In commercial and residential construction projects an accurate and level foundation is a must as it sets the base for all preceding construction elements. When building a level foundation, you could rely on foundation layout tools such as a tape measure for framing square, but this method is time-consuming and less accurate, particularly in a larger area where small errors can compound over distance. Because of this, the best way to layout a foundation right the first time is using a combination of rotary and line laser levels.
To establish a foundation:
- Use a rotary laser from a surveyor or elevator tripod with a grade rod and detector.
- Rotary lasers automatically find level with range out to 2,000’ and accuracy to 1/16” at 100′, eliminating issues for bigger projects.
- Use a rotary lasers with a remote control and a highly accurate laser detector to ensure the ability to work at the advertised range; beyond where you can see the laser beam with the naked eye.
- Laser level stability is guaranteed as rotary lasers rely on servo motors and an out of level alarm will alert you if the unit is bumped or disturbed while in operation.
- Systems will reset once the servomotors have reset and the rotation motor will start to spin again, up to 600 RPM.
The rotary laser is best used as the reference for positioning excavation stakes, marking footers, and serving as a reference that can be transferred using a handheld line laser. With a high spin rate, the rotary laser is perceived as a continuous line and is more accurate than a traditional line laser. A rotary laser can be positioned in a central location to the work space and left in that position to spin throughout the shift. While using a detector on a grade rod, you can accurately position footers and to establish a form. This is critical if you use warped or damaged lumber in your frames, where the combination of a rotary laser and detector simplifies the process and helps you ensure a quality foundation pour.
Laying Out Square
While a rotary laser used vertically can be a useful tool, PLS also offers point and line, self-leveling lasers designed specifically for laying out square. The PLS 5-point laser with pendulum target is an inexpensive option to transfer square points to the ground or floor at 90-degrees. The HVL 100 servo motor laser or the PLS 480 pendulum laser with Universal Tripod Mount Adapter are also tools specifically designed to quickly layout a square foundation. These line laser work by positioning the laser at the pivot point (using the vertical down dot), aligning the first line with your first foundation board, then using the 90-degree line to place your second foundation board. Use the HVD laser detector for PLS 5 (which includes a bracket specifically designed to mount to the pendulum target) or the PLS SLD detector with the HVL 100 or PLS 480 for use outdoors or in bright conditions.
Whether it be floorboard or concrete, PLS lasers give contractors multiple options to quickly layout square and level a foundation.