Glossary

Accessibility Audit

The examination of existing buildings, or proposals for building works against criteria to assess their usability at the early design stage, against the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. See ‘Access consultancy’.

A/C Rates

Air change rates; the number of times the volume of air is changed over a period of time - normally 1hr

ACB

Air Circuit Breaker, usually found as a main circuit breaker to switchboards connected to the incoming main.

Access Consultancy

Providing professional advice to meet the legislative requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

Access Statements

A statement, usually with a building control or planning application, which explains why you have decided to adopt particular solutions to meet the regulatory requirements for accessibility.

ACM

Asbestos containing material.

Acquisition

The purchase or procurement of real estate.

Adjudication

A legal process in which an adjudicator reviews evidence from the opposing parties to come to a decision on the rights of the parties involved without involving the courts. This decision is binding unless subsequent arbitration or litigation is involved. Adjudication is a relatively quick process - the award must be made within 28 days of the case being referred to the adjudicator.

Agreement to Lease

A binding agreement setting out the rights and obligations between a landlord and tenant before entering into a lease.

AHU

Air Handling Unit, required to deliver filtered and tempered fresh air to a building.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Procedures for settling disputes by means other than litigation. Examples include arbitration, conciliation, mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution.

Arbitration

The in-depth dispute resolution method between conflicting parties controlled by an arbitrator. An arbitrator, an independent person to whom the parties have referred their dispute, is controlled by Common Law or Statute. The determination is agreed by both parties and is based on the legal rights of the parties.

Asbestos

A carcinogenic fibrous material that comes in three principal types (Amosite, Crocidolite and Chrysotile)) and was formerly used as a construction material. The use, supply and importation of asbestos and asbestos containing materials has been banned for all but a few exceptions by the Asbestos (Prohibition) Regulations. Common uses in buildings included: asbestos cement board, corrugated roofing sheets, pipe lagging and other insulation, Artex ceiling coating, floor tiles, flash guards in older electrical equipment.

Asbestos Register

A document containing the results of an asbestos survey. The document highlights the location, type and condition of asbestos products within a property. The register must be accessible to all users and contractors at the property, including the emergency services.

Asbestos Survey

Survey to determine presence, type and condition of asbestos containing materials within premises. There are now two types of survey: Management survey (formerly ‘Type 1’ and ‘Type 2’) and Refurbishment and Demolition survey (formerly ‘Type 3’).

Assignment (Property)

Where the lessee parts with his whole interest to the purchaser (assignee) who assumes his place. Such an assignee is bound, as long as he holds the leasehold interest, to observe and perform all the covenants binding on the assignor (vendor) contained within the lease.

Assignment (Contract)

The transfer of rights under the Contract by one Party to a third person. Contractual rights can be assigned, but not burdens.

Base Date

The Base Date is stated in the building contract particulars and is often about 7 days before the date of submission of tenders. The main purpose of the Base Date is determining what fluctuations are payable, if applicable.

Batt

A semi-compressed fibrous material board or slab used for the insulation of roofs, walls and ceilings.

BIM

Building Information Modelling: Involves the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility, for use as a shared information resource through design, construction, use and eventual disposal of the structure/building.

Biomass

Renewable organic matter that can be used as fuel. It is living or recently dead material – wood and other plant matter, or even animal waste.

BMS

A Building Management System is a computer-based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors its mechanical and electrical equipment such as lighting, power and security systems.

Boundary

The line that separates a property’s ownership from its neighbours.

Boundary Disputes

The dispute between two neighbouring property owners over the legal position of the boundary between them. See ‘Neighbourly issues’.

Breach of Covenant

The failure of either party to comply with a covenant of their lease.

Break Clause

The contractural entitlement in a lease for one party (or both) to terminate the lease prior to the expiry date. Lease break provisons will have certain conditions attached that, as a minimum, normally comprise the payment of rent, insurance etc and yielding up of the demise with vacanct possession. Often, the clause may contain more onerous conditions that need to be met.

Breather Membrane

Repels water that penetrates an outer cladding material but is permeable to water vapour escaping from the interior of a structure.

Brick slips

Thin sections of brick, used to cover over the semi-protruding face of the structure behind, whilst giving the appearance of continuous brickwork. Brick slips often fail due to inadequate fixing, or failure of the fixings, or inadequate/omitted movement joints. Brick slips are still used, but the mechanical fixing must be corrosion resistant and have a design life not less than that of the brick slip.

Buildability

Advice or methods to reduce construction problems and costs, and make the work itself more straightforward and safe.

Building Condition Survey

A comprehensive and detailed inspection reporting on the condition of a property. Refer to RICS Guidance Note.

Building Owner (under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996)

Means an owner of land who wishes to exercise rights under the Party Wall Etc Act 1996.

Building Performance Evaluation

Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) is a form of Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) that can be used at any point in a building's life to assess its energy performance, occupant comfort and make comparisons with design targets.

Building Pathology

The critical examination and diagnostic evaluation of building defects.

Building Survey

An inspection and written report detailing the construction of a property and all its defects. Commonly referred to as "Pre-acquisition" or "Structural Survey" but now developing into "Technical Due Diligence Survey". Refer to RICS Guidance Note.

Built Environment

The man-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelters to neighbourhoods to large-scale civic surroundings.

Built up Felt Roofing

Describes systems of rolled bituminous felt roof coverings comprising 2 or more layers, usually a base layer as a vapour control layer, an underlayer and a mineral-faced cap sheet. Insulation can be incorporated within the build-up.

Bulkhead

A lowered part of a ceiling, usually to accommodate structures and services.

CAD

Computer assisted design.

Calorifier

Vessel for heating a liquid, normally via another medium such as steam or hot water. A domestic hot water cylinder is a typical example.

Cantilever

A structural member, which is fixed at one end and is free at the other.

Capital Allowances

A capital allowance is effectively a reduction in the level of corporation tax whereby a certain percentage of the capital asset's cost is permitted as a capital allowance to be set against the tax liability during the accounting period in which it was purchased.

Capital Value

The value of an asset as distinct from its rental value.

Carbon capture

Carbon capture, carbon sequestration and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are all terms to describe relatively new technologies designed to let major producers of CO2 emissions, such as fossil fuel burning power stations, prevent the CO2 they create being released into the atmosphere. Instead, it is stored by being injected into underground or undersea geological formations.

Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust is a world-leading organisation helping businesses, governments and the public sector to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy through carbon reduction, energy-saving strategies and commercialising low carbon technologies. The trust receives government funding and then offers low cost finance (they do not actually provide grants) to business to assist them in lowering their energy usage. These loans are termed as Energy Efficiency Financing. In Wales and Nothern Ireland the loans are interest free.

Cavity Fill

Retrospective injection of insulation into the cavity of a cavity wall to increase the thermal insultation of the wall.

CCTV

Closed Circuit Television. Often used in security systems in and around buildings. Also often used to investigate the condition of underground drainage pipework.

