Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Sebastian's Technical Glossaries:

Building & general construction technology dictionary:
technology, architecture, civil, structural, forensic, mechanical, pavement and materials engineering, roofing, and masonry
with elements of testing and quality science

on-line mostly American English/French/Romanian

By A. Sebastian

© 1995 - 2050 A. Sebastian. All rights reserved.

Hosted by A. Sebastian Engineering & Investigation Services

Back to:Building Pathology Home Page

ASEIS also offers a Construction durability glossary
and a Building pathology glossary

First and foremost, this is a construction dictionary with English explanations. Given the difficulty that faces the Romance language speaker to relate to technical English (and the other way around), whenever possible, the corresponding equivalents are given (where genus choices are possible, only the masculine is shown). Some reference standards are also indicated. If you have a better translation, please e-mail it to us for consideration / inclusion / credit.

Items currently in the works may show in italics.


E-mail: or


...or go the old fashioned way:

A. Sebastian, POB 17901, Seattle, WA 98107

our url:

C concrete/mortar/grout
Ch chemistry
P paints/coatings
M masonry
R roofing
T testing
Th technology
Tr transportation/pavement engineering
W wood, timber [v] verb
[n] noun

A B C D to L M N O P Q RS T U V W X Y Z


Maintenance (F maintenance, R intretinere) combination of any actions carried out to retain an item in, or restore it to, an acceptable condition (BS 5405)

manufacturer (F fabricant, R producator, fabrica, fabricant) ...

Masonry (R zidarie) the science, art, craft and trade of building in natural or artificial stone. The term is often extended to work in brick and tile. Ancient examples of immense irregular blocks of stone, laid together without mortar, have been found throughout Europe, Americas, Africa, and Asia. The ancient Greeks and Romans developed masonry techniques that are still used today. Rubble masonry uses irregular and coarsely jointed quarried or field stone. Ashlar masonry contains carefully worked stones set with fine, close joints. Either kind of masonry may be laid with or without mortar. Also mason (R zidar)

Mildew (F mildiou, R mucegai)mold whenever it occurs on fabrics, leather, etc.

Mix (R dozaj)...Such as concrete or mortar mix

Mixer (R malaxor, betoniera)...

mode of failure (F mode de rupture) ...

Moisture (R umiditate, continut (ridicat) de ~) ...

Mold, Can/Brit: mould (F moisissure, feutrage de champignons de petite taille, R mucegai). Woolly or powdery fungal growth that forms on the surface of materials in damp, stagnant atmospheres

Mortar (R mortar) mixture of lime and/or cement with sand and water, used either as a binding material for bricks and stone or as a plaster

movement (R miscare)...

  1. necessary movement capability (F degré de liberté de mouvement nécessaire)

Back to the top


Need (R necesitate, necesar)...

Neglect (R delasare

Neutron Probe Sensors that measure the total, frozen and unfrozen, moisture content in the pavement structure


Open Standpipe Pipe that has been placed vertically into the ground to measure the water table level.

Back to the top


Pave Tech Van Vehicle with three cameras that record video images of the pavement surface, pavement profile, rutting and faulting. Performance (F Performance, R performanta) A qualitative or quantitative expression of behavior related to use (BS 4949)
  1. performance level, level of performance (F niveau de performance)

Piezo Accelerometer Sensor that measures the vertical acceleration of concrete slabs under dynamic loadings. The resulting data, when integrated twice, yields deflections

Pile (R 1. pilot, 2. baterie) Also Pile foundation(R fundatie pe piloti) ...

Pipe ( R teava)...

plate (F plaque, R placa) deck

plywood (R placaj) ...

Pore Water Pressure Gauge Sensors that measure static and and dynamic soil pore water pressures using two different models

Post (R afisare)...Such as to post the results (R a afisa rezultatele)

Powder ( R Pudra)...

Pre-establish (R prestabilit)...

Prescribe (R prescrie)...

Preservation (F préservation, R refacere) The technology of protecting wood from deterioration by living organisms by application of chemical wood preservatives (BS 4261)

Preparation (R preparare, pregatire)...Also

  1. surface ~ (R pregatirea suprafetei)

Pressure (R presiune)

Printer (R imprimanta)...

Procedure (R procedeu)...

Product (R produs)...

(to) provide weather protection, airtightness, and resistance to heat flow and vapour diffusion (F garantissent la protection contre les intempéries, l'étanchéité à l'air et la résistance à l'écoulement de chaleur et à la diffusion de vapeur) the role of a proper and functional building envelope

Public works (R Lucrari Publice)...

Back to the top


Quality (R calitate)

  1. peculiar and essential character
  2. an inherent feature : PROPERTY c : CAPACITY, ROLE
  3. degree of excellence : GRADE
  4. superiority in kind
  5. QA (Quality Assurance)(R calitatea muncii)
  6. QC (Quality Control): Systematic setting, check, and operation designed to maintain steady working conditions in continuous process such as mineral concentration; to forestall trouble; to check condition of ore, pulp, or products at important transfer points.
  7. CQC (Contractor Quality Control)
  8. Quality Assurance Manager: person who designs, establishes and manages the quality program on behalf of an owner; including acceptance testing; review and monitor all operating units and systems, test results produced during the construction process. Duties may also includes the design, development and creation of test databases, test plans and scripts. Design, develop and implement application version and change control, to include applications documentation and test, development and support methodologies

Quantity (R cantitate)...Also:

  1. Quantitative Techniques: control and monitoring system
  2. quantitative analysis: in chemistry, the process of determining the quantity of each element present. Also called elementary analysis. Both volumetric and gravimetric methods are included.

