5 day practical course:

  • CITB Assured
  • Eligible for levy grant funding
  • 3 part payment plan available

This course comprises two CITB Assured Products, Levelling and Taping (Mon–Tue) and Total Station for Construction (Wed–Fri).

Who the course is aimed at:

  • Students studying Civil Engineering or Construction Management at any level
  • Trainee engineers
  • Graduate Engineers or Construction Managers
  • Others with relevant industry experience (please contact us to discuss your specific situation and we can offer advice)

Setting Out for Construction is an Approved Training Organisation.



Each delegate will also recieve;

About this course

The 5-day Setting Out course is our most popular course. People who attend it find that a transformation takes place. Before the course they may feel unsure of the job they are doing and some even feel anxious or stressed because they feel they don’t have all the information they need. They have a niggling feeling that they are not aware of the potential pitfalls. They may have been thrown in at the deep end and so feel unprepared, in the dark or limited to certain tasks.  They may feel like they have picked up bad habits but are not even aware what they are.

Once they have attended the course and learnt how to follow the correct procedures, delegates feel confident and inspired. When they go back to work after the course, they see their tasks in a different light. They feel empowered because they are in possession of the theory and knowledge they need to do their job correctly. The quality of tuition and practical experience they get on the course lets them feel that they can be a flexible, productive and rounded site engineer, directly adding value to their employer. They leave the course feeling enlightened and energised!

If you would like to hear about the experiences of some of our previous delegates you can read more on our case studies page.

“Saffron provides an excellent course combining informative, participative and relaxed classroom sessions with immediate application of surveying principles in field lessons. Saffron’s experience from construction projects is brought to bear rounding off the practicality of the course. Saffron goes the extra mile to ensure all attendees fully understand what is being delivered working with students well after the official course hours. I would thoroughly recommend this course.”

— Steve Wilson BEng, Senior Completion Engineer & Technical Authority, Eni U.K, London

“Both the online material and classes were especially helpful, because Saffron had concentrated on things we really need on site. In just a week I could cover the main things I had already learned in College and even further. Also, you can ask as many questions as you want and meanwhile we were sharing lots of experience. Therefore, if you are looking for a practical approach, I strongly recommend Saffron’s Setting Out course. It was more than I expected.”

— Evando Rezende – Site Engineer – Ireland



By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Record work correctly and in the industry standard way* Record work correctly and in the industry standard way
  • Incorporate robust checks into all levelling
  • List the possible sources of error in levelling
  • Carry out a level survey (existing features or as-built)
  • Set elements out to a fixed level
  • Measure the reduced level of ceilings and soffits
  • Transfer a TBM (install a vertical control point network from scatch)
  • Set up profile boards for level excavation
  • Set up profile boards for drainage
  • Set up batter rails for cut and fill


By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • List the sources of error in taping
  • Incorporate checks when setting out using a tape measure
  • Set out on sloping ground
  • Set out right angles and rectangles

Total Station

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to:

  • Set up the total station over a point
  • Carry out the relevant calibration checks (horizontal and vertical collimation error, trunnion axis, prism constant, optical/ laser plummet, diaphragm orientation)
  • List the possible sources of error when using a total station
  • Use techniques for improving and checking your accuracy and precision
  • View, edit, add and delete data
  • Install a network of primary control points from scratch (traverse)
  • Install accurate secondary control points (retro targets) using the correct procedure
  • Create a local coordinate system for a building on gridlines
  • Use the correct procedures for measuring and setting out reduced levels with the total station
  • Describe a range of methods for plumbing columns and walls
  • Set-up the position and orientation of the total station using the resection or occupied point programs
  • Take a topographical survey and record the results systematically
  • Measure the horizontal distance and level differences between points using the tie-distance function
  • Set out points of known co-ordinates using the stake out function
  • Set out points in relation to a baseline using the reference line function
  • Set out points at given chainages and offsets along a radius e.g. road centrelines using the reference arc function
  • Measure irregular areas and volumes
  • Transfer large amounts of data from the total station to the computer and vice versa
  • Describe the capabilities and limitations of GNNS equipment
  • Describe the capabilities of robotic total stations




The course content is relevant to all types of total station. The equipment we use varies between Leica, Trimble and Topcon and is indicated in the course diary table for each course. If you would like to request a specific type of total station for the training, please get in touch with us. Naturally, if you already have a total station, you would be welcome to bring that along with so that you can learn on your own instrument. If you would like to be trained on a specific instrument training we offer Leica training, Trimble training and Topcon Training for individuals or groups.


If you would like to make sure that the course is right for you, simply pick up the phone and give us a call. You will speak directly with one of the tutors who will give you advice based on your specific situation. They will help you work out whether the setting out training will add value to you and whether you’d get what you want to achieve from it. Another way to get an idea if this course is right for you is to take our online setting out course first.  On the website you’ll find the link to the online course. It’s 50 pounds plus tax and that takes you through most of the 5- day course content.  The course consists of video lectures delivered by the lead trainer Saffron Grant, so you’ll get an idea whether the content’s right and also whether our training style suits you. If you buy the online course and then subsequently attend the course in person, we’ll refund that £50+VAT from your from your booking fee. So, you basically get the online course as a free taster  since it comes its part of the course anyway.