CFC

Chloroflurocarbons eg R11 and R12, banned from use in refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) equipment. These most harmful ozone-depleting substances (e.g. CFCs like R12) were banned in the 1990s.

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, Lighting Guide 3 or ‘CIBSE LG3’

This is the current recommended direct lighting standard in open plan offices. This replaces Lighting Guide 3 (LG3) and is more properly known as the Society of Light and Lighting SLL LG7.

Chartered Surveyors Training Trust

The Trust recruits young people with a good standard of basic qualifications straight from schools and careers services. Contact your local careers adviser to find out if your school or college is affiliated with the Trust.

Chilled Beams (active)

Active chilled beams operate in the same principle as the passive with the exception of having fresh air ducted to it. Rather than air being drawn into the beam by buoyancy it is induced by the ducted air.

Chilled Beams (passive)

Long rectangular units located at high level circulate chilled water in finned pipes and provide cooling. Convection occurs with warm rising air being cooled by the chilled beams.  

CHP - Combined heat and power

Also referred to as cogeneration (or cogen), a system that recovers the heat produced as a by-product of electricity generation instead of simply venting it via cooling towers. This recovered heat can then be used for domestic or industrial heating close to the plant.

CHW

Chilled Water, associated with cooling systems, typically circulated via pumps to chillers and terminal units that condition space temperature.

CIBSE

Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers is the standard setter and authority on building services engineering.

Client (CDM Regulations 2015)

Organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out.  Under the CDM Regulations 2015 this includes domestic clients.

Cold Deck Roof

Flat or low pitched roof with the thermal insulation below the deck so the deck is not warmed by the building. They usually have an airspace above the insulation. A vapour control layer beneath the thermal insulation reduces the risk of condensation occurring on the underside of the weatherproof layer, but difficulties in the integrity of the vapour control layer leads to the need to ventilate the air space to reduce risk of condensation.

Collateral Warranty

A contract which grants a third party rights collateral to rights which exist under a contract entered into by two other, separate parties, such as a right to claim for breach of contract. For example, on a building project, the main contractor, sub contractor and consultants have a direct contract with a developer, but also enter into a collateral warranty with subsequent purchasers or tenants. See ‘Contracts (Rights of Third Parties Act) 1999’.

Commissioning

Documented process of verifying that equipment and systems are installed according to specifications, placing them into active service and verifying proper operation

Competency

This was a major feature of the CDM Regulations 2007 but has been replaced as an express requirement under CDM Regulations 2015 by the requirement for appointees to have the skills, knowledge and experience, and if they are an organisation, the organisational capability, necessary to fulfil the role they are appointed to (or under consideration for appointment to) undertake.

Composite Panel

Prefabricated Cladding panels consisting of a sandwich of insulation material, between an inner and outer metal or plastic skin. They have been used in the internal and external construction of commercial buildings, particularly food-related premises, for at least the last 20 years. Certain types of insulation used in the core of the panels are highly flammable and if there is a fire, it can spread very quickly between the outer skins. Many insurance companies are now increasing the cost of cover to premises containing some types of composite panel.

Composite Concrete Suspended Floor Slab

A simple cost effective form of suspended floor construction comprising a profiled metal deck providing permanent framework for an in-situ concrete slab.

Composite Roof Panel

Prefabricated bonded composite insulated roof sheet panel with a single ply roof membrane bonded to the panel off-site. Membrane joints are hot welded on site. The panels have a metal tray liner soffit.

Condensing boiler

A condensing boiler captures and uses energy contained in the water vapour given off when gas or oil is burned. In a non-condensing boiler this vapour leaves via a heat-resistant gas tube, or flue, and its energy is wasted. A condensing boiler cools the combustion gases sufficiently that the water vapour condenses back into liquid and its heat is recaptured.

Conservation area

Areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. These areas are designated by the local planning authority. 

Construction Act

The Construction Act defines construction contracts. It gives parties to the construction contract obligations and rights which cannot be removed, regardless of the contract terms.

Construction Design & Management Regulations 2015

Regulations covering the management of health, safety and welfare when carrying out construction projects, setting out the legal duty holders and their duties.  They replace the previous CDM Regulations 2007, doing away with the old “CDM Coordinator” role from the 2007 Regulations and introduces the new role of “Principal Designer”.  They came into force on 6 April 2015 and contained transitional provisions covering the period up until 5 October 2015, after which the new regulations have applied in full.  Guidance can be found in HSE Books Publication “L153 – Managing Health & Safety in Construction” published in 2015.

Construction Joint

A joint made during the placing of concrete for convenience of working or to allow for shrinkage of bays.

Contingency Sum

A figure that is included within the cost of a project, to allow for any uncertainty which may arise during the works. See also ‘PC Sum’ and ‘Provisional Sum’.

Contract Administrator

Engaged by the Employer to advise on and administer the Contract. The Contract Administrator (CA) is paid by the Employer and advises the Employer on all matters in connection with the building work. The CA administers the Contract on behalf of the Employer. However in the following matters he acts independently as between the Employer and the Contractor:

  • in issuing payment certificates;
  • in valuing any variations or any work instructed in respect of Provisional Sums included in the Contract Documents;
  • in giving any extension to the time stated in the Contract Particulars for the completion of the building work;
  • in certifying the date of practical completion and the date when in his opinion all defects which appear during the Rectification Period have been made good.

Contract Instructions

Under the Contract only the Contract Administrator can issue instructions to the Contractor; although the Employer is paying for the building work he is not entitled to give any instructions direct to the Contractor in connection with it. If the Employer wishes to make any change to the work or the manner in which it is being carried out, he must ask the Contract Administrator to give the necessary instructions to the Contractor.

Contracts (Rights of Third Parties Act) 1999

This Act allows third parties to be conferred rights under a contract to which they are not a party. However, the burden of the contract cannot be conveyed to a third party under the Act. The Act applies to contracts entered into after 11 May 2000. For contracts entered into between 11 November 1999 and 10 May 2000, the Act only applies if the contract so provides. A third party may enforce the terms of the contract if: (1) The contract expressly provides for it, or (2) The term purports to confer benefit on the third party unless it appears that the parties did not intend the term to be enforceable by the third party. See ‘Collateral warranty’.

Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (CAWR)

Legislation that provides an explict duty to manage asbestos. The duty is on all those who have responsibility for the maintenance and/or repair of non-domestic premises. See ‘Asbestos consultancy’.

COP

'Coefficient of Performance' of a refrigeration machine is the ratio of the energy removed at the evaporator (refrigeration effect) to the energy supplied to the compressor.

Covenant

A written agreement (generally a clause within a lease) between two or more persons, whereby either party promises to perform or give something to the other or abstain from the performance of certain things, i.e. repair, reinstatement of alterations etc.

Crane Oversail Licence

A licence to allow a tower crane jib to oversail adjoining property. The licence will usually indemnify the adjoining property owners from any damage and may compensate them. See ‘Neighbourly issues’.

Cross Over

The driveway section outside the front of a building and in the public road.

CT

Constant Temperature, used to define Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW) systems that deliver a constant supply temperature to a heating circuit.

