Received a quote or estimate for some building work to be done? Struggling with the meanings of things? Check out our glossary of building terms below to help you out!

1st fix electrics – First fix electrics is simply putting the necessary cables in place.

1st fix joinery – First fix joinery is carrying out the structural work, such as stud walls, framework, door frames, roof struts and floor joists.

1st fix plumbing – First fix plumbing is laying the pipework for heating, water supply and waste water drainage.

2nd fix electrics – Second fix electrics is putting all the sockets, switches, fittings etc in place. This will be carried out when the plastering is finished.

2nd fix joinery – Second fix joinery is the finishing side of things, usually carried out once the plastering is finished.

2nd fix plumbing – Second fix plumbing is the connection of any appliances, testing them, and commissioning them.

Composite Doors – These are made up of a variety of materials, including PVC, wood, insulating foam and GRP. The combination of materials result in a door that is very strong and secure.

DPC – Damp Proof Course. This is a barrier through the structure designed to prevent moisture rising. A DPC layer is normally laid below all masonry walls, regardless if the wall is a load bearing wall or a partition wall.

DPM – Damp Proof Membrane. This is a membrane applied to prevent moisture transmission. An example of this is polyethylene sheeting being laid underneath a concrete slab or floor, to prevent the concrete from gaining moisture.

Foundations – These are the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level. They connect the building to the ground, and transfers loads from the structure to the ground.

Flaunching – The sloped part of mortar/cement around the base of a chimney pot, which is there to hold the pot in position and allow rainwater to run off.

Footings – Footings are part of the foundation construction. They are typically concrete with rebar reinforcement that has been poured into an excavated trench. The purpose of footings is to support the foundation and prevent settling.

GRP – Glass Reinforced Plastic. This material is made from a polyester resin, which is reinforced by chopped strand mat glass fibres to form a GRP laminate. This is mostly used for roofing.

Oversite – This is a layer of concrete used to seal the earth under the ground floor of a house.

PC Sum – Prime Cost Sum. This is an allowance (£) calculated for the supply of work or materials to be provided by a contractor.

Purlins – Horizontal beams used for structural support in buildings. Most commonly, they are major components of roof structures.

Rebar – Short for reinforcing bar. This is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete.

Underpinning – Extending the foundation in depth or breadth so it either rests on more supportive soil, or distributes its load across a greater area.

uPVC – Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride. This is a rigid, chemically resistant form of PVC commonly used for pipework, window frames and doors, and other structures.

Wall Plate – A horizontal timber situated along the top of a wall at the level of the eaves for bearing the ends of joists or rafters.