Office fitout glossary
The fitout definitions listed are by no means comprehensive and where there are additional meanings to a word only the definitions relevant to the interior fitout industry have been included. None of the information provided in this fitout Glossary of Terms is to be construed as advice from Apex Executive Interiors Pty Ltd. Apex Executive Interiors Pty Ltd assumes no responsibility nor accepts any liability for any commercial decisions made based on information provided therein. If you have any questions with regard to the meaning of any words on our web site or in any of our quotes or other documents please do not hesitate to contact us.
An abbreviation for air conditioner or air conditioning. www.apexei.com.au/air.html
The outside fan unit of the air conditioning system. It removes the heat from the Freon gas and “turns” the gas back into a liquid, pumping the liquid back to the coil.
Access and Mobility AS 1428.1
This is an Australian Standard in place to ensure all areas that are accessible to disabled people are constructed in such a way that they are “Disabled friendly”.
Round screened screw-on tip of a sink spout - mixes water and air for a smooth flow.
Sharp clean stone that is mixed with sand and cement. A major component of concrete.
Allowance(s) (sometimes referred to as a PC Sum) (an abbreviation for Provisional Cost Sum or Prime Cost Sum)
Sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as flooring may require an allowance for screed bed material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures. Sometimes a PC Sum needs to be allowed when it is not possible to obtain an accurate quote due to insufficient information In this case work is costed based on an ‘educated guess’ with any shortfall or over-spending made up via a Variation or credit.
Bolts to secure an item to concrete or masonry floor or wall.
Abbreviation for Australian Standards
Moulding, attached to one of a pair of swinging double doors, against which the other door strikes Authority ApprovalsApproval for works to proceed legally by any necessary authority i.e. local council, private certifiers or any other person in authority required to do so if the nature of the works means approval is required.
Billings for work performed or costs incurred by one party that, in accordance with the agreement, should have been performed or incurred by the party billed. Owners bill back charges to general contractors, and general contractor’s bill back charges to subcontractors. Examples of back charges include charges for cleanup work or to repair damage incurred by another subcontractor, e.g. a basin that has been chipped or broken window.
Replacement of excavated earth into a trench around or against a basement /crawl space foundation wall.
Transformer that steps up the voltage in a florescent lamp.
Vertical members in a railing used between a top rail and bottom rail or the stair treads. Sometimes referred to as ‘pickets’ or ‘spindles’.
Rail, posts and vertical balusters along the edge of a stairway or elevated walkway.
Narrow strips of wood, metal or plastic used to cover joints or as decorative vertical members over plywood or other panels, also used to pack out surfaces for linings to be affixed to.
Abbreviation for Building Code of Australia.
Structural member transversely supporting a load. A structural member carrying building loads (weight) from one support to another. Sometimes called a “girder”.
Doors that are hinged in the middle for opening in a smaller area than standard swing doors. Often used for closet doors.
An old method of copying used for architectural drawings. Usually used to describe the drawing of a structure which is prepared by an architect or designer for the purpose of design and planning, estimating, securing permits and actual construction.
Broadly speaking it is a medium to high back swivel only chair with arms, no height adjustment so after the meeting chairs are not looking untidy all sitting at different heights. www.apexei.com.au/seating.html
A set of shelves, sitting on the floor either fixed to a wall or free-standing, used for holding books, these units have no doors.
Metal angle iron that brick rests on, especially above a window, door, or other opening.
Small, corrugated metal nailed to wall sheeting or studs. They are inserted into the grout mortar joint of the veneer brick, holding the veneer wall to the sheeted wall behind it.
A lower or higher level ceiling to the main ceiling plane used either to encase services or provide a decorative feature, usually but not always constructed of plaster board and steel framing.
Junction where the ends of two timbers meet, and also where sheets of gyprock meet on the 1200mm edge. To place materials end-to-end or end-to-edge without overlapping.
Cable port / outlet
A small plastic ring that fits in a hole in a desk top to allow cables to pass through, usually 64mm or 80mm
Holds the pile fabric in place.
