Creating a Stepped Foundation

Reference Number: KB-01809
Last Modified: November 4, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional


How can I create a stepped foundation?

Create a stepped foundation by adjusting walls in a section view


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 to 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 check in the box for Pony Wall, set the upper and lower wall types to your preference, then click OK.

    Wall Types panel of the Wall Specification dialog

    It's not recommended that the following steps be performed on walls that are not set to be Pony walls, as gaps can easily appear between floors. If you need to reset the top or bottom heights of a modified wall, open the wall in question up to specification, click on the Structure panel, check the Default Wall Top/Bottom Height box, and then click OK to confirm the change.

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

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

    • 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  edit tool 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 check next to Select Room Before Wall in 3D.

  6. With the wall selected, use the Break Line  edit button 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.

      Temporary dimension line displayed on pony wall

  7. Continue to make breaks and dragging out steps until you have the look you desire. After selecting Break Line , if you're using Chief Architect, click on the Sticky Mode  edit button 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.

    Several breaks placed on the wall to allow for modification of the lower wall edges

    This same technique can also be used to step the footing of a foundation wall as demonstrated in the Lake Point sample plan.

Related Articles