Construction Terms P, Construction terminology P


Construction Terms P speaks to construction terminology P and construction phrases P.

It is quite simply a list of common home and commercial building construction terminology used by architects, consultants and contractors of all kinds enabling them to speak the same language.

Packaged Fireplace A factory built fireplace that is installed as a unit.

Padding A material installed under carpet to add foot comfort, isolate sound, and to prolong carpet life.

Pad Out, Pack Out To shim out or add strips of wood to a wall or ceiling in order that the finished ceiling/wall will appear correct.

Paint A combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or latex water based.

Construction Terms P

Pallets Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around.

Pan A form used to produce the cavity between joists in a one way concrete joist system.

Panel A thin flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material, framed by stiles and rails as in a door (or cabinet door), or fitted into grooves of thicker material with molded edges for decorative wall treatment.

Panel Door A wood door in which one or more thin panels are held by stiles and rails.

Construction Terms P

Panelized Construction A method of prefabricated wood light frame construction, in which whole sections of walls or floors are framed and sheathed in the factory and then transported to the construction site for erection.

Panic Hardware A mechanical device that opens a door automatically if pressure is exerted against the device from the interior of the building.

Paper, Building 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.

Parallel Strand Lumber (PSL) Structural composite lumber made of wood shreds oriented parallel to the long axis of each piece and bonded together with adhesive.

Parapet A wall placed at the edge of a roof to prevent people from falling off.

Parging Portland cement plaster applied over masonry to make it less permeable to water.

Construction Terms P

Partially Restrained Moment Connection A steel frame moment connection that is less rigid than a fully restrained moment connection but still possesses a usable degree of resistance to rotation. It was previously referred to as an AISC Type 3 connection.

Parting Stop or Strip A small wood piece used in the side and head jambs of double hung windows to separate the upper sash from the lower sash.

Particle Board Plywood substitute made of course sawdust that is mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlayment, stair treads, etc.

Partition A wall that subdivides spaces within any story of a building or room.

Construction Terms P

Passive Metal A metal relatively low on a galvanic series, tending to act as a cathode in galvanic couples, also called a noble metal.

Patterned Glass Glass into which a texture has been rolled during manufacture.

Pattern Rafter A wood rafter cut to size and shape and then used to trace cuts onto additional wood members so as to assure consistent dimensions among all rafters.

Paver A half thickness brick used as finished flooring.

Construction Terms P

Paver Paving Materials, commonly masonry, laid down to make a firm, even surface.

Payment Schedule A pre-agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work completed. Such a schedule may include a deposit prior to the start of work. There may also be a temporary 'retainer' (5-10% of the total cost of the job) at the end of the contract for correcting any small items which have not been completed or repaired.

PEC Pressure equalization chamber.

Pedestal A metal box installed at various locations along utility easements that contain electrical, telephone, or cable television switches and connections.

Pediment The gable end of a roof in classical architecture.

Construction Terms P

Penalty clause A provision in a contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a contract to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or for failure of the project to meet contract specifications.

Penetrometer A device for testing the resistance of a material to penetration, usually used to make a quick approximate determination of its compressive strength.

Penny As applied to nails, it originally indicated the price per hundred. The term now series as a measure of nail length and is abbreviated by the letter "d". Normally, 16d (16 "penny") nails are used for framing

Construction Terms P

Percolation Test Tests that a soil engineer performs on earth to determine the feasibility of installing a leech field type sewer system on a lot. A test to determine if the soil on a proposed building lot is capable of absorbing the liquid affluent from a septic system.

Performance bond An amount of money (usually 10% of the total price of a job) that a contractor must put on deposit with a governmental agency as an insurance policy that guarantees the contractors' proper and timely completion of a project or job.

Performance Grade A rating used to indicate the relative weather resistance of a window.

Perimeter drain 3" or 4" perforated plastic pipe that goes around the perimeter (either inside or outside) of a foundation wall (before backfill) and collects and diverts ground water away from the foundation. Generally, it is "daylighted" into a sump pit inside the home, and a sump pump is sometimes inserted into the pit to discharge any accumulation of water.

Periodic Kiln A kiln that is loaded and fired in discrete batches as differentiated from a tunnel kiln which is operated continuously.

