Glossary of Homebuilding Terms & Construction Terminology (N to Z)

List of Common Construction Terms Used in Building Custom Homes

HART Homes has been a leading South Florida custom home builder for nearly 30 years. Our company based in Fort Lauderdale offers premier custom house construction and home remodeling services. To create dream homes, our experienced and highly qualified team of contractors and custom home building specialists work closely with all our clients throughout the entire process.

That’s how our luxury home builders ensure the final result is exactly what our client wants – whether that’s a Modern Contemporary home, a Key West-Style home, a Mediterranean home, or something entirely unique. A distinctive and stunning residence that reflects our client’s tastes, incorporates their design preferences, and is tailored to our client’s lifestyle.

If you choose HART Homes, you can expect open communication and transparency from us from beginning to end. Our construction managers and personnel will guide you through the complete homebuilding process, from pre-planning all the way to the final walk-through.

Start getting familiar with common construction terminology and homebuilding terms right now by reviewing this list of common builder terms and vocabulary often used on a construction site. And once you are ready to start constructing your dream home, contact us or call us at (954) 564-9434. Our team of experienced luxury home builders at HART Homes will be happy to take your call!



Niche: A space of recessed wall typically designed for decorative purposes such as displaying framed artwork, ceramics, or small statues.

Nonbearing Wall: A wall that only supports its own weight and no other load.



On Center (o.c.): Abbreviated to “o.c.” and typically used in construction drawings, it refers to the spacing measurement of framing members such as studs, rafters, and joists from the center of one framing member to the center of the next one.

Overhang: The area of a roof or upper story that hangs out or projects over the wall below it.



Panel: A thin, flat piece of wood, plywood, or similar material that is usually either framed by stiles and rails to make a door or fitted into grooves of thicker material with molded edges to make a wall treatment.

Plenum System: A heating and/or air conditioning system in which air is passed through a main chamber that connects to distributing ducts.

Punch List: A document prepared near the end of construction that lists the discrepancies and work that does not conform to contract specifications and need to be corrected by the general contractor.



Rafter: One of a series of internal beams that make up the structure of a roof and supporting its load. A rafter supporting a flat roof is typically called a roof joist.

Retaining Wall: A wall that holds back a slope of earth that prevents erosion.

Rough Opening: A framed and untrimmed full opening for a window or door.



Setback: A building restriction established by building codes and zoning ordinances that apply to the location of the custom-built home being constructed or renovated.

Slab Foundation: Foundation made of a concrete mixture poured four inches thick over wire mesh, a moisture barrier, and a soil-based area that is leveled off. Once hardened, the concrete slab serves as the floor system.

Softwood: Wood produced from coniferous trees that bear cones, such as typical pine trees like fir, spruce, redwood, and cedar. The term has nothing to do with the actual softness or hardness of the wood.



Termite Shield: A sheet of noncorrodible metal placed in or on a foundation wall to reduce the passage of termites from the soil to wood framing members.

Trim: Interior finish materials in a building such as moldings and millwork used to frame windows, door, floors, and ceilings.



Valley: The internal “V” shaped angle formed when two sloping sides of a roof meet.

Valuation: An inspection to determine if a property is a good security for a loan for the benefit of the mortgage lender.



Walk Through: A final inspection of a newly built residence before “closing” to identify and document problems that need to be fixed or items that need attention. A Punch List is created during this process.

Working Drawing: A blueprint or drawing used by workman during custom home construction that provides all the dimensions, graphical information, and structural details needed to build a home.



Yard Lumber: Wood planks graded for general building purposes, typically found in a lumber yard.



Zoning: The partitioning of a town, city, or county by legislative regulations into areas (zones) reserved for specific purposes. Properties within those area can only be used for those specified purposes.

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