Architectural and Engineering Glossary


Topping Joint

In a topping,1,a joint which is directly over an expansion joint in the concrete base.

Topping Out

The placing of a flag or banner (sometimes a tree especially at Christmas  time) at the highest point of the framework of a building when it is completed.


1.The surface of upper layer of soil,as distinct from the subsoil;usually contains organic matter.2.See loam.


A monumental and richly decorated gateway in the enclosure of a Buddhist stupa in Indian architecture.

Torch Brazing

A brazing process in which the required heat is furnished by a gas flame.

Torch Soldering

A soldering process in which the required heat is furnished by a gas flame.


The application of a lime mortar under the top edges of roof tiles or slates;in full torching the mortar is applied beneath the entire underside of slates between battens.


Same as torus.


A monumental,freestanding gateway to a Shinto shrine,consisting of two pillars with a straight crosspiece at the top and lintel above it,usually curving upward.

Torn Grain

A fuzzy or whiskered appearance in the face of a wood shake,usually caused by cutting the shake with a dull saw.


That which tends to produce rotation;the product of a force and a lever arm which tends to twist a body, as the action of a wrench turning a nut on a bolt.

Torque Viscometer

An apparatus for measuring the viscosity of slurries.

Torque Wrench

A wrench that incorporates a gauge, such as a dial,that provides a numerical indication of the torque that has been applied to a shaft.


A defensive tower used for protection against enemy attack;a fortification once found in some Spanish Colonial communities.

Torsade,cable Molding,rope Molding.

A twisted or spiral molding..Any ornamental twist.


A piece of timber,steel,or stone which supports one end of a beam or joist and distributes its load.


The twisting of a structural member about its longitudinal axis by two equal and opposite torques,one at one end and the other at the opposite end.

Torsional Strength

The resistance of a material to being twisted about an axis.

Torsional Stress

The shear stress on a transverse cross section which results from the action of a twist.


A spiral column,in Medieval and Renaissance architecture.


A bold projecting molding,convex in shape,generally forming the lowest member of a base over the plinth.

Torus Roll

In sheetmetal or lead roofing, a joint made at the intersection of two planes having different slopes;allows for differential movement.

Toshnailing Nailing

at an angle so the nail heads are not visible.

Tot Lot

An outdoor playground for very young children.


On drawings,abbr.for “total.”

Total Float

In CPM terminology,the difference between the amount of time available to accomplish an activity and the time required.

Total Load

See service load.

Touch Catch

A door catch which releases automatically if the closed door is pushed.

Touch Dry

A stage during the drying of a paint film when it can be touched lightly without the paint’s adhering and lifting when the finger is removed.


1.The ability of a structural material to resist shock or impact;its ability to absorb energy before fracture.2.The ability of a cladding,coating,or paint film to resist abrasion,chipping,or cracking.


A turret.

Tower House

1.A small castle consisting primarily or entirely of a single tower.2.Same as keep.

Tower Keep

See keep.

Town House

1.A comfortable  luxurious dwelling in an urban environment.2.One of a series of houses constructed in an unbroken row,separated by party walls,often with a relatively flat roof.3.An upscale row house.


The residence of a rector.


In ancient Roman construction,a horizontal beam.


See chambranle.

Transverse Arch

The arched construction built across a hall,the nave of a church,or the like,either as part of the vaulting or to support or stiffen the roof.

Transverse Load

A load,1 applied perpendicularly to the plane of the longitudinal axis of a structure, such as a wind load.

Transverse Prestress

In a member,prestress that is applied perpendicular to the principal axis. 

Transverse Reinforcement

Reinforcement at right angles to the principal axis of a member.

Transverse Rib

A rib in vaulting spanning the nave,aisle,or transept at right angles to its longitudinal axis and dividing its length into bays or compartments.

Trap Seal

In plumbing,the vertical distance between the crown weir and the top of the dip of the trap.


A door set into a floor,ceiling,or roof.

Trapeze Hanger

A horizontal rigid member,suspended by rods,on which pipes are supported and/or clamped.


A dark colored igneous rock having a fine grained,more or less columnar structure. 


In Spanish church architecture,a part of the choir separated from the main choir by an open passage at the crossing.


Divided into traves.


1.A crossbeam;a beam or a timber crossing a building.2.One of the divisions or bays,as in a ceiling,made by crossbeams.

Travel Distance

At a specified point in a building,the distance between that point and a place of safety,in the event of fire.