How to mark and dig good foundations

It is essential that the foundations for new walls and houses are the right size and in the correct position to take the load of the wall and prevent movement. Strong foundations will prevent cracks and structural problems and make sure your home is a refuge for generations to come.

Your tools:
• Spirit level
• Builders line
• Spade
• Hammer
• Square
• Compactor
• Brick course gauge
• Wooden straight edge
• Wheelbarrow
• Pick

Step 1
After marking out the walls of the house, put pegs in the ground 1 metre away from the house marking. Nail a piece of wood horizontally across the pegs. This will be used to mark the foundations.

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Step 2
With builders line, mark the position of the foundations (normally 600mm wide for domestic houses). Fix nails in the timber for each side of the foundation. Stretch builders line from one marking frame to the next.

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Step 3
Mark the wall lines with nails and builders line in the same way, ensuring that the wall lies in the centre of the foundation.

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Step 4
Mark the line of foundation on the ground with a spade, using the foundation lines as a reference. This can also be done using a line of cement to mark the foundation position.

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Step 5
Remove the lines and start digging the foundations.

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