Station to station

Engineers can be involved in many aspects of the construction process, and in all types of projects, from structural buildings to highways, drainage and earthworks. Previously they used manual equipment, such as a theodolite (for setting out) and a level (for height and depth level readings), but these days it’s mostly digital and laser equipment, such as an electronic theodolite, Leica robotic total stations and GPS.

Using the total station with uploaded site coordinates, land surveyors can easily set up a network of control stations and reference objects in order to set out the points required across the site. An engineer can be called upon to set out large-scale apartment blocks and office buildings, roads and highway infrastructure projects, sewer layouts, drainage schemes and complex steel infrastructures. They can also be asked to set out individual building plots for residential clients or more complex multiple plots for a house builder’s development.

Setting out goals

One of the key roles of a setting-out engineer on a construction project involves setting out the plan view of the building on the site it will occupy. This involves transposing the architect’s vision onto the landscape, which will then become the template for the groundwork – such as foundations and pile holes – to commence. The accuracy of this is obviously imperative in each project’s success, with any discrepancies at ground level magnified as the structure takes shape. Using the most up-to-date draft of the site plan ensures the accuracy of the setting out, though updates and revisions may be made to technical drawings once the project is underway.

Levels of experience

Engineers will also be involved in levelling and surveying construction sites. While a team of engineers will be involved in the initial setting out, an engineer will often remain on site to assist with further duties throughout the construction process. This could involve working with site plans, drawings and building information models, and liaising with designers and engineers to ensure their plans and drawings are accurate as the project progresses.

As part of the day-to-day running of the site, engineers will also be heavily involved with the on-site technicians carrying out the construction work. They will liaise with the site manager and may be called upon to provide levels and measurements on site. This could involve helping bricklayers with levels for the height of window openings, for example. It could involve setting out interior walls or partitions, or the positioning of machinery within a building. This could be in any setting from basements and lift shafts, to stairwells and up on the roof.

Accuracy is key

Our professional engineers have a great deal of experience in working on all types of construction projects. We check our measurements twice, to ensure accuracy. We also log measurements and plans used, as part of our meticulous record keeping – ensuring we are using the most up-to-date plan before we start work on the site. This means we have a clear historical record of which plan was used, and when and what calculations were used as a result of that plan.

We deploy the most current equipment that is maintained to ensure a very high degree of accuracy. All our total stations are calibrated on a yearly basis by a trained professional, with a certificate of calibration available for each piece of surveying equipment, which can be sent to the client on request prior to our arrival onsite. Our tribrachs and levels are also subject to rigorous tests on a regular basis, to ensure that they are in optimum working order.

Why is setting out important?

Other than to direct the employees as they start work, the major goal of setting out is to guarantee that the construction stays within the legal bounds. This guarantees that there won’t be any legal problems in the future over things like property lines and access rights.

The importance of setting out is often overlooked, but it is a crucial part of the construction journey.

Whatever your requirements, we offer a comprehensive setting out service, that will deliver highly accurate results, including those in challenging site conditions and project complexity. To speak to one of our site engineers ring: 01928 734473, we’d be happy to talk you through what we do.