Remedial Terms



Articulated Joints

Articulated Joints are gaps placed in masonry walls, they are mainly vertical to accommodate for differential movements and are tied and sealed with flexible sealant to prevent vermin, moisture and debris ingress.  Movement in masonry is generated mostly from climatic and temperature changes, differential movement in structural frames, and also from movement in foundations.



Soaking of one substance into another (c.f asorption)



Bond between the coating and underlying material



Process of attracting a substance to a surface of a solid.


Air Dried

Coatings that dry by oxidation or solvent evaporation rather than by a catalyst or external heat



Term applied to caustic chemicals which contain hydroxyl groups. Turns red litmus paper blue.



Pronounced wide surface cracking of a coating. Resembles alligator skin.



(1) Terminal of a galvanic cell where corrosion takes place and electrons are produced. (2) The electrode connected to structure to prevent corrosion as part of a cathodic protection system.



Generally applied to an oxide deposited electrolytically on aluminium


Brick growth

The expansion in brickwork commonly known as “brick growth” occurs to susceptible clay bricks, in particular under-fired batches.  The expansion of clay bricks is due to the reaction with moisture in the atmosphere during the life of the masonry structure and is irreversible.


Bituminous Paint

A black or dark coloured paint using coal tar or bitumen as the binder



The diffusion of coloured matter through a coating from the underlying surface; also the discolouration arising from such diffusion



Regions of isolated detachment of one or more coats resulting in rounded protuberances on the surface


Blooming or Blushing

A milky colour which forms on finishes due to atmospheric moisture or one of the solid constituents of the finish or both


Concrete Cancer

Concrete cancer is better known as concrete spalling.  Concrete spalling is segments of concrete delaminating around corroding steel reinforcement. There are many reasons associated with the corrosion of steel and one of them is the lack concrete cover to protect the steel from moisture and air.



Terminal of a galvanic cell which takes up the electrons produced at the anode; hydroxyl ions usually produced here



Form of paint degradation due to weathering which results in loose pigment on the surface



Deterioration of a material (usually a metal) because of reaction with the environment



Breaks in the coating that penetrate to the underlying surface.



See Alligatoring



An alternate term for “sealant”.  Caulking originates from shipbuilding industry.  In buildings and structures, sealants are usually used to joint parts of structures while maintaining movement, weather-tightness, or fire rating.


Damp proof course

Damp proof course (DPC) is a barrier  built into masonry walls to prevent moisture rising  into other parts of the building.



Separation between coats or from a substrate due to very poor adhesion



Dry film thickness. The thickness of the applied coating when dry



Efflorescence is a deposit of crystalized salts found predominantly on tiled, concrete, masonry, and rendered surfaces.  The salts may arise from free lime in cement-based materials (concrete, mortar, beddings and the like), or from environmental sources, or unwashed sands.  Also require the migration of water, and evaporation at or near the surface.  See also rising damp.



Chemical changes produced by an electrical current or the production of electricity from a chemical reaction



External conditions in which an item exists or is exposed to



A thin piece of impervious material installed to prevent the passage of water into a structure, usually at changes in structural direction and/or materials (such as around window and door openings, at changes in roof line, against parapets, or at the bottom of cavities)


Fire Order

An enforceable legal instruction from Local Council to upgrade / Install fire safety measures to your building



Layer of coating or paint. A wet film is one that has just been applied



Detachment of small pieces of coating


Flash Rusting

Rusting that occurs within minutes of exposure


Flat Finish

A term usually used for decorative paints descibing a dull, non-reflective finish



Ability of a film to bend without breaking


General Defect

Defects which are considered minor in importance, which (subject to context) can be repaired as part of general maintenance



Coating with molten metallic zinc by dipping


Home Owners Warranty Insurance

Insurance obtained by the builder for works on new residential buildings under 4 storeys high or any repair/renovations over $20K in value on any resdiential building. The insurance is to protect teh home owner against defective or incomplete works subject to statutory time periods, in the event that the builder becomes bankrupt or dissapears.


High Build Coating

A paint which can be applied in one coat as a relatively thick film (more than 75-125 microns) without sagging or running


High Solids Coating

A coating with a volume solids greater than 60 per cent


Hold Point

Point at which the work must be stopped for inspection and work cannot proceed until quality has been inspected and documented to comply with the specification



See Relative Humidity



Chemical compound containing carbon and hydrogen atoms; commonly refers to extracts from petroleum



Having an affinity or attraction for water



Repelling water



A compound which readily absorbs moisture



When a problem can’t be solved by simply looking at it, investigations are carried out.  These may be in the form of either pulling something apart, water testing and so on, to try and determine what the cause of the problem is.  Quite often an initial visual inspection is required to determine the type of investigation that is needed.



Compound added in small concentrations to the environment to prevent corrosion



A jamb is the side of a window or door frame, often refered to as either the door JAMB or Window JAMB. The Flashings (see flashing) that run along side these are called jamb flashings.


Kilopascals (kPa)

Metric unit of pressure. 1 psi = 6.895 kPa.


Letter of Intent

Letter from the Principal to a Contractor confirming intent to enter into a contract.  The Contract formally comes into existence  upon formal acceptance of the offer by the contractor, while the Letter of Intent obliges both parties to the commitment, including a payment to the Contractor in the event that the Principal withdraws prior to execution.



