Creating a Stepped Foundation

Reference Number: KB-01809
Last Modified: July 15, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsVertical SeparatorHome Designer Professional


How can I create a stepped foundation?

Create a stepped foundation by adjusting walls in a section view


A stepped foundation can be created in Chief Architect using pony walls that have been modified in a section view. The lower part of the pony wall would consist of the concrete wall with a footing, while the upper part of the pony wall is a framed wall built to the first floor platform.

To create a stepped foundation

  1. Using the Select Objects tool, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click on each foundation wall that you would like to step.

    This technique is called Group Select. It allows you to change all the walls at once instead of changing them one at a time. For more information on group selecting objects, please see the Related Articles section below.

  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, then click OK to confirm the change.

  4. Select 3D> Create Orthographic View> Backclipped Cross Section , then create a backclipped cross section view looking towards one of the walls that will be stepped.

  5. With the section view open, use the Select Objects  tool to select the lower portion of the pony wall, which is the concrete stem wall.

    If you glance in the bottom left corner, the status bar should say "Polyline produced by 3D wall editor" indicating that the wall is indeed selected. If the "Room" or another object is listed here, press the Tab key on your keyboard, or click the Select Next Object edit tool to single out the wall instead.

  6. With the wall selected, use the Add Break edit tool to add a break point along the bottom edge of the concrete stem wall.

    • New edit handles will display near the newly placed break point. Use one of the square edit handles to drag that edge of the wall up or down to create a step.

      Dragging an edge to create the first step in the foundation

    • If you have temporary dimensions turned on, you can use them to precisely create the steps. To toggle temporary dimensions on and off, navigate to View> Temporary Dimensions .

    • In X13, the ability to create dimension lines that locate individual wall steps was introduced. This can be set up in your dimension defaults on the appropriate Locate... panel.

  7. Continue to make breaks and dragging out steps until you have the look you desire.

    Continue adding breaks and making steps

  8. Repeat the process on the upper portion of the pony wall to create stepped siding. After selecting the Add Break edit tool, you can click on the Sticky Mode  secondary edit tool so that the break tool stays active after placing each new break point.

    You can use sticky mode in this way to quickly place all of your breaks, and then afterward, drag out each step as desired.

    Siding has been stepped to match the concrete stem wall

  9. Continue around the rest of the structure until all of the foundation walls are stepped to your liking.

    Once all walls have been stepped, you should get a seamless result in a section view