Setting out of Foundations

Before Commencement, of the excavation of trenches for foundation, a setting out plan is prepared on paper. The setting out plan is a dimensioned ground floor plan, usually drawn to scale of 1:50. The plan is fully dimensioned at all breaks and openings. One of the methods of  setting out of foundations is to first mark the centre line of the longest outer wall of building by stretching a string between wooden pegs driven at its ends. This serves as the reference line for marking the centre line of all the walls of the building. The centre line of the wall, which is perpendicular to the long wall, is marked by setting up a right angle. Right angle is set up by forming triangles with sides 3,4and5units long. If we fix the two sides of the right angles triangle to be 3 m, and 4 m, then the third side i.e. the hypotenuse should be taken a 5 m. The dimensions should be set out with a steel tape. The alternative method of setting out right angle is by the use of theodolite. This instrument is also helpful in setting out acute or obtuse angles. Small right-angled Projections are usually set out with mason’s square.

Setting out of Foundations by Masonry Piers
Setting out of Foundations by Masonry Piers

The method of  Setting out of Foundations described above is not so reliable for important works as there is likelihood of the wooden pegs being pulled up or displaced. In an accurate method, the centre lines of the building walls arc carefully laid by means of small nails fixed into the head of the wooden pegs driven at the quoins. In case of rectangular buildings, the diagonal from the opposite corners are checked for their equality. Small brick walls, pillars or platforms are constructed 9ocm clear of the proposed foundation trench. The platforms are about 15 cm wider than the trench width and are plastered at top. The tops of all platforms or pillars should be at the same level preferably at plinth or floor level of building. The strings are then strenched over the nails in the pegs and the corresponding lines are marked on the wet plastered platforms top by pressing the stretched string on the plastered surface by a trowel. The outside lines of the foundation trench and the plinth lines are marked on the wet plastered platform top in the similar manner.

Before starting excavation, the strings are stretched between the outside lines of the foundation trench marked over the platform top and the cutting lines are marked on the ground by lime powder. If necessary, the lines may be marked by a daghbel or pick-axe.


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