The level area used to provide access to a stairway or ladder, or located at an intermediate level in a system of stairways or ladders.


Load bearing

Load bearing means a part of the structure intended to carry load (typically vertical forces) additional to those due to its own weight.


Movement joint

Joint that is made between parts of a structure for the specific purpose of permitting relative movement between the parts of the structure on either side of the joint.



An intermediate floor within a room



Lightweight floor levelling (primary purpose) and sound attenuation material (secondary benefit). Has a chloride binder which leaches out when wet, and leads to corrosion.  Note:  Because of the chloride component, does not always arise with expansion and spalling, so can be difficult to detect by laypeople until advanced.  May also contain asbestos as part of binder.


Megapascals (Mpa)

Metric unit of pressure equal to a force of one Newton (9.8 kg weight) on one square millimetre. 1 MPa is approximately equal to 145 psi.



Material Safety Data Sheet



Failure to achieve the performance or prescriptive criteria demanded by a regulation or other statutory requirement.  A non-compliance may lead to remedial work, non-approval  of project completion, or in extreme cases to demolition.


Overflow spout

A pipe projecting laterally from a roof, balcony or gutter to mitigate internal overflows by allowing the free discharge of rainwater in the event of excessive quantities of rain water or blocked downpipes.



The projection of a roof or floor beyond the line of the wall which carries it, including any fascia but excluding any gutter.


Orange Peel

Dimpled appearance of a coated surface resembling the skin of an orange, due to lack of flow out of wet film.



Reaction which takes place at the anode. During corrosion, it is the reaction of the metal to form metal ions.



Parapets in exterior walls are perpetual problems. The parapet is exposed to the environment on both its faces and at its top (coping). It is exposed to rain, wind and high/low temperatures without any help and protection from air conditioning and heating. The parapet is thus subjected to the greatest number of freeze-thaw cycles and therefore is typically the first element to show deterioration. Extracted from Kaminetzy (1991) Design and Construction Failures: Lessons from Forensic Investigations,  p291.


Polyurethane Membrane

A liquid applied membrane that has a polyurethane base. Typically used in wet areas, balconies and planters. The polyurethane is not UV stable and needs protection in exposed applications.



If falls on tiles are not consistent and uniform to the outlets water will not freely drain and surface water ponding occurs.



Value indicating the acidity of a solution and is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions. Pure water has a pH value of 7 and is neutral. Acids range down to pH 0 becoming increasingly strongly acidic and alkalis range from pH 7 up to 14 becoming increasingly strongly alkaline.



Formation of tiny, circular holes in the dry film.



Result of local corrosive attack forming deep or shallow holes in a metal surface.



Small voids through which fluids may penetrate.


Quantity Surveyor

A building professional who is expert in building costs, both before and after construction.



1. In a staircase the part of the stair that is vertical or the difference in height between the treads.

2. A part of a building used to contain services shared between floors, typically in a fire rated compartment.



A sawcut termination into the substrate used to secure waterproofing or flashing details.  Usually over-flashed with supplementary details.


Relative Humidity

Measure of the moisture content of air. Ratio of the quantity of water vapour actually present in the air to the greatest amount possible at a given temperature. Expressed in percent.



The result of the corrosion of iron or steel to form visible iron oxide.



Typically occurs on concrete elements with steel reinforcing, but can also arise on parts on a structure (including masonry elements) at points of high local pressure.   For concrete spalling see also concrete cancer.  As the concrete ages its natural protection against the corrosion of the embedded steel reinforcing is reduced and the steel close to the surface will corrode.  As steel corrodes it expands and cracks the concrete, which ultimately detaches as a spall.



An alternate term for bedding or topping.  Sometimes the straight-edge tool used to place the bedding is also called a screed.


Structural damage

We define structural damage as damage to any element of a structure load bearing or water proofing parts of the structure that reduces or can act to reduce the safe load carrying capacity of the element below the capacity for which it was designed, or which can reduce the normally expected level of habitability of a structure.



An offer from a contractor to undertake particular works for a nominated price. The tender should be included in the contract documents.


Tender documents

The documents provided to contractors (usually by a consultant) to detail the works required, specification, proposed contract terms and details or any other detail or constraint particular to the site.



Usually a sand and cement or concrete mix placed to create falls. Toppings can be placed under membranes, tiles or left exposed. Toppings under tiles must be carefully detailed to reduce the potential for efflorescence occurring.



Insertion of a new foundation under an existing foundation.



The spread of corrosion beneath a coating from a break in the firm or the edge.



An open space (at large scale) or break in material consistency (within building components).


Waterproofing system

A combination of elements that is required to achieve a waterproof barrier to prevent water passing to parts of a structure that it is not desired.  The entire Waterproofing System may include hobs, falls, membranes, outlets, flashings, waterstops and sealants.


Wet Film

Designates the coating after application but before the solvent evaporates. The solvent content in the wet film will constantly decrease due to evaporation.


White Rust

White corrosion products on a zinc surface.






Zed flashing

See Also flashing.  A zed flashing is a one-piece flashing shaped like a Z, used between stepped parts of buildings, like adjoining planter boxes.