Perlite Expanded volcanic glass used as a lightweight aggregate in concrete and plaster and as an insulating fill.

Construction Terms P

Perm A unit of vapor permeance, a measure of a materials to the diffusion of water vapor.

Permeability A measure of the ease with which water penetrates a material.

Permanent Formwork Concrete formwork that remains permanently in place after concrete is poured and cured and becomes part of the finished construction.

Permit A governmental municipal authorization to perform a building process as in:

Zoning\Use permit - Authorization to use a property for a specific use e.g. a garage, a single family residence etc.

Demolition permit - Authorization to tear down and remove an existing structure.

Grading permit - Authorization to change the contour of the land.

Septic permit - A health department authorization to build or modify a septic system.

Building permit - Authorization to build or modify a structure.

Electrical permit - A separate permit required for most electrical work.

Plumbing permit - A separate permit required for new plumbing and larger modifications of existing plumbing systems.

Photochromic Glass Glass that changes its optical properties in response to light intensity.

Photovoltaic Capable of converting light into electricity.

Construction Terms P

Pier A column of masonry, usually rectangular in horizontal cross section, used to support other structural members. Also see Caisson.

Construction Terms P

Pigment A powdered solid used in paint or enamel to give it a color.

Pigtails, Electrical The electric cord that the electrician provides and installs on an appliance such as a garbage disposal, dishwasher, or range hood.

Pilaster A vertical, integral, stiffening rib in a masonry or concrete wall.

Pile A long slender piece of material driven into the ground to act as an element of a foundation.

Pile Cap A thick slab of reinforced concrete poured across the top of a pile cluster to cause the cluster to act as a unit in supporting a column or grade beam.

Piledriver A machine for driving piles.

Construction Terms P

Pill Test A test of a flooring material’s propensity for flame spread when exposed to a burning tablet intended to simulate a dropped lit cigarette, match or similar hazard.

Pilot Hole A small-diameter, pre-drilled hole that guides a nail or screw.

Pilot Light A small, continuous flame (in a hot water heater, boiler, or furnace) that ignites gas or oil burners when needed.

Pintle A metal device used to transmit compressive forces between superimposed columns in Mill construction.

Pitch The incline slope of a roof or the ratio of the total rise to the total width of a house, i.e., a 6-foot rise and 24-foot width is a one-fourth pitch roof. Roof slope is expressed in the inches of rise, per foot of horizontal run.

Construction Terms P

Pitched Roof A sloping roof.

PITI Principal, interest, taxes and insurance (the four major components of monthly housing payments).

Pivoting Window A window that opens by rotating around its vertical centreline.

Plainsawing Sawing a log into dimension lumber without regard to the direction of the annual rings.

Plain Slicing Cutting a log into veneers without regard to the direction of the annual rings.

Plan An architectural drawing representing the layout of walls and floor areas as seen from above or ceilings as seen from below.

Planing Smoothing the surface of a piece of wood, stone or steel with a cutting blade.

Plank Flooring Solid wood finish flooring members 3 inches (75 mm) or more in width.

Plaster A cement material usually based on gypsum or Portland cement applied to lath or masonry in paste form to harden into a finish surface.

Plaster Screeds Intermittent spots or strips of plaster used to establish the level to which a large plaster service will be finished.

Plastic A synthetically produced giant molecule mostly based on carbon chemistry.

Construction Terms P

Plasticity The ability to retain a shape attained by pressure deformation.

Plastic Laminate Flooring A finish material for floors that consists of a thin decorative and wearing layer of melamine laminate glued to a wood composite substrate.

Plastic Lumber Lumberlike products with a plastic content of 50 percent or more.

Plastic Shrinkage Cracking Cracking in freshly mixed concrete most commonly in slabs that occurs when the surface of the concrete dries too rapidly.

Plate Normally a 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 that lays horizontally within a framed structure, such as:

Sill plate- A horizontal member anchored to a concrete or masonry wall.

Sole plate- Bottom horizontal member of a frame wall.

Top plate- Top horizontal member of a frame wall supporting ceiling joists, rafters, or other members.

Plate Girder A large beam made up of steel plates sometimes in combination with steel angles that are welded, bolted or riveted together.

