Troubleshooting Exception and Assertion Error Messages

Reference Number: KB-00802
Last Modified: December 21, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors


I keep seeing an error message that says something about an exception.

Two such common errors are SEH Exceptions and Assertion Failures, which also state: "Please contact Chief Architect Technical Support with steps to reproduce."

What is wrong, and what should I do about it?


There are a number of different types of exception errors including:

  • SEH exceptions
  • Assert exceptions
  • Bad reference exceptions
  • Bad pointer exceptions
  • NULL pointer exceptions
  • Invalid parameter exceptions
  • Loop cancel exceptions

Exception errors can be caused by a variety of factors, some known, and some as of yet unknown. 

Common causes of exception errors include:

  • Unsupported system specifications
  • Driver problems
  • File corruption
  • Hardware issues
  • Software issues


Since there are a number of possible causes for assertion and exception errors, some basic troubleshooting is required in order to identify the reason for the issue. Please make sure to follow all of the steps listed below in order until the error message is resolved.

To troubleshoot these errors

  1. The first step to troubleshooting an error in any program is to make sure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements for running the software. 

  • The minimum and recommended system requirements for running the current version of Chief Architect can be found on our System Requirements page.

    Discontinued version System Requirements can be located in this Knowledge Base. Please see the appropriate article below for your version of the software.

  • If you discover that your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, you should consider upgrading the computer hardware, or purchasing an alternate system that does fulfill the requirements.

  • If your computer does meet the minimum system requirements and you are still receiving an error, please make sure to update your video card drivers to the most recent version compatible with your operating system before continuing on to the next step. Make sure to test to see whether or not the error continues to occur after updating the driver, shutting down the computer completely, and then restarting your system.

    For instructions on updating your video card's driver, please see the appropriate Knowledge Base article for your software version listed below.

  • After verifying your computer does meet the System Requirements, and updating your video card's driver, if you continue to receive the error, please make sure to download and install the most recent update available for your software by selecting Help> Download Program Updates from the program menu.

  • If updating to the most recent version of your software does not resolve the error, or if you already are using the most recent available update, the next step will be to try running a repair on the software. For instructions on this process, please see the link below for the Windows operating system.

    • Windows
    • If you are encountering errors or crashes using a Mac, instead please see KB-02940 of this online Knowledge Base for additional troubleshooting steps specific to Mac OS X.

  • If running a Repair on the software does not resolve the error, keep in mind that these types of errors can sometimes indicate that the file itself is corrupt. File corruption and data loss can be caused by a hard drive failure, power outage while working on a file, or even with working in an unsupported fashion, such as working on files saved on a network server, external hard drive, or USB flash drive.

    • If you have been working on files when they are saved anywhere other than your local machine's hard drive, then we recommend that you copy plan (and layout files for Chief Architect and Home Designer Pro) to your local hard drive before you open them in the software. When you are finished working, exit out of the program and then copy them back to their original location. 

    • For more information, see the Guide to File Management for Chief Architect files article linked in the Related Articles section.

    • If the error is plan specific, and if it is a result of file corruption, check the Archives to see if a recent copy of the plan exists which does not generate the error message. See KB-00099 on Accessing Your Archive Files to learn more.

  • If none of the prior steps resolve the error, then it is likely caused by something either with regards to the computer's operating system, hardware, or in the file itself. If you would like to report the problem to our Technical Support team in order to help us determine the cause of the problem so that it can be resolved, please follow all of the instructions in the next section below.

  • Some of the requested information may identify you as well as specific information about your computer, but it will also help us determine the source of the problem. Please be assured that any files submitted to Chief Architect Technical Support will be used for troubleshooting purposes only.

    To report an error to Chief Architect Technical Support

    1. When an error occurs, it is a good idea to take a moment to write down what you were doing just prior to the error, including what kind of view was open, what tools you were using, and what objects you were drawing or editing.

    2. Use the Backup Entire Plan  tool to create a zipped folder with a copy of the file in which the error occurs, along with all referenced files.

    3. Locate the Message Log to send the entire text file to Tech Support.

    4. Export your System Information and send the file to Tech Support for examination.

    5. Log in to the Online Support Center and create a new ticket to send to Technical Support.

    6. Give the ticket a short, but descriptive, title then in the text of the ticket, type a detailed description of the problem.

      Please be sure to include the exact steps that caused the error to occur, as best as you are able to remember them.

      • The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be able to reproduce the error and identify the problem.

      • Include the exact wording of the error message, or attach a screen capture image of the error message box.

    7. After you have entered in as much information as you can provide on how to reproduce the error and its exact wording, then click the Browse button and attach all three of the requested files (the compressed plan Backup folder, System Info and Message Log) to your ticket. Finally, submit the ticket.

      It is possible that Technical Services may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via a reply in the Online Support Center.