Creating a Stepped Foundation

Reference Number: KB-01809
Last Modified: December 15, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional


How can I create a stepped foundation?


One application for pony walls is a stepped foundation. The lower part of the pony wall is the concrete wall with footing, and the upper part of the pony wall is a framed wall built to the first floor platform.

To create the stepped foundation

  1. Using the Select Objects tool, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on each wall you want change.

    This technique is called Group Select. It allows you to change all the walls at once instead of changing them one at a time.

  2. Click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Wall Specification dialog.

  3. On the Wall Types panel, put a checkmark in the box for Pony Wall, set the upper and lower wall types to your preference, then click OK.

    Only use the following technique on pony walls. If these steps are completed on standard walls, gaps may appear between floors.

  4. Select 3D> Create Orthographic View> Backclipped Cross Section , and then left click in front of the wall you wish to step and then drag toward the wall to create a back clipped cross section view of the wall.

  5. In the back clipped cross section view, click on the wall to select it and press Tab on your keyboard to single out the one wall.

    • By default, Chief Architect will select the room first when clicking a wall in any camera view. Press Tab, or click on the Select Next Object  button on the Edit toolbar, to single out the wall you originally clicked.

      If you wish to turn off the setting that makes Chief Architect select the room before the wall, navigate to Edit> Preferences and on the Architectural panel, remove the checkmark next to Select Room Before Wall in 3D.

  6. With the wall selected, use the Break Line  edit tool on the center seam of the two wall types of the pony wall to break the line.

    • In addition to the corner handles, two edit handles display along the broken edge. Select one of these two handles, and drag up or down to create a step.

    • If you have temporary dimensions turned on you can use them to precisely place the steps.

  7. Continue to make breaks and dragging out steps until you have the look you desire. After selecting Break Line , if you are using Chief Architect, you can click to turn on Sticky Mode  so that the break line tool stays active after placing each break. You can use sticky mode in this way to quickly place all of your breaks and then afterward drag out each step as desired.

  8. This same technique can be used to step the footing of the foundation as well.

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