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ACCESSIBLE ROUTE: A continuous unobstructed path connecting all accessible elements and spaces of a building or facility.  Interior accessible routes may include corridors, floors, ramps, elevators, lifts, and clear floor space at fixtures.  Exterior accessible routes may include parking access aisles, curb ramps, crosswalks at vehicular ways, walks, ramps, and lifts.

ADHESION: The tendency of two surfaces in forceful contact to stick together.  The resulting increased resistance to slipping may become greater as residence time increases.

ANTI-ICING MATERIALS: Dry or liquid snow and ice control materials applied before a snow and ice event intended to prevent precipitation from bonding (that is freezing) with the pavement, or weaken bonds formed for easier removal.

BARRICADE: A physical obstruction that is intended to warn and limit access to a hazardous area.

CARPET: Permanently secured fibrous floor covering.

CLEAN: Free from visible or tactile contamination.

COATING: A layer of any substance intentionally applied to a surface to modify its functional or decorative characteristics.

COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION: The ratio of two forces acting at the interface of two contacting solid bodies.  The force used in the numerator is parallel to the surfaces and the force used in the denominator is perpendicular (normal) to the surfaces.

CONTAMINANT: Any substance on a surface that affects traction performance.

CROSS SLOPE: The slope of a pedestrian walkway that is perpendicular to the direction of travel.

DE-ICING MATERIALS: Snow and ice melting products applied on top of a layer of snow or ice, or both, that is bonded to the pavement.

DIRECTIONAL BIAS: A characteristic of a material whose coefficient of friction measurement may differ depending n the direction in which the material is being tested.

DWELL TIME: See Residence Time.

DYNAMIC COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION (DCOF): The ratio of the horizontal component of force applied to a body required to overcome resistance to movement when the body is already in motion divided by the vertical component of the weight of the body or force applied to the surface where movement occurs.

DYNAMIC FRICTION: The resistance opposing the force required to perpetuate the movement of one surface on or over another.

EAVE: Lower portion of the roof that overhangs the exterior walls of a house or commercial building.

EFFLORESCENCE: An encrustation of soluble salts, commonly white, deposited on the surface of concrete, brick, mortar, stone or stucco; usually caused by free alkalies leached from concrete or mortar as moisture moves through it.  Efflorescence is an important symptom used by home and building inspectors to determine moisture intrusion.

EFFLUENT: The liquid discharge from a septic tank after bacterial treatment.

EIFS: Acronym for Exterior Insulation and Finishing System. Also known as synthetic stucco or Dryvit. An exterior finish for a building or home composed of polystyrene foam covered with a synthetic stucco. This type of stucco (in contrast to traditional, porous cement-based stucco) is waterproof and is sprayed on.

ELEVATION: The drawings of the front, sides, or rear face of a commercial building or home.

ELL: Extension or wing of a building or house at right angles to the main section.

ENCLOSURE:  The use of rigid, durable construction materials that are mechanically fastened to the substrate in order to act as a barrier between lead-based paint and the environment.

ENGINEERING: The application of scientific knowledge for the design, control, or use of building structures, equipment, or apparatus.  Engineering evaluations are beyond the scope of a commercial building inspection or a home inspection.

EPA:  The United States Environmental Protection Agency.

ESCUTCHEON: A flange on a pipe, used to cover a hole in a floor or wall through which the pipe passes. The hardware on a door to accommodate the knob and keyhole.

EXCAVATION: Cavity or pit produced by digging the earth in preparation for building or home construction.

EXPANSION JOINT: Flexible joint used to prevent cracking or breaking due to thermal expansion and contraction.

EXPOSURE MONITORING:  The personal air monitoring of an employee's breathing zone to determine the amount of contaminant (e.g., lead) to which he/she is exposed.

FAIR: A smooth transition between adjacent walking surfaces.

FALL: Undesirable descent due to the force of gravity usually from a standing posture or during ambulation, to a lower level, usually the ground or floor.

FORESEEABLE PEDESTRIAN PATH: Any place where a pedestrian could reasonably be expected to walk.

FRICTION: Resistance to the relative motion of two solid objects in contact.  This force is parallel to the plane of contact and is perpendicular to the normal force.

GRAIN: A characteristic of many natural materials such as wood that may exhibit directional bias as it relates to slip resistance.

HIGH TRACTION: The physical property of a floor or walkway surface that is designed to mitigate slipping during normal human ambulation by providing a reasonably sufficient level of available contact friction.

KEYSTONE: A wedge-shaped detail at the crown of an arch.

KING POST: In a roof truss, the central upright piece.

KNEE WALL: Low wall in upper story resulting from 1 1/2 story building or home construction.

KNOB AND TUBE: An early electric wiring system without conduits, where insulated wires are supported with porcelain knobs and tubes when passing through wood construction members.

PEDESTRIAN: A person using legs or leg surrogates (for example , prosthetic limbs, crutches, etc.) as the principal mechanism for locomotion.


RADIANT HEATING: A system using heating elements in the floors, ceilings, or walls to radiate heat into the room.

RAFTER: One of a series of inclined structural members from the ridge of the roof down to the eaves, providing support for the covering of a roof.

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RAIN CAP: A device installed at the upper termination of a chimney or vent to prevent rain from entering the interior of the chimney or vent.