Curtain Wall

A non-load-bearing wall, often of glass and steel or aluminium framing, fixed to the outside of a building as a cladding.

CWS

Cold Water Services, can also be prefixed with a D to define a domestic scenario.

Damp Proof Course (DPC)

A layer of impervious material placed in a masonry wall at floor or wall junctions to prevent the migration of moisture.

Damp Proof Membrane

A water and vapour proof membrane laid under solid floors and connected to the DPC to prevent the migration of water into a building.

Date for Completion/Completion Date

The date by which the Contractor is required to finish the work. This is the date stated in the Contract Particulars or as extended by the Contract Administrator.

Date of practical completion

The date certified by the Contract Administrator when in his opinion the Contractor actually finishes the work to all practical intents and purposes.

Day One Insurance Cover

A modern and cheaper method of insurance reinstatement cover for buildings, avoiding the need to predict inflation over the year of cover (the last day being the worst case loss) and over to the period to demolish, redesign, procure and rebuild. The sum insured is based upon a professional Reinstatement Cost Assessment (RCA) at the last day of cover (Day One). See ‘Reinstatement cost assessments’.

DBA

Decibels weighted to the 'A' scale, used to measure a perceived level of noise.

DDC

Direct Digital Control is the terminology used to define the various architectures, hardware components and software associated with Energy Management Systems (EMS) or Building Management Systems (BMS).

Dead Leg

A short section of pipe in a water generation or distribution system through which water does not circulate.

DEC

A Display Energy Certificate (DEC) is required for all public buildings and those occupied by public authorities which have a total useful area greater than 1000m2 and provide a public service to a large number of people and therefore frequently visited by those people (e.g. a school, hospital, government or local authority building).

Defect Rectification Period

Defects in the work which appear during the Rectification Period are required to be put right by the Contractor before he is entitled to be paid the balance of the monies due to him under the Contract.  Formerly known as the Defects Liability Period.

Defined-movement Area

An area defined within warehouses where material handling equipment (MHE) uses fixed paths, usually between high-level storage racking. Regularity of the floor is critical in these areas. See ‘Free-movement areas’.

Deleterious Materials

‘Harmful’ materials. When relating to buildings they generally include: (1) High Alumina cement (HAC) (2) Asbestos (3) Chlorides (4) Woodwool slabs as permanent shuttering. Lists of deleterious materials can be far more extensive.

Demise

This is the whole area included and governed by the lease.

Design and Build

A construction procurement method where the contractor is employed to design a building using predefined criteria and also build it.  With this form of procurement, the contractor takes on the design and construction risks. However, any client changes will attract a cost premium. There are slight variations on this procurement route, including ‘develop and construct’ and ‘design, build and operate’. The client should employ an ‘employers agent’ to manage the process. Collateral warranties are usually required from the design team to the client, future purchasers or tenants. See ‘Develop and construct’, ‘Design, build and operate’, ‘employer’s agent’ and ‘Collateral warranty’.

Design, Build and Operate

A construction procurement method where the contractor designs and constructs a building as well as operating, maintaining and servicing the building for a pre-agreed fee once completed.

Designers (CDM Regulations 2007)

Those, who as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work, or arranges for, or instructs, any person under their control to do so.  This can include clients and contractors or other person referred to in the regulations.

Develop and Construct

A construction procurement method where the client designs a building up to say, scheme design stage, and then the contractor takes responsibility to develop the scheme to detailed design and construct the building. See ‘Collateral warranty’.

Development Monitoring

This is the monitoring of the performance of a third party implementing a development/building project in accordance with the terms of a JV/Partnership or Funding Agreement.Tuffin Ferraby Taylor have completed numerous monitoring and managing projects for various parties including tenants and funding institutions. Now often referred to as Technical Due Diligence Project Monitoring.

Differential Settlement

The uneven settlement of different parts of a building.

Diffuser (lighting)

A device on a light fitting to scatter light and reduce glare.

Dilapidations

'Dilapidations' concerns properties that have fallen into disrepair, where the landlord or tenant has an obligation under their lease to carry out repairs or to meet the cost.The law relating to dilapidations is complex and often changes because of case law. Refer to RICS Guidance Note

Dilapidations Liability Assessment

An assessment to assist a landlord or tenant in considering what liability there is likely to be for dilapidations to the demise. It may be used by a tenant who is considering surrending a lease or activating a break clause, and needs to assess the costs of meeting their dilapidations liability. The surveyor will consider the condition of the demise in relation to the repairing obligations in the lease and prepare a financial assessment of the likely liability and a strategy to mitigate a claim.

Dilapidations Protocol

A framework (set out by the Property Litigation Association) by which claims for dilapidations at the end of a lease should be handled. This is designed to encourage the parties to a dispute to exchange full information, in a bid to settle a dispute without the need for litigation.

Diminution valuation

A report prepared by valuation surveyors to calculate the resultant reduction in value of a property asset caused by the breaches of a tenant’s repairing covenant. This valuation can, in certain circumstances, limit the liability of a tenant in a dilapidations claim. (Also see ‘Section 18 (1) of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1927’.)

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

This legislation aims to end the discrimination which many disabled people face. This Act gives disabled people rights in the areas of: (1) employment (2) access to goods, facilities and services (3) buying or renting land or property. Superseeded by the Equality Act 2010.

Domestic subcontractor

A sub-contractor employed directly by the main contractor to undertake part of the works. A domestic subcontractor must be freely selected by the contractor from a list of at least three sub-contractors.

Due Diligence Survey

An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts concerning a sale. 

DX

Direct Expansion refrigeration equipment which can provide heating or cooling, typically comprising of an indoor and outdoor unit linked by pipework

Employer’s Agent

Employer’s Agent Acts as an advisor for the employer under a Design and Build Contract. See ‘Design and build’, ‘Develop and construct’. The duties are predominantly monitoring of the works, costs and time, setting performance standards and specific contract duties.

Ener Phit

The “Passiv haus” concept , attributed to both residential and commercial property is a strigent assessment of new build ( or retrofit via “Ener phit” schemes for existing property) and strives for super insulated buildings (roughly double or treble for an average development to achieve limited space heating down to 15kwh/m2/annum), excellent heat recovery and ventilation (75% efficient heat exchanger and fans at less than 0.45 whm3), an air tightness layer (air tightness of 0.6 air changes @50 pascals), almost no thermal bridging (less than0.15w/m2k for opaque fabric and 0.8w/mk for windows/ doors), thermal bridging down to 0.01w/m2Kelvin) and an efficient building fabric in regards footprint shape and orientation (to take advantage of solar gain to reduce heating in the shoulder months of winter)

Energy Audit

An assessment of energy usage and wastage, giving energy saving recommendations.

Energy efficiency

Something that is energy efficient achieves the greatest useful output for the least expenditure of energy, or improves the ratio between the two. For example, energy efficient car engines improve the car’s fuel economy.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

A European Commission Directive to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the EU through cost effective measures; and to promote the convergence of building standards towards those of Member States which already have ambitious levels. Member States must implement the Directive by 04 January 2006.

