwoods, but not pine trees.
Angle A change in direction or space between two lines or surfaces such as internal or external angles.
Angle Bead, plaster A thin line of metal trim for protection of the outer arris of a plaster corner against knocks. Large holes in the metal provide bond and are used for nailing. They are plastered over, using bead edge as a permanent screed rail.
Angle Block A small wood block, usually shaped like a right angle triangle, glued and screwed into an angle as a stiffener
Angle Brace A bar fixed across a angle in a frame to stiffen it
Angle Cleat An L-Shaped anchor to hold purlins to a roof truss
Angle Closer A brick cut specially to complete, i.e. close, the bond at the corner of a wall
Angle Fillet A triangular strip or moulding in the corner between two surfaces, often in cement or asphalt. It makes two sharp 45 degree angles
Angle Float A plasterer's tool for shaping an internal corner
Angle Grinder A power tool with a right angle drive, used with rigid abrasive discs, for the hand grinding and cutting of metal or masonry, for which different abrasive wheels are available.
Angle Gauge A template made for setting out or checking angles
Angle Joint A carpentry joint at a corner, not a lengthening joint.
Angle Rafter A hip rafter
Angle Section A steel angle
Angle Staff An angle bead
Angle Tie An angle brace
Angle trowel A plasterer's trowel, either with upturned edges for working internal angles, or vee shaped for working external angles.
Angle Valve A screwdown valve with it's outlet at a right angle to the pipeline
Angled Tee A pipe fitting, such as a junction, with the inlet leg at a shallow angle, used at drain connections
Anhydrous Containing no water, usually from being Calcined by heat e.g. Quicklime
Animal Black Paint Pigment made by heating animal products, such as bone.
Annealed Glass Ordinary sheet glass that has not been toughened
Annealing Softening a metal or glass by heating and slow cooling
Annual Ring One ring of springwood and summerwood added to a growing tree each year.
Annunciator An indicator panel
Annular Shaped like a ring
Anodizing A hard and attractive coating to aluminium. It is used on self finished items such as windows
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) The umbrella body for standardization in the USA
Anti-climb Paint Paint that stays soft and slippery, applied above normal reaching height to drain pipes on the outside of walls
Anti-condensation Paint A coating containing cork dust or vermiculite, put on pipes as insulation and to absorb moisture. It has little effect on really heavy condensation, which needs lagging as well as a vapour barrier and good ventilation.
Anti-corrosive Paints Paints which contain inhibiting pigments to delay corrosion of metal surfaces. Metal Primer for steel is anti-corrosive, but needs to be sealed by the later coats of the complete paint system.
Anti-dust Product A dust Proofer
Anti-frost Agent A frost proofing admixture, or a cold-weather concreting aid
Anti-graffiti Treatment A textured finish with enough small stones to discourage markings with felt pens, lipstick etc.
Anti-siphon Trap A waste trap which resists unsealing, usually by having a deep seal of water in it, achieved by having a lower dip. In the single stack system of internal pipework these traps may save the expense of branch vent
Anti-siphonage Pipe A branch vent
Anti-slip Paint A paint containing hard sand, cork dust or similar material used for finishing wood floors or decks
Antistatic Flooring An electrically conducting floor finish, such as flexible PVC or carpet, that can earth static, used in computer rooms and operating theatres.
Anti-sun Glass Solar control glazing
Anti-theft glass Security glazing that delays access through a window for a short time, such as 10 mm thick laminated glass. This type of glass is not bullet resistant
Anti-vibration Mounting A flexible pad (often rubber) for mechanical equipment to prevent transmission of equipment noise to the fabric of the building.
Apartment A flat or a similar dwelling
Appliance Ventilation Duct A ducted Flue
Applicator 1) A tool used for placing adhesive, plasters etc

