B - Technical Dictionary


BACHELOR CHEST                                
Small, multi-purpose chest of drawers with a hinged top.

BACK BEDDING                                      
The process of adhering and sealing glass to a frame or sash.

BACKBOARD                                           
The wood (often unpolished) used to in-fill the back of furniture made to stand against a wall.

BACKDRAFT                                            
An explosion or rapid burning of heated gases resulting from the introduction of oxygen when air is admitted to a building heavily charged by heat and smoke from a fire, which has depleted the oxygen content of a building.

BACKFILL                                                
The replacement of excavated earth into a ditch around a basement or foundation wall

BACKING ROD (BACKER ROD)           
An extruded round, closed or open cell, low density compressible flexible foam material inserted into a joint to control sealant depth to create a backstop to:
l Allow proper sealant tooling
l Allow proper sealant wetting of the joint surfaces
l Yield a proper bond breaker between the Backer Rod and sealant
It can also be used as a temporary seal.

BACKSET                                                 
The horizontal distance from the face of a door lock to the centreline of the cylinder, keyhole or knob hub. 

BACKSTAGE                                           
A space associated with, and adjacent to, a stage for scenery, props, equipment, dressing rooms, or the like

BAFFLE                                                    
A material used in windows and doors to impede the flow of water or air into the framing system through weep slots.

BAGGING                                                 
The process of applying thin mortar to a masonry wall with a coarse material such as hessian

BAIN(S)-MARIE                                        
A piece of equipment for serving heated food. 

BALANCE                                                
A mechanical device (normally spring-loaded) used in single- and double-hung windows as a means of counterbalancing the weight of the sash during operation.  as a means of counterbalancing the weight of the sash during operation.

BALANCE SHOE                                      
Nylon hardware that slides in hung window jambs and connects the balance with the sash.

BALCONY                                                
NA accessible platform projecting or recessed from the external face of a building. 

BALL-AND CLAW FOOT                         
Carved motif that depicts a bird's talons or an animal's claw gripping a ball or an egg. While it is most associated with 18th century English and American furniture, it originated in China as a dragon's claw clutching a crystal ball, or a pearl or other jewel.

BALLOON FRAMED WALL                     
US TERM; Framed walls (generally over 10' tall) that run the entire vertical length from the floor sill plate to the roof.  This is done to eliminate the need for a gable end truss.

BALUSTRADE                                          
The complete system of railings and balusters that prevents people from falling over the edge. 
l BALUSTER
The vertical balusters that hold the handrail.  Sometimes simply called guards or spindles.  Treads often require two balusters.  The second baluster is closer to the riser and is taller than the first.  The extra height in the second baluster is typically in the middle between decorative elements on the baluster.  That way the bottom decorative elements are aligned with the tread and the top elements are aligned with the railing angle.  However, this means the first and second balusters are manufactured separately and cannot be interchanged.  Balusters without decorative elements can be interchanged. 
l BANISTER, RAILING OR HANDRAIL
The angled member for handholding, as distinguished from the vertical balusters which hold it up for stairs that are open on one side; there is often a railing on both sides, sometimes only on one side or not at all, on wide staircases there is sometimes also one in the middle, or even more.  The term "banister" is sometimes used to mean just the handrail, or sometimes the handrail and the balusters or sometimes just the balusters]. 
l BASERAIL OR SHOERAIL
For systems where the baluster does not start at the treads, they go to a baserail.  This allows for identical balusters, avoiding the second baluster problem. 
l CORE RAIL
Wood handrails often have a metal core to provide extra strength and stiffness, especially when the rail has to curve against the grain of the wood.  The archaic term for the metal core is "core rail". 
l EASINGS
Wall handrails are mounted directly onto the wall with wall brackets.  At the bottom of the stairs such railings flare to a horizontal railing and this horizontal portion is called a "starting easing".  At the top of the stairs, the horizontal portion of the railing is called a "over easing".
l FILLET
A decorative filler piece on the floor between balusters on a balcony railing. 
l GOOSENECK
The vertical handrail that joins a sloped handrail to a higher handrail on the balcony or landing is a gooseneck. 
l NEWEL
A large baluster or post used to anchor the handrail.  Since it is a structural element, it extends below the floor and subfloor to the bottom of the floor joists and is bolted right to the floor joist.  A half-newel may be used where a railing ends in the wall.  Visually, it looks like half the newel is embedded in the wall.  For open landings, a newel may extend below the landing for a decorative newel drop. 
l ROSETTE
Where the handrail ends in the wall and a half-newel is not used, it may be trimmed by a rosette. 
l SUPPORT BALUSTER
A post supporting a handrail and balustrade
l TURNOUT
Instead of a complete spiral volute, a turnout is a quarter-turn rounded end to the handrail. 
l VOLUTE
A handrail for the bullnose step that is shaped like a spiral.  Volutes may be right or left-handed depending on which side of the stairs they occur when facing up the stairs. 

