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The meanings of common renovation terms

The meanings of common renovation terms

BeforeBricks Marketing Team
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Ever wondered what 'footings' are? It is likely that if you have, you are embarking on a home extension, or building a new house. Although you may be perfectly content to pay other people to have that knowledge for you, it is much simpler to work with contractors when you have some understanding of what it is that they are referring to. If you look over the following list of common terms used in remodelling, you won't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to make a reference to underpinning foundations the next time you're at a dinner party.

Architectural plans

The technical drawings that provide the plan for a renovation were produced by either the architect or the designer. The plans illustrate the construction process for the project and include details such as dimensions, types of materials, locations of doors and windows, and internal layouts.


HVAC is an abbreviation that stands for "heating, ventilation, and air conditioning." These systems are managed by an HVAC contractor to ensure that the home has adequate heating, cooling, and ventilation at all times.

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Change the House Footprint

The overall dimensions of the house, including any attached garages and the front porch, are referred to as the footprint. Changing the dimensions, also known as changing the footprint, is something that typically takes place when an addition is constructed.


Concrete that has been reinforced with rebar and is placed beneath the foundation in order to provide support for the structure as a whole. Building codes will dictate the dimensions of the footing, including its depth.


The process of tearing down and removing obsolete furniture, materials, wall coverings, or walls from within the home. This is the first step of the remodel, and it involves opening up and cleaning out the space in preparation for the upgrades and renovations.

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Design and build company

A company that specialises in home additions, renovations, or new home construction and also provides design services, such as the creation of architectural drawings, in addition to the construction or renovation work itself. Homeowners are therefore able to collaborate with a single company throughout the entirety of their project.

Move a wall

Tearing down a wall, typically an interior wall, and replacing it with a new wall constructed in a new position. This either makes a room larger or makes the floorplan more open.

Gut a room

Take everything out of the room, including the wall covering, and keep going until the only things that are left are the framing, the subfloor, and whatever is inside the walls.

Sub contractor

A general contractor may hire a specialist contractor, such as a plumber or electrician, to carry out a particular aspect of the work that needs to be done.


The electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that are installed within the home's walls and ceilings and provide the home's primary source of power.

Sub floor

The piece of wood flooring known as the subfloor that is laid over the joists to provide additional support. After the subfloor has been installed, the floor covering, such as carpeting, tile, or plank flooring, can be put in place.

Trades people

Craftsmen are experts in their field, whether they work in roofing, tiling, or electrical work, for example. These individuals are typically brought on board a project as subcontractors.

General Contractor (or general builder)

The individual who is accountable for providing day-to-day oversight of the construction project being remodelled. The general contractor is required to have insurance and will usually belong to an industry body. In most cases, this is the person you should direct questions and communications to.

Building Inspector

Typically a building inspector is the person who works in the local authority building control department and is in charge of issuing building control approval. Building inspectors do not have to work for a local council, it is possible to hire a private building control inspector to carry out the same role on your project. The inspector examines the building regulation plans and monitors the progress of the work by visiting the site as multiple stage throughout the build to ensure that the renovation adheres to approved plans and building regulations.