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Deciding to build a home is exciting, but you quickly realise there’s basically a whole new language to learn! There’s lots of building jargon and slang to get your head around, so we thought we’d help you out by explaining some common building terminology in Australia.

What is meant by house inclusions? What is the first and second fix for carpentry? These are common building terms and questions people have during the construction process. Your building company and tradies won’t expect you to know all the technical terms they use internally, but learning some common building terminology in Australia will help you feel more confident navigating your first build.


Home construction companies offer a standard inclusions list plus an upgraded inclusions list. These specify the taps, basins, sinks, appliances, brick choices, and so much more. MyHomeBuild offers one standard inclusions, ASPECT, however, if you require alternative products that isn’t a problem – we can accommodate your requirements! Looking at house inclusions is a good way to compare building companies to work out which one is best for your needs.

View MyHomeBuild’s house inclusions options: Expressions Inclusions and Aspect Inclusions.


These are the two-dimensional drawings that show the exterior of the home. As part of the design stage of the home, you’ll get a floorplan (the birds-eye view of the layout), and then elevation drawings of the front, back and sides of the house, to show you what the facade of your home is going to actually look like.


When it comes to building a house, pitch isn’t referring to how high you can sing, but rather what the slope of the roof is!


Setback is something you need to get checked off as part of getting your house design approved, and essentially refers to how close you’re allowed to build to the boundary of your block. Council setback rules outline the minimum distances the house needs to be constructed from neighbouring property boundaries, primary and secondary street fronts, and other natural or man-made features adjacent to the property.


The access point to the block from the street, i.e. where the driveway goes which crosses over the footpath or council property.

First fix

First/1st fix is used by many construction trades in reference to specific tasks they do in the early structural stages of a build. But generally speaking, the first fix of your build refers to everything that has to happen before the plaster is applied to your brick walls (i.e. everything you don’t see once the build is finished!). There’s lots of parts to a first fix: framing the walls, roofing/roofing material, insulation, and installing wiring for electricity and pipes for plumbing.

Second fix

Second/2nd fix refers to the installation of the features, fixtures and fittings that you actually see in the home when it’s finished. Each trade has its own second fix tasks, from carpenters installing your internal doors and custom joinery, to electricians installing lights and fans and other appliances, to plumbers installing your toilets and basins. The second fix won’t happen until your home is secured. (If you’ve just wondered ‘what is joinery?’… keep reading to find out!)


A slang term for a carpenter. (And by the way, some chippies specialise in first fix or second fix carpentry, and some do both!)


A slang term for, you guessed it, an electrician.


A bricklayer. Yep, there’s lots of different tradies that will work on your house over the course of a build.

Rough ins

Once basic framing is complete, trades like plumbers and electricians ‘rough in’ (aka install) the services in wall cavities before they’re lined with plaster.


Joinery refers to the more creative and artisanal elements of working with wood, and in the context of building a house, generally refers to the functional and decorative woodwork that’s fixed to the structure. Think: kitchen cupboards and pantry shelving, vanities, walk-in-robes, and even the built-in desks and shelves in your study.


Finishes refer to the final wall surfaces and sloping surfaces of your home (both interior and exterior). Interior finishes are your wall coverings, paintwork, flooring, tiles, etc. Your main external wall finish may be brickwork, or have timber or composite wall cladding, or even concrete cladding, but also external paintwork too. You’ll discuss the exterior cladding of your home in detail with your designer in the early stages of your build, as it will have a major impact on the style of the home. It’s also important that your exterior finishes are suitable for the area you’re building in, as it may impact the approvals process.


Hang on, what’s cladding? Wall cladding is a non-load bearing layer attached to the exterior face of a building. Cladding can provide extra thermal insulation and protect from the effects of water and weather, and has a big impact on the style and appearance of a home. For example, horizontal timber wall cladding (or timber-look) will help give a house a classic outback feel, or a beachy Hamptons-style aesthetic.

Practical completion

We’ve included this one because it’s something that often causes confusion. It’s an important contractual milestone in construction projects because it’s the last stage of the claim (i.e. last invoice).

Read your specific construction contract documents carefully to understand exactly what is practical completion for your build, but generally speaking, practical completion means the works are complete (except for minor defects and omissions) and are reasonably able to be used for their intended purpose. Practical completion is not your handover, but it’s normally only a couple of weeks after you do your practical completion inspection to note any defects until you get the keys!

We pride ourselves on our friendly, caring approach to customer service

Building terminology in Australia can be complicated, but MyHomeBuild makes it simple. When you build with us, we make sure you understand what’s happening with your build every step of the way. And there’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to building your own home, so if there’s ever any building jargon you’d like us to explain, ask away!

Want to find out more about building a home? Talk to us today.

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