Displaying Floor Elevations in Plan


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How do you show the absolute floor elevation in you plan views? Example:

  • Building Rough Pad Elevation is 4,893.00 ft.
  • I want the elevation of Level 0 to be 1.75' above that.

What should I set the Terrain Offset as if Level 0 is -10 feet.


What should I set Level 1 elevation at if the Terrain Offset is -4,891.25


I just want Chief Room Macro to report absolute elevations corresponding to the terrain contours.


Will either of the above result in problems since the model would possibly be almost 5000 ft above z=0.00

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If I am understanding what you mean....


I have done several projects where I have used absolute elevations for the whole model.

It can be done - but with some problems.

ie, you cannot change the default level 1 floor level to anything but zero.

This means that you have to set all room levels on level 1 on a room by room basis.

Often, when you place objects, they default to zero height which means that you need to go down to zero height and move them up to the absolute level you want.


The advantage of using an absolute reference for everything is that all levels relate to each other - eg, roof heights will relate to absolute instead of Chiefs default level 1 = zero.


Some things like terrain fences get confused.

There are problems with footings and stem wall heights whereby they build down at zero height and need raising up manually.


If you have an alternative way of doing things to get the macro to report absolute elevations, I would do it.

Otherwise, setting everything to absolute can be done as long as you are aware of the shortcomings.

Try playing with a test plan before incorporating this method in a current project.


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I've figured out a solution using custom macros in conjunction with "Level Line Markers".

  • A macro attached to a marker in the Site Plan - that gets the Pad Elevation and stores it as a Ruby Global Variable $Pad_Elev
  • Another macro that is attached to markers located in rooms - that adds the marker.height, the marker.room.floor_elevation and the $Pad _Elev

The second marker can be copied to anyplace in the Floor Plan(s) to display the absolute elevation value at that location.


This was not possible prior to X11.

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2 hours ago, Joe_Carrick said:


This was not possible prior to X11.


It actually was possible.  I was/am using an architectural block along with its height attribute  for this kind of thing.  


The key is to use at least 2 different objects in the block...One that sets its height to reference one thing (absolute, terrain, floor, ceiling, etc.), and another that sets it’s height relative to another thing (floor, ceiling, countertop, etc.).  I use additional molding polylines when necessary to create a pseudo CAD block that looks like I want it to.  


The types of objects used totally depend on what I’m trying to measure, but in addition to being able to set what elevation the object is referencing for its top/bottom height, you can also utilize things that are set to sit on counter, set to sit on roof, set to attach to the ceiling, etc.  Soffits and electrical symbols in particular are some of the handiest to use in these “Elevation Marker” blocks.


Biggest downside is that items inside architectural blocks don’t update to react to their locations unless they’re refreshed (moving them, opening and closing them, cutting/pasting them, etc.)...it’s an issue I’ve reported and suggested be fixed but I’m likely one of the onliest ones.  

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Yes Michael,


I also used that method in X10 but with X11 we have access to the "room" attributes of the "Level Line Markers".  This works much better since the Markers have 2 labels and are the appropriate object to display elevations.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Joe, I am pretty new to CA. But learning fast. Your posts are very helpful. Thank you. 

I am using X10 and am trying to add absolute elevation values to my elevation markers. Is there a simple way I can just add 86' to each of my story automatic pole dimensions to show their actual absolute height as is required by our local municipality for plans? I can not seem to figure out the way to do this?

Screen Shot 2020-10-04 at 2.37.56 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-10-04 at 2.37.09 PM.png

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