2) Someday trained to place special coating, sealing etc.
Appraisal The examination and testing of building materials or processes and the assessment of their suitability for a particular use, often as a step towards approval.
Apprentice A young person who agrees to work under a skilled master on a small pay for a given number of years in order to learn a craft
Apprenticeship The time served by an apprentice, according to a written agreement called the indenture
Approval Approval to build, alter or demolish that is obtained from the local development authority.
Approximate Quantities Preliminary bills of quantities used where the extent of the work is difficult to measure.
Appurtenant Works All labour and materials required for the satisfactory completion of a job, which are included even if not described in detail in an item
Apron A horizontal or vertical panel, e.g. the inside wall behind a window spandrel, a fascia, or a flat in front of a dormer.
Apron Flashing A one piece L-shaped flashing usually on the lower side of a chimney
Apron Lining Joinery casing over the vertical face of a stair well

1) Semicircular recessed end to a church sanctuary or chapel.
2) An arched recess, especially at the east end of the choir of the church.

Arbitration When a dispute over a building contract has reached deadlock, both parties may agree to its settlement by an arbitrator named in the condition of contract. Arbitrators may call expert witnesses, but evidence is not taken under oath
1) A walk arched over: a covered passageway lined with slopes on both sides.

2) Corridor of arches on piers or columns.
A curved structure so built that the stones or other component parts support each other by mutual pressure and can sustain a load, of the foot, the part from head to toes of the body structure, normally having an upward curve.
Arch Bar A flat steel bar or an angle to carry the bricks of a window arch
A knowledge of ancient art, customs, the science that studies the extinct relics of ancient times.
One who designs designs buildings and supervises their erection.
Architectural Concrete Concrete with a textured surface, either direct finish or the result of surface treatment after forms are stripped.
Architectural Drawings Contract documents prepared by the architect, showing the layout and details of the work of the new building.
Architectural Metalworks Decorative or ornamental metalwork, such as gates, railings, staircases, balustrades, screens and ducts
Architectural Sections Drawn, extruded or folded shapes made of aluminium or stainless steel, used as decorative trim around the outside of windows, the porches of industrial or commercial buildings.

1) Lowest of the three main parts of an entablature. Also, the moulded frame around a door or window.Collective name for the jambs, lintels and other parts surrounding the door or window.

2) Joinery trim which is planted to cover the small gap between a door frame (or jamb lining) and the wall finishing. It has mitred joints and may be fixed with nails or architrave adhesive.

Architrave Bead Metal trim used as a stop bead for plaster, fixed to the wall beside a door and a window opening and covered by the architrave
Architrave Block A block at the foot of a door architrave against which the skirting board also fits
Architrave Trunking A hollow architrave to carry wiring in skirting trunking across a door opening
An arched or vaulted passage.
Part of the ancient amphitheatre strewed with sand and used for the combats of gladiators and wild beasts.
Arena Stage
A stage which can have the audience all around it.
Art and science of building.

1) The outreach arm of a lighting column or a bracket for caring light fittings

2) The dipper arm of a backhoe or similar excavator

Armour Mechanical Protection such as steel steeling on a fire door
Armoured Cable An electrical cable with stainless steel strip or galvanized wire wound over the conductors and insulation, often with an outer plastics sheath (or serving) for main distribution supply and buried feeders.
Array A repetitive series of similar components
Arris The edge at a corner or angle, particularly of finishing such as joinery or plasterwork. A sharp arris in hardwood can cut a person's skin and its prone to damage, as is any paint applied over it, which becomes thin from surface tension. Arrises are unusually eased or penciled rounded.
Arris Gutter A V shaped wooden Yankee Gutter
Arris-wise, Arris-ways Diagonal with reference to laying bricks, slates or tiles or sawing timber
Arrow diagram A programme on which activities are represented by arrows, joined to show their sequence and logical relationships, usually worked out by the critical path method. The length of each arrow could be time scaled to show activity duration, with the head and the tail of each arrow being at an event. Arrow Diagrams are used on site for detailed planning or as an basis for simpler bar charts
Human skill as opposed to natural agency, skill, knack acquired by study and practice, taste and skill; artistary.