RAMP: A walkway surface that has a slope steeper than 1:20 (5%).

REBAR: Steel reinforcing bar.

READILY ACCESSIBLE: Available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, or any action that will likely involve risk to a home inspector, building inspector or property.

RECREATIONAL FACILITIES: Spas, saunas, steam baths, swimming pools, exercise, entertainment, athletic, playground or other similar equipment not inspected by a home inspector or commercial building inspector.

REGISTER: The open end of a duct in a home for warm or cool air.

REINFORCED CONCRETE: Concrete in which webbing or steel bars have been embedded for strength.

REINFORCING RODS: Steel rods or metal fabric placed in concrete slabs to increase their strength. Also called rebar.

RESIDENCE TIME: The period of time between initial sensor contact with the test surface and the instant that relative motion is initiated.

RETAINING WALL: A wall, either freestanding or laterally braced, that bears against an earth or other fill surface and resists lateral and other forces from the material in contact with the side of the wall, thereby preventing the mass from sliding to a lower elevation.

REPRESENTATIVE NUMBER: Quantity of components chosen by a home inspector or commercial building inspector, usually one per room for multiple similar interior components such as windows, and electric receptacles; one on each side of the building or home for multiple similar exterior components.

RIDGEBOARD: Horizontal wood framing member to which the top of rafters are attached.

RISE: The vertical height between two treads.

RISER: The vertical board in a stairway between two treads.

RISK ASSESSMENT:  An on-site investigation to determine the existence, nature, severity, and location of lead-based paint hazards, and the provision of a report by the individual or the firm conducting the risk assessment, explaining the results of the investigation and options for reducing lead-based paint hazards.

ROMEX: Nonmetallic sheathed electric cable.

ROOM EQUIVALENT:  A lead inspection term refering to an identifiable part of a residence, such as a room, a house exterior, a foyer, staircase, hallway, or an exterior area.

ROUGH-IN: Putting up the skeleton of the building or home.

RUN: Horizontal distance of a flight of stairs, or the horizontal distance from the outside wall to the ridge of a roof.

SBR: Styrene Butadiene Rubber

SIDEWALK: A paved surface, such as concrete or asphalt, usually parallel and adjacent to streets.

SLIP: A sliding motion due to loss of traction on a walkway surface (floor, stair tread, pavement).

SLIP RESISTANCE: The property of a floor or walkway surface that acts in sufficient opposition to those forces and movements exerted by a pedestrian under all normal conditions of human ambulation.

SLIP RESISTANT: The provision of adequate slip resistance to reduce the likelihood of slip for pedestrians using reasonable care on the walking surface under expected use conditions.

STATIC COEFFICIENT OF FRICTION (SCOF): The ratio of the horizontal component of force applied to a body that just overcomes the resistance to slipping to the vertical component of the weight of the object or force applied.

STATIC FRICTION: The resistance opposing the force required to start the movement of one surface on or over another.

STICTION: A phenomenon in which a liquid film is squeezed out of the interface between the shoe bottom and the walkway surface as a result of residence time.

SURFACTANT SOLUTION: A solution employed to reduce the water surface tension when testing on wet hard-surface floor materials.

TRACTION: The friction between the sole material of a shoe and the fixed surface it moves upon.

TRIBOMETER: An instrument or device specifically designed to measure the available level of traction upon a floor or walkway surface.

Approved Tribometer – A tribometer that is in compliance with the following:

-The tribometer shall demonstrate reliability and reproducibility in measuring the Dynamic Coefficient of Friction per the NFSI: Inter-Laboratory Study (ILS) for Tribometers Designed to Measure the Wet Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) of Common Hard Surfaced Walkways.

-The tribometer manufacturer shall be capable of providing calibration, repir, and maintenance, and a reference tile method for field performance verification, and other services necessary to ensure device reliability.

-The tribometer shall be capable of providing a digital display of results for DCOF to the hundredths (two positions right of the decimal point) using a scale of 0.00 to 1.00 or greater.

TRIBOMETRY: The measurement of floor slip resistance or shore traction properties on a walkway surface.

TRIP: An interruption of one’s gait because of an obstruction or an irregularity in or on a surface.

WALKWAY: Walking surfaces constructed for pedestrian usage including floors, ramps, walks, sidewalks, stair treads, parking lots and similar paved areas which may be reasonably foreseeable as pedestrian paths.  Natural surfaces such as fields, playing fields, path, walks, or footpaths, or a combination thereof, are not included.

WALKWAY AUDITOR: A person competent to offer reliable observations and opinions regarding the conformance of an audited walkway to relevant safety guidelines or requirements.

WALKWAY SURFACES: Interior and exterior walking surfaces constructed and intended for pedestrian use, including but not limited to floors, ramps, sidewalks, stair treads and paved areas reasonably foreseeable as pedestrian paths.

WALKWAY SURFACE HARDWARE: Includes manhole covers, cellar doors used as walking surfaces, junction box covers, cleanout covers, hatches, sidewalk elevator covers, sewer grates, utility covers, and similar elements that pedestrians can reasonably be expected to walk on.

Glossary of Inspection, Architectural, and Safety Terms
Commeercial Building Inspection Seattle Building Inspector Construction Architetcure