We needed a simple way to securely mount the forms for the footing steps and this is what we
developed. The 2x4's are fastened to the 8 inch plywood strips with drywall screws, and then the
assembly is clamped to the vertical rebar with conduit clamps. We were careful to make sure
the rebar was vertical when we tied them, and we set a level across the forms when we attached
the clamps. Lengths of wire hold the form perpendicular to the trench. The concrete will be
pretty stiff when poured, so it really won't flow around the ends of the forms as much as it might
at first appear from the picture.
The 2x4's serve two functions -- they stiffen the plywood to keep it straight, and they also space
the form approximately between the vertical rebar.
We ended up putting in forms for 35 footing steps. There is 10' 8" of elevation change from the
highest footing to the lowest one, with several ups and downs in between. Putting in the rebar
was kind of fun and a lot less work than digging the trenches, but installing the step forms just
got boring. We got them all in, though, and they all seemed pretty secure.
We spent an additional day with the transit putting in markers to set the level of the steps for the
concrete guys to use as guides. We used rebar stakes pounded into the bottom of the trench,
with the top of the stakes defining the level. We made sure that the rebar markers were set
sufficiently far enough from the structural rebar so that there wouldn't be any rust path to the
Finally, I laid about 30 feet of #2 bare copper wire in the trench at the location where the
electrical entrance panel will go. I managed to bypass the ever-present rocks with a few
copper-plated steel ground rods into the bottom of the trench and used bronze clamps in several
different places to secure the wire both to the rebar cage and to the ground stakes. I left an
additional ten feet of wire outside the trench to eventually tie to the electrical panel. The last
ground rod (the one with the last ten feet of wire attached) was protected from the concrete so
that additional connections can be made to it in the future if necessary.