How To Set Out Your Building Foundation – Profiles is a question i get asked a lot. It is not a complicated process depending on the project you are undertaking. My series of articles is aimed at the simple projects like Sheds, BBQ`s, Garden Walls etc:

In my article entitled How To Set Out Your Building Foundation Stage 1 i wrote a brief description regarding the topic of Profiles. I have decided to add more detail and have created a series of graphics that you will hopefully find informative. These graphics represent the foundations for a Pompeii Oven i was asked to design and thought i would share them with you. The technique for getting your foundations square is exactly the same, even on this small scale.

The Design

The first thing is to get your design on paper. This is so important or you will find yourself changing your mind and achieve very little. The secret to construction is to have a plan and try to stick with it, obviously small tweaks will be made as you go along.

The Plans


foundation plan

Foundation Plan

Brickwork setting out

Brickwork setting out







Excavating Your Foundations

Now you have your plans organised and a position in your property for your Pompeii oven, it is time to dig out the base. Your foundation strength will depend on a number of things like

  • Ground conditions
  • Weight of your structure

This set of drawings depicts a re-inforced concrete foundation, that should last a long time without any movement. I am not going to dimension these building foundations as your design will have many different sizes and weights to contend with. Rember to dig your foundation at least 150mm larger than your finished oven.

Remember to cut all your timber profiles the same size and make them level to eachother. Is does not matter how wide you make them. Just remember to take down the string lines while you are creating the foundation or you will keep snagging them. You insert your profiles as far away from your foundation as you like to avoid dislodging them.

oven excavation

Oven Excavation









Concreting Your Foundation

The design of your base is your choice. You could just decide to use concrete only and no re-inforcement detail. This is your choice, but i would always air on the side of caution and use some steel re-inforcement mesh. This comes in many different sizes, your local builders merchant will advise you on this. The following graphic is just an example of how this would be done.

Concrete Slab

Concrete Slab

steel re-inforced foundation

Steel Re-Inforced Foundation









Setting Out the Brickwork

Now we have a nice concrete slab to work from it is time to reset your profiles. All you have to do is bring each of the nails evenly in so that your oven will sit centrally on your new slab. Use your square to have a quick check that all is ok. Now we can start setting out the first course of brickwork.

As you will see i have dimensioned my concrete base to allow for this design and have properly co-ordinated my brickwork so there are no cuts at this stage. If you would like to learn about Brickwork Co-ordination then take a look at an article i wrote on this subject HERE. You will find it invaluable and make your work look professional.


second course of brickwork

Second Course of Brickwork

first course of brickwork

First Course of Brickwork