Boiler: An appliance that heats water for central heating or hot water supplies (See also combination boiler and condensing boiler).
Bonding: All metal pipes in buildings must be earthed electrically by linking them together with protective bonding conductors which are then connected to earth. This is done to prevent severe electrical shock to persons should the pipes become live through a fault.
Building Regulations:A set of requirements covering new buildings, improvements, extensions, renovation and even maintenance and repairs. The regulations set rules by which those standards can be met and in some cases, sets demands for notification and certification.
Circuit:An assembly of electrical equipment supplied from the same origin and protected against overcurrent by the same protective device(s).
Circuit-breaker:A device capable of making, carrying and breaking normal load currents and also making and automatically breaking, under predetermined conditions, abnormal currents such as short-circuit currents. It is usually required to operate infrequently although some types are suitable for frequent operation.
Circuit Protective Conductor (CPC): A protective conductor connecting exposed conducting parts of electrical equipment to the main earthing terminal.
Combination Boiler: A boiler that supplies direct domestic hot water without a storage cylinder as well as for central heating.
Commissioning: The adjustment of equipment to ensure optimal performance in terms of safety and efficiency.
Competent Persons Scheme (CPS):Schemes authorised by DCLG where work can be certified as complying with the Building Regulations without prior notification to the local authority building control.
Condenser:The outside unit in an air-conditioning system that disperses the waste heat and condenses the gas back to a liquid.
Condensing Boiler: A boiler that fully cools (condenses) the heat in the flue gases so that the maximum energy is utilised.
Consumer Unit: Also known as a fuseboard, consumer control unit or electricity control unit, the mechanism by which circuits are protected against overload.
Cooling-off Period: A period of time allowed for changing your mind about a purchase decision. Currently, goods and services that are sold unsolicited are subject in law to a seven day cooling off period.
Cowboys: Unregistered/unlicensed installers.
CPS: Competent Person Scheme
DCLG: The Department of Communities and Local Government (formerly the ODPM).
Distribution Board: An assembly containing switching or protective devices (e.g. fuses, circuit-breakers, residual current operated devices) associated with one or more outgoing circuits fed from one or more incoming circuits, together with terminals for the neutral and protective circuit conductors. It may also include signalling and other control devices. Means of isolation may be included in the board or may be provided separately.
Domestic Hot Water Cylinder: A storage vessel normally made of copper in which domestic hot water is stored. Inside the cylinder is a coil of pipe through which water from the boiler passes to heat the water which becomes available through the hot water taps.
Earth: The conductive mass of the earth conventionally assumed as zero.
Earthing Conductor: A protective conductor connecting the main earthing terminal of an installation to an earth electrode or other means of earthing.
EICR: Electrical Installation Condition Report (also known as a PIR)
Estimate: An informed guess, a rough price.
Evaporator: The internal part of an air conditioning system where the system gas cools the room air by evaporating.
First Fix: Electrical carcassing prior to plaster.
Header Tank: Small open cistern that feeds water to a central heating system.
LABC: Local Authority Building Control
Legionella: The term given to a group of bacteria that thrives in water of between 15 and 45C. The bacteria can infect susceptible people and result in an illness similar to pneumonia. The systems particularly prone are older mixers where the hot and cold are mixed remote from the point of use.
Making Good: The finishing touches that bring work up to scratch.
MCS: Microgeneration Certification Scheme.
Motorised Valve: An electrically powered valve for the control of water flow through pipes, which is normally operated by a time switch or thermostat.
NAPIT: National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers
Noggins: Short wooden stiffeners inserted between joists.
Notification: Within the Building Regulations some services must be notified. If being carried out by a member of a Competent Persons Scheme such as NAPIT this can be self certified by the Member who will notify NAPIT. If not, the householder is responsible for notifying the intended work to the local authority building control department before work commences and they will determine inspection requirements and charges over and above the work done by the tradesperson.
PAT: Portable Appliance Testing
PIR: Periodic Inspection Report (see EICR)
Protective Bonding Conductor: A protective conductor provided for protective equipotential bonding connecting pipework, radiators etc., to the main earthing terminal.
Quotation: A fixed price that is binding for a defined period.
Residual Current Device (RCD): A protective device which operates when an earth fault is detected.
Ring Main: Power circuit for sockets
RMI: Repair, maintenance and improvement
Room Thermostat: A device which switches heating control equipment on and off according to the temperature which has been set by the user.
Second Fix: Items fitted following plastering.
Sharks: Unscrupulous electricians/electrical firms.
SWC: Small Works Contract
TrustMark: A scheme backed by Government that recognises tradespersons who are willing to sign up to consumer protection rules and lead the fight against cowboys.
Zoning: Providing separate space heating control for different parts of a building. For example, the separation of ground or first floors through the use of motorized valves.