- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 17 Nov 2019
Glossary of construction slang and other terms
- Banker – a mason who cuts and smooths building stone.
- Brickie – a bricklayer.
- Brush hand – a young or untrained assistant to a professional painter, often with limited experience.
- Butcher – often applied to a carpenter with limited skills and abilities.
- Chancer – a person who does work that is normally undertaken by a skilled craftsman. They are typically not properly qualified, or have not completed the required training or apprenticeship for the work they are doing and so are taking a chance on their ability to do the work to the required standard.
- Chippy – a popular term for a carpenter (i.e one who chips wood).
- Cowboy – a charlatan, chancer, one who masquerades as a skilled craftsman but who in reality has few qualifications or skills to do the work. Cowboys often have more success with those of limited knowledge concerning building construction.
- Dirty money – given as extra payment to workers who undertake tasks that are of an unpleasant nature, e.g having to descend into a sewer to clear a blockage.
- Dyker – a builder of dry-stone walls, usually a mason.
- Fixer – someone who builds with stone provided by a banker (see above). The term can also apply to any site operative who fixes a component into position e.g skirting boards.
- Ganger – a foreman who supervises a gang of workers or general operatives; usually works under a general foreman.
- Jobbing builder – someone who undertakes small jobs for various people, usually of a maintenance or repair nature.
- Mate – an unqualified or part-qualified assistant to a skilled operative such as a roofer or painter.
- Navvy – usually applied to manual labourers, especially those who dig trenches or excavations, and especially on civil engineering projects. The term derives from the ‘navigators’ who dug canals.
- Saw doctor – one who sharpens and repairs saws and cutting tools. Also applied to those performing the same task in a saw mill.
- Shoddy – completed work that is of dubious or low quality.
- Snagging – the process of identifying faults, mistakes or omissions in a completed construction, whether new or refurbishment, and making them known to the contractor in a snagging list (or punch list).
- Spark /sparky – an electrician, usually a skilled operative who is fully qualified to undertake the work.
- Spread – a plasterer.
- Tupper – a bricklayer’s hod carrier.
- Working on the lump – an operative who is paid by a contractor in full, i.e they receive the money ‘gross’ without any deductions for tax and national insurance. In other words, the money is received as a lump sum.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Inspecting and reporting on moisture-related problems.
Will Norway build the world's first floating tunnel?
Domestic Retrofit training course.
Preparing to sell a commercial property.
Local Plan Route Mapper and toolkit.
Thermal mass in buildings.
CIAT's AT Academy.
The UK's most dangerous industries to work in.
Achieving an alternative route into the profession.
Why construction is so corrupt.
Restoration of Alfred Waterhouse’s Manchester Town Hall.