Roof Design Simplified with BuildEdge

December 14th, 2011

Designing a roof in Autodesk® Revit® Structure can feel like a necessary evil.  It is one of those things that you often have to do, but do not enjoy doing.  Roofs need to be modeled correctly to assure correct load generation and transfer through a structure. A new add-in for Revit seeks to simplify this process.

BuildEdge Roof for Revit

BuildEdge Roof makes designing complex roofs easier by reducing the number of steps involved in designing a roof, providing a preview of the roof before it is complete, and providing additional parameters and information.

These improvements can dramatically increase productivity. For example, it can take fewer than 10 seconds to design a roof with multiple steps in plate height in BuildEdge Roof.

Single-click Roof

BuildEdge Roof allows you to define the boundary of a roof. Then the add-in calculates where the changes in elevation are, based on wall locations, and create a single roof that honors the steps in the walls.

Figure 1: Multiple plate height roof in a single mouse click.

Roof Visualization

With BuildEdge Roof, you can see what the geometry of the roof will look like when complete, before completing input. As soon as you close the polygon (roof outline), a three-dimensional representation of the roof is displayed, allowing you to see what will happen when you click Finish.

Figure 2: Roof pre-visualization.

This solution allows you to see a roof and make changes where necessary before you return to Revit. From here, you get the chance to change slopes, heel heights, overhangs, or cantilevers, and see the roof updated in real time.

Additional Parameters

Providing expanded roof parameters, BuildEdge Roof embraces the notion that most design work is iterative, regardless of initial expectations. It includes a number of additional parameters that increase the precision of your standard Revit roof design. These parameters, along with the input tools provided, allow you to create a highly accurate roof design.

Figure 3: BuildEdge Roof parameters.

The Slope value is available in the options bar of BuildEdge Roof. This makes inputting roof systems with multiple slope values quicker and easier.
In BuildEdge Roof, instead of showing the difference in height from the top of the wall and the bottom of the roof, Align Eaves shows the absolute height of the eave across the entire roof.

In addition to fine-tuned controls such as slope and rafter cut, BuildEdge Roof includes the following parameters:

  • Rafter or truss chord depth
  • Sheathing depth
  • Truss heel height
  • Truss cantilever length
  • To make editing easier, dimensioning is simplified. The add-in deals only with roof input, so only dimensions relative to roof input are displayed.

Reduce Mental Gymnastics

Designing a complex roof without the Roof add-in requires you to know the exact roof design you want and the exact steps you need to take before you begin. When you need to create a complex roof, such as one with a series of sloped surfaces that need to plane together from multiple plate heights, designing the whole roof and planning each step to successfully add it to your building plan can be very time consuming.

Use Case: Slope Breaks and Dutch Hips

Defining a slope break in BuildEdge Roof is as simple as a mouse click. Using the Multi-Slope command, you can define the slope break location and the slope values, and then click on a boundary line.

Figure 4: Single click to place a slope change.

A Dutch hip roof is equally easy to define. Simply set the slope of the roof and the vertical or horizontal distance to the slope break, and then click on the line where you want the break.

Figure 5: Single click to define a Dutch hip.

Using BuildEdge Roof to define this geometry will still cause the roof to break in Revit, but it will save you the work of having to manually define and locate the roof.

Limitations

Certain commands are not available from BuildEdge Roof, such as slope arrow, opening or dormer input, and ceiling creation. These commands must be performed in Revit. BuildEdge is working with Autodesk to lobby for the control needed in the API to accomplish all that is desired with roofs. However, adding these features to a roof designed in BuildEdge Roof will not affect the way the roof design performs in the add-in or in Revit.

Want to try BuildEdge Roof?

Visit www.buildedge.com to learn more and to view videos of BuildEdge in action.

Figure 6: Scan to see BuildEdge Roof.

Aaron Dietzen has been in the architectural/engineering software development industry for nearly 20 years.  Most recently, Aaron has applied substantial effort to characterizing the Revit user base, and designing product offerings that will add significant benefits.  This November, Aaron will launch the BuildEdge line of CAD Add-Ins.

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