Showing the As-Built in a Remodel Plan using CAD

Reference Number: KB-02208
Last Modified: September 17, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


I am working on an addition for a remodel project, is there a way that I can show the walls for the as-built structure compared to the new proposed walls in the same plan?


A great way to show the as-built condition on a remodel project is to create an "As-Built Mask" using a CAD block of the existing structure.

To have the CAD block only contain the necessary items, turn off the layers of any items unnecessary to the remodel. For example, furniture, cabinets, window labels, and roof planes. Also, a new layer needs to be created for the as-built mask.

If you would like to learn more about using Chief Architect for remodeling, please see the Remodeling Video Playlist which details the CAD mask process discussed below, as well as the option to reference other plan files starting with X11.

To setup your layers

  1. Select Tools> Layer Settings> Display Options Layer Display Options icon from the menu.

  2. In the Layer Display Options dialog, use the Layer Sets drop-down at the top to choose the All Layers OFF layer set.

  3. Click Copy Set to make a copy of this layer set.

  4. In the New Layer Set dialog, specify a Name for this layer set, then click OK. In this example we used As-Built Mask Layer Set.

    New Layer Set dialog

  5. Make sure the As-Built Mask Layer Set is now selected and then turn on any layers that you want to see in the As-Built Mask.

    Layer Display Options dialog

    In our example, we enabled the following layers:

    • Doors
    • Stairs & Ramps
    • Walls, Normal
    • Walls, Main Layer Only
    • Windows

  6. Once you have turned on the layers you need, click the New button and create a new layer named CAD, As-Built Mask, then click OK.

  7. Click OK to close the Layer Display Options dialog.

  8. In a floor plan view, switch the layer set to the As-Built Mask Layer Set by using the drop-down menu on your toolbar.The layer set can also be switched if it's linked to a Saved Plan View.

    Selecting the active layer set from the toolbar

    To learn more about Saved Plan Views, please see the following Training Videos.

To make a CAD Detail

  1. Center the plan on screen by selecting Window> Fill Window Building Only Fill Screen Builing Only icon.

  2. Click CAD> CAD Detail From View CAD Detail From View icon from the menu to create a new CAD detail.

  3. Click CAD> CAD Detail Management CAD Detal Management icon from the menu to open the CAD Detail Management dialog.

    CAD Detail Management dialog

    Here we can see the new CAD detail has been named Detail 1 but if there are other details in your plan, you may want to rename it:

    • Highlight the new detail, click the Rename button, and rename it to As-Built Mask and click OK.

    • Click OK on the CAD Detail Management dialog to accept your changes and close it.

To adjust the line styles

  1. With the Select Objects Select Objects icon tool, click and drag a selection marquee around the CAD detail.

    Alternatively, you can navigate to Edit> Select All from the menu to select all CAD components present in the CAD detail.

  2. Click the Open Object Open Object icon edit tool to open the Object Specification dialog.

    Object Specification dialog

    In this example we are adjusting the Line Options to the following:

    • Layer: CAD, As-Built Mask
    • Color: Gray
    • Style: Solid Line
    • Weight: 35

  3. Click the Define button next the Layer option shown above to open the Layer Display Options dialog, and place a check in the Disp column for the CAD, As Built Mask layer.

    Layer Display Options dialog where the CAD, As-Built Mask layer is checked to display

  4. Click OK and OK again to apply these changes and close the dialogs.

    The As-Built CAD mask with our style changes

To convert our mask into a CAD block

  1. With the Select Objects Select Objects icon tool, click and drag a selection marquee around the whole detail.

  2. On the edit toolbar, click Make CAD Block Make CAD Block icon.

  3. Select Open Object Open Object icon to display the CAD Block Specification dialog.

    Note: If the CAD block disappears, this could be because you de-selected it. Turn on the CAD, Default layer in the Layer Display Options to find it again.

    CAD Block Specification dialog

    • On the General panel, assign a Block Name of As-Built Mask.

    • On the Line Style panel, change the Layer to the CAD, As-Built Mask layer.

    • Under the Drawing Group, select Back.

  4. Click OK to accept your changes.

To place the CAD block

  1. Using the Select Objects Select Objects icon tool, select the CAD block and then select Edit> Copy Copy icon from the menu.

  2. Switch back to the floor plan view.

  3. Select Edit> Paste> Paste Hold Position Paste Hold Position icon from the menu to paste the CAD block under your existing plan.

    CAD mask overlayed on top of a floor plan

  4. Use the Active Layer Set drop-down menu again to switch back to the Working Layer Set, or whichever layer set you prefer to work in.

    Note: If the CAD block fails to appear when you switch between layer sets, ensure that the CAD, As-Built Mask layer is set to be displayed in the layer set(s) you want to see it in. 

  5. When walls are moved, the CAD block representing the As-Built Mask will display in the background.

    CAD mask behind the active floor plan

You can lock the CAD, As-Built Mask layer which will make the mask unselectable. This makes it easier to work with the plan as the mask can no longer get in the way.