We are registered as an Approved Training Provider (ATO) for the CITB and we offer CITB Assured courses. CITB Assured courses are the nationally recognised standard for site surveying setting out courses in the UK. This means that CITB registered levy paying companies can claim back their grant on these courses. On completion, delegates will have the training added to their profile on the construction training register. This means that any employer will be able to verify any delegate’s training.

If you are looking at other setting out courses and read that a course is accredited, you may find that this means company are ISO9001 accredited. This is purely a Quality Management System as opposed to any specific approval or accreditation relating to the standard of the course.

Similarly, registered training companies are registered as training providers for the purpose of funding trainees who may be eligible to receive training, for example, following a period of unemployment. Being a registered training provider is no indication of the quality of the training or the relevance of the content.

If you do not achieve a pass mark in the test, or for any reason do not wish to sit the test at all, we will issue you with a certificate of attendance, but will not be able to issue a CITB Assured Certificate or add you to the Construction Training Register


We genuinely believe that we offer the best value setting out course in the UK in terms of quality, employability and time and cost-effectiveness. To ensure that we provide unrivalled added value, when you book onto our 5 day course, you will be receive free access to our online course which comprises video demonstrations, narrated booking examples and calculations, step-by-step instructions and quizzes. The online course is smartphone accessible so you can refer back to any of the course content any time you are on site and would like a reminder.   Even more importantly, you can ask questions within the online course which our trainers will answer. In other words, you have access to our trainers even after you have attended the course. You will receive login details for the online course as soon as you book and pay for your training. Click here to take a look at it now and watch the free preview videos. And if you’re itching to get started, you can purchase the online course immediately and we’ll be happy to take the cost of it off your booking fee if you decide to go for the 5 day course in the future.


If you’ve been working on site in any capacity and you know how things get built, you know how to read construction drawings, you understand how the lines of communication flow on site and you understand the roles then all that is a brilliant foundation to build your skills to enable you to move into a role which involves setting out. We’ve had a lot of people on the course who have been, for example ground workers who want to move into a new area. Or small company owners who don’t want to rely on freelance engineers, so they  decide they want to build their own skills so that every now and then if they need to go and do a bit of setting out, they can do that. It gives them more flexibility. We’ve had bricklayers and joiners who have come through this course, and found it very valuable, It has allowed them to put themselves forward for opportunities, or look for different opportunities which involve the role of setting out. All the maths you would need is covered. We can give you a link to a free online maths course in case you would like to do a bit of preparation before the course. So yes, the course is ideal for people who’ve got experience on site and would like to move into a setting out role.


Our course focuses on the tasks typically required of a site engineer. We don’t teach you things you will probably never need which means we cover everything necessary in 5 days.  The skills we teach you on the course will enable you to work out anything else you need to once you’re in the workplace.

In addition, our trainers have a great deal of training experience and developed a talent for making difficult concepts seem simple.  This means that the course can move at a decent pace whilst addressing the learning styles of everyone present. If there are some parts of the course which you are already confident in, don’t be surprised if you are enlisted as a helper! This is one of the many collaborative learning techniques we use to make sure that everyone gets the level of attention they need.  Drawing upon the experiences and skills of the group is a key part of enhancing the learning experience and helping to put things into context for those who haven’t yet had a great deal of site experience.

Because you will have free access to our online course from the moment you book until at least 6 months after you have finished the course (actually, it’s probably more like lifetime access however 6 months is the minimum we guarantee), you will have the security of not being rushed through the material and left in the lurch. Don’t worry – we don’t rush through things just because you have access to the material online, it’s more of a comfort blanket so you don’t have to worry about memorising everything so you can enjoy the experiential learning to the max!


We have a lot of people in this position. The 5 day course actually comprises the 2 day levelling and taping course and the 3 day Total station for construction, You can attend the levelling component of the course (Monday an Tuesday) one week then the total station component (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) of a different week. They don’t have to be one after the other, it could be 2 or 3 months between if that’s what suits you. Alternatively, we offer one to one training. The benefit of that is that you get more individual attention, and that you can choose days according to suit you, even weekends if you prefer.


No, it doesn’t matter because all of the maths you will need is covered within the course content itself. If you don’t feel sure, either before you book or when you book, let us know and we will send you a link to a free maths course which I’ve created specially. It covers things like: Pythagoras, trigonometry, basic geometry, coordinate geometry, degrees, minutes and seconds (All the basics you will need in the course). So if you want you can swot up in advance.


