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Modular Construction Glossary


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All definitions in the modular building glossary are internal anchors that link to themselves. If you would like to directly link to one of the definitions, simply scroll down to the definition and click on it. In your address bar you will see the permanent link to that definition.


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Associated Builders and Contractors - National association representing construction related firms.
A passageway or means of approach to a room or building; a corridor between rooms; also a term used in building construction referring to points at which concealed equipment may be reached for inspection and repair.
(DSA code AC) The condition resulting from the inclusion of appropriate architectural elements to permit unrestricted entrance to, exit from, and use of buildings and facilities.
Accordion Door
Folding doors supported by carriers with rollers which run on a track; the doors fold up in a manner similar to the bellows of an accordion, hence the name.
Acoustical Board
Any type of special material, such as insulating boarding, used in the control of sound or to prevent the passage of sound from one room to another.
Acoustical Tile
Any tile composed of materials having the property of absorbing sound waves, hence reducing the reflection of sound; any tile designed and constructed to absorb sound waves.
Material added to cement or the concrete mix to increase workability, strength, or imperviousness; to lower freezing point (eg: anti-freeze). Accelerators, plasturizers and air-entraining agents are admixtures.
Architect/Engineer; normally engaged by an Owner.
Associated General Contractors of America - Trade association compromised of general contractors and industry related companies.
American Institute of Architects - Trade association compromised of architects and similar professionals.
Air Conditioner
One or more factory made assemblies which include an evaporator or cooling coil and an electrically driven compressor and condenser combination, and may include a heating function.
Air Conditioner - Window
Self-contained room conditioner arranged to be supported in, or connected with a window opening, circulating outside air over the high side and room air over the low side.
Aluminum Window
A glazed window with aluminum sash and frame.
1. In pre-stressed concrete, to lock the stressed tendon in position so that it will retain its stressed condition; in pre-cast concrete construction, to attach the pre-cast units to the building frame; in slabs on grade or walls, to fasten to rock or adjacent structures to prevent movement of the slab or wall with respect to the foundation, adjacent structure or rock.
2. That bolt or fastening device which attaches to the anchorage.
In post-tensioning, a device used to anchor the tendon to the concrete member; in pre-tensioning, a device used to anchor the tendon during hardening of the concrete; in pre-cast concrete construction, the devices for attaching pre-cast units to the building frame; in slab or wall construction, the device used to anchor the slab or wall to the foundation, rock, or adjacent structure. Sometimes called a deadman.
Anchor Bolt
A bolt with the threaded portion projecting from a structure, generally used to hold the frame of a building secure against wind load.
Architect of Record
Architectural Barrier
Any physical conditioning of a building or facility which creates unsafe or confusing conditions or prevents accessibility and free mobility.
Asphalt Shingles
Composition roof shingles made from asphalt impregnated felt covered with mineral granules.
Also called "Earth Drill"; a horizontal rotating drill having a screw thread-type bit that carries cuttings up and away from the face.
A roof-like shelter extending over a doorway, window, porch, etc. which provides protection from the sun or rain.


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Earth or other material used to replace material removed during construction.
A horizontal decorative element used to cover the joint between a wall and floor.
Quantity of concrete or mortar mixed at one time.
Pairs of horizontal boards nailed to wood slates; used as a guide to elevations and to outline the building.
Batter Boards
Any type of special material, such as insulating boarding, used in the control of sound or to prevent the passage of sound from one room to another.
Bearing Wall
A wall which supports any vertical load in a building as well as its own weight.
Bench Mark
A point of known or assumed elevation used as a reference in determining other vertical elevations.
(Shutters) Light wood sections in the form of doors to close over windows to shut out light, give protection, or add temporary insulation. Commonly used now for ornamental purposes, in which case they are fastened rigidly to the building.
Bond Breaker
A material used to prevent adhesion of newly-placed concrete to the substrate or additional concrete.
Bottom Plate
Horizontal framing member located at bottom of wall.
Bow Roof
A roof supported by bow string trusses.
Bow String Truss
A roof structural member having a bow shaped element at the top and a straight or combined element connecting the two ends. A pre-assembled unit consisting of a horizontal bottom chord and a curved top chord. The top and bottom members are secured by either metal web members of lumber. The width of the bow truss is equal to the unit width and is normally 16" on-center.
A covered passage, open at each end, which passes through a house or between two structures increasing ventilation and adding an outdoor living effect.
Brick Veneer
The outside facing of brickwork used to cover a wall built of other material; an outer covering of a four inch brick wall tied to a wood-frame wall.


