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The ABCs of Construction Stakeout: Clearing, Grubbing, Silt Fencing

A simplistic guide and sequence schedule for construction stakeout of a subdivision

By Tommy Williams, Construction Group Manager, Koontz-Bryant, P.C.

  1. For those who are about to go into construction on a site, there are many things that have to happen before construction actually begins. If you have never been on a construction site and have always wondered what goes on – here is a brief breakdown.

    The Beginning

  2. Before the first stake is driven, there is a preconstruction meeting involving key players:
  • Owner/Representative
  • Contractor (official land disturber)
  • Engineer of the site
  • County representative
  • The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that all those involved are on the same page and have a clear understanding of the project goals.

At this point (if applicable) clearing limits (limits of disturbance, tree protection, RPA limits, wetlands and safety fence), have already been flagged by Surveyors. These flags are put in place to help the Contractor stay within the confines of the site, predetermined by the construction plans.

Clearing, Grubbing, and Silt Fencing

The Contractor will then clear the site. Grubbing is the removal of tree stumps and debris. To prevent run off from the bare ground as a result of the clearing and grubbing, Silt Fence is usually going in at the same time. This prevents run off from reaching any streams or swales and will prevent them from silting up. Once the silt traps, detention ponds and storm water management ponds are in place, the county’s Environmental Inspector will evaluate the site before giving the final go ahead to the contractor to move forward with construction.

The contractor must follow the county’s sequence of construction:
  • Bring roads to rough grade (subgrade for the contractor). This is done from grade stakes set by the Surveyors from the profile of the road on the construction plans
  • Stake all storm sewer
  • Stake drop inlets (curb inlets)
  • Stake sanitary sewer
  • Stake waterline and lot corners for water meter placement
  • Stake curb and gutter

Once the curb and gutter has been built and gravel is in place on the sub grade for the placement of pavement, the Environmental Inspector will give the green light for the as built of any storm water management ponds. The ponds requiring certification will be certified to meet county standards by the Engineer.


At this time any buffers or signs marking environmental areas, or areas to stay in their natural state, are put in place for county inspection. Finally the permanent front and rear property corners are set for each lot. At this point the construction is completed. The construction stake out is pretty much the same for townhouses, and for commercial sites with the addition of building pads.

The above information is intended only to give individuals who have not had the opportunity to be on construction sites an abbreviated idea of what takes place once construction begins and ends. In some instances there may be a few things added but you get the idea.

  1. Contact Tommy, at 804-740-9200 for more information.