A-Z Property Encyclopedia

At lpm our aim is to ensure our customers have immediate access to helpful advice and information. The following information explains an assortment of terms that may be referred to as part of the maintenance and management of your property or development.

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  • Wet rot is the decay of timber due to damp conditions. Not to be confused with the more serious dry rot. 

  • A valley gutter is the horizontal or sloping channel, usually lead or tile lined, at the internal intersection between two roof slopes. 

  • A reveal is the side or top face of a window or door opening and may typically be seen at the edge of a door or window, where the face moulding is set back.

  • A lightning protection system includes a network of air terminals, bonding conductors, and ground electrodes designed to provide a low impedance path to ground for potential strikes. Lightning protection systems are used to prevent or lessen lightning strike damage to structures.

  • An Inspection Chamber is more commonly called a manhole and is an access point to a drain comprising a chamber, of brick, concrete or plastic, with the drainage channel at its base and a removable cover at ground level. 

  • A weephole is a small drain hole or gap in brickwork formed to allow the escape of water. 

  • A pump or series or pumps used to pump mains water into a building.

  • A waste pipe is the pipe from a wash hand basin, sink or bath used to carry away the waste water into the drains. 

  • The verge is the edge of the roof, especially over a gable, or around a dormer window or skylight. 

  • Tread is the horizontal part of a step or stair. 

  • Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) is a natural approach to managing drainage in and around properties and other developments. SUDS work by slowing and holding back the water that runs off.

  • Subsidence is a downward movement resulting from failure in the ground. 

  • A stud wall is a lightweight wall construction comprising a framework of timber faced with plaster, plasterboard or other finish.

  • A stop end is the end piece of a gutter. 

  • A stop cock is a valve on a gas or water supply pipe which is used to cut off the supply. 

  • Spall is the splitting of masonry, tiles, concrete etc., usually due to the freezing and expansion of trapped water (frost damage). 

  • A soil pipe is a vertical pipe that conveys sewage to the drains. Its upper end is usually vented above the eaves. 

  • A soffit is the underside of an arch, beam, staircase, eaves or other feature of a building. 

  • A soakaway is a pit filled with broken stones etc., below ground to take drainage from rainwater pipes or land drains and allow it to disperse. 

  • A smoke vent system is designed to automatically open windows and/or doors when smoke is detected within the building. The system is normally installed within stairwells

  • A skylight is a window set into a roof slope. 

  • A sewer is a large, underground pipe or drain used for conveying waste water and sewage. The Local Authority is usually responsible for the sewers, which collect the effluent from various drains. Drains are the responsibility of the land owners. 

  • Settlement is the downward movement, resulting from failure of the components of the building, normally the foundations. All properties settle to some extent, and this can show as cracking and/or distortion in walls. Very often minor settlement is not of great significance to the building as a whole. 

  • A Septic tank is a private drainage installation whereby a tank, typically underground, in which sewage is collected and allowed to decompose through bacterial activity before draining by means of a soakaway.

  • Screed is the final smooth finish given to a solid floor; usually cement or concrete. 

  • A sash is the frame of a window that holds the glass. 

  • Sarking is felt and/or wood used as an underlining to a roof. 

  • Rough cast is a rough render finish to external walls. 

  • Rising damp is moisture soaking up a wall from the ground by capillary action. 

  • A riser is the vertical part of a step or stair. 

  • A ridge tile is a specially shaped angular or half round tile for covering and making weather-tight the ridge of a roof. 

  • Ridge is the highest part or apex of a roof where two slopes meet. 

  • A retaining wall is a wall built to hold back a bank of soil.

  • Render is smooth or rough cast cement or lime based covering to a wall, either internally or externally, sometimes with pebbledash or other textured finish.

  • Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride. The rigid form of PVC is used in construction for pipe, and in profile applications such as doors, window frames and replacement eaves.

  • Pointing is the outer edge of mortar joint between bricks, stones etc.

  • Plywood is a board made from veneers of wood, glued with the grain laid at right angles. 

  • A plinth is the projecting base of a wall. 

  • Plasterboard is constructed as a sandwich of plaster between papers and is commonly used for ceilings and partition walls. 

  • Pitch is the angle of slope to a roof. 

  • A parapet gutter is a gutter behind a parapet usually provided with a flexible metal or other impervious lining. 

  • A parapet is a low protective wall along the edge of a roof, bridge, or balcony.

  • Mortar is a mixture of sand, cement or lime, and water used to join stones, blocks or bricks. It can also be used for pointing and general filling. 

