Dictionary of Building and Civil Engineering

by Thomas Grant
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Dictionary of Building and Civil Engineering Dictionnaire Du Bâtiment Et Du Génie Civil


Don Montague is a Chartered Engineer (MICE, MIMechE) with experience in many fields of engineering, building and construction. He read Engineering Science at Oxford (MA) and then did pioneering work on machine design using the early DEUCE digital computer in the 1960s. Subsequently he worked in the public service in timber research (AJWSc), became deeply involved in environmental conservation and began a love affair with the practice of building.

In 1971 he joined Ove Arup & Partners and spent his first five years with them co-ordinating multi- disciplinary building design teams. After a period running his own structural component firm he rejoined Arups and became responsible for their engineering specifications, design guides and feedback notes. He has published articles on a wide range of topics, from environmental conservation to structural components, and integrated design to maintenance of building services. He retired as Technical Director of Arups in 1991.

A life-long interest in the French language and life led him and his wife to move to France, where he is now as busy as ever working for himself with local French building professionals.


No dictionary of this kind is the work of one person, and I am delighted to acknowledge the help and encouragement I have had, particularly from former colleagues at Ove Arup & Partners, Consulting Engineers. Chris Barber, Mike Bussell, Paul Craddock, Steve Dyson, Steven Groâk, Martyn Harrold, Mike Holmes, David Lush, Alain Marcetteau, Gordon Puzey, Brian Simpson, Bob Venning and others have all contributed, provided lists of words or translations from their work in the UK and France, or offered good advice or further contacts.

In France I have had the pleasure of working with Christian Barreau, Yves de Bazin, Maître Gilles Cathus, Albert Cologni, Jacques Deltreil, Laurent Dupuy, Francis Framarin, Guy Lung, Maître Jacques Marie, Roger Mirabel, Laurence and René Orazzio, Roger Roccon, Maurice Teulet and André Vincent, their colleagues and staff, who have taught me a great deal of French architectural, building, legal and property terminology, in the office and on site.

The Translation Service—Terminology—of the European Commission has been very helpful, allowing me to collate terms from its multilingual glossaries Roads (1978) and Construction (in draft 1995), the latter being particularly helpful in the field of health and safety at work. Cooperation with Madame Fiamozzi of this Service has been enjoyable and fruitful.

I am grateful to REHVA (the Federation of European Heating and Airconditioning Associations) for allowing me to make use of technical terms from its International Dictionary of Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (see Appendix B).

Manufacturers’ catalogues have provided examples in their own languages, in particular Legrand SA, whose information on electrical equipment has been invaluable. Single language dictionaries and encyclopaedias have also proved very useful in the difficult task of defining meanings and selecting and discarding terms in each language. The more important works that I have referred to are listed in Appendix B.

Finally, without the encouragement and support of my editors, Caroline Mallinder and Fiona Weston, and my wife Maureen, I would not have retained my sanity or ever have completed this dictionary. I offer my grateful thanks to them and everyone else who has helped, in particular at Chapman & Hall, and absolve them all for any mistranslations—these are