The A-Z of Architecture Argot

The A-Z of Architecture Argot

Working with your Architectural project team on a new home, house extension, or development project is always an exciting adventure, however, the hundreds of technical architectural terms we use can be confusing.

Whilst Architectural words and phrases form part of our daily discussions, for someone new to our world it can indeed sound like a foreign language.

To help you better understand this dialect of industry acronyms and colloquialisms we have put together a list of the most common phrases you might hear being used by our Architect team when planning your next building project.

Happy reading!

A

ACO Drain – A drainage system that collects water from the surface of a pavement and directs it into an underground drain.

Aesthetic – The appearance of something.

Arcade – A covered walkway lined by columns.

Archway – An opening with a curved or pointed top.

Asbestos Survey – A survey undertaken on a property to identify if asbestos-containing materials are present.

Architectural Symmetry – Characteristic by which the two sides of a facade or architectural floor plan of a building present mirror images of one another.

B

Balcony – A platform that projects from the wall of a building.

Balustrade – A guard to protect from falling or to assist with walking.

Banal – The architect’s version of “boring”.

Bespoke – Individual and unique. This often applies to joinery, built-in carpentry, or kitchens.

Beam – A horizontal structural member usually in steel or timber which needs to be designed /sized, in most cases by a Structural Engineer

Bracket – A projection from a vertical surface that provides structural and/or visual support for overhanging elements.

Building Envelope – The elements that wrap a building – the outside of the total building.

Build Over Agreement – Compliance for when your extension or conversion takes place near or over a public sewer to confirm the foundations of your new construction have given sufficient clearance from the sewer and that access will still be possible if the need arises. An application to the water authority will need to be made and a fee paid.

C

Cantilever – A long projecting element fixed at only one end, with no columns to support it.

Casement Window – A window frame that is hinged on one vertical side or at the top, and which swings open to either the inside or the outside of the building.

Cashflow Forecast – A chart to show how the total cost of the project will be spread over the whole programme of the building works.

Column – A vertical structural member or pillar usually in steel or timber to support a horizontal structural member.

Conservation Area – An area of a town or village designated by the local authority as needing to be managed and protected due to the special architectural and historic interest of the place.

Contamination Report – A Phase 1 report by a specialist is often needed to accompany a planning application when a barn conversion or new home is proposed to check if any previous use on that land would cause a risk to future residents of a dwelling or other new use. If contamination is predicted then a Phase 2 report will be required, complete with soil and other tests if asked for in the planning conditions, followed by a Remediation Report and finally at the end of the build by a Verification Report.

Contemporary – Current and up to date design.

D

Dimension – The length or height of something.

Domesticity – A description of a place’s homeliness.

Dormer Window – A perpendicular window located in a sloping roof to provide more space, height, and light.

E

Eaves – The projecting edge of a roof that overhangs an exterior wall or opening and supports the gutter (unless there is a concealed gutter).

Elevation – The view when looked at the face on to each side of the building

Extension – The construction of extra floor space for an existing building.

F

Facade – An exterior wall, or face, of a building.

Fascia – A sheet of material timber, plywood, or sometimes UPVC at the eaves and behind the gutter.

Fenestration – The arrangement of windows and external doors.

First Fix – the first stage of fitting in a building project, for example, fitting the wires for the sockets or the pipework to the future radiators or sanitary ware

Floor Plan – The arrangement of rooms in a building at each level.

Floor Area – The total area measured as square metres taken up by a building on each floor, usually taken from within the exterior walls

Foundations / Footings – Designed by a structural engineer to sit under the building to evenly transfer the weight of the building to the earth, most often in concrete.

G

Gentrification – Standardising, normalising and bring wealth into a place.

I

Ironmongery – Items made from iron such as door handles,  locks, hinges window fittings, railings, handrails, switches, and sockets.

J

Joinery – Carpentry.

Joists – A horizontal structural element that supports the floor and/or ceiling

Juxtaposition – Two opposites placed together for increased effect (old and new).

L

Listed Building – A listed building or structure is one that has been placed on a statutory list by Historic England and requires protection not to be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the Local Planning Authority.

Listed Building Consent – Permission is given when a Listed Building Application has been made and approval has been given.

Loft Conversion – The process of transforming an existing empty attic space or loft into a functional room.

M

Masonry – Being of stone, brick, or concrete.

Massing – A simple arrangement of the to-be designed spaces.

Modular – Describes a (simple) construction system for a building that could be added to indefinitely.

N

Nodes – The connecting point of a network, usually of roads or paths.