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A rigid assembly of reinforcement steel ready for placing in position within a concrete form.
A housing for a recessed fixture.
An ornamental roof-like covering supported by posts or suspended from a wall; a sheltering member, as over a niche, a doorway or a seat of honor.
Carpet Density
The number of pile tuft rows, per inch, for the length of the carpet.
Carpet Pitch
The number of yarns across the width of the carpet expressed in yard ends per 27 inches of width.
A type of window having a sash with hinges on the side allowing window to open horizontally.
Casement Door
(French Door) A hinged door or pair of doors almost completely glass.
Coalition for Adequate School Housing - California based organization comprised of school officials and private sector companies involved in school facilities.
The framework around a window or door.
Cabinetry or shelving inside a building.
Mortar or concrete which is deposited in the place where it is required to harden, as opposed to "pre-cast".
The process of filling seams with mastic material to prevent leaking.
Interior finish of an overhead surface.
Central Air Conditioner
An air conditioner which provides service to an entire structure from a single, central source.
Central Heating
A system of heating in a building which depends upon one source, with distribution ducts.
Ceramic Tile
A thin, flat piece of fired clay, usually square and attached to walls, floors, or countertops with cement or other adhesives creating durable, decorative and dirt-resistant surfaces.
Chair Rail
A plain or molded strip on a wood or plaster wall as a protection against chair backs.
(Formerly CEM-STONE) Decorative fiber-reinforced cement board designed for interior & exterior cladding applications. Simulates the look of natural stone and is ideal for rain-screens, claddings, ceilings and countertops.
Collaborative For High Performance Schools - California non-profit which provides guidance on "green" buildings.
Cinder Block
Also known as: CMU or Concrete Masonry Unit.
Clear Span
The distance, or clear and unobstructed opening, between two supports of a beam; always less than the effective span.
Concrete Masonry Unit - Type of building construction utilizing cinder block or concrete block.
Cohesion of Soil
The quality of some soil particles to be attracted to similar particles. It is manifested in a tendency to stick together, as in clay.
A compression member, vertical or nearly vertical, the width of which does not exceed four times its thickness and the height of which exceeds four times its least lateral dimension.
Column Footings
Concrete footings reinforced with steel pads or un-reinforced; used as supports for columns which in turn carry the load of beams which serve as supports for the superstructure of a building.
A composite material which consists essentially of a binding medium within which are embedded particles or fragments of aggregate, Portland cement, and water. When set it attains hardness and strength similar to stone.
Projection at the top of a wall; a term applied to construction under the eaves or where the roof and side walls meet; the top course, or courses, of a wall when treated as a crowning member.
A long passage wall or hall connecting parts of a building.
A concave molding, the curved junction between a ceiling and a sidewall.
Cove Base
Made of vinyl, rubber, tile and/or metal in a variety of heights and shapes for a wide range of sheet goods and tile installations.
Crawl Space
In cases where buildings have no basements, the space between the first floor and the surface of the ground; large enough for a man to crawl through for repairs and installation of utilities. Also called a crawl way.
Crown Molding
A molding used above eye level; usually the corner molding under the roof overhang or at the wall/ceiling connection on the interior.


