Resources

Glossary
Remedial Terms

A

Articulated Joints

Articulated Joints are gaps placed in masonry walls, they are mainly vertical to accommodate for differential movements and are tied and sealed with flexible sealant to prevent vermin, moisture and debris ingress.  Movement in masonry is generated mostly from climatic and temperature changes, differential movement in structural frames, and also from movement in foundations.

Absorption

Soaking of one substance into another (c.f asorption)

Adhesion

Bond between the coating and underlying material

Adsorption

Process of attracting a substance to a surface of a solid.

Air Dried

Coatings that dry by oxidation or solvent evaporation rather than by a catalyst or external heat

Alkali

Term applied to caustic chemicals which contain hydroxyl groups. Turns red litmus paper blue.

Alligatoring

Pronounced wide surface cracking of a coating. Resembles alligator skin.

Anode

(1) Terminal of a galvanic cell where corrosion takes place and electrons are produced. (2) The electrode connected to structure to prevent corrosion as part of a cathodic protection system.

Anodising

Generally applied to an oxide deposited electrolytically on aluminium

B

Brick growth

The expansion in brickwork commonly known as “brick growth” occurs to susceptible clay bricks, in particular under-fired batches.  The expansion of clay bricks is due to the reaction with moisture in the atmosphere during the life of the masonry structure and is irreversible.

Bituminous Paint

A black or dark coloured paint using coal tar or bitumen as the binder

Bleeding

The diffusion of coloured matter through a coating from the underlying surface; also the discolouration arising from such diffusion

Blistering

Regions of isolated detachment of one or more coats resulting in rounded protuberances on the surface

Blooming or Blushing

A milky colour which forms on finishes due to atmospheric moisture or one of the solid constituents of the finish or both

C

Concrete Cancer

Concrete cancer is better known as concrete spalling.  Concrete spalling is segments of concrete delaminating around corroding steel reinforcement. There are many reasons associated with the corrosion of steel and one of them is the lack concrete cover to protect the steel from moisture and air.

Cathode

Terminal of a galvanic cell which takes up the electrons produced at the anode; hydroxyl ions usually produced here

Chalking

Form of paint degradation due to weathering which results in loose pigment on the surface

Corrosion

Deterioration of a material (usually a metal) because of reaction with the environment

Cracking

Breaks in the coating that penetrate to the underlying surface.

Crocodiling

See Alligatoring

Caulking

An alternate term for “sealant”.  Caulking originates from shipbuilding industry.  In buildings and structures, sealants are usually used to joint parts of structures while maintaining movement, weather-tightness, or fire rating.

D

Damp proof course

Damp proof course (DPC) is a barrier  built into masonry walls to prevent moisture rising  into other parts of the building.

Delamination

Separation between coats or from a substrate due to very poor adhesion

DFT

Dry film thickness. The thickness of the applied coating when dry

E

Efflorescence

Efflorescence is a deposit of crystalized salts found predominantly on tiled, concrete, masonry, and rendered surfaces.  The salts may arise from free lime in cement-based materials (concrete, mortar, beddings and the like), or from environmental sources, or unwashed sands.  Also require the migration of water, and evaporation at or near the surface.  See also rising damp.

Electrochemical

Chemical changes produced by an electrical current or the production of electricity from a chemical reaction

Environment

External conditions in which an item exists or is exposed to

F

Flashing

A thin piece of impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure, usually at changes in structural direction and/or materials (such as around window and door openings, at changes in roof line, against parapets, or at the bottom of cavities)

Fire Order

An enforceable legal instruction from Local Council to upgrade / Install fire safety measures to your building

Film

Layer of coating or paint. A wet film is one that has just been applied

Flaking

Detachment of small pieces of coating

Flash Rusting

Rusting that occurs within minutes of exposure

Flat Finish

A term usually used for decorative paints descibing a dull, non-reflective finish

Flexible

Ability of a film to bend without breaking

G

General Defect

Defects which are considered minor in importance, which (subject to context) can be repaired as part of general maintenance

Galvanizing

Coating with molten metallic zinc by dipping

H

Home Owners Warranty Insurance

Insurance obtained by the builder for works on new residential buildings under 4 storeys high or any repair/renovations over $20K in value on any resdiential building. The insurance is to protect teh home owner against defective or incomplete works subject to statutory time periods, in the event that the builder becomes bankrupt or dissapears.

High Build Coating

A paint which can be applied in one coat as a relatively thick film (more than 75-125 microns) without sagging or running

High Solids Coating

A coating with a volume solids greater than 60 per cent

Hold Point

Point at which the work must be stopped for inspection and work cannot proceed until quality has been inspected and documented to comply with the specification

Humidity

See Relative Humidity

Hydrocarbon

Chemical compound containing carbon and hydrogen atoms; commonly refers to extracts from petroleum

Hydrophilic

Having an affinity or attraction for water

Hydrophobic

Repelling water

Hygroscopic

A compound which readily absorbs moisture

I

Investigate

When a problem can't be solved by simply looking at it, investigations are carried out.  These may be in the form of either pulling something apart, water testing and so on, to try and determine what the cause of the problem is.  Quite often an initial visual inspection is required to determine the type of investigation that is needed.

Inhibitor

Compound added in small concentrations to the environment to prevent corrosion

J

Jamb

A jamb is the side of a window or door frame, often refered to as either the door JAMB or Window JAMB. The Flashings (see flashing) that run along side these are called jamb flashings.

K

Kilopascals (kPa)

Metric unit of pressure. 1 psi = 6.895 kPa.

