Construction Dictionary and Glossary of Construction Terms

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Term Definition
Acoustics

Science dealing with the production, control, transmission, reception and effects of sound, and the process of hearing.

Aggregate

Sand, gravel, crushed stone or other material that is a main constituent of Portland Cement, concrete and aggregated gypsum plaster. Also, polystyrene, perlite and vermiculite particles used in texture finishes.

AIA

American Insurance Assn., successor to the National Board of Fire Underwriters and a nonprofit organization of insurance companies. Also, American Institute of Architects.

Airborne Sound

Sound traveling through the medium of air.

Anchor

Metal securing device embedded or driven into masonry, concrete, steel or wood.

Anchor Bolt

Heavy, threaded bolt embedded in the foundation to secure sill to foundation wall or bottom plate of exterior wall to concrete floor slab.

Annular Ring Nail

A deformed shank nail with improved holding qualities specially designed for use with gypsum board.

ANSI

American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit, national technical association that publishes standards covering definitions, test methods, recommended practices and specifications of materials. Formerly American Standards Assn. (ASA) and United States of America Standards Institute (USASI).

Area Separation Wall

Residential fire walls, usually with a 2- to 4-hour rating, designed to prevent spread of fire from an adjoining occupancy; extends from foundationGlossFoundation.1041 to or through the roof. Identified by codes as either "fire wall", "party wall" or "townhouse separation wall."

ASA

Formerly American Standards Assn., now American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ASTM

Formerly American Society for Testing and Materials, now ASTM, a nonprofit, national technical society that publishes definitions, standards, test methods, recommended installation practices and specifications for materials.

Attenuation

Reduction in sound level.

Back Blocking

A short piece of gypsum board adhesively laminated behind the joints between each framing member to reinforce the joint.

Backup Strips

Pieces of wood nailed at the ceiling-sidewall corner to provide fastening for ends of plaster base or gypsum panels.

Balloon Frame

Method of framing outside walls in which studs extend the full length or height of the wall.

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