  • Mastic is a generic term for any sealant used in the building process. 

  • Louvers are slats laid at an angle incorporated into a door or window. Louvre slats can be hinged to allow ventilation or light.

  • A lintel is a horizontal beam over a door or window opening usually carrying the load of the wall above. Often lintels can be partially or completely hidden from view. 

  • Joist is a timber or steel beam directly supporting a floor or ceiling. 

  • A hopper head is an open funnel or hopper shaped head at the top of a rain or waste pipe to collect rainwater and/or waste from one or more pipes.

  • A gutter is a channel along the eaves of a roof or the edge of a path for the removal of rainwater.

  • A gully is an opening into which rain and waste water are collected before entering the drain. 

  • Grout is the substance used for filling the joints between wall and floor tiles. 

  • A gable is the upper section of a wall, usually triangular in shape, at each end of a ridged roof. 

  • Foundations are normally concrete and are laid underground as a structural base to a wall. In older buildings the foundations may be brick or stone.

  • A flue is a smoke duct in a chimney, or a proprietary pipe serving a heat producing appliance such as a central heating boiler. 

  • A monetary float is a payment made to the Property Factor upon purchase of your property. This is refundable, subject to outstanding service charges, when you sell the property. The level of float is normally detailed in the Deed of Conditions.

  • Flaunching is a mortar weathering on the top of a chimney stack surrounding the base of the chimney pots to throw off the rain and thus prevent saturation of the stack. 

  • Flashing is a sheet cover formed over a joint, such as between a roof covering and a chimney or wall, to render it waterproof and is normally formed in metal (lead, zinc, copper) or cement. 

  • A fascia is a board fixed to the rafter ends along the eaves of a roof.

  • Efflorescence is powdery white salts, crystallized on the surface of a wall as a result of moisture evaporation. 

  • Eaves are the lower edges of a roof. 

  • Dry Rot is a very serious form of fungus that attacks structural and joinery timbers, often with devastating results. Dry Rot flourishes in moist, unventilated areas, but the spores can survive in dry conditions. 

  • A dormer is a construction with a window that projects from a sloping roof. 

  • The Deed of Conditions is a legal document defining the conditions for your property and development.

  • A damp-proof course is a layer of impervious material (bitumen felt, PVC, slate etc) incorporated into a wall and designed to prevent dampness rising up the wall, and lateral dampness penetrating around windows, doors etc. Various alternative methods are available for damp-proofing existing walls including "electro-osmosis" and chemical injection. A Damp-Proof Membrane is a Horizontal layer of impervious material (usually polythene or bitumen) incorporated into floors or slabs. 

  • Cornice is a moulding at the junction between a wall and ceiling. It can also be a moulding found at the top of an outside wall designed to project and throw raindrops clear of the wall.

  • Coping or Coping Stone is usually stone or concrete laid on top of a wall as a decorative finish and designed to stop rainwater soaking into the wall.

  • A communal TV/Satellite System is a TV system which serves several properties, removing the need for the installation of individual satellite dishes or aerials.

  • A combination boiler is a central heating boiler that also provides hot water “instantaneously“ on demand, usually within a pressurised system. With this form of boiler there is no need for water storage tanks, hot water cylinders etc. 

  • Chipboard comprises chips of wood compressed and glued into sheet form. Chipboard is a low cost method of decking flat roofs, floors and, with Formica or melamine surface, to furniture and kitchen units.

  • Cavity wall is a traditional modern method of building external walls of houses comprising two leaves of brick or blockwork usually separated by a gap ("cavity") of about 5Omm (2 inches).

  • A cavity tray is a moisture barrier inserted above a window or door opening to deflect moisture that transfers across the outer leaf of brickwork back to the outer face rather than letting it cross the cavity at lintel level causing dampness internally. In many cases, the lintel itself acts as a cavity tray though this arrangement is not always appropriate. 

  • Bitumen is a black, sticky substance, similar to asphalt which is used in sealants, mineral felts and damp-proof courses.

  • A balustrade is a row of balusters, or other infilling, below a handrail on a landing, stair or parapet. 

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Registered Name: Life Property Management Ltd. Registered in Scotland SC253869. VAT Reg No 827 5010 46. Property Factor Reg No PF000203. Registered Office: 11 Somerset Place, Glasgow G3 7JT. Life Property Management Ltd is an appointed representative of Arthur J Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Registered Office: Spectrum Building, 7th Floor, 55 Blythswood Street, Glasgow, G2 7AT.  Registered in Scotland.  Company Number SC1089909.