Frames of wood or metal enclosing part (or all) of a window sash. May be opened by means of hinges affixed to the vertical edges.
Window with hinges on one of the vertical sides and swings open like a normal door.
Aluminium or plastic trim moulding installed around a door, window opening or ceiling junction.
An Abbreviation for Category 5 enhanced. It is data cabling generally used for phone and IT, will not reach gigabyte speed. www.apexei.com.au/electrical.html
An Abbreviation for Category 6. It is data cabling generally used for phone and IT, can reach gigabyte speed if installed using the correct methods, generally speaking installation is approx 30% dearer than its cat 5e counterpart. www.apexei.com.au/electrical.html
Flexible material used to seal a gap between two surfaces.
Abbreviation for Cupboard, also an abbreviation for “Central Business District”
Abbreviation for Construction Certificate (with reference to a council submission)
CCA (Copper Chrome Arsenate) (often used in treated pine)
Pesticide that is forced into wood under high pressure to protect it from termites, other wood boring insects and decay caused by fungus.
One of a series of parallel framing members used to support ceiling loads and supported in turn by larger beams, girders or bearing walls. Also called “roof joists”.
Panels generally mineral fibre that sit into a ceiling grid system to close the ceiling, most common size fits a 1200 x 600 grid
Grey powder that is the “glue” in concrete. Portland cement. Also a generic term for any adhesive.
Man-made or machine-made clay tile used to finish a floor or wall. Generally used in bathtub and shower enclosures and kitchen splashbacks.
Interior trim material installed about 900 – 1200mm above finished floor level horizontally.
Line made by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. Used for alignment purposes.
Manufactured wood panel made out of wood chips and glue. Often used as a substitute for plywood in the exterior wall and roof sheathing.
Path of electrical flow from a power source through an outlet and back to ground.
Device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside electrical breaker panel or circuit breaker box. Designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the area; and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes).
Broadly speaking it is a rolling bookcase storage unit where by steel bookcases move left to right to expose access to files etc... They normally come with a range of accessories and normally will require approval from a structural engineer prior to installation due to the weight they impose on the building structure.
Mixture of Portland cement, sand, gravel and water. Used to make garage and basement floors, sidewalks, patios, foundation walls, etc. Commonly reinforced with steel rods (rebar) or wire screening (mesh).
Outdoor component of a cooling system. Includes a compressor and condensing coil designed to give off heat.
Pipe in which wire is installed, usually PVC but sometimes metal.
An expert who charges a fee for providing advice or services in a particular field to service a client.
Tooled, straight grooves made on concrete floors to “control” where the concrete should crack.
Currents created by heating air, which rises and pulls cooler air behind it.
A floor mounted cabinet normally 720mm high with either hinged or sliding doors.
A floor mounted cabinet normally at least 900mm high with either hinged or sliding doors.
“D” end Desk
A Desk with a “D” shaped end. www.apexei.com.au/office_suites.html
Abbreviation for Development Application (with reference to a council submission).
Abbreviation for Development Application and Construction Certificate (with reference to a council submission).
Dacron is a Trademark label for a polyester insulation used in partition walls, S2 is a standard rating used in a normal partition wall.
Groove cut into a board or panel intended to receive the edge of a connecting board or panel.
Exterior security lock installed on exterior entry doors that can be activated only with a key or thumb-turn. Unlike a latch, which has a bevelled tongue, dead bolts have square ends.
Electrical circuit that serves only one appliance (i.e.: hot water service).
A table with a broad flat top set at height of approximately 720mm, sometimes with drawers attached. www.apexei.com.au/office_suites.html
The top only of a desk, usually this way when fixed to a workstation screen for support
Desk top fixing bracket
A bracket used in workstation construction that fixes the desk top to the screen.
Abbreviation for Double General Power Outlet (Double Power Point). www.apexei.com.au/electrical.html
Distribution Board or DB
Electrical box that distributes electric power entering a building to each branch circuit (each plug and switch) and composed of circuit breakers.
