This course gave me an excellent insight into setting out engineering and the methods and devices used on construction sites. All concepts were well explained by an experienced and knowledgeable tutor. After doing this course, I am now confident that I could start a job as a setting out engineer, and hit the ground running.
— Michael McHugh, Graduate Engineer

There are places available on the 5-day surveying and setting out course in London area (Watford). For booking details, click here.

To book your place you can request an invoice (companies), pay in full or set up a 3 part payment plan.  If you would like to speak to us, please call 0845 519 5632.


***Members of the Scottish Civils Training Group will receive 25-50% of the cost of the training for courses run in Scotland. It is £50 per year to join the group. Click here for more details ***

This course is eligible for CITB levy grant funding in England and Scotland and has been registered by CITB NI for grant assistance to registered in scope employers.

If you are currently working in the Oil & Gas Sector and would like to pursue a career in the construction industry you may be able to claim the full cost of this setting out course (and other relevant training) through the Transition Training Fund. Please contact us for advice if you plan to make an application.

The setting out for construction 5 day practical course was brilliant. Saffron showed me everything I needed to know so I could set out on my own successfully and with full confidence. Each activity over the 5 days was delivered using a clear and easy step by step in depth explanation in the classroom which lead to a demonstration/ hands-on exercise putting this into practice outside, Saffron went over each part carefully until you felt comfortable that you could do it on your own, no matter how many times you got it wrong or had to ask a question. I now have a full understanding on how to set out in any situation using different methods on-site. I found the survey book which I wrote notes from the week and we did the activities in very helpful and have this with me all the time just for a quick look back to make sure I’m doing it right. I would highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to improve their on-site setting out skills and any companies who want top quality engineers. Thank you Saffron for a very helpful and enjoyable 5 day course.
— Bethany Welsh, Trainee Civil Engineer, Balfour Beatty


The 5 day setting out course is aimed at Engineers, Trainee Engineers and students who are involved in, or would like to get involved in the setting out of construction works.


Levelling and Taping

After the course, the candidate will be able to:

  • Check the calibration of a dumpy or laser level
  • Transfer a TBM (Transfer a known Reduced Level from one location to another)
  • Produce an as-built level survey
  • Set construction elements to a fixed Reduced Level (e.g. top of reinforcement, top of blinding, soffit of slab)
  • Identiify sources of error in levelling
  • Minimise systematic errors and eliminate gross errors
  • Book their setting out in the industry the standard way (for use as records for Claims/ Compensation Events etc)
  • Set out Profile Boards and Batter Rails (for earthworks, roads, drainage etc) and record their work correctly.
  • Analyse construction drawings
  • Set out a square section of a building using a steel tape measure


On completion of the course, the candidate will be able to:

  • Use Degrees, Minutes and Seconds
  • Calculate relative co-ordinates
  • Convert slope distances to plan distances.
  • Use best practice observing techniques
  • Use correct checking and booking methods
  • Carry out Total Station Calibration Checks (Horizontal and Vertical Collimation, Plate Bubble, Optical Plummet, Diaphragm Orientation, Trunnion Axis, Prism Constant)
  • Set up the Total Station and back-sight targets over a known point following the recommended procedure
  • Establish new and check existing primary horizontal control points (Traverse)
  • Establish secondary control points using primary control points
  • Carry out independent checks on other people's setting out
  • Check their own setting out using a range of robust methods
  • Set out out curves using a range of methods (if relevant)
  • Use Total Station functions e.g. resection, set out, curve setting out, tie distance, reference line and other relevant functions.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I felt that it moved at a pace that I was comfortable with and what I liked was that we didn’t simply just learn how to operate the total station, but we’re taught the concepts and maths behind it as well. I felt it has been valuable to me in my pursuit of becoming a site engineer.
— A. Brown, Civil Engineer
I have recently completed the 5 day Setting Out course and would recommend it to anyone without any hesitation. I don’t think I can do Saffron justice in just a few words but to say the course has made a massive difference to me is an understatement. The course itself was extremely challenging but ultimately rewarding and Saffron provided the patience and support I needed all the way. I felt so out of my depth initially but she revisited any area that I wasn’t confident in until no mistakes were made. I am happy to say that I am now setting out on a full-time basis and thoroughly enjoying it, and only refer to my ‘note reminders’ on the odd occasion. I would encourage anyone to gain additional skills in Engineering and wish I had done this course years ago, I would just like to thank Saffron for her excellent tuition.
— Steve Clewlow, Managing Director, SCC.
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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

FAQ's about this setting out course

what type of total stations are used for the training?