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Dead Bolt Lock
A lock worked only by key from both sides or combination key and lever, and having no door knobs.
An exterior floor system generally above grade.
Department of General Services California government agency which contains the Office of Public School Construction resides.
Diffuse Reflection
Light reflection off a surface to produce a uniform light in all directions. Light reflection from a surface rather than radiating directly from a light source.
D.I.G. Window
The use of two sheets of glass with an inert gas sealed into the space between them to provide insulation against the passage of heat.
Distribution Box
(Also known as: Distribution Panel) In electricity, an insulated board from which connections are made between the main feed lines and branch lines.
Department of Housing/Housing & Community Department - Code to which most commercial buildings apply to.
Double Hung Window
A type of window containing two movable sash sections which open vertically.
Down Spout
A vertical pipe used to drain rainwater from a roof.
Drip Cap
A molding placed on the exterior top part of a door or window to cause water to drip beyond the outside of the frame.
Drop Ceiling
A false or lowered ceiling, typically a T-Bar system.
Division of State Architect - State agency which reviews and approves all projects in which public funds are used.
A wall constructed of material which is put in place without the use of plaster. Pre-formed sheets such as gypsum wallboard.
Dual-Duct System
An HVAC system using two ducts, one for supply and one for return air. The air from these ducts is blended in mixing boxes before distribution to each location.
1. In post-tensioning, a hole made in a post-tensioned member to accommodate a tendon.
2. In a building, usually round or rectangular metal or insulated pipe for distributing conditioned air to rooms from a conditioning device.
Brand name of plywood siding with surface of tempered wood to resist weather degradation.
Working drawings.


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Earth Drill
(Also known as: auger) A horizontal rotating drill having a screw thread-type bit that carries cuttings up and away from the face.
That part of a roof which projects over the side wall.
Elephant Trunk
(Also known as: drop chute) An articulated tube or chute used in concrete placement.
Energy calculations
Any man-made cavity or depression in the earth's surface; formed by earth removal.
Exit Light
(An illuminating sign above an exit identifying it as an exit.
Exterior Wall
Any outside wall or vertical enclosure of a building other than a party wall.


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Fire alarm component.
Soil or other materials used to raise grade.
Fire Door
A metal sheathed door that will resist fire, often held from sliding shut by a fusible link. Doors designed to resist standard fire tests and labeled for identification.
Any material or combination of materials built to protect structural members so as to increase their fire resistance.
Fire Wall
Any wall which subdivides a building to resist the spread of fire and which extends continuously from the foundation through the roof.
Flame Spread Classification
A standard test rating of fire resistive and protective characteristics of a building material.
Flanking Window
A window set beside an outside door which is often used to light a hallway.
Flat Roof
A roof having only minimal slope for drainage.
Flexible Metal Roofing
Roof covering of flat flexible metal sheet.
Flooring Tiles
Concrete or clay tiles set in cement mortar, bituminous or other adhesive. For a more sound absorbent, heat-insulating, decorative or comfortable walking surface, linoleum, glass, cork, rubber, asphalt or plastic tiles are used.
Fire & Life Safety - DSA code pertaining to protection of building occupant.
Fluorescent Lighting
A light source in which light is produced by a fluorescent power, phosphor coated on the inner surface of a glass tube. A mercury vapor arc between electrodes sealed into each end of the tube generates ultra-violet radiation which is changed by the phosphor into visible light.
A door, any size not paneled, having two flat surfaces; flush-doors are frequently of various types of hollow core construction.
Flush Tank
A tank that holds water for flushing one or more plumbing fixtures.
Folding Doors
The assembly of two or more hinged leaves which, when straightened in a line, can close the opening.
Foot Candle
(Ft-C) A quantitative unit for measuring illumination. It is approximately the illumination produced by a plumber's candle at a distance of one foot.
The trade name for a hard durable plastic laminated sheeting used for table, sink and countertops or for wall covering; resistant to heat and chemicals.
Foundation Wall
A wall below the floor nearest grade serving as a support for a wall, pier, column or other structural part of the building.
A subordinate space between an entrance and the main interior.
Facility Planning, Design & Construction.
Frost Line
The greatest depth to which ground material may be expected to freeze. The frost line varies by geographic location.
Forest Stewardship Council - Establishes standards for guiding forest management toward sustainable outcomes and products with FSC logo were harvested from certified well managed forest.