Plate Glass Glass of high optical quality produced by grinding and polishing both faces of a glass sheet.

Platform Frame A wooden building frame composed of closely spaced members nominally 2 inches (51 mm) thick in which the wall members do not run past the floor framing members.

Plenum The main hot-air supply duct leading from a furnace. Also may be the space between the ceiling of a room and the structural floor above used as a passage for ductwork, piping and wiring.

Plot plan An overhead view plan that shows the location of the home on the lot. Includes all easements, property lines, set backs, and legal descriptions of the home. Provided by the surveyor.

Construction Terms P

Plough, plow To cut a lengthwise groove in a board or plank. An exterior handrail normally has a ploughed groove for hand gripping purposes

Plumb Exactly vertical and perpendicular.

Plumb Bob A lead weight attached to a string. It is the tool used in determining plumb.

Plumbing Boots Metal saddles used to strengthen a bearing wall/vertical stud(s) where a plumbing drain line has been cut through and installed.

Plumb Cut A saw cut that produces a vertical surface in a sloping, rafter after the rafter is in its final position.

Plumbing Ground The plumbing drain and waste lines that are installed beneath a basement floor.

Plumbing Jacks Sleeves that fit around drain and waste vent pipes at, and are nailed to, the roof sheeting.

Plumbing Rough Work performed by the plumbing contractor after the Rough Heat is installed. This work includes installing all plastic ABS drain and waste lines, copper water lines, bath tubs, shower pans, and gas piping to furnaces and fireplaces. Lead solder should not be used on copper piping.

Plumbing Stack A plumbing vent pipe that penetrates the roof.

Plumbing Trim Work performed by the plumbing contractor to get the home ready for a final plumbing inspection. Includes installing all toilets (water closets), hot water heaters, sinks, connecting all gas pipes to appliances, disposal, dishwasher, and all plumbing items.

Plumbing Up The process of making a steel building frame vertical and square.

Construction Terms P

Plumbing Waste Line Plastic pipe used to collect and drain sewage waste.

Ply A term to denote the number of layers of roofing felt, veneer in plywood, or layers in built-up materials, in any finished piece of such material.

Plywood A panel (normally 4' X 8') of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles to give the sheet strength.

Point Load A point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.

Pointing The process of applying mortar to the surface of a mortar joint after the masonry has been laid, either as a means of finishing the joint or to repair a defective joint. Raked mortar joints can also be pointed with elastomeric sealant.

Pointing Mortar Mortar used for the pointing of masonry joints generally of relatively low strength and with good wokability and adhesion characteristics.

Poke Through Fitting An electrical outlet that is installed by drilling a hole through a floor, inserting the outlet from above and bringing in the wiring from the plenum below.

Polybutene Tape A sticky, masticlike tape used to seal nonworking joints especially between glass and mullions.

Polycarbonate An extremely tough, strong usually transparent plastic used for window and skylight glazing, light fixture globes, door sills and other applications.

Polyethylene A thermoplastic widely used in sheet form for vapor retarders, moisture barriers and temporary construction coverings.

Construction Terms P

Polymer A large molecule composed of many identical chemical units.

Polypropylene A plastic formed by the polymerization of propylene.

Polystyrene Foam A thermoplastic foam with thermal with thermal insulating properties.

Polysulfide A high range gunnable sealant.

Polyurethane Any of a large group of resins and synthetic rubber compounds used in sealants, varnishes, insulating foams and roof membranes.

Polyurethane Foam A thermosetting foam with thermal insulating properties.

Polyvinyl Butyral Interlayer (PVB) A transparent plastic used in the fabrication of laminated glass.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) A thermoplastic material widely used in construction products, including plumbing pipes, floor tiles, wall coverings and roof membranes. They are called vinyl for short.

Ponding The accumulation of standing water on a low slope roof due to inadequate training.

Portal Frame A rigid frame, two columns and a beam attached to one another with moment connections.

Portland Cement A gray or white powder composed principally of calcium silicon which when combined with water hydrates to form the binder in concrete, mortar and stucco.

Post A vertical framing member usually designed to carry a beam. Often a 4" x 4", a 6" x 6", or a metal pipe with a flat plate on top and bottom.