The course content is relevant to all types of Total Station.  We use Leica TS06 and TS09 for the training course.  If you would like to request a different 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.



First of all, give me a ring and ask me, and I’ll give you advice based on your specific situation and help you work out whether the course will add value to you and whether you’d get what you want to achieve from it. That’s different for different people. The other way you can 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. It’s video lectures delivered by me, so and you get an idea whether the content’s right and also whether you think I’m the right person to deliver the training for you. If you buy the online course and then you go ahead and attend the course in person, I’ll refund that £50 from your from your booking fees. So, you basically get the online course for free because it comes its part of the the course anyway.


Our 5 day setting out course is delivered by Saffron Grant who is an approved trainer for the CITB and has been delivering training on their behalf for the last 8 years. Saffron is also an Associate Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian Universty (GCU), School of Engineering and the Built Environment. She delivers all GCU's surveying modules to Civil and Environmental Engineering, Construction Management and Building Surveying under graduates and has been doing this for the last 7 years. In fact, to give you an idea of the credibility of our 5 day course, it is the equivalent the full degree module which Saffron delivers to GCU on a regular basis.

If you read elsewhere that a course is accredited, you may find that the company are ISO9001 accredited, which 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.

Our certificate is highly respected throughout the industry. Companies such as Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, RJ Mcleods and the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors have been repeatedly sending people on our course for many years.


We genuinely believe that we offer the best value setting out course in the UK in terms of quality, employability and time andcost-effectiveness.  When you are comparing prices with other courses, please be aware that some intermediate courses run by other companies are only 4 days long so, like for like, our pricing is comparable.  Also consider that fact that you only need to arrange travel and accommodation and arrange time of work for 5 days instead of 10 or more.  Some of our courses include 5 night's free accommodation.

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 smart phone accessible so you can refer back to any of the course content any time you are on site and would like a reminder. You will receive login details for the online course as soon as you book and pay for the 5 day course. 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.




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 foundations to build your skills to enable you o move into a role involve setting out. We've had a lot of people on the course who’ve 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. Iit gives them more flexibility. We’ve had brick layers 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, and we can give you a link to a free online maths course in case you want to get a bit more experience on that. 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, Saffron Grant has been delivering setting out training for over 8 years and has 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 Saffron uses 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! 



Because we have a lot of people in the same position, we offer the option of splitting your training over 2 sessions. You could attend the Monday and Tuesday of one session then the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of a different session. They don’t have to be one after the other, it could be 2 or 3 months between if that’s what suits you. The other thing to do is drop me an email and let me know that you’re in that position, because over the next few months, if we get enough demand, we’re planning to set dates for running the 5 day course over weekends for people who find it hard to get the time off work. Alternatively, I 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.



No, it doesn’t matter because all of the maths you will need is covered within the course content itself. That is something I will explain as we go along, as and when you need it. If you don't feel sure, either before you book or when you book, let me know and I 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, I 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 on. 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 that I will 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 me 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. I’m happy to write an honest reference for you based on your performance on the course. I 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 I’ll be happy to refer you to my 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.  The assessment system we use is robust and is the same approved system we use for marking Glasgow Caledonian University's degree students.




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 almost 800 happy customers over the last 8 years. Click here to learn who our existing clients are.


If you attend the 5 day course and you feel like you'd like even more practice, 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.

who is the course tutor? 

Watch this video for a brief introduction from, Saffron Grant, the course tutor and an overview of the course content.

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