House Designs Perth - glossary of building terms

Building Terms Glossary

Building permit

Given by your local council, this is your green light to construct a new home (a compulsory government requirement).


A section of the ceiling that falls lower than the standard height for example as a feature or as a space in your ceiling to accommodation plumbing and air conditioning.

Cavity insulation

Insulation that is installed in the wall cavity to enhance the home’s energy efficiency. It generally comes as batts, expansion foam, or reflective sheeting.

Client Liaison Officer

Your Client Liaison Officer is there to provide you and your Site Manager with enhanced support, assisting with answering any queries, providing additional information and processing any administrative requirements.

Coastal zone

When your land is located within 100 metres of standing salt water or 1000 metres of breaking surf, it is deemed a high risk of erosion and steel corrosion, meaning your home will need to upgrade to protective products.

Contour survey

A survey that identifies the levels of your lot, any existing retaining walls and neighbouring structures.


This is a legal document supplied by the Housing Industry of Australia (HIA) – an independent body that ensures the contents of the contract reflect a fair process for both the client and the builder.

Corner beads

To prevent damage to internal wall edges, the plasterer will apply metal beads.


Your cornice joins your ceiling and walls and is installed by your plasterer, throughout your home. To ensure a seamless flow throughout your home.


All blocks have a front verge – a section of land separating the property boundary and the road. We call the section of driveway that falls in this space ‘the crossover’.


This is all ground works undertaken to level your site in preparation of the slab being laid, from dirt removal to compaction.


This is the home’s appearance from the outside.

Engineer’s report

A report that identifies your lot’s soil conditions, wind zone, and slab / footing details.


The board that covers the ends of rafters to support the bottom row of tiles (if appropriate) and carry all the guttering.


Anything that isn’t fixed to the property (and therefore can be removed without causing damage), such as ovens and carpets.


Anything that is fixed to the property, such as lighting and plumbing.


A concrete base that supports a wall or structure above.

Formal Finance

Official unconditional loan approval from your bank or lender.


The wall at the front of your shower that prevents water transfer – hobless showers are now in vogue thanks to enhanced waterproofing methods.


This is a document outlining the range of fixtures and fittings that are included in the price of your home. It gives you assurance of the level of quality, brands and product ranges At your prestart meetings, you can then confirm if you desire further customisation to individual items. Your Prestart Consultant will be there to assist you through the process.

Key handover

Once everything is complete, you simply make a final payment we will hand over the keys to your brand new home.

Lock up

The point in time when all the windows and exterior doors are on (and typically, but not necessarily, the garage door), and you’re able to effectively secure the house.

Plate high

The stage at which the home’s brickwork is finished, meaning your home is ready for the roof frame to be constructed and fitted.

Practical completion

When construction works are completed, your home has reached practical completion. This stage is generally 10 working days prior to your key handover.


An evaluation by a lender that determines the amount the lender would be willing to lend.


Pre-construction services are used in planning a construction project before the actual construction begins.

Pre Construction Contract (PCC)

An agreement with your builder that establishes the scope of certain works (such as surveys) in preparation for your building contract.


This is the fun part of your dream home journey where you get to meet with your Pre-start Coordinator and choose all the finer details that make your home really ‘you’.


A premixed layer of sand and cement that is applied to external brick, cement or stone, often textured, coloured or painted to give the home a consistent appearance.

Residential Design Code (R-code)

A code relating to different councils that dictates what can be built in different locations. Elements affected by R-codes include number of dwellings, building heights and setbacks (see below).

Roof cover

The stage in your dream home journey when your roofing has been installed and you officially have a roof over your head.

Roof frame

The framework of rafters and battens upon which your roofing is secured.


The distance which a building is set back from a boundary as determined by R-codes and other documentation.


The process of transferring property from one owner to another.

Site Manager

Your Site Manager is your key point of contact during construction. Great responsibility rests on their shoulders, overseeing the entire build of your home to ensure the craftsmanship quality, materials used, programme, timeframes and overall site safety meet or exceed our high  standards.

Site works

The entire scope of works required to prepare your unique lot for construction, from earthworks, to sewer connections and stormwater needs.


An underground tank that gently seeps rain water from your home’s roof into the surrounding soil.

Soil classification

A site inspection carried out by engineers to identify the soil type in your lot (clay, sand etc.). The information is critical in ensuring we construct the most suitable footing and slab, resulting in longevity of your home.

Solar orientation

The alignment of your home with respect to the transit of the sun across the sky that determines which walls or windows receive light during the day. This has a large impact on your home’s comfort and energy efficiency throughout the year.


After signing your building contract, any changes made are noted as ‘variations’.

Wind loading

Our engineers will identify the level of wind your home will be exposed to – one of the largest structural forces placed on your home.

Wind zone

Your home will fall in a wind zone (rated between 1 and 6) that dictates the tie down requirements of the roofing structure.

Working drawings

These are detailed plans that show everything about the construction of your home, from how the house will sit on the block to the cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms.

Zero Lot Boundary wall

When a garage wall is built within 900mm of the property boundary, it must be constructed to a different detail to ensure that it is compliant with Building Codes