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How do you prep for stakeout?  

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Posts: 331
250+ posts
Joined: 5 years ago

In my stakeout i have both the lines and points in the data collector, so i am able to pick out any additional info to set out. The only problems is the damn designs keep changing and the engineer keep only providing 2 versions behind.

Posts: 890
500+ posts
Joined: 9 years ago

If you have the roading module for Access you can create alignments and templates that allow for staking Stations and offsets without points and lines.  A dxf background map with pertinent info is helpful, i.e. odd station numbers, radius dimensions, etc. 

Posts: 126
100+ posts
Joined: 4 years ago

How to prepare for stakeout:

1. Receive digital files.

2. Request the 50-70% of digital files that are missing, and PDFs of the signed plans for construction, since the disclaimer for the digital files absolves the designers of all liability for their mistakes in those drawings.

3. Xref the digital files into our layout/control drawing. Find discrepancies.

4. Call up the architect and ask why their boundary is different from the one we sent them months ago. Receive indignation, and eventually a file that is still not correct but close enough to work with.

5. Call up architect again after realizing all of their linework is on the same layer "AE-STUFF" and means nothing to me. Receive more indignation and an explanation of which of the 12,987 overlapping lines are the "real" building lines.

6. Call up the structural engineer and ask why the FF elevations on their plans are different from those on the civil plans. Receive equivocation.

7. Call up the civil engineer and ask the same question. Receive more equivocation. Request those additional files from #2 that never showed up.

8. In the interim, begin creating all of the fancy 3D entities (alignments, corridors, feature lines, surfaces) that the engineers had at their fingertips for design, but rejected in favor of 2D polylines and hand-calculated text labels that do not match.

9. Repeat steps 6 and 7 a few times until the two engineers realize that they are going to have to talk to each other rather than through a surveyor who really couldn't care less what the elevations are but will not be held liable for their screwups.

8. Find discrepancies between those hand-calc'd elevations and grades shown. Call engineer to see if they might want to correct them. Receive indignation, eventually acquiescence, and finally some direction.

9. Begin adding points, elevating alignments, etc. Fix some design stuff that doesn’t match up because I am tired of calling engineers.

10. Prepare maps and control files for crews, along with digital files (alignments and corridors).

11. Send crew to site to begin work. Receive call once they are on site letting me know that they are all set up and work is going smoothly.

12. Fifteen seconds later, receive panicked calls from construction super, who has a newer or older set of plans than we do which are significantly different in multiple respects. Recall crew.

13. Go back to number 1. Then when you get back to this point, forge ahead as best you can knowing all the while that the plans are being revised as you are staking, and that the remainder of the project will suck the life out of you as well as the time from actual surveying projects.

14. Curse the fact that your company does construction staking.

15. Remember that ultimately the company likes it because it makes someone up top lots of money.

16. Remember that #16 still doesn’t make the annoyance, stress, and hassle go away for you, nor does it make you any more money than the other actual land surveying projects you undertake. And you still hate it.

17. Go home and drink.

1 Reply
Joined: 6 years ago

250+ posts
Posts: 361


That sounds about right but in my case I am also the crew. The project that I was referring to was the biggest layout job I have done on my own and it left me wondering if there are more efficient, less stressful ways of doing things, aside from getting extra help. I think that's just how it is though. I can surely improve the efficiency of my methods but it's still going to be a lot of on the fly, need it done yesterday kind of work. I don't know how full time layout guys do this year after year. I do enjoy the money and satisfaction of seeing the project completed but there is no way in hell that I'd do it as an employee!

Posts: 128
100+ posts
Joined: 8 years ago

Step#1: Do not do construction staking if at all possible. There is much more profit to be had by doing other tasks with much less aggravation and liability.


2 Replies
Joined: 9 years ago

5,000+ posts
Posts: 6308


I do construction staking, but these days it's only for private companies, condo's, large houses, some reservoirs, ect. If a client calls and requests staking from me it's a TM process. The days of big public jobs are gone as far as I'm concerned. 

Last week a couple of construction companies requested bids for a public housing project just down the street from my office. This was Monday, one company sent a bid package, typical stuff, 800 pages, all kinds of legalsleaze, threats of prosecution, weekly certified payroll, all for a little parking lot stakeout. I asked when they need the estimate and the guy said tomorrow...…….Tuesday. 

I don't see why anyone does these, but good for them if they want to be in that business, I'm out. 

WA-ID Surveyor
Joined: 8 years ago

500+ posts
Posts: 586


Step#1: Do your own construction staking.  More specifically, only complete staking on projects your firm designs.  When the entire firm understands the entire workflow, the setup for staking is very smooth.

Just A. Surveyor
Posts: 1802
1,000+ posts
Joined: 2 years ago

I prepare a fair amount of comps and worksheets. However you cannot anticipate every request that comes up and at the risk of repeating others I do not do anything outside of the requested task simply because I see that as an extra cost billable item. If I am called out to stake and offset a building, I stake and offset the building and if someone has an additional request I will treat that as an extra cost item and get the acknowledgement in writing. Simply put show me the money, it takes time to prep this stuff and truck hood comps are a surefire way to goober something up.


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