Back to the top


Regulations (F réglementation, R ordin, detalii de aplicare a legii) Requirements laid down by law (eg. Government enacted Building Regulations) or which satisfy the law in some respect

Rehabilitate Extensive maintenance intended to bring property or building up to current acceptable condition, often involving improvements (BS 3811)

reinforced concrete (F béton armé, R beton armat) ...

Removal (R indepartare) ...

Renovate (F rénover, R (a) renova) Generally used to mean 'restore'

Repair (R (a) repara, reparatie) to restore an item to an acceptable condition by the renewal, replacement or mending of decayed or damaged parts (BS 3811)

Request (R Cerere)

Restore (F restaurer) to bring back an item to its original appearance or state (BS 3811)

Restraint (R constringere, legatura) the partial or total restriction of movement. A device which produces this effect

Resistivity Probe sensors that measure depths of freezing and thawing fronts in the pavement structure

Risk (F risque, R risc) ...
Also condensation risk (F risques de condensation, R riscul condensarii vaporilor de apa) potential for condensation

Rutting Dipstick a manually operated device used to record transverse profiles for the bituminous cells

Resistivity Probe sensors that measure depths of freezing and thawing fronts in the pavement structure

Back to the top


Safety (R siguranta)....

Sample (R esantioane de produse)....

Sand (R [v] a presara nisip, [n] nisip) ....Also

  1. clean ~ (R nisip spalat)
  2. graded ~ (R nisip sortat)

Scatter (R imprastiere)....

Scaffold (R schela)....

Scaling (F écaillage)....

Seal (F joint d'étanchéité) v.....

  1. "seal at the top of the window" (F le joint d'étanchéité se trouvant dans la partie supérieure de la fenêtre)

Select (R selectare) v.....

Settlement (F tassement, affaisement, R tasare) Downward movement of the soil or of a structure which it supports (BS 892)

Shear (F cisaillement, R taiere, forta taietoare) ...

Sheet (R tabla, tinichea) ...Also Sheetmetal, Sheet metal (R tinichigerie) ...

Shim ...

  1. "material for shimming frames and setting blocks for glazing units must have sufficient hardness to sustain the load for an indefinite period without creeping, allow for anchoring, and be a good thermal insulator" (F e matériau utilisé pour caler les dormants et les vitrages doit avoir une dureté suffisante pour résister aux charges durant une période de temps indéfinie sans fluage ; il doit aussi permettre l'ancrage et être un bon isolant thermique)

Shoring (R sprijinire) ...

Shrinkage (F contraction, R contractie) Decrease in length or volume

Slab (F dalles, platelage, R placa) Deck

Slide (R 1. alunecare, 2. dispozitiv de glisare) ...

Slope stability (R stabilitatea pantei) ...

Soil (R sol, pamint, teren) ...

Soil Pressure Gauge Sensors that measure static and dynamic stresses, both vertical and horizontal, in soils and other unbounded layers

soil survey A detailed investigation of the soils at a site, including boreholes and tests to determine their nature, thickness, strength, and depth to bedrock. Also: site investigation

soil test Laboratory procedure used in examining and determining the physical characteristics of a soil sample

Spall (F eclat,R spartura superficiala, tandara) A flaky fragment, usually produced by a blow, or by the action of weather or pressure

Spalling (F décollement, eclatement, R spargere superficiala, fragmentare; spall=aschie, tandara) detachment of fragments, usually of flaky shape, from a larger mass by a blow, or by the action of weather or pressure; chipping of stone, masonry or concrete (BS 2787) Specifications (F spécification)...

Split (F delitement, clivage, R crapatura, clivaj, desfacere) Break in a material, approximately parallel with the natural grain or cleavage of the material

Stain (R pata) [v, n] To discolor. An uncontrolled discoloration, usually on concrete, masonry, and wood

Static Sensors Those sensors that generate data at 15 minute intervals Examples are weather sensors, etc.

Stitching [M restoration] insertion of new bricks to replace existing damaged bricks

straight edge (R dreptar)...

strengthening (F renforcement) giving or increasing strength


  1. In costruction: the parts or members of any building that carry the loads and transmit them to the foundations; frame
  2. In geology, the disposition of the rock formations; i.e., the broad dips, folds, faults, and unconformities at depth. Nelson
  3. In petrology, one of the larger features of a rock mass, like bedding, flow banding, jointing, cleavage, and brecciation; also, the sum total of such features
  4. soil structure: the arrangement and state of aggregation of soil particles in a soil mass
  5. "accommodate structural deformations such as creep" (F résister aux déformations structurales comme le fluage)

Stucco (R tencuiala) ...