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Gable Roof
A ridged roof which terminates either at one end or both ends in a gable. The end of a ridged roof which, at its extremity, is not returned on itself but is cut off in a vertical plane which above the eaves is triangular in shape due to the slope of the roof.
Gambrel Roof
A type of roof which has its slope broken by an obtuse angle, so that the lower slope is steeper than the upper slope; a roof with two pitches.
Glass (Obscure)
Sheet glass that has been made translucent instead of transparent. It is sand-blasted or molded to make the surfaces irregular.
Glass (Wire)
Glass in which wire mesh is embedded to prevent shattering.
General term applied to material installed in openings such as windows and normally used in reference to glass.
Grab Bar
A short length of metal or plastic bar attached to a wall in a bathroom, near a toilet, in a shower or above a bathtub.
1. The slope of a road, channel or natural ground.
2. The ground level around a building.
Grade Beam
A horizontal load-bearing foundation member which forms a foundation.
Gravel Roof
A roof made waterproof with roofing felt, sealed or bonded and covered with a layer of gravel to improve its insulation value and protect it from the sun.
A mixture of cementitious materials and aggregates to which sufficient water has been added to produce pouring consistency without segregation of the constituents.
A shallow channel or conduit of metal or wood set below the roof plane and along the eaves of a house to catch and carry off rainwater.
Gypsum Plasterboard
A common building material made with a core of gypsum or anhydrite plaster usually enclosed between two sheets of heavy paper. Primarily used for sheeting interior walls.


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Handicap Water Cooler
A water cooler set low and operated by push-bars or levers for convenience to persons with physical impairment.
Persons who are limited from using the physical environment because of physical or mental limitations.
(Trade Name: Hardi Panel) Wood fibers and a bonding agent joined together under pressure to form a sheet of material.
Heat Pump
A refrigerating system employed to transfer heat into or out of a space. The condenser provides the heat while the evaporator is arranged to pick up heat from air, water, etc. By shifting the flow of air or other fluid a heat pump system may also be used to cool the space.
Heat Pump-Cooling/Heating
A refrigerating system designed so that the heat extracted at a low temperature and the heat rejected at a higher temperature may be utilized alternately or simultaneously for cooling and heating functions respectively.
High Chair
A chair-shaped device used to hold reinforcing steel off of the bottom of formwork.
High Pressure Sodium Lamp
A sodium vapor lamp operating at a partial vapor pressure of 0.1 atmosphere that produces a wide spectrum yellow light.
Hip Roof
A roof which rises by inclined planes from all four sides of a building. The line where two adjacent sloping sides of a roof meet is called the hip.
Hollow-Core Door
A flush door in which plywood or hardwood for both faces is glued to a skeleton framework. It is lighter and less expensive than a solid door.
Hollow Metal Door
A hollow-core door constructed of channel-reinforced sheet metal usually 18ga. The core may be filled with some type of lightweight material.
Hooked Bar
A reinforcing bar with the end bent into a hook to provide anchorage.


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Indoor Air Quality.
Insulated Concrete Forms.
Icyene Insulation
Expandable spray foam insulation which can be VOC, Formaldehyde and CFC free.
Inspector of Record.
Incandescent Lighting
A light source consisting of a glass bulb containing a filament in a vacuum that may be kept incandescent by the transmission of an electric current.
Inlaid Parquet
Parquet flooring fixed in blocks in varying sizes to a wood backing and then attached to floor boards.


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Window blinds or shutters with fixed or movable horizontal slats of wood, metal or glass sloping upward from the outside to admit light and air serving to exclude rain, water and sunlight; somewhat like a Venetian blind.
J Box
Junction box. Small box used to contain wire connections.
Horizontal support member-commonly perpendicular to length of unit.
Jump Duct
HVAC ducting used to connect individual room to main area to transfer return air-eliminates need for return air duct to individual rooms.
Derived from fibrous plant native to India and the far East. It is shredded and spun into yarn which may be used as the backing yarn for woven carpets, or woven into a backing fabric for tufted carpets.


