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How the Height of Floors Relate to the Height of the Terrain

Reference Number: KB-00938 Last Updated: 07-22-2014 01:27 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Lite

QUESTION

I've noticed that the rooms on Floor 1 of my plan have a floor height of 0", and that this is not the same height as the terrain, which is also set at 0". Why is that?


ANSWER

In the real world, floor platforms are nearly always built so that you step up into a building.  There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is to prevent the structure's framing from coming into contact with the terrain.  Over time, exposure to moisture in the soil can damage or even ruin untreated lumber in a framed ­floor platform or wall.  For this reason, building codes in most areas require that floors be raised off the terrain.

Chief Architect programs automatically raise the floor platform off the terrain for you.  The amount that the floor is raised depends on the type of ­foundation you have built in your plan:

  • No foundation - The distance between Default Floor Height of 0" and the terrain is equal to the depth of the default floor structure thickness for Floor 1.

  • Wall foundation with footings - The distance between Default Floor Height of 0" and the terrain is equal to the depth of the default floor structure thickness for Floor 1 plus 6" (187 mm).

  • Monolithic slab foundation - Terrain builds 8" (200  mm) below the Default Floor Height of 0".

  • Pier and beam foundation - The distance between Default Floor Height of 0" and the terrain is equal to the depth of the default floor structure thickness for Floor 1 plus 6" (187 mm).

    Note: The distances described above may vary somewhat in older program versions.


In Chief Architect X1 and newer programs, you can specify a different distance between floor and terrain.


To specify a different distance between floor and terrain

  1. With the Select Objects  tool active select the Terrain Perimeter, then click the Open Object  edit button.


  2. On the General panel of the Terrain Specification dialog, uncheck the box beside Automatic,

    In earlier versions uncheck the box beside Auto Calculate Elevation


  3. The Pad Elevation field becomes active, and you can type in the needed value and click OK to apply the change.