Welcome to our glossary page! We have put this page together to help get you acquainted with the jargon that is used in the property inspection niche. If you feel that we have missed something let us know, this is a growing list that we are building over time. Email us

Above-grade wall
An above-grade wall is a wall that is above ground level .

Defines how to reach a particular piece of equipment or appliance.

Access panel
Any opening to an enclosure or equipment.

Describes the ability for a building to be entered by persons with disabilities.

The ability to gain entry to a part of the building without fear or potential danger.

Accessory structure
An adjacent building to the main building.

Actual knowledge
Is a term that differentiates knowledge possessed by a person from that of information within a document review.

Refers to a space or room that has been added later, usually after the original plans have been drawn out.

Adverse conditions
A condition within a building or structure that may put the inspector in danger or cause limited accessibility.

Air intake
An opening within a building that draws fresh air into the interior of the building.

Usually describes a walkway between equipment or shelving.

Alarm system
Describes a variety of warning signals for fire, carbon monoxide or security intrusions.

Any change to an existing structure or piece of equipment.

Acceptable by the local building code or other organization.

AFCI – (Arc-fault circuit interrupter)
A device that is triggered in the event that a circuit is malfunctioning to prevent fire or damage to the equipment.

AHJ – (Authority having jurisdiction)
Any person, governing body or institution that is responsible for enforcing code or laws.

Automatic fire extinguishing system
Any fire prevention system within a building, structure or piece of equipment. Usually disperses foam or water from fire sprinklers.

Automatic sprinkler system
An internal sprinkler system that turns on to put fires out.

Band joist
Lumber used in the perimeter of a building that supports the framing.

The part of a structure or building that is below grade.

Basement wall
A wall that secures the internal structure of the basement of a building.

Describes a permanent joining of electrical, mechanical or structural components.

Branch circuit
A type of circuit that protects the outlets of a circuit.

Building code
Building rules and regulations overseen by local governing bodies.

Building department
Usually located within the city hall and oversees building codes.

Building envelope
Describes the exterior surfaces of a building. Includes roof and exterior walls.

Building systems
Includes everything from plumbing, HVAC, electrical systems and fire prevention systems.

Built in
Components or systems permanently installed in a building.

An enclosed tube like structure that eliminates gases or smoke from a building, usually from a fireplace.

Describes a buildings exterior surfaces that are installed to protect walls, doors and windows from severe weather.

Clearly identifiable
Easily recognized by persons with good vision.

Code official
The building code official in charge of enforcing building codes.

Any material that can ignite under flame.

Commercial property
Any structure or facility used for doing business.

A built in device or system as part of a larger system.

Conditioned space
Any space that is heated or cooled by the buildings HVAC system.

Any person or expert that is hired to help the inspector perform the inspection.

Any water supply that is spoiled with outside toxins such as sewage.

The area between the foundation and lower floor of a building. Usually contains plumbing, electrical systems, etc.

The top part of a chimney that is designed to divert rain water away from the chimney.

A valve for precisely controlling the flow of gases in a flue.

An elevated exterior platform usually made of wood.

Defensive space
Describes the area around a building or structure to help defend against wildfires.

To take apart a device or piece of equipment.

A tube or passageway used to introduce air into the interior of a building.

Due diligence
Caution or care taken to insure accuracy and integrity during an inspection.

Dwelling unit
Any building or unit that includes sleeping, cooking and bathing facilities.

A section of land set aside for an agency other than that of the actual property owner.

Emergency shutoff valve
A valve used to shut off gases or other liquids.

Energy analysis
The analysis of a buildings energy consumption.

Energy recovery ventilation system
A heat exchanging system that uses a buildings existing internal air to either preheat or cool the air entering the building.

Engineering service
A service that provides technical assistance and supervision for code compliance within structures, machines or equipment.

To look over for flaws in design or functionality.
Exit discharge
A route out of a building that leads directly into a public walkway or street.

Able to be viewed or touched. Usually refers to exposed wiring in an electrical system.

Exterior property
The outside areas of a property or building.

Exterior wall
The wall that is outside. Usually borders the property.

The removal or control of pests through poison or traps.

Any building components that contain glass such as skylights, windows or doors.

Fire apparatus access road
Any road that allows fire services to access a property.

Fire code official
Usually the fire chief or other official in charge of fire code.

Fire department master key
Usually for commercial properties to allow fire departments to access buildings or boxes.

Fire resistance rating