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Laminated Fiber Wallboard
Fiber board made in thin layers cemented together. It is used for paneling walls, ceilings, etc. and is made with a surface which is smooth, pebbled, painted or prepared for painting.
Laminated Wood
A piece of wood built up of laminations that have been joined either with glue or mechanical fastenings.
Lap Siding
(Clapboard) The finish siding on the exterior of a building. It is usually manufactured by dry square-surfaced boards diagonally to produce two wedge shaped places. These pieces commonly run from 3/16 inch thick on the thin edge to 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick on the other edge, depending on the width of the siding.
A bathroom sink.
Financing option in which the developer leases the land from the district for minimal amount ($1) then builds facility on land. District leases facility from developer for full price. Land lease ends when facility lease ends. Goal is to avoid bidding process and provide alternative to conventional financing.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - US Green Building Council Certification national measurement for the design, construction, & operation of high performance green buildings in the following areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection & indoor environmental quality.
Lighting Outlet
Connection to branch circuit, made in a protective box, to which a light fixture or lamp holder is directly attached or from which wires are extended to fixtures.
Load-Bearing Wall
Any wall which bears its own weight and the transferred load of other adjacent structural systems; part of the load path in a structural system.
A complete system including all the mechanical parts and accessories of a lock, such as knobs, reinforcing plates and protective escutcheons.
Low-E Coating
(Also known as: Low-emissivity) Coating applied to window glass surface to reduce the amount of infrared light transmitted.
Louvered Blind
Adjustable louvers on blinds to control the amount of shade or sunlight entering windows.


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Maintenance and Operations.
Main Disconnect
A mechanical means of completely shutting off electrical service to the entire building.
Make Up Air
The air that is brought into the building to compensate for air lost from bathroom exhaust fans and or hoods. Relative to static pressure.
A decorative facade, usually highly pitched frame attached at the eave line of a building.
Mansard Roof
A roof with two slopes or pitches on each of the four sides, the lower slopes steeper than the upper.
A brand name for a hardboard product having a variety of uses such as roofing, siding, paneling and door skins.
Mast-Weather Head
An exterior vertical raceway extending above the roof with electrical feeder conductors installed from the local power distributor.
Mating Beam
The beam on top of the mating wall for support of the roof system, or the beam in the floor system for mating of the two floors.
Metal Clad Fire Door
A flush door with a wood core or a heat insulating material covered with with sheet metal.
Metal Gutters
A type of attached gutter prefabricated of sheet metal.
Modular Building
A system of building construction where individual sections of the building are manufactured off-site in factories then transported to the final building site. Minor finish work is completed and the building sections are connected to the ground and utilities. Modular buildings range in size from single sections to hundred unit complexes and can utilize temporary or permanent foundation systems.
Single unit of multi unit building; the largest section which can be transported.
Mod Line
Joint where two modules meet.
An ornamental strip of material used at joints, cornices, bases, door and window trim, and most commonly made of wood, plaster, plastic or metal.
Moment Frame
Steel frame to support roof of building independent of exterior walls using steel columns on each of the four corners of module. The sheer stress is transferred to welded joists between vertical and horizontal frame members. Common in DSA buildings and used in conjunction with clear span trusses.
Mono-Pitch Truss
An assembly of lumber with a horizontal bottom chord and a pitched top cord, separated by diagonal web members and slopes to one side only.
Mop Sink
A low, deep sink used for janitors.
A mixture of cement, sand, lime and water used in masonry construction. Used in binding CMUs together.


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Narrow Light Door
A door with a narrow vertical window near the lock stile.
Non-Bearing Wall
A wall which merely separates space into rooms but does not carry overhead partitions or floor joist loads.
Nylon Fiber
A thermoplastic polyamide resin derived from coal tar base, air and water.


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Odd-Pitch Roof
A roof on which the rise is not an even fraction of the run, also called low slope.
Off-Site Construction
Structures built at a different location than the location of use. Construction occurs in a manufacturing plant specifically designed for this type of process. Individual modules of the building are constructed in the factory then transported to the site on specially designed trailers. Concrete foundations are dug into the earth allowing the building to be set at grade level eliminating the need for ramps and stairs. Once on site, the building will be installed onto a permanent foundation by fastening it to the ground and to other modules and covering and sealing the seams. These buildings meet all applicable building codes and are indistinguishable from traditional site built construction.
Operable Window
A window that may be opened and shut to accommodate ventilation needs, as opposed to a fixed light or fixed sash.
Office of Public School Construction California government agency which verifies applicant school districts meet specific criteria in order to receive funds for school construction. In addition OPSC makes recommendations to the SAB and is responsible for distribution of funds in accordance with SAB decisions.
Outrigger Frame
Chassis longitude (length) frame rails located inboard of tires (primarily used on commercial units designed to be moved more than once).
The projecting area of a roof or upper story beyond the plane of the lower wall.


