Modeling Foundations and Footings in ARCHICAD

I’ve been writing articles about ARCHICAD Tools over on BIM Engine. Here are some links:

There was a question in the comments of the second post regarding the best way to model stepped footings in ARCHICAD. I began to write a response then realized this would make for a quick ARCHICAD video.


This was a one take video that I knocked out when I should have been doing other things. So think of it as an introduction to foundations and footings in ARCHICAD rather than the definitive guide. Here’s some additional thoughts that didn’t make it into the spontaneous video:

  1. In this project I didn’t use Complex Profiles for the footings, though I often do. The great thing about Complex Profile footings is that you can globally change the section of the footings. The draw back is that you can’t as easily reshape the profiles as necessary. Deciding whether to use Complex Profile footings or not is a balance between control and localized speed. For this project, I found that I wanted localized speed.
  2. If your foundation walls have rigid insulation on them, make sure the insulation skin is listed as Other or Finish, that way you can hide the insulation with Partial Structural Display.
  3. The key to all of this is Building Materials and Beams. Building Materials allow for so much elegance in modeling because of Priority Junctions. Beams automatically interact with Walls and Slabs.
  4. Everything I show here in 3D can also be handled in a similar manner in Section, Elevation, or Plan. Don’t forget to work in whatever View type is easiest (and that probably means switching between Views throughout the process).
  5. Having a good layering system is also critical. Because my Layers were set up well in this project (see my template), I was able to easily create this video by isolating the footings, foundations, slabs, and joists. This model was “video ready” because of smart Layers.
  6. Download my template and check out the Section of the sample building in it. That shows how to use this same technique to tackle thickened slab edges.
  7. Everything I describe in this video makes for beautiful drawings as well (See Below):

Bonus Thought!

This technique can also be used for other at and below the slab needs. Notice the bond break in the image above. That little blue separation between the concrete slab and the foundation wall is also a Beam. I created a Building Material with a higher priority than concrete and ran Beams around the edge of my Slab. This cut the  Slab beautifully and gave me the detail I was looking for in all my Sections. It had to be a unique Building Material because typically rigid insulation is weaker than concrete.

Ultra Bonus Thought!

Everything shown in this video and image (footings, foundations, bond breaks) is modeled such that scheduling and quantities should be straightforward to create—if you need to. That’s always a good sign that a technique is worth doing: pretty models, easy to do, great drawings, and viable data for higher levels of BIM that you are interested in exploring.

Follow Shoegnome on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Model intelligently and with purpose. Sometimes a column shaped element is a Column, sometimes it is a Beam.


  1. Bradley Madison May 13, 2016
    • Jared Banks May 13, 2016
      • Bradley Madison May 13, 2016
  2. Damian May 13, 2016
  3. Jared Banks May 13, 2016
    • Bradley Madison May 13, 2016
      • Jared Banks May 13, 2016
  4. Roderick Anderson May 13, 2016
    • Jared Banks May 15, 2016
  5. Arqrivas May 16, 2016
  6. Kevin Robinson May 17, 2016
    • Jared Banks May 17, 2016
      • Kevin May 17, 2016
      • Jared Banks May 24, 2016
  7. Piotr Czerwinski June 3, 2016
  8. Drew April 3, 2017

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