For students, we highly recommend the 5 day course which covers everything you’ll need to know. It will set you up if you’re looking for a holiday jobs or summer placement, or if you’re looking for your first opportunity to get a job as a site engineer when you graduate. The ideal thing about the course is that it will allow you to talk knowledgeably and comfortably about real life practicalities of setting out on site. When you get an interview for a site engineer job you’ll be able show that you’re not just green around the gills, and that you’ve had hands of experience on this. You’ll be able to demonstrate that you’re aware of the capabilities, limitations of the equipment, and you’re aware of accuracies, tolerances, possible sources of error and you’ll be able to explain why it’s so important to be record your working the industry standard way. The course will help you to be much more confident. The other great thing about taking the course while you’re a student is that you’ll be able to take the learnings back into your studies. On the course you’re going to get experience with construction drawings, and go through the process of how things actually get built. All that is brilliant to take back into your studies and you’ll be able to put that learning into context.


The very first thing we will do is make sure that the course is right for you before we book you onto the course. If you’re using this course specifically to take you from not having a job as a site engineer, to having a job as a site engineer, then please do get in touch, and we will be able to give you advice specific for your situation. If the 5 day setting out course is right for you, the other way we can help you other than teaching you the actual skills you need for setting out is to help you with your CV, your covering letter, and your job search strategy. You can give us a bit of information about what you’ve already tried, what hasn’t worked, what’s worked well, and we can focus your job search strategy accordingly. The tutor may be willing to write an honest reference for you based on your performance on the course, but this is at the discretion of the tutor. We also have recruitment partner contacts around the country who’ve asked me to refer good delegates to them. So, if you come on the course and you’ve got the right background experience or relevant qualifications, then we’ll be happy to refer you to our contacts in the recruitment sector.


The course is assessed continually over the 5 days on an ongoing basis. Our tutor ratio is never so large that we cannot make sure that every single person is achieving the objectives as we go along.  We don’t move onto the next exercise until everybody is happy. We allow plenty of time for questions and reviewing the learning to ensure everybody is comfortable and confident. Delegates work in pairs, but do not complete the task as a joint effort. The first person in the pair completes the task independently from start to finish, then they swap with the other person and then the second person in the pair completes the whole task independently.  The trainer completes a competency check list for all delegates. In addition, there is a 30-minute test on Tuesday for the Levelling and Taping element of the course and 1- hour test on Friday for the total station element.


This is one of the most common questions that we get asked when people are enquiring to see if this course is right for them. The answer that I’m going to give you applies to any setting out course, not just ours, and it’s a common sense answer basically. If you don’t have any qualifications, or any site experience, no setting out course, whether it’s 5 days or 2 weeks, or a month is going to help you walk straight into a job. On the other hand, if you do have site experience, or you do have the right qualifications, and you’re struggling to find a job, the course will help you but it’s not black and white. If your CV isn’t up to scratch, or your covering letter isn’t very good, or your approach to applying a job is completely wrong, then again, a setting out course on your CV isn’t going to make the difference. The way that the setting out course will help you to find a job is if you have done your research and have checked that’s the only thing holding you back from getting a job. If that’s the case then the course will give you the skills you need in order to function in setting out engineer job. It will also give you the confidence you need when you’re applying for jobs and going for interviews. It will allow you to talk knowledgeably about the subject of setting out. So, if you’re thinking that taking the course is the only thing you need to do in order to get a job as a site engineer,  we really encourage you to do a bit more research before you decide to make that commitment.


We have trained over 1,000 happy customers! Click here to learn who our existing clients are.


If you pass the course and you feel like you’d like even more practice, at our discretion you are welcome to return on any of our subsequent courses for part or all of the week, totally free of charge. You can come back purely to re-experience the course or as the trainers assistant.


The test is open book and acts as a great recap exercise for the practical exercises completed during the training. The pass mark is 85%.  Our trainers are extremely helpful and patient and are there to make sure that you are 100% confident with the practical and the theory. If you master the practical exercises as you go along and record all your work in the way that the trainer shows you how to, the test should be straight forward for you. Everything is covered in the supporting online course which you will be given access to on booking. The online course consists of videos, animations, step-by-step instructions and booking examples. If you feel under confident, you can watch these before you attend the training or in the evenings during the week of the course.   If you feel you need extra practice, the trainers can provide you with as many practice questions as you like and help you prepare as much as you feel necessary. If you don’t achieve a pass, but get over 50%, you can re-sit the test once free of charge at any of our subsequent courses. For subsequent re-sits there is a charge of £70. If you achieve a mark of less than 50% in the test, you will be required to re-sit the course and the full course fee is chargeable. You can only be added to the Construction Training Register once you have passed the test. If you do not pass the test, or do not wish to take the test, you will be issued with a certificate of attendance for the course rather than a certificate of completion for the CITB Assured course.


It is extremely unlikely that you will fail the competency check list. It is intended as a guide for the trainer to ensure that every delegate is confident with every activity. Rather than fail you on a competency, the trainer will help you with it until you have mastered it.


Previous experience of setting out is not required although it is beneficial to have either a construction related qualification or experience working in the construction industry. All relevant theory, knowledge and maths is taught on the course

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