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Home Building Terms You Should Know

During the process of home building, or buying a new home, you may come across some vocabulary that you’re not yet familiar with. To help make the home buying process a little easier from start to finish, here’s a quick reference on the home buying terms you should familiarize yourself with.

  • At grade: this is anything that sits on the same level as the ground.
  • Backfilling: this is the replacement of soil during excavation, that’s placed around building foundations.
  • Blacklines: these are lightly detailed home layouts that show the design of a particular model.
  • Building Permit (BP):  approval from the City to start development on a building.
  • Casing: this is a type of trim used around windows and doors.
  • Concrete footing: a widened section at the base or bottom of a foundation wall and/or column.
  • Concrete forms: wood or metal panels which concrete is poured into, that will form the foundation, wall or other parts of the structure.
  • Deep services: these are underground services such as sewer, water and storm water management.
  • Deficiencies: this refers to imperfections in the home that are resolved before the owner(s) move in, or during the home warranty period.
  • Development Permit (DP): approval from the City for blueprints of the land or development.
  • Downspout: this is a pipe which carries water from the eavestrough to the ground or the storm drainage system.
  • EnerGuide: this is a measuring system of your home’s energy performance.
  • Excavating: this is the removal of soil for the construction of concrete footings and for concrete forming to commence.
  • Finish grading: this refers to final adjustments to the surface after construction of buildings, usually applying to raking of topsoil, etc.
  • Foundations: this is the base of the home, made from concrete.
  • Framing: this is is the rough outline of the home made with wood, and includes flooring, roofing, partitioning, ceiling and beams.
  • Grade: this is the average level of surface ground around the foundation.
  • HVAC: this term refers to ‘Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning’.
  • Low E: this refers to low-emissions, referring usually to windows and insulation, etc.
  • Possession: this is the date when homeowners take possession of their new home.
  • Rebar: these are structural metal bars used in the foundation of a home.
  • Roofply: this is the framing, including the sheathing for the roof.
  • Rough-ins: these are the interior installation of the homes mechanics: plumbing, heating, electrical, gas pipe, etc.
  • Sheething: materials used to cover the framework of a home.
  • Slab on grade: this is the concrete slab placed on compacted ground as a base for construction.
  • Spec home: this is a home available for purchase where the specifications have already been chosen.
  • Trusses: this is the supporting engineered framework for a roof, or other structure like a bridge.
  • Walk-through: this is when the homeowners get to go through their new home in its entirety to ensure everything is good to go for move-in.

Is there another word you’ve come across that you want clarification on? Let us know on social media, we’re happy to help!


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