Construction Terms P

Post and Beam A basic building method that uses just a few hefty posts and beams to support an entire structure. Contrasts with stud framing.

Post Tensioning Compressing the concrete in a structural member by tensioning high strength steel tendons against it after the concrete has cured.

Pour To cast concrete; an increment of concrete casting carried out without interruption.

Powder Coating A coating produced by applying a powder consisting of thermosetting resins and pigments adhered to the substrate by electrostatic attraction and fused into a continuous film in an oven.

Powder Driven Inserted by a gunlike tool using energy provided by an exploding charge of gunpowder.

Power Vent A vent that includes a fan to speed up air flow. Often installed on roofs.

Pozzolan A supplementary cement material such as fly ash, silica fume and some naturally occurring shales and clays that has few or no inherent cement properties but that in the presence of moisture can react with calcium hydroxide released by other cement materials to create a hydraulic cement product.

Precast Concrete Concrete cast and cured in a location other than in its final position in the structure.

Predecorated Gypsum Board Gypsum board finished at the factory with a decorative layer of paint, paper or plastic.

Prefabrication Construction that takes place in a factory or a shop rather than on the building site.

Preformed Cellular Tape Sealant A sealant inserted into a joint in the form of a compressed sponge impregnated with compounds that cure to form a watertight seal.

Preformed Joint Filler A strip of rubbery or spongelike material designed to fit snugly into a gap between two materials.

Preformed Solid Tape Sealant A sealant inserted into a joint in the form of a flexible strip of solid material.

Construction Terms P

Prehung Door A door that is hinged to its frame in a factory or shop.

Prescriptive Building Code A set of legal regulations that mandate specific construction details and practices rather than establish performance standards.

Preservative Any pesticide substance that, for a reasonable length of time, will prevent the action of wood-destroying fungi, insect borers, and similar destructive agents when the wood has been properly coated or impregnated with it. Normally an arsenic derivative. Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) is an example.

Preservative Treated Wood Wood that has been impregnated with preservative chemicals to increase its resistance to decay and biological attack.

Pressure Equalization Chamber (PEC) The wind pressurized cavity in a rain screen wall.

Pressure Equalized Wall Design Curtain wall design that relies on neutralization of wind pressures on both sides of an exterior cladding to control water entry into the wall system.

Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) A device mounted on a hot water heater or boiler which is designed to release any high steam pressure in the tank to prevent tank explosions.

Prestressed Concrete Concrete that has been pretensioned pr posttensioned.

Prestressing Applying an initial compressive stress to a concrete structural member either by pretensioning or postensioning.

Primer The first, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. A first coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats.

Prime Window A window unit that is made to be installed permanently in a building.

Priming Covering a surface with a coating that prepares it to accept another coating or sealant.

Principal The original amount of the loan, the capital.

Construction Terms P

Property Survey A survey to determine the boundaries of your property. The cost depends on the complexity of the survey.

Protected Membrane Roof (PMR) A membrane roof assembly in which the thermal insulation lies above the membrane.

Protection Board Semirigid sheet material used to cushion the outside of a foundation wall, particularly its waterproofing layer, from damage caused by rocks in the backfill material.

P Trap Curved, "U" section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through a fixtures water drain.

Pultrusion The process of producing a shaped linear element by pulling glass fibers through a bath of uncured plastic, then through a heated shaped die in which the plastic hardens.

Pump Mix Special concrete that will be used in a concrete pump. Generally, the mix has smaller rock aggregate than regular mix.

Punch List A list of discrepancies that need to be corrected by the contractor.

Punch Out To inspect and make a discrepancy list.

Punty A metal rod used in working with hot glass.

Purlin A beam that spans across the slope of a steep roof to support the roof decking.

Putty A type of dough used in sealing glass in the sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and for similar purposes.

PVC or CPVC Poly Vinyl Chloride: A type of white or light gray plastic pipe sometimes used for water supply lines and waste pipe.

Pyrolitic Coating A coating applied at a very high temperature.

Construction Terms P

Return from Construction Terms P to Home Page

Return from Construction Terms P to Construction Terminology

Hard copy and E book for sale. Introduction to Building Mechanical Systems. Click here.

Hard copy and E book for sale. What's Killing You and What You Can Do About It. A humourous look at ageing and disease. Click here.