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Packaged Air Conditioner
A factory assembled air conditioning unit ready for installation. The unit may be mounted in a window, an opening through a wall or on the building roof. These units may serve an individual room, a zone, or multiple zones.
Panel Box
The electrical box located on the wall where the incoming electrical service is connected and then distributed throughout the building.
Paneled Door
A door which consists of raised or indented panels. Also referred to as a "colonial door".
Panic Hardware
A door locking assembly that can be released quickly by pressure on a horizontal bar.
Parabolic Reflector
A reflector shaped to focus light in a controlled beam.
A protective low wall along the edge of a roof. That portion of any wall which extends above the roof line.
Particle Board
A composition board consisting of distinct particles of wood bonded together with a synthetic resin or other added binder.
Partition/Partition Wall
Interior walls used to define or create spaces such as rooms, closets, etc. Normally non-load bearing..
Pre Check Design or plan which has already been approved by California DSA.
Peaked Roof
A roof rising either to a point or ridge.
Pent Roof
A roof with a slope on one side only. Also called a shed roof.
Perforated paper joint tape approximately two inches wide; used to cover the joints in gypsum wall board.
Perimeter Frame
Chassis longitude (length) frame rails located outboard of tires (primarily used on units designed to remain in single location for longer periods)
Photovoltaic Panels
(Also known as: PV panels) Photovoltaic cells grouped together to produce electricity from solar energy.
A solid support of masonry construction.
Pile Height
The height of piles in a rug measured from the top surface of the backing to the top of the pile.
Pitched Roof
The most common type of roof, usually with slopes of more than 2 in 12 vertical to horizontal.
Chamber or space forming a part of an air conditioning system. A chamber into which air is blown for distribution through ducts.
A fabricated wood product constructed of three or more layers of veneer joined with glue, usually laid with grain of adjoining piles at right angles.
Prefabricated Buildings
Structures consisting of sections constructed in a location different than final use. Components can include panel systems, manufactured building sections and modular units.
Pre-Hung Door
A packaged unit consisting of a finished door mounted in a frame.
Timber used to support roof deck.


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A measure of a construction materials' ability to retard the flow of heat. The rating of insulation material. The higher the R-value, the higher the ability to insulate.
Radiant Heat System
(In Floor System) System in which heated fluid is circulated through tubes or passages embedded below surface of floor to indirectly warm building. Most efficient with concrete floors.
Raised Roof
Abrupt transition of roof from a given height to an increased height.
Ready-Mixed Concrete
Concrete manufactured for delivery to a project site in a plastic and unhardened state.
Recessed Lighting Fixture
A lamp fixture which has its bottom edge flush with the ceiling.
The appliance at the end of a duct for incoming or escaping air, sometimes used to direct airflow or control the volume of air passing through it.
Return Air Duct
Ducts through which the cold air or return air passes on its way back to the heating or cooling unit.
Ribbon Footing
(Grade Beam/Strip Footing) A narrow strip of concrete upon which walls are constructed.
The highest point on the roof or the highest point where more than one roof plane comes together.
Ridge Cap
The finishing touch on a gable roof system. It can be made of composition roofing or metal and extends the length of the building, folding over the two sides of the ridge.
Ridge Vent
Located at the ridge of a roof system. It is a sheet metal or plastic configuration designed to allow the air within the roof system to vent.
Rolled Roof (30ga)
Roof covered with smooth sheet of sheet metal.
Roofing Tiles
Steel, concrete, burnt-clay or asbestos-cement tiles for covering roofs. Tiles are of three general types: (a) plain tiles, (b) shingle-lap tiles, (c) Italian tiling or Spanish tiling.
Roof Overhang
A roof extension beyond the end wall/sidewall of a building.
Roof Pitch
The slope of a roof expressed as the ratio of the rise of the roof to the horizontal span. The angle that a roof surface makes with the horizontal. Usually expressed in units of vertical rise to 12 units of horizontal run.
Roof Ventilation
Available through gable vents, ridge vents or soffit vents; the act of allowing air to circulate within the roof or attic area.
Room Air Conditioner
(Through Wall AC) A factory encased air conditioner designed as a self contained unit for mounting in a window, through a wall, or as a console. It is designed for delivery of conditioned air to an enclosed space without ducts.


