The first step to construct a new building is setting out the layout of the building on the ground. In this post, I’ll show you how to set out a building on a plot to start the construction.
Simply saying, setting out of a building is just to take the building from a piece of paper (drawing) to the plot where you’ll build the building.
The purpose of it is just to place the building on the ground as shown in the drawing.
After setting out you’ll get to know where the footing of the building should be placed or where the columns or walls will be placed.
So let’s see…
How To Set Out A Building On The Ground
I’ll walk you through, step by step, to set out a building on the ground.
Step #1: Make The Plot Easily Accessible
It is possible that the plot you’re going to construct a building on is uneven and not easily accessible all through the plot.
First, you need to make the plot even and easily accessible everywhere.
Step #2: Check The Plot Area
Once you make the plot even and you can walk through the plot, you now need to check the plot area.
You’ll be given a setting layout plan of the building. Let’s say you got the following drawing.
In this step, you just need to check the length and width of the plot in accordance with the drawing.
In our example drawing, the length of the plot is 43 feet.
Check this length is available on the plot.
Similarly, check the width of the plot in accordance with the drawing.
The length and width of a plot don’t normally vary with the drawing.
But recently, I got a setting layout plan of a building. After setting the layout of the building on the ground I found that the dimension of the drawing doesn’t match with the plot and I needed to make correction of the drawing and set out the layout again.
So it’s better to check the plot area before proceeding with the Setting Layout plan. So that you don’t need to set out the layout again if you find any mismatch.
Checking the plot area in accordance with the drawing doesn’t take much time.
Step #3: Place Posts All Around The Building
We normally place wooden posts. These posts are placed for the purpose of fixing ropes to mark gridlines.
In our example drawing, A, B, C, D and 1, 2, 3, 4 are grid lines.
You need to place both vertical and horizontal posts.
While placing posts keep in mind that they should be placed at least five feet away from the excavation outline.
After placing posts make them strong enough by pouring concrete at the bottom of posts. So that they don’t displace later.
The plot, I recently set out a building, didn’t require to place posts. It has a boundary wall all around it.
But if your plot is in open area you need to place posts.
Step #4: Set The First Grid Line Along The Width Of The Plot
As your plot is ready and you’ve set wooden posts, it’s now time to set the first gridline.
From our example drawing, let’s set the gridline #A.
Set a rope along with the gridline #A as shown in the drawing. Fix the rope with posts on both ends.
Now check dimensions of the rope with the outer line of the plot. Tweak it till you get exact dimensions as shown in the drawing.
Step #5: Set The Second Grid Line Along The Length Of The Plot
In our example drawing, #1 is the first grid line along the length of the plot.
Set this gridline following the same process as you set the gridline #A in step #4.
Step #6: Check The Angle Of Both Grid Lines
In this step, you need to make sure the two grid lines you set are in 90° angle.
For this, Mark a 3 feet long distance along the grid #1 from the intersection point of both grid lines.
Again, Mark a 4 feet long distance along the grid #A.
Now measure the distance between these two marks. If you get the distance 5 feet, then both the grid lines are in right angle. See the image below.
But if the distance is less or more than 5 feet then you need to adjust both grid lines till you get it right.
Step #7: Set The Remaining Grid Lines
As your base grid lines are set, you can easily fix ropes for the remaining grid lines.
Let’s set the gridline #2.
It is 1′- 5½” away from grid #1. Just measure this distance on both ends and fix a rope.
Similarly set ropes for remaining grid lines.
Step #8: Check The Right Angles Of Grid Lines Randomly
You should check angles of random grid lines as we did in step #6.
It is for extra carefulness.
Also, check last grid lines, that is grid #4 & #D with the plotline.
See the dimension of grid #4 and #D with respect to the plotline in our example drawing.
If you found these dimensions as exact as shown in the drawing then you successfully set out the building on the ground.
Keep in mind that the building will be built based on the layout you set just now. All the dimensions of the building will be taken in reference with these grid lines.
So, any mistakes while setting the building on the plot can take you to a huge loss later. That’s why experienced workers and supervisors should be involved in setting out a building on the ground.
Share Your Expertise
Do you use any special tool to set out a building on the ground? Please share the name of the tool in the comments below…