Civil Engineering Terms and Definitions
Some of the basic Civil Engineering Terms and Definitions are listed below,
Arcade : A series of arches with their supporting columns or piers.
Arris : The meeting of two surfaces producing an external angle.
Base: Base is immediately above plinth. A building having no plinth, immediately above footings.
Basement or Basement Storey or Cellar : Part of a building (usually a storey) below ground level,
Bat: Part of a brick.
Baiter : The slope away from you of a wall or timber piece, etc.
Bay : The space between two piers, columns or projections.
Bay window: A window projecting outward from a wall and reaching up to the ground.
Bevel: Any inclination of two surfaces other than 90 deg. (either greater or less),
Blocking Course : A course of stones (or only one stone) placed on the top of a course to add to its appearance and also to prevent the cornice from overturning.
Bressummer : Joist embedded in concrete; beam over verandah posts on which purlins of sloping roofs rest. Also means a beam which carries a wall.
Brick core : Brickwork filled in between the top of a lintel and the soffit of a relieving arch.
Brick flogging: Brickwork filled in between wooden posts or studs (for making a wall).
Bull’s eye : A circular or oval opening in a wall.
Buttress: A projection of masonry built into the front of the wall to strengthen it for lateral stability against thrust from an arch, roof, or wind pressure.
Flying Buttress : A detached buttress or pier of masonry at some distance from a wall, and connected therewith by an arch or portion of an arch, so as to discharge the thrust of roof or vault, on some strong point.
Chamfer: To cut off, in a small degree, the angle or arris formed by two faces, usually at an angle of 45 deg.
Chase : A recess made inside of a wall to accommodate pipes or electric Wiring, etc.
Composite Building : A building of which part is masonry and part is either open or framed ; or a building of which part is open building and part is framed building. .
Coping: The capping or covering placed upon the exposed top of a wall (or parapet), usually of stone, to throw off and prevent the rain-water soaking in to it.
Corbel: One or more courses of brick projecting from a wall like a cornice), generally to form a support for wall plates, etc. A brick should not project more than 1/4 beyond the lower course.
Counterfort: Is a projection of masonry built into the back of the wall.
Cowl: A hood shaped top for a chimney; a ventilating top of a sewage pipe. .
Cross Wall: An internal weight bearing wall built into another wall to the full height thereof.
Dormer Window : A small vertical window built in a sloping roof.
Dowel: A pin or peg let into two pieces of stone or wood for joining them ; a cramp iron.
Drip : Part of a cornice or projecting sill etc., which has a projection beyond other parts for throwing off rain-water.
Efflorescence: The formation of a whitish loose powder or crust, on the surface of brick walls. .
Extrados: The outer surface of an arch.
Frog: Is a small recess on the top surface of a brick, made while moulding, usually embossed with the initials of the contractor. It forms a key for the mortar and also reduces the weight of the brick.
Gable : The entire end wall of a building. (The term is generally used for the triangular end wall of a sloping roof.)
Haunch : That part of an arch lying midway between the springing and the crown.
Herring-bone work: Masonry work (generally in floors) in which the bricks are laid slanting in opposite directions. .
Hydroscopic: A substance that attracts water from the air.
Intrados: The inner surface of an arch.
Lambs : The two sides of doors, windows or other openings between the back of a and, the chowkat or frame. The portions of the openings outside the frame are called Reveals.
Joggle : A dowel or stub tennon joint by means of which one piece of stone or timber is fitted to another.
Keystone : The uppermost or central voussoir of an arch.
King closer: A brick cut lengthwise so that one end is nearly half the width of the other, They are used in the construction of jambs.
Lobby : An open space surrounding a range of chambers, or seats in a theatre ; a small hall or waiting room.
Mantel: The facing and shelf (usually ornamental) above a fire place.
Mastic : A preparation of bitumen used for water proofing and damp proofing, etc.
Mat finish : A term applied to surface finishing (generally painting) which is free from gloss or polish (not shining),
Mezzanine floor : An additional (low storey) floor, gallery or balcony erected between the floor and ceiling of any storey.
Mosaic : Small pieces of stones, glass,. etc. (generally of different colours) laid in cement mortar to form artistic patterns for flooring and dados, etc.
Mullion : An upright (piece) in any framing ; a division piece between the sash of a frame.
Oriel Window: An upper storey window projecting outward from a wall (and which does not reach up to the ground, as distinguished from a bay-window).
Party Wall: A wall erected on a line between adjoining property owners and used in common.
Pedestal: A base or support, as for a column or statue, and generally of a bigger size.
Pilaster : A right-angled column or projection from a pier or wall; a square pillar made generally to support a concentrated load.
Pillar : A detached vertical support to some structure; a solid portion of a wall between window openings and other voids.
Plinth : The portion of the external wall between the level of the street and the level of the floor first above the street.
Queen closer: A brick cut lengthwise into two so that each piece is half as wide as the full brick.
Quoin brick : A brick forming a corner in brickwork ; it has one end and one side exposed to view.
Recs: A depth in the thickness of a wall.
Refractory materials : The term “refractory” is applied to various heat resisting materials such as, lire-bricks, furnace linings.
Reveal: A vertical side of a window or door opening from the face of the wall to the frame. (See lambs).
Skew-back: That (inclined) part of a pier or abutment from which an arch springs.
Sleeper Walls : Low walls erected at intervals between the main walls to provide intermediate supports to the lowest floor.
Soup header :A brick header not extending the full length of a brick into a wall, usually half a brick.
Soffit : The lower horizontal face of anything ; the under face of an arch where its thickness is seen.
Spall: Bat or broken brick; stone chips,
Spandrel or Spandril: The space between the top of a masonry arch and the roof, beam or carriageway, etc.
Spandrel Wall : A wall built upon the extrados of an arch up to the top level of the roof or beam, etc.
Splay: An oblique surface (bevel or chamfered), as of the jambs of a doorway or Window ; of which one side makes an oblique angle with the other.
Springing line : A line of intersection between the intrados and the supports of an arch.
Spring points: The points from which the curve of an arch springs.
Springer: The voussoir placed next to the skew-back in an arch.
Squint Bricks: Bricks used for forming acute or obtuse corners in brick masonry.
Striking : The releasing or lowering of centering of arches or lintels.
String course :. A horizontal (usually ornamental) course projecting along the face of a building (usually introduced at every floor level or under Windows or below parapets) for imparting architectural appearance to the structure and also keeping off the rain water.
Throating: Term used for making a channel or groove on the under side of string courses copings, cornices or sun-shades, etc., to prevent rain water from running inside towards the walls.
Underpinning : The process of supporting the. existing structure for renewing or repairing the lower Walls or foundations.
Vault : An arched masonry structure (with series of arches).
Veneered Wall: In a wall in which the facing material is merely attached to and nor properly bonded into the backing.
Voussoir : The wedge shaped structure component of a stone arch.
Weathering: Action of sun and rain on structures or soils.
The Civil Engineering terms and definitions will be updated regularly.
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