BARBIZON SCHOOL                               
(Landscape Painting) A group of 19th-century French painters who rejected idealized landscape painting and sought a more informal, realistic portrayal of nature. They were heavily influenced by 17th-century Dutch genre painting. Theodore Rousseau, one of the principal figures of the group, was a proponent of outdoor painting, based on direct observation of one's surroundings.

BARGE CAPPING                                  
A folded metal flashing over the edge of a roof barge

BARGEBOARD                                       
A sloping board fixed to the edge of a gable roof, often decorated by fretwork or similar artistry

BAROQUE                                               
European art and architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries. Giovanni Bernini, a major exponent of the style, believed in the union of the arts of architecture, painting, and sculpture to overwhelm the spectator with ornate and highly dramatized themes. Although the style originated in Rome as the instrument of the Church, it spread throughout Europe in such monumental creations as the Palace of Versailles.

BAROQUE STYLE                                   
Extravagant and heavily ornate style of architecture, furniture and decoration that originated in 17th century Italy . It was characterized by an abundant use of cupids, cornucopia and similar decorative motifs set into curvaceous designs.

BAS RELIEF                                            
Decorative technique in which design elements are sculpted or carved to be raised slightly from background.

BASE METAL THICKNESS                     
(BMT) the thickness of sheet metal

BASEMENT                                             
A storey either below ground level, or that projects no more than 1.2 metres above finished ground level.  Usable part of a Building that is situated partly or entirely below ground level.
 
BASILICA                                                  
An oblong hall or building used as a law court or assembly hall in the Roman Empire.  The basilica form was adopted as an appropriate style for a Christian church after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century, and again in the Renaissance, for example, St Peter’s basilica in Rome.

BAT                                                           
A half-brick

BATT                                                         
A section of fibre-glass or rock-wool insulation measuring 400 – 600 wide by 1200 long and various thickness

BATTEN                                                    
A narrow strip of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards

BAY WINDOW                                          
A window that projects outward from the walls of the building in either a square or polygonal shape

BEAD                                                        
l A moulding or stop placed around a window frame to hold the glass in place by pressure.
l The extruded strip of sealant applied to the joint (generally using a caulk gun)

BEAM                                                       
A structural member transversely supporting a load.  A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another.  Sometimes called a "girder".

BEARERS                                                
The main beams above the foundation level which support the joists and floor

BEARING POINT                                     
A point where structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

BEARING WALL                                       
A wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight

BEAUX ARTS STYLE                              
Elaborate and formal architectural style characterized by symmetry and an abundance of sculptured ornamentation. New York's old Custom House at Bowling Green is an example of the style.

BELVEDERE                                            
A small open platform, roofed over, and located on top of the roof to provide a view

BENCH MARK                                          
l A marked reference point on a permanent object, such as a metal disk set in concrete, whose elevation is referenced to a datum is known. 
l A mark made by a surveyor or general contractor to be used as a reference point when measuring the elevation or location of other points. 
l A surveyor's mark, cut in rock, or other durable material, to indicate the starting or other point in a line of levels for the determination of altitudes over the face of a country. 

BENTWOOD                                            
Solid or laminated wood steamed and bent into a curvilinear shape. Michael Thonet developed the process in the early 19th century. Bentwood is not related to molded plywood, which was developed in the 20th century.

