SEARCH THE WEBSITE

Type in a search term (such as "cutting plane" or "morph") into the Google Custom Search field below, then hit Enter or click the magnifying glass icon. A popup window will show the results of your search from pages on the Best Practices Course website; you may then click any of the results to open them in a new browser tab.
ArchiCAD Basic Training – Module 6
6-3. Stairs: Creation, Configuration and Placement in the Model

ArchiCAD Training –  (Quick Start Course – 6-3)

This 28 minute lesson teaches the basics of creating and configuring a stair for placement into the model. This is a complex topic, so only one stair type (a straight run) is demonstrated, but other styles of stair objects will function in a similar manner.

The Stair tool is similar to the Object tool, in that it allows the user to choose from a variety of basic stair objects with different shapes and capabilities. Each one will have some similarities to the others, but some unique features including geometry and editing options. It is important to select the basic stair shape or style first, then start setting the overall parameters such as height (which will equal the height to next story in the Story Settings dialog, or be that value less the height of one stair riser), width and length. To calculate the overall size for the stair, sometimes it is useful to show the upper story’s floor plan as a Trace Reference; simply right-click on the upper floor in the Project Map or one of the Views of that floor in the View Map, and choose Show as Trace Reference.

You can turn the reference off and on as you work by clicking the Trace Reference button in the Toolbar, and change its color and opacity to suit your needs with the Trace Reference palette (available from the pull-down menu next to the main button). In most of the stair objects, there will be a choice of setting the overall parameters manually, or basing them on the number of risers multiplied by the tread length and height. In each case, one set of values is editable, and the other set is calculated accordingly.

Other values may be adjusted after the basic geometry is determined, including whether there are railings on one or both sides or neither side, and what style the railing will be. In addition, many 2D options will be configurable including whether the stair should be seen on more than one story (set by the Show on Stories parameter), how it should be seen on the upper story (which may be different than on the lower story if the the Story Sensitive checkbox is activated), and how the directional arrow, labeling and break-lines will appear.

Aside from the Show on Stories option (which is set in the Floor Plan and Section panel), the other settings may be inspected and adjusted in the Parameters panel (the text-based list of values) or the Stair Settings panel (the graphical editing area that has multiple subsections). Often, an upper floor slab will need to be cut in order to accommodate the stair. To do this, select the slab and press down on an edge or corner and select the Boolean Subtract option from the pet palette (it has a little “minus” sign). Then click to delineate the boundary, and the hole will be cut out from the slab.

To see how the stair fits into the context of the model, use the marquee tool with the heavy border option to outline the area, then right-click and select “Show Selection/Marquee in 3D” to view a cut out piece of the larger building that shows the stair and nearby elements only.

NOTE:There is a different method for creating stairs that is briefly referred to that uses StairMaker, a separate application called up from within the Stair tool using the Create Stair button. StairMaker allows more complex stair configurations to be created. In earlier versions of ArchiCAD, the command to bring up StairMaker is activated from the popup menu accessed from a small triangle icon in the upper right of the Stair Settings dialog box.

Thank you for visiting the Best Practices Course website. The video lessons are available for members only. If you are an active member and would like to watch the ArchiCAD training video on this page, please login to the website. If you are not currently a member, please visit the following pages for more information and to sign up for the Best Practices Course, the QuickStart Course or for the Best Practices ArchiCAD Coaching Program. Eric Bobrow, Creator of the Best Practices Course

Your Downloads

You may need to right-click the following links and select Save Link As to download the file to your computer

Click here to see the transcript of this ArchiCAD training lesson...

ArchiCAD Training: Stairs: Creation, Configuration and Placement in the Model

Let us know how you feel... (10 comments so far)

You must be logged in to post a comment.


  1. MarcelinoPatlong
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir Eric,

    Please show me how to create a U shape joint connection between Stairs and Railings at second flloor inside as this is necessary as to avoid hazard edges and provide good looks.. I am an Auto-CAD user and I can do this in Auto-CAD but I want also to learn Archicad.

