They have the strangest names – gable, hip, jerkinheads, clerestory, saw-tooth, witch’s hats, karahafu, mansard, rainbow, butterfly, satari and many more. No, they’re not a list of insect species. They are the names of different styles of roofs. Though the diverse designs need to be handled carefully for their complexity, even drafting the traditional roof is typically acknowledged as one of the more challenging skills to master in architectural design drafting. Both Revit and AutoCAD are well equipped to enable the delivery of these designs roofs in residential design drawings, but for many, AutoCAD is edging just a little bit ahead.

Right from Stone Age times, having a roof over our heads, or shelter, has been one of life’s greatest priorities and a recognised human right. The designs have come a long way from the rudimentary designs of yore. So, how does it work and what are the basic designs?

Roofs can be drafted on their own or they can be created as a result of placing them drafting services on a space that has been enclosed by a polyline or a set of walls. Once defined, the dimensions, slope, faces or edges can be modified. For more complex designs, an ‘object’ is selected and modified till it is almost complete. For greater flexibility on customising edges and other features, the roof can be converted to slabs, to which many details can be added or changed, such as orientation, angle, fascia and soffit profiles. These design details can be added globally.

Other than the more complex ones with the fancy names, basic types include gable, hip, shed or flat. Inexpensive and easy to construct, the sloped gable is the most common type worldwide. Because of their slope, rain and snow are not retained and leakage is prevented, adding to its durability. The ‘hip’ has slopes on four sides, helping it anchor the house beneath it. They are less affected by strong winds and can be added to a new home or to an existing house. A ‘shed’ features only one sloping plane, which can have skylights or solar panels, increasing the potential for energy efficiency. ‘Flats’ are almost completely horizontal with a slight slope for drainage, favourable for solar panels and cost effective. There are also combinations of gable, hip and other combinations.

So, how do AutoCAD and Revit fare in the process of roof design drafting?