BERGERE                                                
French armchair of wide proportions with upholstered back and sides. It has an exposed wood frame and loose seat cushion.

BESPOKE                                                 
An item specially designed and made to the client's measurements, requirements, etc.  . 


BEVEL                                                       
Cutting or shaping on the edge of a material to form an angle that is not a right angle

BID                                                           
A formal offer by a contractor, in accordance with specifications for a project, to do all or a phase of the work at a certain price in accordance with the terms and conditions stated in the offer

BIEDERMEIER STYLE                           
The central European decorative arts of the period 1820-1840, which put strong emphasis on unpretentious bourgeois comfort. The word derives from Gottleib Biedermeier, a fictional character invented by a German satirical journal to typify middle-class vulgarity. Biedermeier furniture is simple and well proportioned, and while influenced by the Directoire and Empire styles it avoided decorative exuberance. Its simplicity and clarity of line give Biedermeier furniture a distinctly modern appearance.

BI-FOLD DOOR                                       
Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors.  Often used for closet doors.

BILL OF QUANTITIES                             
Document for tendering, usually prepared in a standard form, comprising both a descriptive list of quantities of works and a description of the materials, workmanship and other matters required for construction works. 

BI-METALLIC STRIP                               
A strip consisting of two metals with different coefficients of thermal expansion.  When the strip is subjected to heat, the lengths of the two faces alter by different amounts, causing the strip to bend.

BIODIVERSITY                                        
The variety of life forms, different species of plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystem they form.

BIORESISTANCE                                    
Resistance to degradation by biological attack. 

BI-PARTING DOORS                             
Sliding door leafs that part on the same track in opposed directions when opening and meet when closed. 

BI-PASS DOORS                                     
Doors that slide by each other and commonly used as closet doors

BITE                                                         
Distance by which the inner edge of the aluminium frame glazing pocket or stop overlaps the glass.  Also termed purchase, edge cover or engagement.

BITUMINOUS PAINT                              
A low-cost paint containing asphalt or coal tar used to isolate aluminium from mortar, concrete or masonry.

BLANKET                                                  
Fibre-glass or rock-wool insulation that comes in long rolls

BLEACHERS                                            
Tiered seating facilities. 

BLOCK OUT                                            
To install a box or barrier within a foundation wall to prevent the concrete from entering an area

BLOCKING                                               
Small wood pieces to brace framing members or to provide a nailing base for gypsum board or panelling

BLUE PRINT                                            
An antiquated type of copying method formerly used for architectural drawings. 

BOARDING PIER                                     
A portion of a pier where a boat is temporarily secured for the purpose of embarking or disembarking.

BOARDS                                                   
Dressed lengths of timber used for cladding the frame - walls, floor and ceiling

BOAT LAUNCH RAMP                            
A sloped surface designed for launching and retrieving trailered boats and other water craft to and from a body of water.

BOAT SLIP                                               
That portion of a pier, main pier, finger pier, or float where a boat is moored for the purpose of berthing, embarking, or disembarking.

BODY HARNESS                                     
A design of straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner to distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders, with means for attaching it to other components of personal fall arrest system

BOFFIN                                                     
A research scientist, especially one employed by the armed forces or government.  (originally services slang)

BOISERIE                                                 
French term for wood panelling elaborately carved with foliage motifs, and then sometimes painted and gilded. It was fashionable in the wealthy residences of France in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and was often complemented with furniture of a matching style.

BOLLARD                                                 
A short vertical post.  A variety of structures to control or direct road traffic, such as posts arranged in a line to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles.  In addition, bollards are used in the lighting industry to describe short post like light fixtures.

BOMBE                                                     
Chest or commode with a bulge or swollen, convex shape on the front and sides.

BOND                                                       
The joining together of building materials to ensure solidity.

BOND BREAKER                                     
A release type of material used to prevent adhesion of the sealant to the back-up material.

BONHEUR-DU-JEUR                              
Lady's small writing desk, fitted with low recess with drawers, made mainly in France and England after 1770, and featuring secret compartments. It could also be used as a dressing table.

BORNE                                                    
A large divan positioned in the centre of a room. Circular in shape and generously upholstered it was popular in the Second Empire period.

