Message: Cannot find the floor above the stairs in which to place the stairwell.

Reference Number: KB-00966
Last Modified: February 17, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

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


When I try to use the Auto Stairwell edit tool to create a stairwell for my stairs, this message displays:

"Cannot find the floor above the stairs in which to place the stairwell."

What does this mean? 

Stairs going down to the first floor


The Auto Stairwell tool creates an opening in the floor platform above the selected stairs. If the program cannot find a floor platform above the stairs, this message will display.

There are several reasons why there may not be a floor platform above a selected set of stairs:

  • The stairs are located on the top living floor of the plan.

  • The stairs are located beneath an "Open Below" room.

  • The stairs are located on the exterior of a structure.

To build stairs to the attic

It is important to remember that the Attic floor in a plan is reserved as a space for the program to create automatically generated Attic Walls. This is the Attic floor's only purpose. Rooms are not meant to be created on this floor and the platform below it will always be a ceiling platform rather than a floor platform.

If your stairs are located on the top numbered floor of the plan and you wish to build them up to an attic loft or storage room, you will need to create a new numbered floor level above the stairs and create a room there - not on the Attic floor.

To build a staircase under an Open Below room

The Auto Stairwell edit button produces a hole in the floor platform above the selected stairs by creating a room at that location that is defined by railings and specified as an "Open Below" room type. If the selected stairs are already positioned under an "Open Below" area, then this condition has already been met.
To ensure that your stairs snap to the edge of the floor platform on the floor above, select Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Reference Display so that the location of the railings or walls used to define the "Open Below" room can be seen while looking at the stairs on the floor below.

Select the stairs and move them so that their top edge aligns with the railing above. When the stairs touch the railing, a doorway opening will automatically be created in the railing.

To build a staircase in the terrain

If you are trying to build stairs outside of the structure, for example, stairs going from the basement up to grade, then you will need to define the stairwell on the same floor level as the stairs, and then draw a Terrain Hole  around the stairwell so that the terrain does not extend into it.

Make sure that the stairwell room has Roof Over This Room unchecked on the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog.