General Framing Guidelines

Reference Number: KB-00465
Last Modified: February 13, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


What is the best way to approach framing in Chief Architect?

Camera overview using 3D framing layer set


In this tutorial, we will describe recommended framing practices in Chief Architect. Specifically, we will discuss:

  • Setting up Framing Defaults  

  • Generating Automatic Framing  

  • Manually building and editing framing   

  • Changing Framing Defaults in an existing plan

Before you begin drawing your plan, it's recommended that you set up your framing defaults to reflect the way you want the structure to be built. Changing these defaults after the structure is complete may cause problems, requiring you to re-do work and lower your productivity.

    To set up framing defaults

    1. Select Edit> Default Settings , highlight Framing and then click Edit.

    2. In the Framing Defaults dialog, visit each panel and specify the spacing, framing member size, framing member type, and other information.  

       Setting up the framing defaults

      • While all framing default settings are important to your structure, the floor framing will be the most time-consuming to change after your plan is complete.   

    3. When you have set up all framing defaults to your satisfaction, click the OK button to close the dialog and apply your default settings to the structure that you will be drawing.
    Note: Floor and ceiling height, which determine wall heights, are set in the Floor Defaults dialog for each floor in your plan, and in the Room Specification dialog for individual rooms. Before drawing on each new floor, be sure to specify these values, as well.

    When you are confident that your plan is in its final state, it's a good time to generate framing. You can build framing at any time, however, if changes are made to the plan, manual framing will not update to reflect the changes.

    To generate automatic framing

    1. Select Build> Framing> Build Framing  from the menu.  

    2. In the Build Framing dialog, visit each panel and verify that the default information is correct.  

    3. For each type of framing that you would like to generate, check the appropriate Build box.  

      Generate your structure's framing

      • Floor framing for a particular floor in your plan is accessed on the floor below.  Floor 1 floor framing, for example, is built on the Foundation tab and is also displayed on Floor 0 in floor plan view.  

      • Ceiling framing for a particular floor in your plan is accessed on that floor.

      • You can choose to generate all framing in your plan at once, or just a portion at a time, depending on your needs.  

      • When you have selected all framing types that you wish to build, click OK.

    It's common to use a combination of both automatic and manual framing in a single Chief Architect plan.

    To build or edit framing manually

    1.  Floor, ceiling and roof framing members can be selected and edited in floor plan view as well as in 3D views.  

    2. Automatic wall framing can be edited in Wall Detail views. Wall Details can easily be accessed from the Project Browser.

      Navigating to wall details through the project browser window 

      If you do not see the Project Browser, select View> Project Browser .

    3. Floor and roof trusses can be edited by selecting and Opening their Specification dialog. the chord and webbing thicknesses can be set as well as horizontal span and some additional options like Kingpost and Energy Heel.

      Modifying roof trusses

      Additional information on this dialog can be found by clicking the Help button on the dialog.

    4. Trusses can also be modified in the Truss Detail. A Truss Detail is a special CAD Detail window in which a diagram of each truss configuration present in the plan is drawn.

      Note:The Truss Detail is typically for display of trusses only. Editing the members that make up the trusses in the Truss Detail is possible and recommended only if absolutely necessary.

      To open a plan’s Truss Detail, select CAD> CAD Detail Management.  Select Truss Detail and then click Open.

      Find CAD details of framing in our management dialog

    5. Before editing the truss shape, select Tools> Layer Settings> Display Options  to open the Layer Display Options dialog and unlock the Framing, Roof Trusses layer.  

      Unlock the layer to modify it  

      • The trusses in a Truss Detail are linked to the actual trusses in the plan. If you move a truss in a Truss Detail, it will move in the model as well. To modify the information in a Truss Detail without affecting the model, use CAD Detail From View  to create a line-drawn copy first.

    Sometimes, it's necessary to make structural changes to a plan that has already been drawn.

    To change framing defaults in an existing plan

    1. Before making changes that will affect floor, ceiling and/or roof plane heights, it is recommended that you first delete your framing - including wall framing.  

      • Click On Edit> Delete Objects  to open the Delete Objects dialog box.  

        Delete all framing objects 

      • Click the radio button beside All Floors.  

      • Check the boxes in the Framing category that you want to remove, or select the Framing heading to check all of the boxes in this category. 

      • Click Delete to close the dialog and delete the specified framing objects in your plan.

    2. If you are raising or lowering your floor and/or ceiling heights and you do not have Auto Rebuild Roofs turned on you may need to raise or lower your roof  manually.

      • To raise the roof planes enough to accommodate your changes, Shift+select all roof planes and then click the Transform/Replicate Object  edit button. 

        You can Shift+Select all roof planes by clicking Build> Roof> Roof Plane and then holding down the Shift key on your keyboard while clicking and dragging a selection marque around all roof planes that need to be modified.

      • In the Transform/Replicate Object dialog, check the box beside Move, select the radio button next to "Relative to Itself, and specify the desired distance to raise or lower the roof planes along the Z Delta.  

        Moving objects precisely using transform / replicate tool 

        A positive number here will raise the roof, a negative number will lower the roof. 

    3. Make the needed changes to your plan's structure and framing defaults.   

      • Begin on the lowest floor and work upwards towards the attic.  

      • Remember that changes made to the Framing and Floor Defaults will not affect any rooms that are not using the default values.  For example, rooms with sunken floors should be examined individually and their heights adjusted as needed.