The first step in foundation construction is precise surveying. To stake the foundation
position for a rectangular house correctly, we have to construct a right angle.

Hammer in the first stake and mark a
right angle obtained by means of an
angle. Measure out a length of rope to
find out the position of the centres of
other foundations, or other important
points, for example the building
corners.

A right angle is obtained by building a
simple angle of boards or stakes. A
right angle occurs in a triangle where
the sides are in a 5:4:3 proportion. A
common multiple will help us reach
practical dimensions of the tool. Some
practical dimensions are indicated in
the figure.

More info on the topic of building a house can be found in this amazing book:

Check out my new book!

The next step is adding the
remaining points. For an
orthogonal rectangular shape
with side lengths (a) and (b), as
in the figure, we can check using
the diagonals and any
imperfections in the surveying
can be rectified. The diagonal
lengths, (c), should be identical.
In the case of a square shape, the
diagonals should even be
perpendicular to each other.

Another possible step is
constructing so-called
benches. These are used to
mark distances with a line.
The stakes can then be
removed and we can start
working on the foundations.
If necessary, ropes can be
tied to the nails in the
benches again to check
precision of your construction
work.

Before the concrete mix sets, the
positions of the metal anchors to
which the fundamental loadbearing
flooring will be fastened,
must be finalised. Again, the
precise locations according to the
plans can be detected from the
positions already marked on the
auxiliary structures – benches.
The final surveying must be
checked properly as the bench
positions can sometimes be
disturbed during construction
work.