Finish grade is a term used in engineering site design and construction to indicate the final surface elevation of walks, lawns and driveways or other improved surfaces after completion of construction or grading operations. The finish grade is determined by engineering designers to ensure a consistent and smooth transition from one level to the next. It is essential to establish the proper finish grade to prevent storm water runoff from draining towards a building and puddling in areas where people walk. During construction, the surveyor will establish the finish grade and mark the top of the surface with a wood stake. The contractor will follow the stakes and develop the grade according to their height. There are rules established by municipalities that dictate the finish grade of certain surfaces; for instance, the finish grade outside a building must be lower than the first floor elevation of the building.