O

Orangery – an extension, which has a solid structure with proportionately more brickwork than that of a conservatory with, a flat roof and a lantern and windows at the sides separated by columns that sit beneath the roof formed of internal pelmets and glass panels.

Organic – Natural and often curvy in appearance.

P

Parapet – Usually a piece of wall that protrudes up above a flat roof, for example, to hide a gutter when you build close to a boundary

Party Wall – A wall, also known as a common wall that is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. If you need to cut steel beams into a party wall then a party wall agreement is required.

PEA – Preliminary Ecological Assessment – often required accompanying planning applications for barn conversions or new houses to assess if any protected species are living within the agricultural building or on the land.

Plan – An aerial view, looking down onto the building. They can show the roof, doors, walls, and windows, together with the internal layout.

Planning Permission – Permission is given to carry out certain building works or extensions issued by the Local Planning Authority after an application has been made following the issue of drawings and other related documents.

Planning Conditions – Each planning permission has attached to it certain conditions to be complied with some of these are pre-commencement planning conditions that need to be satisfied before construction can begin by means of extra drawings or reports to be issued with a further planning application for approval of conditions.

Programme – A chart to show which order building work will be carried out over a number of weeks.

Projection – A side wing, tower, or window bay that protrudes from a building.

Proud – Sticking out, as in “the countertop is proud of the cabinet” sits proud

Purlin – Longitudinal, horizontal structural member in a roof (often used in roofs which do not have trusses.)

R

Rafter – A sloped structural member such as a wooden beam that extends from the ridge, wall plate, or eave designed to support the roof deck.

Rebate – A recessed strip.

Regenerate – To improve and bring back to life.

Ridge – The horizontal line at the junction of the top edges of two sloping roof surfaces.

Ridge Beam – The top structural member of a roof either in steel or structural timber

Robust – An object, method, or idea that seems to be flawless and sensible.

Roofline – The top of the part of a building that rises above the eaves of the building.

Rooflight – A window in the slope of a roof or set in a flat roof with upstands.

S

Sanitary Ware – Toilets, basins, showers, shower trays, baths, taps, etc.

SAP Calculation – A rating that is required to produce a Predicted Energy Assessment and an On Construction Energy Performance Certificate.

Sash Window – A window usually made from timber, which has the opening parts sliding vertically (or horizontally) within a frame. Mostly works on a series of lead weights but more recently by a pair of spiral sash balances.

Scale – The size of something. Planning drawings are often at a scale of 1:100 and construction drawings are at a scale of 1:50 or 1:20 with joinery details at a larger scale of 1:10. 1:5 or 1:2.

Second Fix – The final process of fitting electrical or mechanical work at the end of a project – completing actual fittings such as sockets, taps, radiators, and sanitary ware.

Section – A drawing of a vertical cut through of the building that results in the removal of one of the selected parts to reveal it’s the object’s inner elements – used usually to show the space and structure of a building.

Sequence – A defined order of items.

Setback – A step-like recession in a wall.

Site Investigation – A preliminary process used to gather the information needed to carry out the viability of the project.

Soffit – The flat board in timber, ply, or UPVC under the eaves.

Spatial Composition – How a building and its parts sit together and interact with its context.

Sustainability – A measure of how environmentally friendly a building is.

T

Threshold – The boundary between two spaces, often marked by a door, change of flooring, or similar change.

Trial Hole – A pit or trench dug to determine the geology and the water table of the site. Structural engineers can need to commission these to be dug in the ground to analyse the make of the ground at different depths to be able to design the foundations of a building or extension. Particularly needed if there are trees in close proximity.

Topographical Survey – Az survey by a company of existing buildings and land to measure what exists and work out ground levels.

Trusses – A triangular roof structure usually made of wood that actually makes up the roof structure.

U

U Value – The measure of how effective the building’s fabric areas are at preventing heat from transmitting between the inside and the outside of a building.

V

Vernacular Architecture – Vernacular architecture responds to local methods of building construction, local climates, and local living needs and traditions.

Our talented Architects offer exciting ideas and expert opinions on layouts and plans for new homes, house extensions, conversions, home office, pool houses, and much more. Take advantage of our extensive local ‘planning permission’ and ‘permitted development’ knowledge and let our brilliant team turn your concept into a reality.


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Furlough Fruition, Baking and Beyond….

March 2020 and the nation tuned in to listen to Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announce unprecedented measures supporting businesses and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many of us, the term ‘Furlough’ was an unknown phrase and a new concept.  Fast forward a few months and Furlough has certainly become a widely used word that over 9 million UK workers can now fully understand.

