Creating a Symbol that Sits on the Roof

Reference Number: KB-01042
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I often design Victorian style homes with a lot of moldings and millwork - including finials, cupolas, and other details on the roof. How can I create these symbols so that they will sit on the roof automatically?


You can easily create or import a symbol and specify that it sit on the top of the roof in your plan using the "Sits on Roof" option in the Symbol Specification dialog.

In this example, we will create a symbol based on an existing library item, modify it to suit our needs, and then save it as a custom symbol in the Library Browser.

To create a rooftop symbol

  1. Open a new, blank plan and select View> Library Browser from the menu.

  2. In the Library Browser, browse to an object that you would like to use as a roof ornament and click on it to select it.

    • In this example, we used a section of ironwork fencing, found at Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Fences & Railings> Ironwork> Twisted Spires.

    • Other good candidates for roof ornaments can be found in Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Millwork.

  3. Move your mouse pointer into the drawing area and click once to place the selected object at that location.

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera from the menu, then click and drag a camera arrow at the object to create a 3D view.

  5. When the object is edited to suit your needs, and with the 3D view active, select Tools> Symbol> Convert to Symbol toopen the Convert to Symbol dialog.

    • Select an appropriate symbol category from the drop-down list. For the roof ornament, "Furnishings (Exterior)" is used.

    • Make sure the boxes beside Show Advanced Options and Add to Library are both checked.

    • Click OK.

  6. In the Symbol Specification dialog which opens next, select the General panel and specify a short, descriptive Symbol Name.


  7. On the Options panel: 

    • Place the radio button in the Sits on Roof option.

    • Check the Flush Mounted check box.

    • Adjust the height of the symbol relative to a roof plane beneath it using the Height Off Floor setting. In this example, we will leave this setting at 0". 

  8. On the Sizing panel, you can specify what parts of the symbol are affected when the object is resized.

    • In this example, we want the top portions of the railing to remain the same size when the rest of the symbol is reduced in height.

    • Under the "Stretch Planes" heading, check the boxes beside 1 under Height Z = .

    • In the first text field, type 1".

    • When the height of this symbol is changed, it will stretch or contract along a horizontal plane 1" up from the bottom of the symbol.

    • When you are satisfied with your changes, click OK to close the dialog, apply your settings to the object.

      Note: If your symbol has twisted or curved surfaces, you may find it more effective to define two Height Stretch Planes instead of one, and then check thebox beside Height 1 - 2 under the "Stretch Planes" heading.

  9. Select File> Close from the menu to close the 3D view and return to floor plan view.

  10. Select Tools> Symbol> Get Last Symbol from the menu, then click once in the drawing area to place the newly converted exterior fixture symbol into the plan.

  11. Select this new symbol and click the Open Object edit button. On the General panel of the Symbol Specification dialog, specify the desired Height of the symbol.

    • In this example, a Height of 11" is used.

    • After you enter the new Height value, press the Tab key to update the preview drawing on the right side of the dialog box. Notice that the symbol resized, but the height of the top portion remained the same.

    • Notice that the dialog includes a Follow Roof check-box, and that it is checked. This check-box is present because of how we specified the symbol in step 6, above.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply your change.

This symbol is now saved in the User Catalog and is ready to be placed in any plan. When positioned within a roof plane, it will automatically seek the height of the roof at that location.