EPC

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates both the energy efficiency and environmental impact (C02 emissions) of a property.  From 6 April 2008, energy performance certificates were introduced in England and Wales for non-dwellings over 10,000m2 whenever they are built, sold or rented. A lower limit of 2,500m2 was introduced on 1st July 2008, and from 1st October 2008 all properties - homes, commercial and public buildings – when built, sold, or rented, require an EPC. (A different timetable and/or laws apply in Northern Ireland and Scotland.)

Expert Witness

A person with a specialism, knowledge or skill in a subject, whom a court will accept to attest to facts and give an opinion.

Extension of Time

If building works will not be completed by the date of completion, for reasons beyond the control of the contractor, the architect/contract administrator shall give a reasonable extension of time for the works to be completed. The parties should be notified accordingly.

F Gas Regulations

The F-Gas Regulation, regulation (EC) No 842/2006, aims to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases through the better management of refrigerant use and disposal.

Faience

Glazed terracotta or China clay cladding to buildings, which was very popular in the 1920’s.

Fast-track

To accelerate and complete a project or task the quickest and most direct way.

FCU

Fan Coil Unit. Used to condition room temperature by blowing room air over a coil(s) and can be either 4 pipe (heating and cooling coil) or 2 pipe (either heating or cooling).

Feasibility Study

A study to look at all the viable options for a construction project, including spatial requirements, costs, programme, risks and delivery strategies.

Fenestration

A term for windows/glazing.

Fibre-reinforced Concrete

The use of synthetic fibres, in lieu of steel reinforcement bars/mesh, within an industrial concrete floor to either enhance the structural (load-bearing) capacity or to control shrinkage-induced cracking.

Financial Reporting Standard 12 (FRS12)

An accountancy requirement to include provision on the balance sheet for liability arising from a present obligation that is of uncertain timing or amount. The amount must be a best estimate of sum required to settle the obligation. Liability for dilapidations is a primary example and a dilapidations liability assessment can used to calculate the ‘best estimate’.

Fire Precautions Act 1971

Under this Act, certain types of premises are required to hold a fire certificate. Hotels and boarding houses require a fire certificate if sleeping accommodation is provided for more than six people or if they provide sleeping accommodation elsewhere other than on the ground or first floor. Factories, offices, shops and railway premises require a fire certificate if more than 20 people are at work at any one time or 10 people work elsewhere other than on the ground floor.The fire authority inspects the property and prepares the fire certificate.This legislation is being phased out. See ‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2004’ and ‘The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (Amended)’.

Foundation (the Party Wall Etc Act 1996)

In relation to a wall, means the solid ground or artificially formed support resting on solid ground on which the wall rests.

Free-cooling

Use of outside air, when suitable to cool a space rather than use of a chiller.

Freehold

An estate held in perpetuity.

Free-movement Areas

A distinct traffic area in a warehouse for material handling equipment (MHE). Free movement areas define that MHE can travel randomly in any direction. Regularity of the floor is not as critical in these areas as compared to defined-movement areas. See ‘Defined-movement areas’.

Full Repairing And Insuring (FRI) Lease

A lease under which the tenant is responsible for all repairs and insurance during their lease term. Anyone contemplating taking on a FRI lease needs to ensure the risks are fully reviewed by means of a building survey. See ‘Building condition survey’ and ‘Technical Due Diligence Survey’.

Fund Monitoring

The monitoring of a construction project on behalf of a person or company that is funding the development. See ‘Development monitoring’.

Glass And Glazing Regulations

There are numerous regulations and requirements for glazing within buildings. The main Regulations are Approved Document N of the Building Regulations 1991 and BS 6206:1981. Glazing panels can be tested by a number of ways such as photographic technique, Raman characterisation and laser scanning. A new method, which can test the glazing in place, is by light coupling and scattering. See ‘Building condition survey’ and ‘Technical Due Diligence Survey’.

Greenhouse gases (GHG)

Greenhouse gases raise the Earth’s temperature through the greenhouse effect. There are six main examples. As well as CO2, they include: water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). CFCs include sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

Grey water

Grey water is waste water from baths, showers, washing machines, dishwashers and so on – in other words, water that has been used in the home but does not contain bodily waste – which can be re-used for lawn and garden irrigation or for flushing toilets, for example.

Gross External Area (GEA)

This includes walls, plant rooms and outbuildings, but excludes external balconies and terraces. This is fully defined in the RICS Code of Measuring Practice.

Gross Internal Area (GIA)

The entire area inside the external walls of a building and includes corridors, lifts, plant rooms, service accommodation e.g., toilets, but excludes internal walls. This is fully defined in the RICS Code of Measuring Practice.

HCFC's

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons e.g, R22, R123, R124.  New equipment using less harmful “transitional” HCFC refrigerants like R22 was banned in 2001 (or 2004 for small air-conditioning systems). Since 1 January 2010 it is illegal to use virgin HCFCs to service and maintain existing refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) equipment.  From 1 January 2015 it is illegal to use recycled or reclaimed HCFCs to service RAC equipment.

Heads Of Terms

Statement of agreement setting out the principal terms of a commercial property transaction. It is the intention to make this document the basis of a formal contract.

Health & Safety File

Document or series of documents containing relevant information about the project which should be taken into account when any construction work is carried out on the building after the current project has finished.  The information included in the file should only be that necessary to plan and undertake future work safely and without risks to health.  The file must be prepared by the Principal Designer. If that appointment finishes before the end of the project, the Principal Contractor must review, update and issue the file to the client.

The client has a duty to maintain the file and if they dispose of their interest in the building (or part of it), must pass the file to the new individual or organisation who takes on client duties and ensure they are aware of the nature and purpose of the file.  A file is only required for projects involving more than one contractor.

Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV)

An energy efficient process whereby waste heat is recovered from a system (e.g. heat transferred from exhaust air into supply air).

HFC's & PFC's

Hydrofluorocarbons e.g. R134a, R407c. Hydro-fluoro-carbons (HFCs) and per-fluoro-carbons (PFCs) contain no chlorine and have no known effects on the ozone layer. However, HFCs and PFCs are strong greenhouse gases and therefore contribute to climate change.

HH

Half Hourly (HH). This is an electricity supply fitted with a half-hourly meter. These will take a meter reading every 30 minutes (via modem) and send it automatically to the Data Collector.

High Alumina Cement (HAC)

Sometimes used as a rapid curing agent for pre-cast factory produced reinforced concrete components in 1950’s – 1970’s.  Structural failures as a result of loss of strength known as ‘conversion’ in the 1970’s due to this additive, have led HAC to be classed as a ‘deleterious material’. Risk assessment for HAC can be undertaken and samples obtained to determine the presence, and degree of conversion, of the material.

High Hedges

As part of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, from 01 June 2005, people are able to take their complaint about a neighbour's evergreen hedge to their local authority. A high hedge must exceed two metres above ground level and affect the reasonable enjoyment of that property because of an obstruction of light. See ‘Neighbourly issues’.

