Creating CBS Walls With a Tie Beam

Reference Number: KB-00495
Last Modified: January 21, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I live in the Southeastern United States and regularly build CBS structures. How do I model a CBS wall that is block on the bottom and has a tie beam on top?

Different layers of a CBS wall with a tie beam


A CBS, or concrete, block and stucco wall with a tie beam on top can be modeled using pony walls. The bottom wall type typically has a stucco exterior, then a layer of eight inch concrete block, followed by a thin framing stud, and finally a layer of half-inch sheetrock. Along the top of this block wall is tie beam composed of a continuous pour of concrete all the way around the top of the structure.  

A pony wall can be used to model both of these walls in the same wall section.  

To create a CBS wall

  1. First, Open  the Chief Architect plan in which you would like to add a CBS wall.

  2. From the menu, navigate to Build> Wall> Define Wall Types  to open the Wall Type Definitions dialog. 

  3. Create two new custom wall types - one for the lower block wall and one for the tie beam, or upper wall.

    Please see the Related Articles section below for more information on creating new wall types.

    • A predefined CBS wall type option is available in most all template files. You can Copy this wall type and name it CBS Lower Wall.

      Wall Type Definitions dialog with the CBS Lower Wall type created

      If you choose to modify a wall type that is already in use in your plan, all existing walls in the file that are using that wall type will update when you make changes to the wall type. This is why it's recommended to create a copy of an existing wall type.

    • You can also Copy a concrete wall type and name it CBS Upper Wall.

      Wall Type Definitions dialog with the CBS Upper Wall created

    • Typically, these two wall types will have the same Total Thickness.  

  4. Select Edit> Default Settings  from the menu, and in the Default Settings dialog that displays, expand the Walls category, click on Pony Wall, then click Edit.

    Pony Wall option selected in the Default Settings dialog

  5. On the Wall Types panel of the Pony Wall Defaults dialog that displays: 

    Pony Wall Defaults dialog opened up to the Wall Types dialog panel

    • Click the Wall Type drop-down menu and choose your CBS tie beam wall type from the list.  

    • Click the Lower Wall Type drop-down menu and choose your CBS block wall type from the list.  

    • Specify the desired Height of the Lower Wall. 

    • Specify the alignment and display settings to your liking.

    • Click OK and Done to confirm the changes and close out of all of the dialog boxes.

  6. Select Build> Wall> Straight Pony Wall  from the menu, then click and drag to create a custom CBS wall.

    CBS wall type created in a floor plan

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