Glossary – building terminology

Act A set of rules that has been passed by Parliament, received Royal Assent and become law.
Architrave A moulded section covering the joint between window and door frames and the wall lining.
Asset protection Provides cover for any damage incurred to council assets during demolition and construction.
Balance of deposit Represents the remaining amount of the full deposit payable, usually 10% of the purchase price. Excludes the amount of the initial deposit already paid.
Brace A member, usually a diagonal, which resists lateral loads and/or movements of a structure.
Building permits A permit issued by local government authorities for the erection of a building or for structural alterations to a building.
Bushfire Attack Levy (BAL) Indicates the construction requirements for building within a medium threat Bushfire Prone Area. A BAL Report is triggered by the location of a property within the Bushfire Prone Area including the requirements for construction.
Certificate of Occupancy A document is issued by a building surveyor, which shows that the building is suitable for occupation. It is not evidence that the building complies with the Building Act or building regulations. 
Cladding Any material used to face a building or structure.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) A financial contribution in growth areas that is directed to the construction of community infrastructure such as sports pavilions, tennis courts, community rooms etc. A State Government initiative to ensure that these types of projects can be delivered in new communities. Normally paid by the homeowner at the time of building approval.
Compaction report A compaction report details testing, preparation and placement of engineered fill and includes a statement of compliance that the fill used complies with Australian standards. 
Contract A document that legally formalises the purchase, sale, exchange or other conveyance of real estate between parties. The contract must be signed by all parties concerned to be enforceable.
Contractor One who agrees by written agreement or contract to supply materials and perform certain types of work for a specified sum of money.
Cooling-off period A time-frame during which a buyer can rescind a signed contract with little or no penalty.
Covenant In real estate, a covenant is an agreement that creates an obligation on the owner of a property not to do something. For example, a covenant could state that no more than one dwelling may be built on the land. A covenant runs with the land and the liability to comply with it or the right to take advantage of it passes from owner to owner.
Crossover Is the access point from the street to the block, once a home is completed a driveway will link up to the crossover.
Design guidelines A set of guidelines created by the developer to achieve a certain look and feel or to enhance the natural environment. Created to provide guidance, enhance the quality of and achieve consistent outcomes for the estate.
Design Review Panel A panel created by the estate developer to evaluate all proposed home designs in accordance with the Estate Design Guidelines.
Easement A right held by one person to make use of the land of another. For example, land set aside for drainage and sewerage pipes.  It’s important to know where easements exist as their positioning can impact future building plans such as in-ground pools and building extensions.
Engineer A professionally qualified person, who when associated with building and planning, designs, supervises and manages Civil, Structural and Services components of projects.
Fascia A board fixed horizontally to the lower ends of the rafters, to which guttering may be fixed. Also forms the outside board of a boxed eave. 
Fill Refers to how much additional soil was needed to level out the land.
Fall The amount of slope a block of land exhibits.
First Home Owner Grant Introduced in 2000 to offset the effect of the GST on home ownership. It is a national scheme funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation.
Fittings Items that can be removed without damaging the property, such as garden ornaments, lighting and drapes. They must be listed in the contract of sale if the purchaser wants them to remain with the property
Fixtures Items that are attached to the property and cannot be removed without causing damage to the property, such as bathroom suites, built-in wardrobes and kitchen stoves. They are usually included in the sale.
Initial deposit Part payment of the full deposit payable when an initial offer is made to purchase a property.
Land title A land title is an official record of who owns a piece of land. If the land is titled, it is ready to build on immediately (subject to the correct approvals). Untitled land should have an estimated title date (which is subject to change).
Legislation Laws in the form of Acts and Regulations enacted by a state government or the federal government.
Plasterboard A rigid insulating board made of plastering material covered on both sides with heavy paper.
Pumping station Facilities including pumps and equipment for pumping fluids from one place to another. They are used for a variety of infrastructure systems, such as the supply of water to canals, the drainage of low-lying land, and the removal of sewerage to processing sites.
Recycled water Class A recycled water has dual water supply pipes – one for drinking and one for Class A recycled water. Potable (drinking water) supply is for drinking, bathing and showering. Class A recycled water is the right water for toilet flushing, garden watering, car washing and domestic outdoor uses (excluding swimming pools and recreational toys).
Re-establishment survey The identification of boundaries on a block of land.
Reinforcing steel Steel bars of various sizes and shapes used in concrete construction for giving added strength.  
Resident’s Association Residents living in the same estate who get together to look after their interests.
ResCode Standards set for the construction of new dwellings, alterations and extensions to existing dwellings.
Retaining wall Any wall subjected to lateral pressure other than wind pressure and built to retain material.
Services Supply or distribution pipes for cold or hot water, steam or gas; also power cables, telephone cables, lift machinery, transformers, drains, ventilation ducts, and so on.  
Setback A term used to describe how far from the front boundary you have to build your home. 
Settlement The occasion when ownership of a property passes from the vendor to the purchaser and the balance of the purchase price is paid to the vendor.
Sheeting Flat sheets of material to protect or cover a building framework.  
Site feature survey The process of creating a scale drawing of a building site showing easements, fall, service connection points and other pre-existing features.
Site preparation Before construction can commence a Surveyor determines certain features of a site. This includes the location of services, fences, trees, pits, soil classification and slope.
Skirting Moulding to cover the joint between floor and wall flooring.
Soil test A test conducted to determine how a house must be built. Key reason is to establish how likely it is that the soil will move, expand and contract with different levels of moisture content.
Stamp duty A State Government tax requirement that is paid on the value of land purchased. 
Substation Substations are part of the electrical network that provides power. They convert power voltage so that electricity can be delivered from generators to the home.
Telstra pit Underground Telstra lead-in cabling is typically fed from a pit or pole in the street or an easement adjacent to a property.
Title A land title is an official record of who owns a piece of land. If the land is titled, it is ready to build on immediately (subject to the correct approvals). Untitled land should have an estimated title date (which is subject to change).
Unconditional finance pre-approval An indication of a lender’s willingness to lend you a specific amount of money for a specific property based on your financial situation.