Creating a Walk-out Basement

Reference Number: KB-00376
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


I am trying to create a walk-out basement on sloping terrain.  How do I do this?


By default, the program will produce a flat building pad under your plan, which is helpful in many situations but not when you want to model a walk-out or daylight basement on sloping terrain. 

To create a sloped lot

  1. Select Terrain> Create Terrain Perimeter  from the menu.

  2. Select Terrain> Elevation Data> Elevation Line  from the menu, then click and drag to create elevation lines across the terrain.

    • In this example, the angled Elevation Lines on the left side of the terrain have an Elevation value of -160". 

    • The two vertical lines to their right have an Elevation of -96". 

    • The next vertical line to the right has an Elevation of -6", and the two vertical elevation lines on the right side of the terrain have an Elevation of -14".

    • You can also create flat areas with a single elevation using the Elevation Region  tool. In the above image, a rectangular Elevation Region with an Elevation of 6" is shown with an angled fill.

  3. When your elevation data is in place, select Terrain> Build Terrain  from the menu. The program automatically generates contour lines between the Elevation Lines that you drew.  

  4. To see the results of your elevation data, view your terrain in a Full Overview .  


To create a walk-out basement

  1. Select Terrain> Terrain Specification  from the menu to open the Terrain Specification dialog. On the General panel, uncheck Flatten Pad and click OK.

  2. Build the first floor of your plan at the location of the slope in your terrain. You may need to adjust either the floor height or some of the elevation data up or down a bit to get the first floor to rest just right on the terrain.   

  3. Next, select Build> Floor> Build Foundation  to create a basement level with stem walls of at least 100 inches (8 feet plus 4 inches for the foundation slab).

  4. You can change the walk-out wall to a framed wall type such as Siding-6, or perhaps a pony wall. You can also change the exterior surface of visible concrete walls to a more attractive material such as stone or brick.

  5. Finally, place windows and doors in the exposed part of your walkout basement and then take a look at the results in a Full Overview .