Surrounding case into which and out of which a door closes and opens.
Style that the door will rest upon when it’s in a closed position, also the terminology for the stop mounted at floor level that the door opens on to.
Window or door in which two panes of glass are used with a sealed air space between, for acoustic and thermal insulation.
Double Hung Window
Window with two vertically sliding sashes, both of which can move up and down.
A workstation screen with a cable access system built into the screen, either above or below desk.
A cable access system fitted to the base of walls in place of traditional skirting to allow for cable access, also hold data and power outlets.
Heating / cooling system. Usually round or rectangular metal pipes installed for distributing warm (or cold) air from the furnace to rooms in a building. Also a tunnel made of galvanized metal or rigid fibreglass, which carries air from the heater or ventilation opening to the rooms in a building.
Section of a plumbing system that carries water and sewer gases out.
Formal Contract allowing one party to use another party’s property for a specific purpose e.g.: A sewer easement might allow one party to run a sewer line through a neighbouring property.
Work performed by the Electrical Contractor after the Plumber and Heating Contractor are complete with their phase of work.
Ornamental plate that fits around a penetration.
Process of calculating cost of a project. Can be a formal and exact process or a quick and imprecise process.
Broadly speaking it is a medium to high back synchronised function base (base and back support move together) or multifunction adjustable (a number of levers adjust the back position, height and tilt). Normally with adjustable arms. A more luxurious model of chair. www.apexei.com.au/seating.html
Fast Fix Hinge
Most common type. One leaf attaches to the door’s edge, the other to its jamb, the hinge folds into itself avoiding the need to rebate either leaf.
Any part, such as a nut or fitting, into which another (male) part can be inserted. Internal threads are female.
Manufacturing process of interlocking two shorter pieces of wood end to end to create a longer piece of dimensional lumber or moulding. Often used in jambs and casings and are normally painted (instead of stained).
Wood or plywood piece used to fasten ends of two members together at a butt joint with nails or bolts. Sometimes used at the junction of opposite rafters near the ridge line. Sometimes called a “gang nail plate”.
Sheet metal or other material used in roof and wall construction to protect a building from water seepage.
Interior paint containing a high proportion of pigment and that dries to a flat or lustreless finish.
Fluorescent lamp is a gas-filled glass tube with a phosphor coating on the inside. Gas inside the tube is ionized by electricity which causes the phosphor coating to glow. Normally with two pins that extend from each end.
A short data lead designed to run from an RJ45 outlet on the wall or workstation screen to either a phone or PC, fly leads should always be of the same category rating as your main structured cabling or higher.
Steel battens, used to pack out and provide a level fastening surface for a wall or ceiling.
Device often found in older homes designed to prevent overloads in electrical lines. Protects against fire. See also ‘circuit breakers’.
Process of installing glass, which commonly is secured with glazier’s points and glazing compound.
Finishing paint material. Forms a hard coating with maximum smoothness of surface and dries to a sheen or lustre (gloss).
Abbreviation for General Power Outlet (Power Point). www.apexei.com.au/electrical.html
Direction, size, arrangement, appearance or quality of the fibres in wood.
Either a dusted, printed or other type of plastic film applied to internal glass partitions to add privacy or just create a certain look to a glass wall. Many different styles are available.
Completed assembly of main and cross tees in a suspended ceiling system before the ceiling panels are installed
Flat wood, plywood, or similar type member used to provide a connection at the intersection of wood members. Most commonly used at joints of wood trusses. Fastened by nails, screws, bolts or adhesives.
Wall board or gypsum. Panel made with a core of Gypsum (chalk-like) rock, which covers interior walls and ceilings.
Abbreviation for hinged door, also when in reference to Audio Visual equipment it means High Definition.
Generally an open bookcase unit that sits on top of a credenza or desk.
Abbreviation for Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.
A trade term for plumbing works. www.apexei.com.au/plumbing.html
Lamp employing an electrically charged metal filament that glows at white heat. A typical light bulb.