BOSUN’S CHAIR                                    
A suspended seat designed to accommodate one worker in a sitting position

BOSUN’S STAND                                   
A suspended stand designed to accommodate one worker in a standing position

BOTTOM CHORD                                    
The lower or bottom horizontal member of a truss

BOTTOM PLATE                                     
Timber or steel framing member that lays on the subfloor upon which the vertical studs are installed

BOTTOM RAIL                                        
The lowest rail in a handrail or guardrail system that does not include a toeboard or infill panel. 

BOUDEUSE                                            
A type of seat, also known as a dos-a-dos, consisting of two armchairs set back to back. The name comes from the French verb bouder meaning to sulk, because the person sitting on one side would inevitably be turning their back on the other.

BOULEVARD                                           
A broad street with rows of trees planted along it

BOULLE MARQUETRY                          
Decorative inlay named after Andre-Charles Boulle, using tortoise shell and various other materials such as brass, pewter, ivory and mother-of -pearl. The technique was also known as “Buhl” work.

BOW                                                           
curved shape such as a bay window

BOW WINDOW                                        
A composite of four or more window units in a radial or bow formation gently curved contour.  Bow windows also project from the walls of the structure.

BOX GUTTER                                          
A concealed roof gutter in a valley or behind a parapet or fascia

BRACE                                                      
An inclined piece of framing lumber applied to wall or floor to strengthen the structure.  Often used on walls as temporary bracing until framing has been completed.

BRACE (BRACING)                                 
A structural member fix at an angle to horizontal or vertical members, e.g.  cross-bracing on timber walls

BRACKET                                                 
A projecting support (as to hold a shelf).

BRACKET FOOT                                      
Squared foot used on furniture from circa 1725 to 1780.

BRAKE METAL SHAPE                           
Aluminium sheet stock bent or "broken" to desired shape, as required by specific job conditions, on a power or manual press brake.  This shape is often used to cover conditions which cannot be covered by a stock extruded aluminium shape.

BRAND                                                     
A trademark or trade name to identify a product as that of a distributor or a manufacturer or other producer. 

BREACH OF CONTRACT                      
Failure, by either the owner or the contractor, without legal excuse, to perform any work or duty owed to the other person.  The failure, without, legal justification, to fulfill obligations that are the whole or part of an agreement, written or oral.  The breach of contract can be intentional, inadvertent, or caused by the negligence of the party breaching the contract. 

BREAKFRONT                                        
A piece of furniture with a protruding centre section.

BREEZEWAY                                           
A roofed over, and usually open sided, passageway between 2 detached structures

BRICK BONDING                                     
The method of overlapping bricks or masonry blocks to bind them together in a wall.  Brick bonds are recognisable from the pattern of headers (brick ends) and stretchers (brick sides) on the face of a wall.  Two of the commonest are English bond and Flemish bond.

BRICK LINTEL                                          
The metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening

BRICK MOULDING                                  
A standard trim piece that covers the gap between the window frame and masonry.

BRICK TIE                                                
A small, corrugated metal strip fixed to wall sheeting or studs.  They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.

BRICK VENEER                                       
A vertical non-load bearing facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction

BRIDGE                                                    
A structure, including supports, erected over a depression or an obstruction, such as water, highway, or railway, and having a track or passageway for carrying traffic or other moving loads and having a length measured along the centre of the roadway of more than 20 feet between under copings of abutments or extreme ends of openings for multiple boxes. 

BRIDGING                                                
Small wood or metal members that are inserted between floor joists, rafters, or purlins at mid-span for the purpose of bracing and spreading the load

BRIEF                                                        
Working document which specifies at any point in time the relevant needs and aims, resources of the client and user, the context of the project and any appropriate design requirements within which all subsequent briefing (when needed) and designing can take place.  [ISO 9699]

BROAD BUTT HINGE                              
A wider version of the butt hinge. 

BROADLOOM                                          
Carpet woven in a continuous wide roll in order to reduce jointing.  Commonly in rolls 3.66 metres wide but also available in other widths such as 4 metres. 

BROKEN PEDIMENT                              
Pediment or triangular superstructure, in which the central apex is absent and usually filled with a carved motif. Found in architecture and furniture.