Like others, part of our team was temporarily “furloughed” as we adjusted our workforce to meet staff and business needs. 

As tempting as it may sound, binge-watching Netflix in their PJ’s was something that none of our furloughed staff wanted to do.  They made the most of the opportunity to engage in training and learning new skills, so that upon their return to work they will be more prepared and informed than ever before! 

And they didn’t disappoint….

One of our Senior Architects, Kate Murray spent many hours educating and improving her knowledge of Revit, the leading BIM modelling software tool that is used by architects all over the world. Revit enables the design of structures that, when built, should look exactly like the digital view.  Kate also managed to decorate no less than five rooms in her home and perfected her baking skills of delicious sourdough ‘lockdown’ loaves!

Dandi Passerini is another multi-talented member of our team.  Along with learning the art of ‘parent home schooling’ Dandi also continued to fulfil her annual RIBA CPD obligations, whilst studying very hard to become a qualified BREEAM AP.  

BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master planning projects, infrastructure, and buildings, which means that Dandi will be able to provide a professional BREEAM consultancy service to clients, designing buildings that achieve the accredited BREEAM sustainable rating.  

Our Architectural Assistant, Navid Hamzeheinejad has definitely made the most of this great opportunity too.  Navid has been working tirelessly on his studies for his RIBA Part 3 examinations. This is the final stage of the qualification process, that will see Navid’s passion and dream of becoming a qualified Architect develop into a reality.   And…as if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, Navid has also given himself a huge skills boost, engaging in Rhino 3D design software tutorials and allocating any spare time to becoming a multilingual mastermind and taking steps to learn German. Gute Arbeit Navid!

Upon reflection, as businesses start to reopen and staff begin to return, the furlough scheme has allowed us to adapt to the challenges that came hand in hand with pandemic and the global economic slowdown, but it has also lent itself to allowing our passionate team to up-skill and educate themselves, making ‘furlough’ work for their careers, our customers and to support the longevity of our successful Architect Practice.

Stay Healthy.

Martyn Pattie


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Thank you NHS Key Workers

We want to say a huge thank you to the thousands of key workers that have been working tirelessly on the frontline during the COVID -19 pandemic. We are truly inspired by what you are all doing in these challenging times.

Despite the hardships and health risks, our essential frontline workers continue to do their jobs to keep us safe, fed, collecting our bins, providing life-saving medicine, caring for those who are most vulnerable, cleaning our public places and hospitals.

We thank you for the risks and challenges you face, putting your lives on the line, trying to save ours.  

We also extend our thanks to our loyal clients and future customers for supporting our local architectural practice at this difficult time.  We are continuing to work and moving your projects forward, but also protecting each other by observing Public Health England’s social distancing guidelines. 

 Please Stay Safe and Protect our NHS.

Thank you NHS rainbow


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Your Future Way of Living

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to own the world, the Government message remains crystal clear. Stay at Home. 

Could the perfect medicine to pass the time in isolation be re-evaluating your future life and property plans?

It is true that the COVID-19 lockdown has brought the property sales market to a standstill and that our economy will be affected.  

However, once we get past this ‘history-making’ blip, experts say that there could be an economic boom.  People will have re-evaluated life and living and start to spend money on the things that they now deem are most important to themselves and their families.

Has being forced to ‘work from home’ actually been a real success? Whilst earning your livelihood from the kitchen table has been ok for now, if it is to be part of a longer-term solution to your work/life balance, you could be considering building a beautiful new home office.

The imposed downtime may have finally enabled you to spend some quality time, searching online for that perfect plot of land to build your dream new home or even a development project. Is now the time to make it happen?

Or have you realised that for more harmonious living, your growing teenagers need their own space away from the family fold and the answer is building an exercise studio, music room or even a stylish annex?

COVID-19 has changed our outlook dramatically.  Apart from anything else it has given us time to rethink and consider what matters most and how we will all live our lives going forward.

If you have future property plans and would like some professional advice on how to achieve them our fantastic team at MP Architects are here and ready to support you. 

Our talented Architects offer exciting ideas and expert opinions on layouts and plans.  You can take advantage of their extensive local ‘planning permission’ knowledge and let their brilliant drawings turn your concept into a reality.

There is no need for ‘face to face’ meetings or handshakes, we are working just as effectively through contactless telephone consultations and our easy to use virtual meeting resources.  

Please contact us at any time via email or telephone to discuss putting the plans in place for your future way of living.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Stay healthy.


