Terms Beginning with "A"

above-grade wall: a wall that is mostly above grade and enclosing conditioned space.

access: that which enables a device, appliance or equipment to be reached.

access aisle: Designated space for people to safely enter and exit a vehicle adjacent to handicap reserved parking spaces.

access level: the level at which one steps onto a roof, parapet, or other type of landing.

access panel: a closure device used to cover an opening into a duct, an enclosure, or equipment.

accessibility: level of access a building offers people with disabilities.

accessibility inspection: a non-invasive, visual examination of the physical barriers to people with disabilities.

accessible: in the opinion of the inspector, can be approached or entered safely without difficulty, fear or danger.

accessible entrance: a building’s entrance specifically designed to provide access to the interior of a building to people with disabilities.

accessible route: the continuous, unobstructed passageway constructed to provide access to a property and its public features to individuals with disabilities.

accessory structure: an additional building to the primary building.

ACGIH: American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

activate: to turn on, supply power, or enable systems, equipment or devices to become active by normal operating controls; examples include turning on the gas or water supply valves to fixtures and appliances, or activating electrical breakers or fuses.

actual knowledge: the knowledge possessed by an individual, as opposed to that discovered through document review.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act (U.S.)

addition: an extension or increase in the conditioned space of a building.

adhesion: The property of a coating or sealant that allows it to bond to the surface to which it is applied.

adverse conditions: conditions that may be dangerous for the inspector and may limit the walk-through survey portion of the inspection.

adversely affect: to constitute, or potentially constitute, a negative or destructive impact.

aggregate: Crushed stone, slag or water-worn gravel that comes in a wide range of sizes and is often used to cover the surface of built-up roofs.

AHJ: authority having jurisdiction

air barrier: A low-slope roof accessory component that prevents or limits air leakage through the building envelope and serves to control the infiltration and exfiltration of air flow.

air cleaning: an IAQ control strategy to remove various airborne particulates and/or gases from the air. The three types of air cleaning most commonly used are particulate filtration, electrostatic precipitation, and gas sorption.

air exchange rate: used in two ways: 1) the number of times that the outdoor air replaces the volume of air in a building per unit time, typically expressed as air changes per hour; 2) the number of times that the ventilation system replaces the air within a room or area within the building.

air intake: an opening in a building’s envelope whose purpose is to allow outside air to be drawn in to replace inside air.

aisle: an exit access component that provides a path of egress travel.

alarm signal: a signal indicating an emergency, such as a fire, requiring immediate action.

alligatoring: An oxidized condition of aged surfacing bitumen, asphalt, or other low-slope roof surface that has lost its volatile oils due to exposure to sun and solar radiation, which is the ultimate result of the surface’s limited tolerance to thermal expansion and contraction. Alligatoring is characterized by a coarse, checked pattern of cracks resembling an alligator hide.

alteration: any construction or renovation to an existing structure other than a repair or addition; also, a change in a mechanical system.

ambulatory: able to walk without accommodation.

antimicrobial: agent that kills microbial growth. See “disinfectant,” “sanitizer”, and “sterilizer.”

appliance: utilization equipment, generally other than industrial, that is installed or connected as a unit to perform one or more functions.

approved: acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction; also, accepted by an internationally recognized organization, such as InterNACHI.

arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI): a device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing, and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected.

ASHRAE: American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

ASTM: American Society for Testing and Materials.

atactic polypropylene (APP): Used as a modifying compound in the asphalt membrane of modified bitumen (MB) roofs; exhibits a plasticized nature.

authority having jurisdiction (AHJ): an organization, office, or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation, or a procedure.   The AHJ is often the building owner, health department, insurance agent, or fire marshal.

automatic: that which provides a function without the necessity of human intervention.

automatic fire-extinguishing system: a system of devices and equipment that automatically detects a fire and discharges in an attempt to put it out.

automatic sprinkler system: an automated sprinkler system for fire-protection purposes.