BROKEN-BACK-ROOF                           
A roof that changes from a steep straight pitch to a lower pitch without a step

BUFFET                                                   
A two-part sideboard or dresser, with shelves either open or concealed behind doors. It is used in the dining room, generally to hold platters and serving dishes and trays.

BUILDABILITY                                          
The extent to which the design of a building facilitates ease of construction subject to the overall requirements for the completed building. 

BUILDING                                                 
Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.

BUILDING CODE                                     
Community ordinances governing the manner in which a home may be constructed or modified

BUILDING ELEMENT                              
Major functional part of a building.  Note: Examples are foundation, floor, and roof, and wall, services. 

BUILDING FABRIC                                  
The totality of the building, excluding building services. 

BUILDING FACE ROLLER                      
A suspended scaffold platform guide roller designed to contact the outer face or wall structure of a building

BUILDING LINE (SETBACK)                  
The minimum distance from any boundary to which a structure may be built. 

BUILDING MAINTENANCE                     
Operations such as window cleaning, caulking, metal polishing, reglazing and general maintenance on building surfaces

BUILDING PAPER                                   
A general term for papers, felts, and similar sheet materials used in buildings without reference to their properties or uses.  Generally comes in long rolls.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT                           
Any man made structure or construction which is fixed, including mechanical services which go with the same, and includes environmental health and safety aspects and heat/energy efficiency factors. 

BUILT-UP ROOF                                      
Roofing composed of three to five layers of asphalt felt laminated with coal tar, pitch, or asphalt.  The top is finished with crushed slag or gravel.  Generally used on flat or low-pitched roofs.

BULK EXCAVATION PLAN                     
Excavation plan that specifies information for the performance of overall excavation works. 

BULKHEAD                                             
A partition separating one part of the interior of a ship, aircraft, etc from another; a protecting barrier or structure.

BULLNOSE                                               
A convex or curve over profile which becomes sharper towards the edge

BULLNOSE-ROOF  
A metal roof that curves over at the low end

BUNGALOW                                             
A single storey house, usually with overhanging roof, broad eaves and verandas

BUREAU                                                   
A writing table or desk whose French name derives from bure , a coarse cloth used in the Middle Ages to cover tables at which clerks wrote. Beginning in the 18th century various designs featured a flat writing surface and drawers, with a sloping fall front or quarter cylinder roll-top, which when rolled down covered both the writing surface and the drawers.

BUREAU-BOOKCASE                            
A writing table or desk surmounted by a bookcase, the lower section with shelves and compartments, and the shallower upper section with glazed paneled doors. If the lower part has drawers it is called a bureau-cabinet .

BURL                                                         
The burls (or burrs) are produced from lumpish growths on trees that generally form as a result of parasitic infestation of the tree, but sometimes from injury to the tree, during the early stages of its growth. Usually they appear on the tree trunk, but they also occur below ground. The term is also used to describe woods more properly called butts. Among the most spectacular burls are those produced from Rosewood and Walnut. These uniquely figured timbers are highly prized and because of this, and the fact that they are very difficult to work, they are expensive.

BUSH FIRE PRONE LANDS                   
Generally those forest or grasslands that, by virtue of their bushfire hazard and proximity to existing and proposed development, hold a significant risk to property in the event of a bushfire.

BUSHFIRE BUFFER ZONE                     
A protective margin of vegetation that surrounds or is adjacent to specified drainage features or relics or items of cultural heritage and which protects them from potentially detrimental disturbances. Bushfire hazard reduction work is generally excluded from buffer areas.

BUTT HINGE                                            
A hinge where the pin is inserted into a round barrel

BUTT JOINT                                             
A joint having opposing parallel faces, which may move toward or away from each other

BUTTERFLY-ROOF                                
A roof which changes from a downward pitch to an upward one, like the wings of a butterfly

BUTTRESS                                              
A support projecting from a wall to stiffen it and counteract any movement, such as from roof load

BUTYL                                                      
A synthetic rubber formed by the co-polymerization of isobutylene with isoprene.  It is used as a sealant and as an architectural glazing tape.


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