Best approach for a Pier & Beam house?

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cbe's picture
Best approach for a Pier & Beam house?

I am completely new to Softplan.  As a current (hopefully soon to be former) user of AutoCad I am trying to wrap my head around softplan.  I design a lot of pier & beam houses.  I know that this style isn't used very often so I am trying to get some pointers on how to approach it.  Should the footings, piers, beams, & walls, all be on separate drawings?  Should the piers be on the foundation plan?  The softplan sales rep said he wasn't sure, but assumed I would create a 'wall type' with my beams under the walls, then draw the footings and piers on a separate drawing.  


The local permit office requires me to submit:

 - foundation plan showing the footing detail and locations

 - pier layout with dims

 - beam layout

 - floor joist layout


I usually combine these into only 2 drawings (footings / piers ; beams / joists)



- Cory

Bill Wimberley
Bill Wimberley's picture
Pier & Beam

On a Pier & Beam house think of the foundation as if it were a basement. So you would create the foundation as a separate drawing.

If you will leave your foundation until after you have completed the other floors you can save a bit of work. When you are ready to create the foundation save the first floor plan with a new name such as Foundation. Then in your Foundation plan you can use Erase--> Type Erase to delete everything but the exterior bearing walls. Then use Edit--> Change Wall to convert the exterior walls into your foundation walls. Adjust the wall heights to the correct height and draw in your piers and beams. There are several piers available under Draw--> Post--> Structural. If you don't see your exact type or size of pier you can use something close and then edit it to size. If you want to see the locations of the walls above for your beam placement you can use File--> Overlay and select the name of the floor above.

Your floor systems for the floors above should be included on their respective floor plans. In other words you draw your walls then switch to Floor System mode and draw in the floor system. After completing the floor system use Cleanup (Ctrl+C) while still in Floor System mode and the walls will move up to be on top of the floor system.

To combine drawings you can use Multi-Drawings. Multi-Drawings are somewhat similar to AutoCAD viewports. There is a tutorial about Multi-Drawings in the Tutorials section.

This is a very brief and general explanation. Try it out and if you get stuck ask specific questions and I or someone else will get you going again.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of

cbe's picture
Bill - Thanks for the

Bill - Thanks for the information.  This makes a lot of sense.