Location between the touching surfaces of two members or components joined and held together by nails, glue, cement, mortar, or other means.
An outdated method of submitting an application to Sydney City Council for an internal office fitout to where the DA and the CC are submitted at the same time. Use of the Joint Application form has been discontinued.
Joint Cement or Joint Compound
Powder usually mixed with water and used for joint treatment in gypsum-wallboard finish.
Metal latch plate in a door frame into which a doorknob plunger latches.
One thousand watts. A kilowatt hour is the base unit used in measuring electrical consumption. Also see watt.
In lumber, the portion of a branch or limb of a tree that appears on the edge or face of the piece.
Generally used for internal glass partitions, it is manufactured as 2 layers of glass sandwiching a thin layer of film. The idea being that if the glass is broken the film will keep the panel intact.
Bonding together two or more layers of materials.
Platform between flights of stairs or at the termination of a flight of stairs. Often used when stairs change direction.
Abbreviation for a left hand return desk
Horizontal structural member that supports the load over an opening such as a door or window.
Load Bearing Partition
Partition that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Load Bearing Point
Point where a bearing or structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.
Load Bearing Wall
Wall that supports any vertical load in addition to its own weight.
Upon the termination of a lease, the tenant is generally required to return the leased area to the state it was received in, this practice is commonly referred to as a “Make Good”.
Any part, such as a bolt, designed to fit into another (female) part. External threads are male.
Written installation and/or maintenance instructions which are developed by the manufacturer of a product and which may have to be followed in order to maintain the product’s warranty.
Stone, brick, concrete, hollow-tile, concrete block, or other similar building units or materials. Normally bonded together with mortar to form a wall.
Pasty material used as a cement (as for setting tile) or a protective coating (as for thermal insulation or waterproofing).
Abbreviation for Medium Density Fibreboard, often used for partition doors. Also an abbreviation for Main Distribution Frame with regard to telecommunications.
A trade term for Air Conditioning works.
Generally refers to the finish used on prefinished boards used for cupboard doors, desk tops, draw units etc... It is basically a thin plastic sheet applied to a substrate such as chip board creating a smooth finished surface available in a range of colours and wood grains.
A draw unit that sits under or next to a desk on wheels
Moisture Resistant Board
A type of board used generally in the manufacture of kitchen or bathroom cabinets, prized for its moisture resistant capabilities.
Mixture of cement (or lime) with sand and water used in masonry work.
Slot cut into a board, plank, or timber, usually edgewise, to receive the tenon (or tongue) of another board, plank, or timber to form a joint.
See “Moisture Resistant board”
Vertical divider in the frame between windows, doors, or other openings.
Abbreviation for No more gaps (Selly’s Product).
Non Ducted Screen
A workstation system that has no internal method of running cabling, cabling is then usually hung in baskets underneath the desk tops.
Non load bearing Wall
Wall supporting no load other than its own weight.
Projecting edge of a moulding or drip or the front edge of a stair tread.
Abbreviation for Occupancy Certificate.
This certificate is issued by the local council and is required before anyone can occupy an office. Issued only after the local council has made all inspections and all monies and fees have been paid.
Abbreviation for Occupational Health and Safety
A wall mounted unit that sits above bench with doors of some kind.
A wall mounted unit that sits above bench without doors.
Consent of the actual building owner or owner’s representative to make modifications to their property, e.g. an internal fit out.
“P” end Desk
A Desk with a “P” shaped end. www.apexei.com.au/office_suites.html
P - trap
“P” shaped section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the office through a fixtures water drain
Combination of pigments with suitable thinners or oils to provide decorative and protective coatings. Can be oil based or water based.
Wooden platforms used for storing and shipping material. Forklifts and hand trucks are used to move these wooden platforms around.
Plywood substitute made from course sawdust mixed with resin and pressed into sheets. Used for closet shelving, floor underlay and stair treads, etc.
A Plasterboard or glass wall that subdivides spaces within any storey of a building or room.
