Making Sense of (and Using) Your CAD Roof Drawing

September 13, 2022

A CAD roof drawing has longevity long after a project ends. Whether it was created to show proposed work or after a new roof was installed, think twice before you file it away forever. Once you know what you’re looking at, you’ll recognize just how truly valuable of an asset it is. There are a lot of benefits and uses for that roof plan.

Why a CAD Roof Drawing is Made

Drawings are almost always created when roofing new construction, anytime the roofer is a subcontractor, or a roof consultant has been hired. Roof drawings are often submitted for review and approval, and when the project is completed, as-built drawings are provided to the design and/or construction team.

Drawings are most often created for architects, general contractors, roof consultants, and roofing crew members to help them understand a forthcoming project. “For every reroofing and some service projects, we have a set of drawings for the crews. It shows them, when used in conjunction with the project manual, how the roof is constructed,” explains Brandon Tylee, CAD Drafter, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA.

An early rendering (i.e. preliminary drawing) can help you visualize a project before the contract is even signed. Even smaller projects, like installing permanent fall protection on the roof, are much easier to understand with a drawing in hand. In this case, the CAD roof drawing would show the placement of single-point anchors, horizontal lifelines, guardrails, or other safety equipment on the roof.

A CAD drawing of the roof may also be created when a facility condition report is requested. This is provided to the customer after the roof has been surveyed by the roofing contractor. It may also be loaded into RoofLogic, an online roof asset management application where facilities professionals can access their records 24/7.

What a CAD Roof Drawing Shows

Roof CAD drawings indicate curbs, skylights, expansion joints, pipe penetrations, pipe stands, drains, scuppers, gutters, satellite dishes, walkway, a penthouse, roof hatch, etc. – anything that touches the roof. If you have multiple roof areas, it will also note an elevation change. “It provides information on roof sizes, core cut analyses, and can be used as a tool for job set up and job tracking,” adds Jack Kenney, Vice President National Account Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA.

The type of drawing (e.g. roof plan, as-built drawing, crew spec drawing, etc.) will dictate the level of detail, but all are drawn to scale. The drawings are executed according to United States National CAD Standard. Depending on who the drawing is created for, and the software used to create it (AutoCAD or RoofCAD) there may not be a key to the symbols used.

What to Do With a CAD Roof Drawing

Ask your roofing contractor if a CAD roof drawing has been created of your facility or ask for access to it in RoofLogic. There are many ways the drawing can help with managing your roofing asset(s). Here are three.

No. 1  Mark it Up

“Having a CAD drawing of a customer’s facility allows them to take notes and mark on the drawing where issues are occurring, or roof alterations take place. We are able to update our records more easily and efficiently if the facility is drawn up in CAD,” says J. J. Longerbeam, Vice President Service, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. The following are some examples of potential problems that should be marked on a roof drawing:

Once service has been provided to remedy problems, note on the CAD drawing the date of the trade work. The roof plan becomes a visual tracking tool that chronicles the history of maintenance. A marked-up plan can also help make a case for capital spending and be the beginning of a sorely needed roof asset management program.

No. 2  Use it for Roof Asset Management Planning

Do you know which roof areas need repairs and reroofed now vs. which only need preventive maintenance? Armed with a CAD roof drawing, you and your roofing contractor can work on developing a roof asset management plan. Longerbeam explains: “The customers that have CAD drawings allow us to show them a 5-year plan in the simplest format. If the facility has 40 roof areas, green shows roofs in good condition, along with the warranty date and manufacturer. Yellow shows the roof areas which need to be maintained (they are coming out of warranty or may already be out of warranty). Red shows the roofs that most likely need to be replaced within the next 5 years.”

This makes tracking capital projects and remembering roof warranty periods much easier. “This is a record that does not get lost. It can be pulled out years later and is still usually accurate,” says Kenney.  “Job files get lost; electronic drawings hang around.”

No. 3  Show people where to go (and where not to).

When an HVAC technician comes to service a cooling tower, you can not only show the mechanical contractor the location of the specific unit, but also rooftop access points and walkway paths using the roof plan. You can pinpoint safety hazards and the location of permanent fall protection systems (e.g. horizontal lifelines and single point anchors) they can hook into. Rather than taking time to accompany the worker on the roof, you can attend to other job duties.

Want a CAD roof drawing? Contact D. C. Taylor Co. at 319.731.4118.

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