Abbreviations or Building Industry Jargon for WA New Homes Part 2

Abbreviations or Building Industry Jargon for WA New Homes


Following on from our last post of abbreviations and jargon for the building industry of Western Australia, we have added to the list.

This list is by no means everything that you will find on our documents but a pretty extensive list.  If we’ve missed any and you are not sure what something means, give us a call on 9456 3366 or send us an email at and we’ll be only too happy to help.

Here are more of the terms you may come across when building; reading Building Plans; Contracts; Specifications; and Inspection Reports.

Abbreviations or Building Industry Jargon for WA New Homes

Back Charge

Examples of back charges include charges for clean-up work or to repair something damaged by another subcontractor, eg holes drilled in the wrong place.


To fill the earth, any remaining space after placing concrete, brickwork, timber, pipes etc in an excavation.

The replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement /crawl space foundation wall.


A method of finishing brickwork involving the application of a thin mortar slurry using a hessian bag or sponge.  Can be painted over or left to fade in an oxide finish.  Usually completed by the bricklayer.  Bagging varies greatly in texture and colour and is not uniform like render.

BAL (Bushfire Attack Level)

If you are in a BAL area, the level of the attack requirements will need to be added to your home, some of the items required are:

  • Ember proof flume vents included for BAL
  • Mesh covered weep hole inserts included to comply with BAL requirements
  • Anticon over the entire roof including all flashed areas to comply with BAL requirements
  • Ember kit for garage to comply with BAL requirements
  • Glazing & Flyscreens upgraded to comply with BAL requirements


A platform, enclosed by a railing or balustrade, projecting from the face of either an inside or outside wall of a building (e.g.  a gallery in a theatre).


A small post used to support a hand-rail.


A series of vertical members (balusters) supporting a handrail of a stair,

The rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.


Horizontal beam rafter that supports shorter rafters.

Barge board

The board covering the roof timbers on the gable or skillion end of a roof, fixed parallel to the roof slope.

A decorative board covering the projecting rafter (fly rafter) of the gable end.  At the cornice, this member is a fascia board.

Base shoe

Moulding used next to the floor on interior base board.  Sometimes called a carpet strip.


A section of fibreglass or Rockwool insulation measuring 15 or 23 inches wide by four to eight feet long and various thickness.  Sometimes "faced" (meaning to have a paper covering on one side) or "unfaced" (without paper).


Narrow strips of wood used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or wide boards.

Battle-axe Block

A battle-axe block is a block of land behind another block of land, with access from the street through a narrow drive.

Bay window

A window of varying shapes, projecting outward from the wall of a building, forming a recess in a room.

Any window space projecting outward from the walls of a building, either square or polygonal in plan.


Building and Construction Industry Training Fund


A moulding, generally of small size in cross section.


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

Bed joint

Horizontal joint in brickwork.


A subsurface layer of earth that is suitable to support a structure.

Benchmark (BM)

A fixed point of reference, the elevation of which is known and referred to during levelling operations.


An angle formed between two straight lines meeting at an angle other than 900.

Bifold door

Bifold doors are folding sliding doors, glass sliding doors and sliding room dividers. In its simplest term, a bifold is a door that slides open while its panels fold up and stack neatly against the wall – like a concertina.


Fibreglass or Rockwool insulation that comes in long rolls 15 or 23 inches wide.


See Benchmark.


Pattern for laying bricks so that none of the perpends are in line in adjacent courses, eg. Bricks are laid 3rd bond


A truck used to hoist heavy material up and into place.  To put trusses on a home or to set a heavy beam into place.


Diameter of centre hole in circular saw blade.


Several species of insects and larvae that tunnel into timber.


Deformation of timber at right angles to its face.


A member, usually a diagonal, which resists lateral loads and/or movements of a structure.

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.

Breaker panel

The electrical box that distributes electric power entering the home to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.

Brick build ups

A brick build up may be used as retaining on the boundary for example a garage or the house is to be built on the boundary and it is not structurally possible to put panels or precast retaining.

A concrete footing is poured on the boundary and a brick wall will be built to the floor level of the home, creating a brick build up and then the house or garage wall will be built on top of the brick build up.

Brick construction

A construction where the external and internal walls are built of brick

Brick lintel

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

Brick mould

Trim used around an exterior door jamb that siding butts to.

Brick tie

In framed or brick veneer construction, a brick tie is a small, corrugated metal strip inserted into the grout mortar joint of the brickwork, and holds the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it. In double brick construction a brick (wire tie) tie is inserted into the mortar to tie bricks together.

Brick veneer

  • Framed construction with an outside skin of brickwork tied to the frame.
  • A method of construction in which a single leaf of non-load bearing wall of brickwork is tied to a timber or metal framed load bearing structure to form the external enclosure.
  • A vertical facing of brick laid against and fastened to sheathing of a framed wall or tile wall construction.

Bricks - Blocks 

  • Common

Blocks or bricks used for building generally used for internal walls or external walls to be rendered.

  • Face

Best quality bricks used for face or external work, or for other special work.

Builder's Risk Insurance - (HII – Home Indemnity insurance)

Insurance that covers the project during construction.

The indemnity policy belongs to the property, not the Owners, and if the house is to be sold the certificate is required for settlement.

Building by-laws

Regulations by which local authorities control building construction.   No new building work or alteration of existing structures may be carried out unless these regulations are observed.

Building Codes

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

Building insurance

Also known as in course of construction Insurance covering the structure of the building.

Building line

A line established by the local council which is the minimum distance that must be maintained from the building to the street boundary.


A lowered, framed area of the ceiling, can be used as a decorative section or to carry pipework under an upper floor

Bull nose

Rounded edge, eg, bull nosed edge on window sills

Butt / mortise hinge

The most common type.  One side of the hinge attaches to the door's edge, the other to its jamb (frame).

Butt joint

The junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of drywall meet on the edge.  To place materials end-to-end or end-to-edge without overlapping.

Posted by Lee Grainger

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