A short data lead designed to run from between patch panels in your communications rack, patch leads should always be of the same category rating as your main structured cabling or higher.
Pre-agreed upon schedule of payments to a contractor usually based upon the amount of work completed. May include a deposit prior to the start of work. May also be a temporary ‘retainer’ (5-10% of the total cost of the job) at the end of the contract for correcting any small items which have not been completed for whatever reason or repaired.
PC Sum or Provisional Cost Sum (sometimes known as Prime Cost Sum)
Sum of money set aside in the construction contract for items which have not been selected and specified in the construction contract. For example, selection of tile as flooring may require an allowance for screed bed material, or an electrical allowance which sets aside an amount of money to be spent on electrical fixtures. Sometimes a PC sum needs to be allowed when it is not possible to obtain an accurate quote due to insufficient information, in these cases works are costed based on an educated guess with any short fall or over spending to be made up for via a variation or a credit
Provision in a Contract that provides for a reduction in the amount otherwise payable under a Contract to a contractor as a penalty for failure to meet deadlines or for failure of the project to meet Contract specifications.
Small diameter, pre-drilled hole that guides a nail or screw.
Drawing of a structure with the view from overhead, looking down.
Plaster Board (Gyprock)
Wall board or gypsum - Manufactured panel made out of gypsum plaster and encased in a thin cardboard. Usually 13mm thick and. The panels are nailed or screwed onto the framing and the joints are taped and covered with a ‘joint compound’. ‘Blue board’ type drywall has a greater resistance to moisture than regular (white) plasterboard and is used in bathrooms and other “wet areas”. Pink Plaster board is used for Fire Rating.
The application of plastic normally over carpeted areas prior to the commencement of works to keep the area clean. Walls are built on top of the plastic and it is cut away afterwards.
Main air supply or return. The ceiling void can be the space for return air in the case of Air Conditioning.
Exactly vertical and perpendicular.
Weight attached to a string. Tool used in determining plumb.
Plumbing Rough In
Work performed by the plumbing contractor after the Rough Heat is installed. Work includes installing all plastic drain and waste lines, copper water lines, bath tubs, shower pans, and gas piping to fireplaces, ovens, cook tops etc... www.apexei.com.au/plumbing.html
Panel of wood made of three or more layers of veneer, compressed and joined with glue, and usually laid with the grain of adjoining plies at right angles to give the sheet strength.
Point where a bearing/structural weight is concentrated and transferred to the foundation.
Cement made by heating clay and crushed limestone into a brick and then grinding to a pulverized powder state.
First, base coat of paint when a paint job consists of two or more coats. First coating formulated to seal raw surfaces and holding succeeding finish coats.
Type of dough used in sealing glass in the sash, filling small holes and crevices in wood, and for similar purposes.
Abbreviation for Poly Vinyl Chloride - Type of plastic common in waste pipe lines and vinyl flooring.
Remove and Replace
R10, R11, R12
A slip rating generally used for vinyl flooring. The higher the number the better the rating.
Slope or slanted.
Ready Mixed Concrete
Concrete mixed at a plant or in trucks en route to a job and delivered ready for placement.
A desk that resides behind the main desk, generally comes off a side return.
Ribbed steel bars installed in foundation concrete walls, footers, and poured in place concrete structures designed to strengthen concrete. Comes in various thicknesses’ and strength grade.
Abbreviation for a right hand return desk.
A trademark name for a range of fabric often used in workstation screens.
A common type of Jack size used for phones and IT cabling.
Initial stage of a plumbing, electrical, heating, carpentry, and/or other project, when all components that won’t be seen after the second finishing phase are assembled. See also Plumbing Rough, and Electrical Rough.
S - trap
“S” shaped section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the office through a fixtures water drain.
Generally a sand and cement mix used under a tiled floor to provide a suitable surface to affix floor tiles to, the screed bed in a bathroom would also be used also to create the falls to drains.
A workstation screen or partition.
