Matching Building and Terrain Heights

Reference Number: KB-00321
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


How do I match the height of my terrain with the height of my building?

In some drawings, the structure seems to float above the terrain while in other plans, the building sinks into the terrain.


In Chief Architect, both the floor height of Floor 1 and the initial height of the terrain are given values of 0. However, the floor and the terrain are not actually at the same height.  

The program automatically raises the default floor height of Floor 1 up by 18" (eighteen inches) above the default terrain.  

This value varies depending on the type of foundation that you choose to build, and also according to the Elevation value that you enter in the Terrain Specification dialog.  

To match building and terrain heights

  1. With the Select Objects  tool active, click on the terrain perimeter to select it and click the Open Object  edit button.  

  2. On the General panel of the Terrain Specification dialog:  

    • On Building Pad, Uncheck Automatic.  

    • In the Pad Elevation field, enter the distance above the terrain that you would like the first floor to be.  

    • A positive Elevation value in this field will raise the first floor above the terrain.  

    • A negative Elevation value will make the house sink down into the terrain.  

    • Click the OK button to close the dialog and apply your changes.  

  3. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Overview  from the menu to see the results.