  1. base coat, first coat (R sprit)
  2. topcoat (R strat de finisaj, tinci)
  3. whitewash (R tinci)
  4. smoothing, smooth out (R driscuire)

Superintendent (R diriginte, ~ de santier) Also Super

  1. One who has the oversight and charge of a construction site
  2. person who is responsible for a particular thing or department
  3. sidewalk superintendent=a spectator at a building or demolition job
  4. caretaker for an apartment house; represents the owner as janitor and rent collector

Support (F support, R suport)...

  1. location of supports (F l'emplacement des supports, R amplacementul suportilor)

Back to the top


Team work (F participation de toute une équipe) Coordinated effort; joint action by a group of people, in which individual interests are subordinated to group unity and efficiency

Terrazzo (R mozaic)Chips or pieces of stone (often marble or limestone), about 1/2" to 3/4" (13 to 19 mm) in diameter, produced by crushing and screening. Terrazzo chips are used with portland cement in making floors, which are smoothed down and polished after the cement has hardened

Test (R incercare)

  1. exploratory borehole; to search for mineral deposits in an unproved area by means of boreholes.
  2. to obtain material samples (soil, concrete, etc.) from which the physical characteristics of the material can be determined, such as in foundation testing
  3. sequence of operations intended to verify the correct operation (or malfunctioning) of a material or system

Thermal shock (R Soc termic) force, arising out of thermal expansion or contraction, which causes disruption of a material on sudden heating or cooling

Thermohygrograph (F Thermohygrographe) Device that measures and records simultaneously air temperature and relative humidity (BS 5643)

Tin (R cositor) (Chem. Symbol: Sn) Element No. 50 of the periodic system; atomic weight 118.70. Soft silvery white metal of high malleability and ductility, but low tensile strength; melting point 449°F, yielding the longest molten-state range for any common metal; specific gravity 7.28. Principal use as a coating on steel in tin plate; also as a constituent in alloys. Also tin plate (R tabla cositorita), tinsmith (R tinichigiu), tinning(R cositorire) , coating with tin, commonly either by immersion into molten tin or by electrodeposition; also by spraying

Title (R functia) ...

Back to the top


unidirectional slabs (F dalles unidirectionnelles, R placi armate pe o directie)...

USACE US Army Corps of Engineers

Upstand Portion of roof covering turned up against a vertical surface, yet not necessarily tucked into a groove (BS 2717)


Void (in the context of cellular materials, such as concrete) cavity formed either intentionally or unintentionally (ISO 1382)

Back to the top


Wall (F mur , R perete) ...Also

  1. exterior wall (R fatada exterioara)
  2. Wall elements (F éléments du mur , R componentii peretelui)

Warp (F Voilement, R Deformare, Distorsiune) Change from a straight or true plane condition

Warranty (R garantie, termen de ~) ...

Waterproof (R hidrofob) A relative term indicating that a material has been treated, i.e., sized, coated, impregnated, etc., in such a manner as to increase its resistance to the penetration of water. The basic principle of waterproofing is that the presence of the waterproofing chemical or other material in or on a fibrous substance modifies the surface tension between water and the substances of the fiber. WATER RESISTANCE is probably a better term to use with respect to any of the materials
—(1) Impervious to or unaffected by water.
(2) Made of or coated or treated with rubber, plastic, or a sealing agent to prevent penetration by water. Also Water-Repellent.

WATER-REPELLENTResistant to penetration by water but not entirely Waterproof. Synonymous with Water-Resistant.

Water vapor (F Vapeur d'eau, R vapori de apa) creates a pressure just like any other gas. Cold air has a relatively low vapor pressure, while warm air (with larger amounts of water vapor) has a greater pressure. The difference in pressure cause the vapor to penetrate building materials in the direction from high to low vapor pressure

Weather (R Vreme, Climat) To degrade under the action of the weather. Also used to describe the inclusion of a slight slope to throw off rainwater, eg. on a sill

Weathering (R for 1: Imbatrinire, deteriorare climatica) 1) Action of weathter in producing degradation; aging 2) Alternatively used as a noun to describe a slight construction slope designed to throw off rainwater

Window (F fenêtre, vitrage, R fereastra) ...

  1. window installation (F installation des fenêtres)
  2. window support (F appui des fenêtres)
  3. window anchorage systems (F systèmes d'ancrage des fenêtres)

Wrinkle (F Ride, R rid) slight ridge caused by folding, rumpling or creasing. In roofing may refer to the common wrinkled pattern that forms over the joints of insulation in insulated roof systems. Simil. to "buckling"


Yield (F limite elastique, R limita elastica, It.: Snervamento) permanent deformation which a material undergoes when it is stressed beyond its elastic limit

Back to the top



A. Sebastian: "Essential Construction & Architectural Engineering Dictionary"

Webster, formerly known as a "Dictionary of the American Language" (whatever that might mean)

American Heritage Dictionary

Encarta, a barely passable product from a much less than passable corporation

Echo-Eurodicatum: although sliding down fast, it is still the power house to beat in web multilingual dictionaries (

TechDico, Logos (

Back to the top

Back to Building Pathology glossary index or to glossary index

This page url: