Creating a Split Level Entry

Reference Number: KB-00587
Last Modified: December 17, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create a split level entry to a house. How can I do that?


A split level entry consists of a landing with a floor height between the first floor and the basement. This kind of entry can be created by controlling the floor and ceiling heights in your plan.  For the purposes of this example, we will walk through creating this scenario in a basic plan, and you can then take that knowledge to apply to your own designs.

To create the space

  1. Click File> New Plan from the menu, then select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall  and draw a basic rectangular, 30'x40' structure.

  2. Next, select Build> Railing and Deck> Straight Railing , and draw a small room at the front of the structure, as shown below.

    Note: The dimensions for the railings are based off the interior measurements.

  3. Using the Select Objects  tool, click inside of the small room to select it, then click the Open Object  edit button.

  4. On the General panel of the Room Specification, change the Room Type to Open Below, then click OK to apply this change and close the dialog.

  5. Next, select Build> Floor> Build Foundation...  to display the Build Foundation dialog.

  6. On the Foundation panel:

  • Select Walls with Footings under Foundation Type.

  • Under Stem Walls, set the Minimum Height to 101 1/8" to give a Basement Ceiling Height of 97 1/8" then click OK.

  • In the New Floor dialog that displays, select Derive new foundation plan from 1st floor plan and click OK to display the foundation.

  • From floor 0, you can now turn on Reference Floor Display by selecting Tools> Reference Floors> Reference Floor Display  and continue with drawing the stairs.

  • To draw the stairs

    1. Select Build> Stairs> Landing and draw a rectangle inside the area below the open below room created earlier.

    2. Use the Select Objects  tool to select the landing, and click the Open Object  edit button to display the Stair Landing Specification dialog.

    3. On the General panel:

    • Uncheck Auto Adjust Height When Connected to Stairs.

    • Uncheck Auto Adjust Thickness When Connected to Stairs.

    • Set the Top Height to -52 1/2in. and the Thickness to 12" and click OK.

  • With the landing still selected, click the Break Line edit button and place a break in the Center of the top edge of the landing.

  • Next, select Build> Stairs> Straight Stairs .

  • Hold down the Alt Option key and drag the first set of stairs from the landing down to the basement floor. 

  • Draw a second stair from the landing to the upper level. Do not  hold the Alt / Option key for this stair section.

  • Select the landing's bottom edge and click Open Object  edit button to display the Stair Landing Specification dialog again.

  • Check the No Railing on Selected Edge checkbox and click OK.

  • Go up one floor and click 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera and draw a full camera pointing at the entry.

    You can place a door, adjust its height, and finish the rest of the plan.