Hoarding Licence

A licence for erecting hoarding that encroaches or projects onto another person’s land or a public highway.

HSE

Health & Safety Executive in the UK.

HV

High Voltage >1000V AC/1500V DC.

HVAC

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

HWS

Hot Water Service, can also be prefixed with a D to define a domestic scenario.

In-situ

Refers to activities, elements and conditions performed or which are present on the actual building site. Also refers to concrete elements (floor slabs, foundations, beams, columns, walls etc) poured on-site rather than manufactured off-site.

Insurance Valuation

See ‘Reinstatement cost assessment’.

Interim Schedule

An interim dilapidations schedule is one served during the contractural term of the lease in contemplation of the remedy of any alleged tenant breaches. An interim schedule can only be served by a landlord if the lease is of 7 years or more in length, and has more than 3 years left unexpired. Also commonly known as a section 146 Notice under the Law of Property Act 1925.

IP Ratings

'Ingress Protection' Rating for electrical equipment. Ingress can refer to solid objects (including hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact and water.

Inverted Warm Deck Roof (‘Upside Down’ Roof)

The insulation is placed over the top of the weatherproof layer. The control of condensation risk is also performed by the weatherproof layer. The lightweight insulation material is usually ballasted to resist wind uplift, or in some systems, mechanically fixed. 

Jamb

The vertical side of a door or window frame.

Japanese Knotweed

A highly invasive plant species that is difficult to control given its intrusive root system, enabling the plant to survive even when above ground parts are removed. It grows vigorously and will grow through bitumen macadam, brickwork and concrete. Regularly found on brownfield sites, railway, road and canal embankments.  Treatment is difficult and expensive. Disposal must be to a licensed receiver. It is an offence to allow it to spread onto other land.

'Jervis v Harris'

A legal case whereby the lease contained a clause to "repair on notice", which was successfully operated by the landlord. This prevented the tenant from seeking relief under The Leasehold Properties (Repairs) Act 1938 - see "Repairs Notice" and section 18 (1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 will not apply. Similar clauses in subsequent leases are now referred to as "Jervis v Harris clauses".

Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT)

The Joint Contracts Tribunal is an industry recognised company that produces a comprehensive range of standard forms of construction contracts, guidance notes and other standard documentation for use in the construction industry.

Joist

A horizontal structural member spaced at regular intervals and supporting the floor, flat roof or ceiling.

kW

Kilowatt

Lagging

An insulation material for pipework.

Laminated Beam

A beam made up of several layers of timber glued together. Timber beams constructed this way are often termed ‘Glulam’ beams.

Landlord

The owner of an interest in land/property who, in consideration of a rent or other payment, grants the exclusive possession of the whole or part of his land/property to another person by way of a lease or tenancy.

Leasehold

An estate in land held for a ‘term certain’ or on a periodic tenancy.

LED

Light Emitting Diode

Lessee

The grantee of a lease. See ‘Tenant’.

Lessor

The grantor of a lease. See ‘Landlord’.

Let

  1. To grant a lease or tenancy.
  2. To award a contract.

LEV

Local Exhaust Ventilation

Life Cycle

Complete process or timescale from construction to demolition of a building.

Life cycle assessment

Analysis of the environmental impacts of a product from its manufacture to final disposal. It includes factors such as raw materials required in its manufacture, any pollution caused by its use and how it is disposed of. This allows an assessment to be made about how its environmental impact can be reduced.

Line of Junction (the Party Wall etc Act 1996)

The legal boundary between adjoining owners.

Lintel (or Lintol)

A structural member spanning openings (e.g., windows and doorways) to transfer loads.

Liquidated damages

The rate per day/week/month stated in the Contract Particulars, to compensate the Employer for the Contractor’s failure to finish the work on time. The rate should be a genuine pre-estimate of the financial loss that the Employer is likely to suffer. It is for the Employer to decide whether to deduct any liquidated damages that he might be entitled to from any amount certified as due to the Contractor; such deduction is not taken into account by the Contract Administrator in the calculation of any certificate.

Listed building

Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 “Planning the Historic Environment” sets out criteria to define listed buildings in England and Wales.  Following this guidance indicates the following buildings would be listed:

  1. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition.
  2. Most buildings built between 1700 and 1840, though some selection is necessary.
  3. Between 1840 and 1914, only buildings of definite quality and character including the best examples of particular building types. 
  4. After 1914, only selected buildings.
  5. Between 30 and 10 years, only buildings which are of outstanding quality and under threat.
  6. Less than 10 years old, none.

Buildings are classified in grades to show their relative importance. The grades are:

Grade I These are buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest.

Grade II* These are particularly important buildings of more than special interest, but not in the outstanding class.

Grade II These are buildings of special interest but are not sufficiently important to be counted among the elite. Listed building consent is required for any works for the demolition of a listed building, or for its alteration or extension in any manner likely to affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Load-bearing

The capacity of an element in a building or structure to support a weight in addition to its own weight whether vertically or laterally.

Loss and expense

This occurs when an unforeseen instance occurs that is outside the contract terms causing a loss or additional expense to the Contractor. Therefore, a claim for loss and expense can be made, resulting in an extension of time, additional funding or both. The claim needs to be reasonable and appropriate, handled by a neutral standpoint.

Low Emissivity Glazing

Low emissivity describes a property of a surface that emits low levels of thermal energy. Normal glass permits high levels of radiant heat to pass through it but this can be improved by incorporating thin coatings during glass manufacture. Silver or tin based films are typically used to reflect thermal energy, thereby minimising heat loss from within a building. Used to best effect in conjunction with double or triple glazing and brise soleil.

Low NOX

Low Nitrous Oxide. Refers to burners in boiler installations.

LSF

Low Smoke and Flame, specifically in connection with electrical cables which are designed for life safety systems.

LTHW

Low Temperature Hot Water.

Lux

Unit of light illuminance

LV

Low Voltage50V AC/120V DC

LZC – low and zero carbon technology

Technologies that utilise renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind, hydro and geothermal energy do not produce any carbon emissions at all as part of the generation process. These technologies are therefore known as zero carbon technologies. Low carbon technology applies to equipment that is highly energy efficient such as gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP).

Maintainability

Ease with which maintenance can be performed

Maintenance

The upkeep of a property or element of a structure or equipment.

Maintenance Asset Plan (MAP)

A report prepared on a single building, or a group of buildings which details the maintenance requirements, including replacement, over a specified period. Typically 5 or 10 years.

Mastic

Generic term for cold-applied silicone based putty used as a sealant to joints in structures or around sanitaryware, kitchen worktops, window frames, glazing etc. Can be one-part or two-part products.

Mastic Asphalt

Widely used material for flat roofs and other waterproof surfacing. It differs from dense graded asphalt by having a higher bitumen (binder) content, usually 7-10% of the whole aggregate mix, as opposed to rolled asphalt, which has only around 5% added bitumen.

Material Assessment (relating to asbestos survey)

Laboratory analysis of suspected asbestos containing material. See ‘Asbestos consultancy’.