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State Allocation Board - California government agency responsible for allocation of state resources used for the new construction and modernization of local public school facilities and administration of the School Facility Program, the State Relocatable Classroom Program, and the Deferred Maintenance Program. The SAB is the policy level body for the programs administered by the OPSC.
Safety Glass
A laminate consisting of two or more sheets of flat glass, usually plate or sheet, with an intermediate layer of transparent plastic bonded together by a heat and pressure treatment.
The framework which holds the glass in a window or door.
Service Box
Within a building a metal box located at the point where the electric service conductors enter the building. The spot in the building where the electricity is brought into the building from the local power distribution center.
Service (Entrance) Equipment
Assembly or switches and switch-like devices which permit disconnecting all power, distributing it to various branch circuits through over current devices such as fuses or circuit breakers. Assembly of fuses or circuit breakers, with or without a disconnecting means, also is termed a distribution panel or panel board.
Service Panel
Same as the panel box or panel board.
Square Feet.
A hand-split wood shingle.
Shed Roof
A roof having a single sloping plane.
1. Roof or wall covering of asphalt, asbestos, wood, tile, slate or other material cut into stock lengths, widths and thicknesses.
2. A wedge-shaped piece of wood or other material used in overlapping courses to cover a roof or an outside wall surface.
Shingle Tile
A flat clay tile used for roofing.
Shop Sink
A deep sink set low on a wall used to clean mops and to empty and clean pails.
Shower Stall
The compartment and plumbing provided for bathing utilizing an overhead spray.
Side Light
One or a pair of narrow windows flanking a door.
Any type of exterior finish applied to the exterior wall.
Siding Shingles
Relatively small individual siding units which overlap each other to provide weather protection. They typically are applied to a nailing base, such as sheathing or horizontal nailing strips, which supports the shingles between structural framing members.
Single-Pitch Roof
A lean-to roof. It slopes in only one direction, also called a shed roof.
A plumbing fixture consisting of a water supply, a basin and a drain connection.
Skirt Board
(Skirting) A lower wall extension installed to enclose the underside of a temporary building that spans from the floor framing to the ground.
Sliding Sash
Any window that moves horizontally in grooves.
Project manual and specifications.
Split (AC) system
Compressor is located outside the building envelope and air handler/heater are located inside building.
Solid Core Door
1. A flush door with a solid core.
2. A fire-resisting door built with three thicknesses of tongued and grooved boarding, the inner one horizontal, the other ones vertical. Sometimes such a door is plated with sheet metal.
Soffit Vent
A perforated or louvered material attached to the tail of the truss and the sidewall to allow air movement within the truss system.
Solid Glass Door
A door in which the glass essentially provides all the structural strength.
(Trade Name) A circular pre-formed casing made of laminated paper used for forming cylindrical columns, piers or stems.
(Brand Name) Round skylight tube leading from roof lens to ceiling deflector.
Sound Rated Door
A door constructed to provide greater sound attenuation than that provided by a normal door, usually rated in terms of its sound transmission class (STC).
Special-Purpose Outlet
Point of connection to the electrical system for a particular piece of equipment, normally reserved for the exclusive use of the equipment, sometimes called a dedicated circuit.
Sprinkler System
An arrangement of overhead pipes equipped with sprinkler heads or nozzles. In case of fire these nozzles automatically release sprays of water.
Structural Safety.
Stable Door
(Dutch Door) A door cut through horizontally at about half its height with each half hung separately.
A color in a dissolving vehicle. When spread on an absorptive surface, it penetrates and gives its color to the wood or other material.
Standing Seam
This type of roofing is available in several variations of the seaming method. It makes the most watertight sheet metal roofing, and it should be used on roof slopes of less than 3" drop in a 12" run and is effective on slopes as slight as a 2" drop in a 12" run. Seams may be locked, double-locked, soldered, or welded.
Stem wall
Perimeter foundation of concrete or concrete block. Can be flush with grade or raised.
Storm Window
An extra window usually placed on the outside of an existing window as additional protection against cold weather.
Structural calculations.
Strip Lighting
A lighting assembly used to flood all or part of an area, consisting of a row of single lamps mounted in a trough with a reflecting hood.
Portland cement, water, sand and possibly a small quantity of lime (Portland cement plaster), along with, perhaps, other aggregates used on exterior surfaces.
Suspended Ceiling
Normally hung from the bottom chord of the truss or ceiling with wires, consisting of T-grid supports. The pattern is normally 2' x 4' with gypsum or mineral board acoustical ceiling tiles.
Switch Plate
A flush plate used to cover an electric switch.