Author : Jessica Parkes. Read more articles for MP Architects LLP https://www.martynpattie.co.uk/news/

Improve your home this Easter Bank Holiday

Traditionally the Easter weekend provides the perfect opportunity to think about some potential home improvements.   Maybe you’re thinking about applying a fresh lick of paint to your bedroom wall, tackling the overgrown garden, clearing the guttering or considering a larger scale project such as a home extension, building that long-awaited home office or pool house.

With the UK still on lockdown, the long weekend could be a great chance to spend a moment considering how to add value to your home, making the most of the space you have or indeed put a plan of action together for that long-awaited house project.

Speaking with neighbours who have undertaken similar projects can offer you some great advice on build time scales, costs and implications.  It is important that ‘social distancing’ is observed, but how about a chat over the garden fence or from the front gate all with a 2-metre distance, of course! 

A sizeable project will need a level of professional help.  MP Architects in Essex are ready and waiting to support every aspect of your project, firstly by bringing your vision to life with expert drawings of the amazing new space you desire.

We will also assist you with our wealth of local authority knowledge, advising on what does and doesn’t need planning permission, along with any building regulations you may be facing.  

Planning applications can be a daunting and tricky task, but with our assistance, we can assure you of a simple, slick and stress-free process.

Once your plans are approved, you may start to think about obtaining quotes for the work ahead. This is another area where we can support you with recommendations for brilliant local tradesmen with a proven track record for quality of work, adhering to timescales and finishing the job on budget.

A good project manager needs to understand drawings and foresee any potential issues, whilst working with the tradesmen to keep the job on course and in budget. Should you need it, MP Architects offer a full architectural service, managing on-site and covering all of the RIBA stages.

So, a pro-active Easter weekend means that your home project will be all ready to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as life in the UK gets back to normal.

But it shouldn’t all be work, work, work, make sure you take time to relax and indulge in some perfect ‘social distancing’ with a nice cup of tea and a tasty hot cross bun whilst day-dreaming about your lovely new space.

Happy Easter.

Moving your architectural project forward and safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

M P Architects are here to support your project through challenging times.

Today one of our senior architects Kate Murray who is working from home had a successful video conference call with the client and planning consultant. 

Kate’s feedback after the meeting was “it went better than expected!”. She felt everyone was more focused to listen to each other than a normal face to face meeting.

We would like to ensure our clients that our office and Architects are equipped with digital conference call facilities.  We have software such as Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger, etc.  Therefore we can still help to move your project forward if there is restrictions or preferences of not to have a face to face meeting.

Our office will not be closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

We are following the UK government’s official health and travel advice closely, and we have an office policy in place to ensure any risk and disruption is minimised.

Why not give us a call to discuss your dream development and see how we can help you to truly maximise your next opportunity.

Architects Offer Huge Advantages When It Comes To Planning Permission For New Houses & Extensions

How Architects Can Save You Major Headaches When It Comes to Planning Permission on New Houses and extensions

Anyone planning a new house build or adding to their existing house will benefit from taking M P Architects from the very beginning of their project.

We are a RIBA and ARB registered practice meaning our staff are fully qualified and have spent years training to be experts in our field.

We offer services from initial consultation, through design and achieving planning consent to project managing your project for you. Therefore, taking the stress away and making sure it is built in accordance with the plans and compliant to the current regulations.

We will concentrate on the benefits you can receive by appointing M P Architects in terms of planning permission for new houses and extensions.

Do you need planning permission?

This largely depends upon the project you are undertaking. If you do need planning permission, then you need to make sure this is in place prior to any building works being carried out.

Some extensions fall under ‘Permitted Development’ which we will cover in another article.

If you are looking at building a new house(s) or extension that does not fall into Permitted Development, then obtaining planning permission is essential.

This is where M P Architects can be of immediate benefit to you. With our free initial consultation, we are able to come and meet you, discuss your requirements, advise you whether planning permission is required and how we think we can help you make your dreams come true.

If your project does require planning permission and work commences without obtaining it, then it is possible that an enforcement notice will be served. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to continue building, but you should stop and get M P Architects involved to advise you on the best way forward and achieve planning consent for you.

Different rules for designated areas/listed buildings:

Extending or building in the conservation area and altering a listed building can sometimes prove challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.  M P Architects have a very good working relationship with the local authorities, especially with the conservation officers to achieve permission for altering or extending your listed building.

Submitting a pre-application enquiry to the council prior to a planning application can save a lot of time and money. M P Architects often attend the pre-application meeting with our client at the Council’s office or on site, to discuss different design options with the planning officer and establish the principle of the development.

M P Architects can offer an invaluable service

When it comes to planning permission, experienced local architects such as M P Architects is key to gaining permission.

