With so much going on at a construction site, communication breakdowns are bound to happen. In addition to marking features on a jobsite, construction teams, developers, surveyors, engineers and even architects have long used construction stakes as another form of communication to prevent any costly or potentially dangerous problems.
The problem with these stakes is that they can be difficult to translate if you don’t speak the language. What’s worse is that not all construction companies use the same ribbon colors to mark their stakes.
This post will cover how to read construction stakes to ensure you’re never out of the loop when it comes to reading different types of stakes.
You’ll find boundary stakes marking the boundaries of a construction site. These stakes may have an orange ribbon attached to them, but, as we mentioned above, the colors can vary from company to company. Regardless of the ribbon, they’ll all be marked L-O-D, standing for limit of disturbance. Construction crews are not meant to touch anything outside of these stakes.
A cut stake is used to clarify where the ground surrounding the stake needs to be cut. Crews will write the letter C followed by a dash and digits. The C stands for cut, and the digits tell workers how far down they need to dig. For example, C-3.55 means workers need to cut 3.55 feet from that location.
The opposite of a cut stake is a fill stake. These construction survey stakes have an F followed by a dash and digits. The F stands for fill, and, like a cut stake, the numbers indicate how high the fill needs to go on the stake. A surveyor may come through and mark a line on the stake, indicating workers need to grade until the dirt is even with the line.
Some of the most important stakes on a site are benchmark stakes, so it’s crucial that everyone knows how to read construction stakes. These stakes typically have a blue ribbon and are placed in the ground by engineers. Benchmark stakes are labeled with BMK and then several numbers, which tell us the stake’s precise elevation relative to sea level. These stakes can’t be moved because the elevation likely isn’t equal across the entire jobsite.
The center of a construction project is marked with a centerline stake. These stakes may have an orange or red flag and are marked with a C and an L running through the middle. You’ll also find digits followed by OFF, standing for the stake’s offset from a particular feature, like a water main or sewer line. Other numbers on centerline scales indicate the station number.
Let us handle your surveying needs
The next time you need someone to survey your land and place construction survey stakes, be sure to bring in our team at D.G. Smyth & Co., Inc. No team in Texas is better prepared or more experienced when it comes to all sorts of land surveying. Call us today to see what we can do for you.