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Real estate & Financial Terms | Architectural and Construction Terms | Full Glossary

Architectural and Construction Terms

Builder Friendly
House plans in which many angles, room sizes, and other architectural features are designed to reduce labor and job site waste.
Colonial Style
House plans that feature colonial styling will have many of the gracious styling features found in southern homes built in the 1800s and very early 1900s. These features would include porches with rounded columns, separate windows with mullions and transoms, six panel doors, brick or siding mainly, brick fireplaces. The roof will be mainly gabled with some hip roofs. 
Conical Roof
A roof in the shape of an inverted cone atop a cylindrical tower
Construction License
A license to reproduce, re-use, and modify a house plan without additional fees.
Craftsman Style
Craftsman style house plans should look like they were designed in the early 1900s, but will have a more modern interior layout. Common features of the craftsman style home will include porches with columns that have a large square base and tapered square columns. Most house plans in this style will be siding, and many will have metal roofs. Wide trim around windows and doors and at the corners are used throughout the house.
Elevation
A scale drawing of the side, front, or rear of a structure.
Façade
The exterior face of a building which is the architectural front
Farm House Style
A Farmhouse home design is a less formal style that looks best on larger lots, or on acreage. A house plan that is designed in this style will have a lot of porches, front and rear. This expands the living area to the outside. Exterior finish is mostly siding. Double hung windows are used extensively. Columns and railings are prominent features of Farmhouse house plans. 
Floor Plan
A scale diagram of a room or building drawn as if seen from above
Foundation
The base upon which a structure stands. Typical foundations include Concrete Slab, Crawl Space, and Basement.
Framing
To build or assemble the structural components of a house.
French Country Style
A house plan designed in the French Country style will have steeper roof pitches with shorter overhangs. This style is appropriate in stucco, stone, brick and vertical board and batten siding, and many times incorporating all four exterior finishes. Some additional design elements include brick corbels, wood brackets, window planters, roof finials, cupolas and less of an emphasis placed on the entryway.  
Gable
The triangular portion of the wall, between the enclosing lines of a sloping roof
Gambrel Roof
A ridged roof with two slopes on either side, the lower slope having the steeper pitch
General Contractor
A party that performs or supervises the construction or development of a property pursuant to the terms of a primary contract with the property owner
Georgian Style
Georgian style house plans are typically very balanced designs, with a center 2-story massing. Features generally include separate single windows balanced equally on each side of the front door. Exterior finish is brick and occasionally stucco. It is a more formal style. The Georgian style house plan will feature more detailed and intricate cornice designs and incorporate shutters on the windows. 
Hip Roof
A roof with four pitched sides. The line where two slopes of the roof meet is called a hip.
Lot
A piece of land having specific boundaries, especially one constituting a part of a city, town, or block
Mirror Reverse Plan
A mirrored image of a home plan with the text appearing backwards. A building permit may not be obtained using a mirror reverse plan.
Mullion
A vertical member, as of stone or wood, dividing a window or other opening.
Right Reading Reverse Plan
A reversed plan with all text reading correctly.
Roof Pitch
Describes the slope or angle of a roof. The pitch is calculated by the number of inches it rises vertically for every 12 inches it extends horizontally.
Site Plan
A plan showing where a house (and other structures) will be located on the lot.
Study Plan or Review Plan
A house plan that includes exterior views plus the interior plans. The purpose of a study plan is to help the buyer decide if the plan meets their needs. A study plan is not complete and does not incluide a license to build from that plan.
Subcontractor
A party, hired by the General Contracter, to develop all or part of a property.
Traditional Style
Most homes being built fall into this house style category. Many of the other house styles will have elements that could place them in a traditional house style. Traditional house plans typically will be brick, siding or stucco, with roof pitches of 8:12 or more. Many of these house plans will feature hip roofs with approximately 12” overhangs and will have windows with mullions. Eighty percent of the homes currently being built could fall into this style category.