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A registered trade name of the American Plywood Association for siding panels with special surface treatment, such as saw textured, and having grooves spaced regularly across the face.
Ceiling grid which supports ceiling tiles.
Tape & Texture
Treatment of gypsum sheetrock wall panels to smooth joints and add texture to surface.
Three Way Switch
(3 Way) Electrical wall switch used in tandem with another three way switch so fixture can be operated from either.
Tinted Glass
Made by a special process that involves the inclusion of certain admixtures to the glass batch. The result is a glass with the capacity for significantly lowering the transmission of solar heat through the glass in the building. At the same time the transmission of visible light is reduced to a degree that depends upon the particular tint and thickness of glass.
Toilet Partition
One of the panels forming a toilet enclosure.
Tongue & Groove
Sheeting, usually wood, in which one edge of the sheet is cut with a projecting tongue that fits into corresponding groove or recess in the edge of the next sheet.
Top Hung Window
A window hinged from the top, also called an awning style.
Top Plate
Horizontal framing member located at top of wall.
TPO Roof
(Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Single-ply roof membrane constructed from ethylene propylene rubber.
At right angles to the longitudinal axis of the building.


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Undercut Doors
The action or result of cutting away the bottom of the door. A door with greater than normal clearance at the floor to give more ventilation to an area.
A plumbing fixture designed for the collection of urine and equipped with a water supply for flushing.
United States Green Building Council - provides guidance and rating standards for green construction.


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Vinyl Composite Tile - 12” squares of semi flexible tile used on floors.
Vinyl Covered Gypsum - Gypsum (wall sheeting) covering with thin layer of vinyl.
Veneered Wall
A thick sheet of wood, single facing of masonry units or similar materials securely attached to a wall for the purpose of providing ornamentation, protection or insulation, but not bonded or attached to intentionally exert common action under load.
Structural cement-bonded particle board (CBPB) suited for the construction of fire-rated floor, roof, wall assemblies. Resists fire, moisture, mold, termites, impact, sound and abuse.
Manufacturer of VeriClad composite structural panels which are used as structural sub-floor or roof panel. Panels contain steel exterior with high density foam insulation inside.
View Lite
Small window in door.
Venetian Blind
A screen for doors or windows formed of horizontal slats supported on vertical strips of webbing. It is capable of being collapsed into a small space when raised, and the slats are movable to admit or exclude light.
Vertical Sliding
A type of exterior cladding consisting of side matched boards.
Vertical Sliding Window
A window with one or more sashes that move only in a vertical direction;also called single and double hung depending on how many sash sections are operable.
Vinyl Covered Tackboard
Wall panel covered with vinyl.
Volatile Organic Compound - Low VOC adhesives and paints emit lower levels of VOCs some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects when inhaled.


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Wall-Hung Water Closet
A water closet mounted on a wall so the area beneath is clear for cleaning.
Wall Mount (AC)
Self contained AC unit mounted on outside of building wall (commonly front wall)
A special paper, plain or printed, for pasting upon a smooth interior wall surface as decoration.
Water Closet
A plumbing fixture used to receive human waste and then allow for flushing to a waste pipe. Also called a "toilet".
Wood Molding
Wood strips factory-shaped in commercially available patterns.


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