1) A hinge or pin joint in a framework to allow angular movement, instead of continuity

2) An event on an arrow diagram where several activities meet


1) Synthetic fibres and reconstituted materials (e.g. Marble)

2) Of finishing, an imitation of an expensive material using a cheap one

Artificial Ageing Accelerated weathering
Artificial Aggregate Nearly all light weight aggregates except pumice, but sometimes also blast furnace slag and clinker
Artificial Stone Cast Stone
As drawn wire Steel Wire that has been hardened by being drawn through a die, without further treatment. It is used for reinforcement fabric
As dug aggregate Quarry material that has not been crushed or screened, but loaded directly for delivery
Asbestos A mineral crystal consisting of thin, tough fibre like textile, which can withstand high temperatures when pure.
Asbestos encapsulation In place treatment of sprayed asbestos with a durable and impact resistant coating to seal in the asbestos fibres, used in cases where asbestos removal is impractical
Asbestos free Boards Building Boards with fibre reinforcement and a binder such as calcium silicate or cement
Asbestos Removal Specialist work for removing asbestos placed in buildings.
As-built Drawings A record Drawing made by the builder after works have been completed and showing the effects of all drawing revisions
Ashlar Walls or facings of stonework laid in courses of evenly dressed stone with thin joints about 3mm thick, which should be raked out 20mm and pointed during cleaning down.
Ashlering A low wall usually about 1 Mt high, in the side of an attic, from the floor to part way up the sloping ceiling, often in blockwork
Asphalt A mixture of bitumen and sand, clay or other inert mineral filler, such as limestone. It is hard at normal temperatures, but flows stiffly when heated
Asphalt Mixer A machine for heating and mixing asphalt before laying
Asphalt Roofing Membrane roofing made with two or three coats of asphalt work, sometimes taken to include bitumen-felt roofing
Asphalt work A specialist trade that uses mastic asphalt for tanking, asphalt roofing and waterproofing
Assembly Putting together several components or elements or the resulting set or unit
Assembly gluing Constructional gluing on site, particularly of timber work or joinery units that were factory fabricated by primary gluing

1) A small semicircular moulding or bead encircling a column.

2) A glazing Bar, especially overhead

3) A strip of timber or metal fixed to the edge of a door leaf to cover the gap between it and the door frame and to improve security or reduce noise and draughts

Atomisation A very fine pulverization of a liquid, as in spray painting or a boiler rotary cup burner
Atrium A tall internal courtyard with a glazed roof that lets in daylight, often used in multistory hotels with balcony access.
Attached Column A structural column partly projecting from a wall, as does a pilaster. It is therefore partly engaged
Attendance Plant and equipment provided by the main contractor, or builder's work in connection done for other trades working on site, usually sub contractors. It can be general attendance or special attendance
Attenuation A reduction in sound level during transmission from one place to another, often through a wall or duct work
Attenuator A silencing unit in air conditioning ductwork to reduce transfer of equipment noise, mainly from fans into a occupied space or to an exterior
A low storey above the cornice that terminates the main part of an elevation, a room in the roof of a house.
A carpenter's tool used for boring holes in wood.
Autoclave A pressure vessel for treatment using steam at high temperature and pressure e.g. for curing calcium silicate bricks or aerated concrete
Automatic Sprinkler System
An arrangement of piping and sprinklers, designed to operate automatically by the heat of fire and to discharge water upon that fire and which might also simultaneously give audible alarm.
Auto-suppression system An automatic fire extinguishing system which is activated by fire detectors
The main approach to a country house usually bordered by trees, a double row of trees, a street, means of access or attainment.
Awl A small tool with a plain pointed steel shaft and a straight handle, mainly used as a scriber for marking hard surfaces
Awning An external blind of fabric, such as canvas, that can be put up for protection against sun or rain
Axanometric Projection
Geometrical drawing in three dimensions.
Axe A bricklayer's hammer
Axed Work A bush hammered finish
Axminster Carpet Patterned carpet with cut wool pile woven into the backing

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