MCB

Miniature Current Breaker is an automatically-operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit. Unlike a fuse a circuit breaker can be reset used to protect electrical equipment from short circuit scenarios.

MCC

Motor Control Centre, houses electrical switchgear and control circuits for the operation of mechanical plant and equipment.

MCCB

Moulded Case Circuit Breaker are used for applications with larger power requirements, usually motor and transformer loads and are fixed to distribution boards with bolts.

Mezzanine

An intermediate floor extending to a lesser area than the main floor, usually between the ground and first floors.

Mosaic Tessarae

Small glazed ceramic tiles used as an external cladding.

Move Management

The management of the physical move of a business from one premises to another (desks, chairs, computers and filing, etc.).

Movement Joints

Flexible joints installed into building elements to accommodate movement either initially after construction (irreversible), or through seasonal movement (reversible).

MPAN

Stands for Meter Point Administration Number. This is a unique number used to identify electricity meters.

Named subcontractor

A named sub-contractor’s performance responsibility lies with the main contractor, although their selection is influenced by the client.

NC Level

Noise Criteria Level used to specify maximum limits across a set of frequencies.

NEC Contracts/other contract forms

The New Engineering Contract is a suite of documents that comprise of a comprehensive range of standard forms of construction contracts, guidance notes and other standard documentation for use in the construction industry.

Neighbourly Issues

Issues affecting neighbouring properties during construction work e.g., crane oversail and scaffolding licences, means of escape and other such matters. Also included are rights of light issues, high hedges and party walls.

Net Internal Area (NIA)

The internal area including entrance halls, kitchens and built-in units but excluding toilets, stairways, lifts, corridors and common areas. This is fully defined in the RICS Code of Measuring Practice.

Nickel Sulfide Inclusion

A defect in toughened glass that can cause spontaneous breakage in fully tempered glass. The defect, introduced during the manufacturing process, can incubate for months or years and then spontaneously occur. There are a number of ways to test glazing panels, such as photographic technique, Raman characterisation and laser scanning. A new method, which can test the glazing in place, is by light coupling and scattering. Testing equipment is available to establish, on site, the thickness and type of glazing and advise whether it is appropriate for its location. See ‘Building condition survey’ and ‘Technical Due Diligence Survey’.

Night set back

Resetting temperatures, flowrates etc. to reduce energy consumption at night, weekend or at other times when a facility is not in normal use.

No-fault insurance

A type of insurance within a building contract whereby the insured party are indemnified by their insurance party for their losses, regardless of fault.

Nominated subcontractor

A sub-contractor selected and appointed by the employer. If an employer wanted works to be undertaken, they would instruct the main contractor to use the nominated subcontractor.

Nosing

  1. The horizontally projecting edge of a stair tread.
  2. A shield covering this edge.

Notifiable Project

Under the new CDM Regulations 2007 except where a project is for a domestic client, HSE must be notified of projects where construction work is expected to:

  1. Last more than 30 working days; or
  2. Involve more than 500 person days (for example 50 people for over 10 days).

Obsolescence

A loss in value due to a decrease in the usefulness of property caused by delay, changes in technology, peoples behavioural patterns and tastes, or environmental changes. Obsolescence is sometimes classified according to items of outmoded design and functionality, items with structural design unable to meet current (or predicted) code requirements, and factors arising outside the asset, such as changes in user demand.

ODP

Ozone Depleting Potential, used to define the potency of substances which impact on the ozone layer.

On-site Renewable

Energy that comes from natural sources, is capable of being generated locally and that can be replenished and is not permanently depleted (e.g. biomass, geothermal heat, solar power, wind power). Most of which do not produce CO2 emissions, unlike fossil fuel.

Outsourced Property Director (OPD)

A senior experienced property professional who is available to an organisation on a full-time, interim or part-time basis to advise upon the strategic aspects of their property. Organisations typically benefit from the OPDs wider property experience without incurring the cost of commitment involved of employing a permanent property director. OPDs work alongside existing senior management team providing best practice advice so reducing property risks and costs. Contact TFT Consult for more details.

Overheads and Profit

The contractors markup for the service or works they have undertaken, included within the contract value.

Owner (the Party Wall Etc Act 1996)

  • A person in receipt of, or entitled to receive the whole or part of the rental profits of land;
  • A person in possession of land, otherwise known as a mortgagee or as a tenant from year to year or for a lesser term or as a tenant of will;
  • A purchaser of an interest in land under a contract or purchase or under an agreement for a lease, otherwise than under an agreement for a tenancy from year to year or for a lesser term.

P&ID

Piping and Instrument Diagram.

Partial possession

This occurs where the employer takes possession of the property before the works are fully completed.

Party Fence Wall

A wall (not being part of the building) which stands on lands of different owners and is used or constructed to be used by separating such adjoining lands, but does not include a wall constructed on the land of one owner the artificially formed support of which projects into the land of another owner.

Party Wall

  • a wall which forms part of a building and stands on lands of different owners to a greater extent than the projection of any artificially formed support on which the wall rests, and
  • so much of a wall not being referred to in paragraph (a) above as separates buildings belonging to different owners.

Party Wall Etc. Act 1996

This Act provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings.  It enables development to proceed and is based on some tried and tested provisions of the London Building Acts, which applied in inner London for many decades before the Act came into force across the rest of England and Wales. Anyone intending to carry out work (anywhere in England and Wales) of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their intentions.

Party Structure

A party wall and also a floor partition or other structure separating buildings or parts of buildings approached solely by separate staircases or separate entrances.

Passiv haus

The “Passiv haus” concept , attributed to both residential and commercial property is a strigent assessment of new build ( or retrofit via “Ener phit” schemes for existing property ) and strives for super insulated buildings (roughly double or treble for an average development to achieve limited space heating down to 15kwh/m2/annum), excellent heat recovery and ventilation (75% efficient heat exchanger and fans at less than 0.45 whm3), an air tightness layer (air tightness of 0.6 air changes @50 pascals), almost no thermal bridging (less than0.15w/m2k for opaque fabric and 0.8w/mk for windows/ doors), thermal bridging down to 0.01w/m2Kelvin) and an efficient building fabric in regards footprint shape and orientation (to take advantage of solar gain to reduce heating in the shoulder months of winter)

Payment

Payment is made under certificates issued by the Contract Administrator every 4 weeks calculated from the date of commencement until practical completion. A further certificate is issued within 14 days of practical completion. The final balance is paid following the issue of the final certificate. The final date for payment of certificates, together with any VAT chargeable to the Employer, is 14 days from the date of the issue of the certificate.

PC Sum

A Prime Cost Sum is the cost of a material or service to be undertaken by a nominated sub-contractor or supplier, excluding any profit or labour costs. See also ‘Provisional Sum’ and ‘Contingency Sum’.

Performance Bond

A three-party agreement, which sits alongside a building contract, between the contractor, employer and a surety. The bond provides that the surety will pay a sum of money to the employer in the event of default by the contractor.

