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Machine control for site engineers

We have doubled the grant rates for short course tiers 1 – 3. To address rising costs, you can now receive higher rates on course achievements from 1st April 2023

Grant Tier

Achievement date before 1 April 2023

Achievement date on or after 1 April 2023

Grant Tier 1

Grant Tier 1 Refresher





Grant Tier 2

Grant Tier 2 Refresher





Grant Tier 3

Grant Tier 3 Refresher






The purpose of this standard is to understand the principles and practices of using machine control for any aspect of groundwork's and road construction.

Standard details

CITB has developed this standard in discussion with industry. 


Minimum 1 day of 6 learning hours

Purpose / Scope

The purpose of this standard is to understand the principles and practices of using machine control for any aspect of groundworks and road construction. It is aimed at people who are confident with setting up site control and use of Total Station, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and Survey Software. The content is relevant to all sizes of construction project.

The scope covers:

  • machine control for effective project implementation
  • working to surfaces and linework
  • 3D surface model
  • setting up grade lasers (2D automatic control systems)
  • avoidance zones
  • capabilities and limitations of machine control
  • health and safety risks and benefits
  • fault finding checks
  • utilising desktop simulators and survey software.

Occupational relevance

Training delivered against this standard would be relevant to the following occupational groups:

  • operative and craft
  • supervision
  • management and leadership.

Candidate pre-requisites

There are no candidate pre-requisites as part of this standard. However, knowledge and experience of setting up site control points, GNSS use, Total station use and survey software would be beneficial.  

This standard would be suitable for:

  • civil engineering or construction management students
  • apprentice or trainee engineers
  • graduate engineers and construction managers
  • candidates familiar with setting out and want to expand their skills to include machine control.

Instruction / Supervision

As a minimum, course instructors must be able to demonstrate that in relation to this standard they have:

  • a train the trainer or instructional techniques course certificate
  • a verifiable CV demonstrating extensive experience as a site engineer across a broad range of construction projects (civils, building etc.)
  • current experience / CPD in the use of modern topographical equipment including survey software and machine control.


Delivery may be in an on or off the job environment.

All materials and equipment must be of a suitable quality and quantity for candidates to achieve learning outcomes, and must comply with relevant legislation.

The class size and candidate/instructor ratio must allow training to be delivered in a safe manner and enable candidates to achieve the learning outcomes. 

The following delivery methods shall be used in the delivery of this standard:

  • Classroom

This standard is considered to contain 51 per cent or more practical training.


For the successful completion of training, the trainer will be required to make a declaration of the learner’s contribution during the course and that they are confident the learner has understood the content of the course.

The assessment will comprise a check list for the practical elements and a 15 minute written exam.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance against this standard will require initial approval of the training organisation and their content mapped to the standard. 

CITB will also conduct an approval intervention, either desk-based or centre visit, to ensure the training organisation can meet the requirements of the Training Standard. 

Approved training organisations (ATOs) will be required to present information on records of training and assessment upon request to CITB for desk based analysis. They will also be visited annually by the CITB quality assurance team.

Renewal / refresher

There are no mandatory renewal or recommended refreshment requirements for this standard.

Approval date


Review cycle

Either on request or in 3 year(s) from approval date.

Learning outcomes

The candidate will be able to:

  • List the file types which are compatible with the cab display unit.
  • Convert design data into a compatible file type.
  • Isolate the critical information that the driver needs.
  • Create offsets from design linework:
    • horizontal
    • vertical
    • perpendicular.
  • Create a 3D surface model
  • Identify erroneous linework and edit accordingly.
  • List the pros and cons of using Robotic total station / Base and Rover / Network RTK and select the appropriate equipment for a job.
  • Set up grade lasers with 2D automatic grade control systems.
  • State the accuracies required for construction activities.
  • Describe different methods of establishing coordinates and levels of PGMs.
  • Set avoidance zones.
  • Define extents of a 3D model.
  • List the steps in configuring the radios.
  • Create active surfaces.
  • Explain the difference between well distributed and poorly distributed points and explain how poorly distributed points affect the results.
  • Access field devices remotely.
  • Enter machine and bucket dimensions into the machine calibration file.
  • Check and set units.
  • Turn layers and surfaces on and off.
  • Edit layer and line colour.
  • Show/ hide TIN mesh, boundaries, break-lines and contours.
  • Select the active surface.
  • Select a line and create a “steer to” reference. 
  • Set the required intervals for automatic as-built survey points.
  • Select the reference point on the bucket.
  • Select different views on the display unit.
  • Set the construction tolerances and set alerts.
  • Read the visual guidance indicators on the display unit.
  • Confirm that the position of the tip of the blade is correct in relation to the survey control.
  • Use the blade or bucket for taking measurements and export the data.
  • Carry out checks to validate that the control points are sufficiently accurate.
  • Effectively communicate the critical information to the machine driver.
  • Explain the difference between:
    • manual
    • indicate
    • automatic
    • intelligent.
  • List the capabilities and limitations of machine control.
  • List the commercial benefits of machine control.
  • Carry out a basic cost vs savings analysis.
  • Describe the health and safety risks and benefits machine control.