Troubleshooting Exception and Assertion Error Messages

Reference Number: KB-00802
Last Modified: April 13, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsHome Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


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.  If you complete all of the troubleshooting instructions and the error message persists, please see the instructions on files required to report the error to Chief Architect Technical Support.

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 the Knowledge Base. Please see the appropriate article below for your version of the software.

      Chief Architect - KB-02761

      Home Designer
      - KB-01095

    • 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.

  2. If your computer does meet the minimum system requirements but you're still receiving an error, update your video card drivers to the most recent version compatible with your operating system.

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

      Chief Architect - KB-00106

      Home Designer
       - KB-00897

    • After updating the driver,  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.

  3. If you continue to receive the Assertion, Exception, or SEH error message after verifying your computer does meet the System Requirements, and updating your video card's driver, then download and install the most recent update available for your software by selecting Help> Download Program Updates from the program menu.

  4. If you already have the most recent update installed, or if installing it still does not resolve the error, run a repair on the software. For instructions on this process, please see the link below for the Windows operating system.

  5. If none of the above steps have resolved the error, bear 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 or forced system restart 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 always 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're finished working, exit out of the program and then copy them back to their original location.

      See Knowledge Base article: Organizing your Plan and Layout Files

    • If only occurs in one particular file, rather than all files, and if the error is a result of file corruption, check your recent backups, or review the software's automatically generated Archives to see if a recent copy of the plan exists which does not generate the error message.

      See Knowledge Base article: Accessing Your Archive Files

  6. 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 this is the case, then please report the problem to our Technical Support team by submitting all of the requested information below.


To report an error to Chief Architect Technical Support

  1. When an error occurs, it's 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. Be detailed with step-by-step instructions if at all possible.

  2. If applicable, expand out the text of the error message, and then take a screenshot of the message to submit to Technical Support so that they will have the exact wording of the error or warning that you are receiving.

    See Knowledge Base article: Creating a Screenshot.

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

    See Knowledge Base article: Using the Backup Entire Plan/Layout Tool.

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

    See Knowledge Base article: Locating the Message Log.

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

    See Knowledge Base article: Retrieving System Information to Send to Technical Support.

  6. Sign in to the Technical Support Center and create a new case to send to Technical Support.

    See Knowledge Base article: Using the Technical Support Center.

  7. Give the case a short, but descriptive title, then in the text of the case, 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.

  8. 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 of the requested files to your case.

  9. Finally, Submit the case.

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

    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.