Permeable Paving

Allows rainwater to percolate through into the subbase, discharging it into the storm water sewers in a controlled manner at a limited flow rate. It is intended to reduce loading in traditional sewer systems due to heavy rainfall.

PFC

Power Factor Correction

PFC (refrigeration)

Perfluorocarbons e.g. R14. Per-fluoro-carbons (PFCs) contain no chlorine and have no known effects on the ozone layer. However, PFCs are greenhouse gases and therefore contribute to climate change

Photovoltaics (PV)

These create electricity from solar power. They contain a semiconductor material (typically silicon) that releases electrons when exposed to light. 

Plastisol

This is one of many coatings that can be applied to profiled metal (usually steel) cladding panels. Plastisol is a trade name plastic coating often seen on the roofs and wall cladding of industrial buildings. Such coatings can fail by ‘peelback’ and cut-edge corrosion.

Portfolio Disposal

The sale of a group or number of buildings.

Potable water

Normally associated with water that is suitable for human consumption.

Principal Contractor (CDM Regulations 2015)

Principal contractors are usually the main or managing contractor. A key duty is to properly plan, manage and co-ordinate work during the construction phase in order to ensure that the risks are properly controlled. Principal contractors must also comply with the duties placed on all contractors under the Regulations.

Principal Designer

The designer (as defined in Regulation 2(1) of the CDM Regulations 2015) with control over the health and safety aspects of the design during the pre-construction phase of the project.  The Principal Designer must be appointed in writing by the client.  Failure to appoint will mean the client under the regulations is assumed to be acting as the Principal Designer, with the associated legal duties of that role.

Procurement (of construction works)

There are many different ways to procure construction works, each with their advantages and disadvantages. However, broadly speaking, procurement will usually take one of the following forms:

  • Traditional – design is separate to and completed prior to, any construction works. The process may take longer, but the Employer maintains control over design quality and cost.
  • Design & Build – contractor is responsible for both design and construction. Quick and reasonable control over cost, but the Employer has less control over design quality.
  • Construction Management / Management contracting – The Employer’s consultants are responsible for design, and the main contractor is responsible for defining and managing the procurement of sub-contract works packages. Can be more expensive than other methods, but the process is quick and allows good control over quality.

Project Management/Project Manager

The professional leadership role for the management of the project team, planning and management of time, cost and quality on a construction project.

Provisional Sum

A sum included for work which the Employer may or may not decide to have carried out, or which cannot be accurately specified in the original contract documents. See also ‘PC Sum’ and ‘Contingency Sum’.

PRV

Pressure Reducing Valve found in water or air systems used to reduce and regulate delivery pressure

PVCu

This is the European standard nomenclature for un-plasticised polyvinyl chloride. This material is used as framing for windows, as guttering, downpipes and a number of other building components.

Quinquennial Survey

A detailed survey of buildings that spans for, or recurs every five years. Traditionally linked to historic (particularly secular) buildings, these surveys are now completed on buildings of all types and within all sectors. The report identifies the needs of the building fabric, and prioritises recommendations for repair (and conservation works) over the following five years.

RAC

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning equipment, can be either fixed or mobile i.e.vehicles.

Rainwater Harvesting

The accumulation and storage of rainwater for re-use before disposal off-site. Can be as simple as a water-butt attached to rainwater pipes, or dedicated below ground tanks with water being pumped back into the building for re-use. In 2002 Approved Document H changed the hierarchy of drainage and drainage design considerably. Considering the use of rainwater for use in non-potable applications was first and foremost. Rainwater harvesting systems emerged to collect run-off from a roof and stores the rainwater in an appropriately sized tank. Water is then pumped back into the building for use in non-potable applications such as toilet flushing, urinal flushing and commercial wash down areas. British Standards BS 8515::2009 is now seen as the definitive guide for Rainwater Harvesting design.

RCD

Residual Current Device, used to protect electrical circuits in distribution boards.

Real Estate Management Consulting

The practice of helping organisations improve the performance of their real estate, primarily through the analysis of the existing real estate issues and risks, and subsequently devising and implementing improvement plans. Organisations typically use the service of a real estate management consultant for a number of reasons, including gaining external and objective advice and access to the consultant’s specialist expertise. Also referred to as Property Management Consultancy, although this term is often confused with property management functions, as opposed to management consultancy functions.

Refurbishment

The improvement and modernisation of a building.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Places responsibility for an individual (responsible person) within an organization to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage, and reduce the risk of fire in premises.

Relative Humidity (RH)

Humidity level as a % of saturation, at a given temperature.

Repairs Notice

A repairs notice (or 'Jervis v Harris' notice) records items of disrepair that have occured during the lease, and requests that the recorded disrepair is remedied. If the tenant fails to perform the repairs works within the timescale stipulated by the lease, the landlord can serve notice, then enter the property to undertake the repairs and reclaim the cost back from the tenant as a debt. The tenant is not able to seek the relief provided by The Leasehold Property (Repairs) Act 1938, and such a notice can be served at any time during the lease term.

Reinstatement Cost Assessment (RCA)

An assessment that represents the estimated cost of rebuilding a property following a fire or other similar disaster. This assessment figure is used for insurance purposes.

RICS Guidance Note on Dilapidations

A paper, prepared by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, that provides surveyors with recommendations for accepted good practice as followed by competent and conscientious practitioners dealing with dilapidations matters.

Rights Of Access

A legal right of access over another owner’s land.

Rights Of Light

A legal right to ‘sufficient’ light to a property. Often mistaken for a right to a view or to sunlight.

Safety Eye Bolts

Metal rings used for attaching harnesses for window cleaning or other maintenance work.

Scaffold Licence

A licence for erecting scaffold that encroaches or projects onto another person’s land or a public highway.

Schedule Of Condition

This is a written and/or photographic record of the condition of a property at a specific time, normally prior to the commencement of a lease. It is primarily used to limit the tenants repairing/reinstatement obligations at the end of the term so that they are only obliged to return the property at the end of the lease in the condition recorded in the schedule. It is normally agreed by the parties and must be appended to, and be clearly referenced within the lease for it to have effect.

Section 18 (1) of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1927

Limb 1 which can apply to claims during or after lease end, limits the level of damages that can be claimed by a landlord, which cannot exceed the diminution in the reversionary value of the property caused by breaches of the repairing covenant of a lease. Limb 2 of the same section limits any claim the landlord can make if they intend to substantially alter or redevelop the property at the end of the lease term.

Sectional Completion

A mechanism in some building contracts that allows the completion of the works in pre-agreed phased sections.

Service Charge

A charge applied, pro rata, to the occupiers of a multi-let or multi-occupied property to cover communal areas and services.

Single Ply

A membrane roofing system that uses synthetic material in flexible sheet or liquid form as an alternative to built-up roofing. Made from a variety of bitumens, polymers, fillers, plasticizers, stabilizers and other additives, single ply roofing products are commonly applied over an insulating material and secured with ballast, mechanical fasteners or an adhesive. Typical products are Sarnafil, Trocal and Icopal.