L

Letter of Intent

Letter from the Principal to a Contractor confirming intent to enter into a contract.  The Contract formally comes into existence  upon formal acceptance of the offer by the contractor, while the Letter of Intent obliges both parties to the commitment, including a payment to the Contractor in the event that the Principal withdraws prior to execution.

Landing

The level area used to provide access to a stairway or ladder, or located at an intermediate level in a system of stairways or ladders.

Load bearing

Load bearing means a part of the structure intended to carry load (typically vertical forces) additional to those due to its own weight.

M

Movement joint

Joint that is made between parts of a structure for the specific purpose of permitting relative movement between the parts of the structure on either side of the joint.

Mezzanine

An intermediate floor within a room

Magnesite

Lightweight floor levelling (primary purpose) and sound attenuation material (secondary benefit). Has a chloride binder which leaches out when wet, and leads to corrosion.  Note:  Because of the chloride component, does not always arise with expansion and spalling, so can be difficult to detect by laypeople until advanced.  May also contain asbestos as part of binder.

Megapascals (Mpa)

Metric unit of pressure equal to a force of one Newton (9.8 kg weight) on one square millimetre. 1 MPa is approximately equal to 145 psi.

MSDS

Material Safety Data Sheet

N

Non-compliance

Failure to achieve the performance or prescriptive criteria demanded by a regulation or other statutory requirement.  A non-compliance may lead to remedial work, non-approval  of project completion, or in extreme cases to demolition.

O

Overflow spout

A pipe projecting laterally from a roof, balcony or gutter to mitigate internal overflows by allowing the free discharge of rainwater in the event of excessive quantities of rain water or blocked downpipes.

Overhang

The projection of a roof or floor beyond the line of the wall which carries it, including any fascia but excluding any gutter.

Orange Peel

Dimpled appearance of a coated surface resembling the skin of an orange, due to lack of flow out of wet film.

Oxidation

Reaction which takes place at the anode. During corrosion, it is the reaction of the metal to form metal ions.

P

Parapet

The portion of a wall above the roof line.  It is exposed on both faces and need particular attention to sealing to prevent water penetration.

Polyurethane Membrane

A liquid applied membrane that has a polyurethane base. Typically used in wet areas, balconies and planters. The polyurethane is not UV stable and needs protection in exposed applications.

Ponding

If falls on tiles are not consistent and uniform to the outlets water will not freely drain and surface water ponding occurs.

pH

Value indicating the acidity of a solution and is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions. Pure water has a pH value of 7 and is neutral. Acids range down to pH 0 becoming increasingly strongly acidic and alkalis range from pH 7 up to 14 becoming increasingly strongly alkaline.

Pinholes

Formation of tiny, circular holes in the dry film.

Pitting

Result of local corrosive attack forming deep or shallow holes in a metal surface.

Porosity

Small voids through which fluids may penetrate.

Q

Quantity Surveyor

A building professional who is expert in building costs, both before and after construction.

R

Riser

1. In a staircase the part of the stair that is vertical or the difference in height between the treads.

2. A part of a building used to contain services shared between floors, typically in a fire rated compartment.

Reglet

A sawcut termination into the substrate used to secure waterproofing or flashing details.  Usually over-flashed with supplementary details.

Relative Humidity

Measure of the moisture content of air. Ratio of the quantity of water vapour actually present in the air to the greatest amount possible at a given temperature. Expressed in percent.

Rust

The result of the corrosion of iron or steel to form visible iron oxide.

S

Spalling

Typically occurs on concrete elements with steel reinforcing, but can also arise on parts on a structure (including masonry elements) at points of high local pressure.   For concrete spalling see also concrete cancer.  As the concrete ages its natural protection against the corrosion of the embedded steel reinforcing is reduced and the steel close to the surface will corrode.  As steel corrodes it expands and cracks the concrete, which ultimately detaches as a spall.

Screed

An alternate term for bedding or topping.  Sometimes the straight-edge tool used to place the bedding is also called a screed.

Structural damage

We define structural damage as damage to any element of a structure load bearing or water proofing parts of the structure that reduces or can act to reduce the safe load carrying capacity of the element below the capacity for which it was designed, or which can reduce the normally expected level of habitability of a structure.

T

Tender

An offer from a contractor to undertake particular works for a nominated price. The tender should be included in the contract documents.

Tender documents

The documents provided to contractors (usually by a consultant) to detail the works required, specification, proposed contract terms and details or any other detail or constraint particular to the site.

Topping

Usually a sand and cement or concrete mix placed to create falls. Toppings can be placed under membranes, tiles or left exposed. Toppings under tiles must be carefully detailed to reduce the potential for efflorescence occurring.

U

Underpinning

Insertion of a new foundation under an existing foundation.

Undercutting

The spread of corrosion beneath a coating from a break in the firm or the edge.

V

Void

An open space (at large scale) or break in material consistency (within building components).

W

Waterproofing system

A combination of elements that is required to achieve a waterproof barrier to prevent water passing to parts of a structure that it is not desired.  The entire Waterproofing System may include hobs, falls, membranes, outlets, flashings, waterstops and sealants.

Wet Film

Designates the coating after application but before the solvent evaporates. The solvent content in the wet film will constantly decrease due to evaporation.

White Rust

White corrosion products on a zinc surface.

X

Y

Z

Zed flashing

See Also flashing.  A zed flashing is a one-piece flashing shaped like a Z, used between stepped parts of buildings, like adjoining planter boxes.