Creating a Roof Cricket

Reference Number: KB-03017
Last Modified: June 15, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


How can I have Chief Architect create a cricket in my roof plan?


Roof crickets, sometimes called saddles, are raised roof planes built to divert water or snow. When a roof is generated automatically, crickets will not be produced, but they can be drawn manually using the Roof Plane tool. Dormer vents can be created using a similar technique.

To create a manually drawn chimney cricket

  1. Create a basic rectangular structure with a hip roof.
  • In this example, the display of Roof Plane Labels is turned off.

  • Select Build> Fireplace  and click on one of the exterior walls to place a masonry fireplace at that location in the wall.

    Midpoint  Object Snaps or the Center Objects  edit tool can be used to center the fireplace along the wall, if desired.

  • Make any required changes to the fireplace.

    • In this example, the default 48" wide fireplace is used, but its Depth edit handle is used to offset the fireplace 6" towards the exterior.

  • Select CAD> Line> Draw Line  and draw a CAD line along the inside surface of the fireplace’s firebox.

    • You can also draw the CAD line near the desired location and then move it into place using dimensions.

    • Make sure that the CAD line extends past the fireplace in both directions.

  • Select Build> Roof> Build Roof  from the menu, and in the Build Roof dialog, specify the Pitch, Framing, and any other attributes that you will need for the cricket.
    • In this example, a Pitch of 12:12 and 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" rafters are specified.

    • Do not check Build Roof Planes. Here, the Build Roof dialog is being used to set the defaults for manually drawn roof planes.

  • Select Build> Roof> Roof Plane  from the menu, then:

    • Click on the CAD line near one of its endpoints and drag to draw a roof baseline perpendicular to the line, towards the structure’s interior.

    • Release the mouse button and move the mouse parallel to the CAD line and in the direction of the fireplace’s center and click once.

    • The roof plane that is created will draw its height from the top of the roof below at the point where you first clicked to begin drawing.

      Note: In this example, the cricket roof plane is assigned an angled fill pattern to make it easier to see.

  • Use dimensions to resize the new roof plane so that it measures half the width of the fireplace from its low edge to its ridge.
    • In this example, that distance is 24".

  • Use Roof Intersection Points to find the intersection point for the edge of the roof plane opposite the fireplace.

    • If the program creates an Intersection Point that is not located on the roof plane edge, move that edge so that it is closer to the fireplace and the roof plane is more narrow and try again.

  • Use the roof plane’s edit handles to:
    • Angle the low edge of the roof plane up to the Intersection Point.

    • Drag the short edge of the roof plane outward until it disappears and the roof plane becomes a triangle.

  • Use the Copy/Paste  edit tool in combination with the Reflect About Object  edit tool to create a copy of the cricket roof plane.

    • Copy/reflect the roof plane about the fireplace to produce a roof plane that slopes in the opposite direction as the original.

  • Use the Point to Point Move  edit tool to move the new roof plane so that its ridge edge is adjacent to the original roof plane’s ridge.

  • Center the cricket behind the fireplace:
    • Shift+select the two cricket roof planes.

    • Click the Center Objects  edit button.

    • Move the mouse pointer over the fireplace. When a center axis displays over the fireplace, click once.

  • Create a 3D view to see the results. 

  • Remember to restore the settings in the Build Roof dialog if you intend to draw more structural roof planes in your plan.

    The cricket created above can easily be converted into a dormer vent. Begin by closing the 3D view and returning to floor plan view.

    To create a dormer vent

    1. Select the fireplace positioned in front of the cricket and click the Delete  button.

    2. Go Up One Floor  and select Tools> Reference Floors> Reference Floor Display .

    3. Select Build> Wall> Exterior Wall  and draw a wall inside the area of the roof cricket on the floor below, parallel to its front.

      If you draw the wall in the wrong direction and its siding layer faces the interior, select it and click the Reverse Layers  edit button.

    4. Click on the wall to select it and click the Open Object  edit button. On the Roof panel of the Wall Specification dialog, check the box beside Roof Cuts Wall at Bottom and click OK.

    5. With the wall still selected, use its edit handles to move it the desired distance from the eaves of the roof cricket.

    6. Create a 3D view to see the results.

    7. A selection of attic vents is available in the Library Browser.