A Glossary of Construction Terminology

Feeling overwhelmed with the construction jargon? Let us help you out with our glossary of terms!

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When you’re deciding to renovate your home, there may be lots of different lingo you need to get to grips with, so we’ve compiled a glossary of the most common construction terms so you can make sense of your new project. 


Someone who designs the blueprints of a building, paying attention to everything from the overall design to how people use the home and all of the interior electronics and plumbing. 


This stands for Contractors All Risk and is a form of insurance specially designed for construction projects and building works. It can include everything such as public, product and employer’s liability. 

Cessation of Works

This is a time period of around 30-60 days where no contractors have been operating on a building site and all works have stopped.

CFA Piling

This is a type of piling used to lay the foundations of a building with huge concrete piles for stability. It stands for Continuous Flight Auguring and is a common method used on buildings sites. 

Contract Value

The total price being paid for all the works being carried out on a property. It should be an all-encompassing figure taking into account any changes and subsidiary valuations too. 

Dilapidation Report

Also known as a Schedule of Condition report, this important document is needed before carrying out work on a property in a state of disrepair to assure the workers of its safety. 

Direct Purchases

These are extras not included in the main contract which are purchased directly by the employer and can include fixtures and fittings as well as exterior vanity projects such as a driveway. 


This stands for Employer’s Liability and is a type of insurance designed to cover all of the workers on a building site if they are injured during work or become sick as a direct result of their employment


This is the owner of any property who is commissioning the building work. They will be paying for all of the building work to take place and sign the contract with the building team.


The act of digging down into the ground in order to remove soil or rocks to lay a proper foundation or to lay electrical wires or pipes to and from the property, or underfloor heating.  

Existing Structure

This refers to all of the property which is currently standing at the time works commence, for example the house would be the existing structure if a conservatory is being added. 

Foundation Types

This is the lowest section of a building, usually at or below the level of the ground, which forms the main base of stability for a property, for example underground concrete padstone.


This stands for Joint Contract Tribunal and it is an organisation which created a contract to be used that defines the working relationship between the contractors on a project and the employer

Joint Names

Multiple parties can be named on a contract of insurance, and it is usually the employers name and the name of the contractor who is responsible for the works being undertaken. 


This refers exclusively to the exterior beautification of a site and includes everything from grassed areas and planting to driveways and paths outside of the property. 

Load Bearing Walls

These refer to main walls on the inside or outside of a building which are responsible for taking the stresses and pressures of the rest of the construction.

Method Statements

This is the details of the way in which a certain aspect of the project will be carried out by the contractor. It is agreed upon usually by the architect and/or project manager. 


Short for non-negligent party wall insurance, sometimes referred to simply by the clause numbers 21.2.1 or 6.5.3, is insurance that protect from damage to a neighbouring property. 

Party Wall

In its simplest form, this refers to a wall which is shared by two or more people, for example the middle wall between a semi-detached property, or a boundary fence. 

Party Wall Act

This act was created in 1996 to prevent disputes when building work takes place at or near a boundary and includes clauses related to excavations and other close buildings. 

Party Wall Agreement

When two parties share a wall, this is an agreement that protects the two sides when it comes to various obligations arising from the shared use of the wall. 

Performance Bond

A type of surety bond created by a bank or an insurer which ensures project completion to a suitable standard by the contractor. 


Professional Indemnity insurance is designed to protect the holder against anyone making claims regarding damages or losses by a third party caused by acting negligently on the site.


Public Liability insurance is necessary when working on just about any project, as it can cover claims by the general public should they be injured or suffer loss as a result of your operations.


The general name for the equipment used on a buildings site. It can be owned by the contractor or hired, and includes machinery such as diggers, excavators, generators and forklifts.

Practical Completion

This describes the status of a project when all of the work outlined in the original contract has been finished and certified as so by the employer. 

Practical Completion Certificate

Once this has been issued, the responsibility for any further losses or damage to the project transfers to the employer from the contractor and his team. 

Schedule of Works

This is a description of every aspect of construction to be undertaken on a certain project, and is usually agreed upon by the project manager, employer and contractor beforehand. 

Structural Engineer

A person who is responsible for every aspect of the plan and design of the building to ensure it is capable of bearing loads to the required level. 


This is the process of reaching out to contractors to get a quote for the building works. It can also be used to describe the quotations of products from suppliers. 
If you’re planning a renovation project, the team here at Refresh Renovations will always ensure you’re kept in the loop regarding construction terminology so you can understand every aspect of your project from start to finish. Get in touch today and get the ball rolling on your next planned renovation!

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