Here are some key reasons why:

  • Rules on planning permission vary depending on your location and the type of project you are undertaking. M P Architects can offer invaluable insight and service in this respect.
  • Experienced local architects are intimate with what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to your locality. M P Architects have extensive experience of how planning permission is viewed by the local authorities.
  • Professionally qualified local architects can advise on what (if any) changes to plans should be made before (or during) application. This advice will help greatly in terms of obtaining planning permission for new homes as well as extensions and outbuildings.
  • Timing of applying/amending (where necessary)/receiving of any planning permission is crucial to the success of start dates of any project. M P Architects can advise this at the beginning of your project.

Taking the weight off your shoulders – Carrying out a project related to the building of a new home involves many strands. If M P Architects have been appointed to carry out the full service of project managing on-site.  We will ensure your house will be built to a high standard, we will check all the construction details have been built to the correct design and specifications.  We will liaise with the builder for any queries so you don’t have to. Most importantly, we will ensure the project is completed on time and on budget.

Using a respected local architect like M P Architects makes eminent sense:

As we touched on at the beginning of the piece, availing of the services of a respected local architect will most certainly benefit your project.

In most cases, the more involved an architect is in a project, the more rewarding the outcome.  Visit our testimonial page to see what other people said about using our services.

 

 

Why Do I Need An Architect?

Whatever type of newbuild or home improvement project you are planning there is a serious, early decision to be made.

This relates to whether or not you should use the services of an architect.

With this in mind, here are some important reasons as to why an architect can be of huge value. This is regardless of how small or large your project is.

Fully trained to see the bigger picture:

Architects are highly trained professionals.  To become a registered Architect in the UK, a minimum of 7 years of full time higher education and 2 years of work experience or equivalent is required.  

It is only natural that due to their training and experience they will see things that many of us will miss.  One of the many assets they possess is the ability to see the “bigger picture” of any project.

An architect’s expert eye will help in such things as:

  • Making the best use of the space you have available
  • Ensure the best value for your investment
  • Coming up with unique, individual and interesting designs that suit your individual needs – They can offer a different ‘take’ on your original thoughts and proposed designs. These ideas will often be far more appealing once they are understood
  • Lighting is a crucial aspect of any project, but is one that is very often overlooked! Architects can advise on natural and artificial lighting options that will best suit the type of project and space available. Well-lit areas can make the world of difference in terms of appeal and the finished project.
  • Balance – An architect’s ability to look at the project as a whole from start to finish means the completed project will exude balance and style.
  • Help your project to finish within budget and on time.

Spotting those small issues that can become major bugbears!

Don’t underestimate this benefit. Many do to their cost! Even the smallest building projects involve a lot of planning and design.

To the inexperienced eye, it is very easy to overlook what initially appear to be small issues. Unfortunately, these can turn into major bugbears that will cost to put right.

Just 3 examples of the many that an untrained eye can miss are:

  • What are the planning constraints on your site? 
  • Where is the best, least conspicuous place for any outlet pipes?
  • How to build an extension that looks and works like it has always been part of the existing house?

Planning permission and overseeing the whole project:

Unless you have a great deal of time to spare when it comes to establishing and then running a project to satisfactory completion then an architect will add real value.

If planning permission is required (or you even think it may be!) then an architect can be an invaluable asset.

They are fully experienced in successfully navigating local planning authority laws and will ensure your application is processed in the correct manner.

By appointing an architect as the Contract Admin and Project Manager you are taking a real weight off your shoulders. Benefits of their assistance will be seen in such things as:

  • Recommending the most appropriate builders and qualified tradesmen
  • Managing the work schedule
  • Ensuring the quality of work meets required standards
  • Work carried out meets building control requirements
  • Liaising with local authorities
  • Keep the total project cost within agreed budgets


What to look for when appointing an architect

The architect you appoint should be fully qualified. In this sense, your architect should be members of, and governed by:

  • The ARB – Architects Registration Board – This is a body which has been established by Parliament and acts as the independent UK regulator of architects. If checks need to be made you can access a publicly available database.
  • RIBA – Royal Institute of British Architects – This is an association of architects and comprises of individuals who are licensed to practice architecture in the UK.

For additional peace of mind, it should be noted that all architects are subject to a statutory code of practice. They also have Professional Indemnity Insurance which is in place to protect clients.

Vastly increase your chances of a successful project outcome

The straight fact is that by engaging an architect to assist in your overall project you are taking an important step.

This decision will help to ensure a far more satisfactory project outcome than would otherwise be the case. A final factor that should not be overlooked; your stress factor will also be greatly reduced!