    Thank you very much,

    Marcelino


    • Eric Bobrow
      5 years ago

      Marcelino –

      The questions you are posting are very good. They will all get answered at various points during the Best Practices Course.

      You may also ask them during one of our ArchiCAD Coaching Calls, so that you don’t have to wait until the formal training lessons are available for each of these areas. Look in your Inbox for the notification of the next coaching call, and submit your question either by email or in the Chat box during the session.

      I’ll be glad to answer your questions on the call.

      Eric


  2. ChesnelHenry
    5 years ago

    Eric,
    I just want to say that the stair video lesson is awsome. There is so much to learn. Its a great start to learn how to place stair in a home design.

    Thanks,


  3. JohnCassel
    6 years ago

    Aloha Eric,
    I couldn’t get ArchiCAD’s Stair Tool or Stairmaker to make a simple, legal set of stairs to go 10′ between two stories with 7″ treads and 11″ risers. I tried it all afternoon and I’m stumped. Would you please post the instructions or settings on how to make a simple, legal set of stairs to go 10′ between two stories with 7″ treads and 11″ risers.
    I figure that if I can create these stairs I can work from there to make other more complex stairs.
    Mahalo,
    John


    • Eric Bobrow
      6 years ago

      John –

      I was able to create a simple set of stairs with 16 risers of 7 1/2″ going up 10′, or 17 risers of 7 1/16″ reaching the same 10′. I used the basic Stair Straight 15 object and chose in the Parameters to make the Dimension Definition = “Based on Risers No.” rather than “Based on Sizes”. By making this choice right away (for the Dimension Definition) it is easy to simply specify the Tread Depth and the Tread Height to be whatever you wish, and set the number of risers, and ArchiCAD will calculate the overall rise and run of the stair.

      To make the stairs stop one riser short of the landing, one can simply reduce the number of risers by one, which will terminate it at a height that is one riser below the next story floor level.

      The Rail Bottom Overhang and Rail Top Overhang may be set to extend the stair railing beyond the end of the actual treads. If you don’t like the options that this gives you in terms of the way the railing is terminated in 3D, then you may want to turn off the railing(s) and use the stair without them, and use a separate railing object or combination of objects to suit your needs.

      I hope this is helpful. I am working in ArchiCAD 15, and I know that you are in AC11, so it is possible the basic stair object works a little differently, although I think this basic configuration should be straightforward in your version as well.

      Eric


      • JohnCassel
        6 years ago

        Aloha Eric,
        Thanks for getting me started. I needed the guidance.
        The stair tools in ArchiCAD 11 are frustrating. With your help I was able to get basic stairs that go from floor to floor. Having done this I can evaluate weather I want to go on modeling my stairs from slabs or use the Stair Tool.
        I’m hoping that the Stair tools in ArchiCAD 15 are easier to use.
        Mahalo,
        John


  4. Carole Wylie
    6 years ago

    Is there a video to watch for 6-3 and 6-4?


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      Carol –

      Yes, there are videos for every QuickStart lesson, including 6-3 and 6-4. There are two possible reasons you may not see videos:

      1) A temporary interruption in internet delivery, or a slow browser – please stay on the page a little longer and you will see the video appear suddenly.

      2) If you are not logged in to the Best Practices Course / QuickStart Course website properly, then you will see a warning message in place of the video, informing guests that the videos are for members only, and suggesting that they sign up for the course.

      Please try it again, and let us all know whether or not you are able to see the videos.

      Eric


  5. JohnCassel
    6 years ago

    Aloha Eric,
    Thanks for the stair tutorial.
    In what version of ArchiCAD did the “Create a Stair” option show up?
    Thank you,
    John


    • Eric
      6 years ago

      John –

      I can’t remember when Graphisoft changed this to make it more obvious. The same functionality (opening up StairMaker from within the Stair tool) has existed at least back to version 10, and probably earlier.

      To access StairMaker one would use a popup menu in the upper right area of the Stair Settings dialog box – with the only “clue” that this menu existed being a small unlabeled triangle button. If you look for it, you’ll see it’s there – it just isn’t prominent.

      Eric