Screen corner post
A post found at the intersection of workstation screens.
Abbreviation for sliding door.
Semi Gloss Paint or Enamel
Paint or enamel made so that its coating, when dry, has some lustre but is not very glossy. Bathrooms and kitchens are normally painted semi-gloss.
Shark nose edge
A common edge for boardroom and meeting room tables, the edge of the table looks like a cross section of a nose of a Great White Shark.
Situation that occurs when active and neutral wires come in contact with each other. Fuses and circuit breakers protect against fire that could result from a short.
Slab End Bracket
The bracket used to hold the vertical slab supports that hold a desk top up in some workstation system to the screen.
The area below the eaves and overhangs. The underside where the roof overhangs the walls.
Plumbing pipe work within a multistorey building that runs vertically providing waste and water services to all floors.
Clear distance that a framing member carries a load without support between structural supports.
Specifications or Specs
Narrative list of materials, methods, model numbers, colours, allowances, and other details which supplement the information contained in the blue prints. Written elaboration in specific detail about construction materials and methods. Written to supplement working drawings. Sometimes referred to as a FF&E schedule
The tiled or moisture resistant melamine panel affixed to the wall behind a kitchen sink, to protect the wall from water.
STC (Sound Transmission Class)
The measure of sound stopping of ordinary noise.
An old type of roof and exterior wall cladding made from Fibro (usually contains asbestos), commonly found in old factory units and garage roofs.
Ceiling system supported by hanging it from the overhead structural framing.
A trademark name for a range of fabric often used in workstation screens.
Device that completes or disconnects an electrical circuit.
T&G or Tongue & Groove
Joint made by a tongue (a rib on one edge of a board) that fits into a corresponding groove in the edge of another board to make a tight flush joint. Typically, the sub floor plywood is T & G.
The art of the removal of old floor coverings.
In a workstation system, this is the name given to the bracket that fixes the corner of a desk top to the screen.
Broadly speaking it is a medium to high back synchronised function base (base and back support move together) or multifunction adjustable (a number of levers adjust the back position, height and tilt). Normally with no arms. A traditional typist chair. www.apexei.com.au/seating.html
Usually the 1200mm long ceiling grid section used in a suspended ceiling.
Term used when the subcontractor provides all materials (and labour) for a job.
Petroleum, volatile oil used as a thinner in paint and as a solvent in varnishes.
U - trap
“U” shaped section of drain pipe that holds a water seal to prevent sewer gasses from entering the home through a fixtures water drain.
Coating applied prior to the finishing or top coats of a paint job. It may be the first of two or the second of three coats. Sometimes called primer coat.
Steel beam with a cross section resembling the letter “I”. Used for long spans as basement beams or over wide wall openings, such as a double garage door, when wall and roof loads bear down on the opening. Sometimes referred to as an ‘I’ beam, however this is not the correct term.
A thin layer of actual timber that is adhered to a substrate such as chipboard. Commonly used in boardrooms, and management offices. It gives the appearance of real timber without the cost and inherent problems of bowing and warping that real lumber would undergo.
Pipe or duct which allows the flow of air and gasses to the outside.
Mineral used as bulk insulation and also as aggregate in insulating and acoustical plaster and in insulating concrete floors.
A small MDF or Aluminium packer screwed to a wall that a workstation screen fixes to.
Waste Pipe and Vent
Plumbing plastic pipe that carries waste water to the municipal sewage system.
A commonly used edged for boardroom tables, it means the edge of the table slopes t approx 15 deg for the first 150mm, this is a very comfortable edge for writing and lap top use but not very effective if the table is to be used for dinning.
An abbreviation for water closet (toilet).
A work top generally surrounded by and supported by workstation screens. Workstations create a semi private area for an office worker to perform his duties without taking up nearly as much space as an actual office. A very sensible alternative. www.apexei.com.au/workstations.html
Local council process which limits the use of a property e.g. single family use, high rise residential use, industrial use, etc. Zoning laws may limit where you can locate a structure.