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Last edited 09 Jan 2020
Glossary of construction slang and other terms
- Banker – a mason, typically involved in cutting and smoothing building stone.
- Banksman – a person qualified to direct vehicle movements
- Bagging – slang term for heavy duty hose (normally with bauer couplings) for temporary pumping.
- 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 would normally be 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 site 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 additional payments 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. OR sometimes short for "Steel fixer" see below
- 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 to do with maintenance or repair.
- Making good – see 'snagging'.
- Mate – an unqualified or part-qualified assistant to a skilled operative such as a roofer or painter.
- Nappy – portable bund to contain spills
- 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 (navigations).
- Rubber duck – slang for a wheeled excavator (as opposed to a tracked excavator)
- Saw doctor – one who sharpens and repairs saws and cutting tools. Also applied to those performing the same task in a saw mill.
- Shoddy – work that is of dubious or low quality.
- Snagging – the identification and rectification of faults, defects, 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.
- Steel fixer – someone who erects steel reinforcement for reinforced concrete structures.
- Tupper – a worker who carries the hod for a bricklayer.
- Waster – someone who does no or little work.
- Working on the lump – receiving wages ‘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
- BIM glossary of terms.
- Common spelling mistakes in the construction industry.
- Construction industry acronyms.
- Financial management glossary.
- Glossary of electrical terms.
- Glossary of paving terms.
- Glossary of property law terms.
- Notation and units on drawings and documents.
- Symbols on architectural drawings.
- Writing technique.
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