SMM

Standard Method of Measurement of Building Works (SMM), published by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors provides a basis for measuring building works and encompasses good practice within the industry.

Soft Landings (BSRIA’s commissioning methodology)

Soft Landings requires designers and constructors to spend more time on constructive dialogue with the client, and in setting expectations and performance targets on energy and end-user satisfaction. Soft Landings provide a unifying vehicle for feedback methods such as energy and occupant surveys and assessments such as Design Quality Indicators, Building Performance Evaluation and BREEAM.

Solar Thermal

Solar thermal systems use energy from the sun to heat water. This replaces other energy sources such as natural gas and electricity as a means of providing hot water to buildings. The most important part of a solar thermal system is the ‘collector’. The collector’s role is to absorb the sun’s energy and efficiently convert it to heat for transfer to the hot water system.

Space Planning

The organisation and design of the interior layout to suit the requirements of the occupier.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA)

This Act establishes legal rights for disabled students in pre- and post-16 education not to be discriminated against in education, training and any services provided wholly or mainly for students. See ‘Access consultancy’.

Special Foundations (the Party Wall Etc Act 1996)

Foundations in which an assemblage of beams or rods is employed for the purpose of distributing any load.

Specification

A document which defines the scope and quality requirements in a building contract.

Supersession

A defence used by tenants in dilapidations negotiations whereby the landlord cannot recover damages for the remedy of a tenant’s breach if the landlord’s intentions for the property (such as upgrading/replacing any elements that the tenant was only required to repair) nullify the need or real value of the remedial works.

Surrender

Where a landlord and tenant agree to terminate the tenancy agreement early.

Surveyor (the Party Wall Etc Act 1996)

Any person not being a party to the matter appointed or selected under Section 10 to determine disputes in accordance with the procedures set out in this Act.

Sustainability

Put simply, sustainability is providing the best for people and the environment both now, and in the indefinite future."Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." (1987, The Brundtland Report, also known as Our Common Future, published by the World Commission on Environment and Development [part of the United Nations] in 1987). It deals with sustainable development and the change of politics needed for achieving that. The definition of this term in the report is quite well known and often cited).

Technical Due Diligence Survey

Commonly known as "Structural Survey" but a "Technical Due Diligence Survey" is an all encompassing inspection and report on the construction and condition of a property and its surroundings. As well as reporting on physical defects, it may also consider mechnical and electrical, legal, health and safety, statutory and environmental issues that affect or may affect the building.

Technical Report 34 (TR34)

Produced by the Concrete Society, this report is a guide to the design and construction of concrete industrial ground floors. See also ‘Defined Movement Areas’ and ‘Free Movement Areas’.

Tenant

A person, or persons, holding a tenancy.

Terminal Schedule

A terminal schedule of dilapidations is one prepared within the last three years of a lease, or shortly after the end of the lease term. This schedule will record all breaches of the tenants covenants to repair, decorate, reinstate alterations and comply with statute.

The Energy Act

The Energy Act 2011 introduced the concept of minimum energy performance standards and UK government proposals could mean that from April 2018 landlords will be unable to let (or continue to let) a property with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of an F or G. It is estimated that this could affect 1 in 5 commercial properties.

The Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997 (Amended)

This legislation required businesses that did not need a fire certificate to conduct a fire risk assessment and broadly bought UK legislation into line with much of Europe. Amended in December 1999, to broaden the scope of the legislation to include businesses that had a fire certificate. This act was replaced by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. See ‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’. 

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

One of the most respected and high profile global ‘standards and membership’ organisations for property professionals. They are an independent voice for property, accountable to both RICS members and the public. www.rics.org

Third surveyor (the Party Wall etc Act 1996)

A surveyor selected by the two surveyors appointed to resolve a dispute under Section 10 of the Party Wall Etc Act 1996 who can be called upon to resolve differences between the appointed surveyors or owners either during the drafting of the award or after its service.

TM44 A/C Inspections

TM44: Inspection of air conditioning systems was published by CIBSE specifically for use in England and Wales to provide guidance for the inspection of air conditioning systems in accordance with Article 9 of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive(1) (EPBD).

Tri-generation

Tri-generation describes the process whereby an absorption chiller uses waste heat from a CHP unit is used to generate chilled water for cooling in summer months.

UPS

Uninterruptable Power Supply commonly found where security of supply is critical.

U-Value

The U-value measures how well a building component, e.g. a wall, roof or a window, keeps heat inside a building. The lower the value the better the component performs. It is the inverse of the total thermal resistance of a component, element or form, including resistance of internal and external surface boundaries.

Vacant Possession

An empty property, which can be offered legally for the exclusive occupation and use by the owners.

Value Engineering

A technique for improving value for money on a construction project. It involves subjecting the design proposals to systematic review at each stage of the design process (the concept stage, scheme design, and detailed design) to ensure that the final design meets user requirements, without over-specification, at the lowest possible cost.

Vapour Barrier

A vapour proof membrane to prevent the movement of moisture through building elements e.g., in a roof or in the wall of a timber framed building.

Vapour Control Layer

Reduces the diffusion of moisture vapour through a part of the building fabric, particularly insulation.

Variation

A change to the work ordered by the Contract Administrator on behalf of the Employer. The Variation may be an addition to or an omission from the originally specified work or the order or period in which it is carried out.

VAV

Variable Air Volume, used to define a system whereby the airflow is modulated to maintain a constant space temperature.

Vendor Survey

A detailed survey procured by the seller of a property for the benefit of a proposed purchaser(s). See ‘Technical Due Diligence Surveys’.

VRF

Variable Refrigerant Flow: acronym used to describe a refrigeration system associated with the provision of heating and/or cooling.

VRV

Variable Refrigerant Volume: acronym used to describe a refrigeration system associated with the provision of heating and/or cooling.

VSD

Variable Speed Drive: varies the output of an electrical motor by varying the supply frequency, sometimes called an inverter (as it inverts the supply frequency).

VT

Variable temperature, used to define LTHW systems that can modulate the output temperature against outside air temperatures.

Warranty

A guarantee given to the purchaser by a company stating that a product is reliable and free from known defects and that the seller will, without charge, repair or replace defective parts within a given time limit and under certain conditions.

Warm Deck Roof

These roofs have the insulation over the top of the deck, so that the deck is warmed by the interior of the building. A vapour control layer is normally required beneath the insulation to reduce the risk of condensation forming on the underside of the weatherproof layer. Ventilation of the interior of the roof structure is not required.  See also ‘Cold Roof’ and ‘Inverted Warm Deck’.

Woodwool Slabs

Porous and open matrix decking, unsuitable for use as permanent shuttering for in-situ concrete. Classed as a ‘deleterious material’ when used in this situation. The ‘fines’ in the concrete flow into the voids, leaving the aggregate and the reinforcement unbound. This can have structural and fire associated risks.

XLPE

Cross-linked Polyethylene Insulation, usually associated with mains incoming and LV distribution cables.

Zero carbon

Defined as buildings where the CO2 emission is zero or negative across the year.

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