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sonnyamorales

Client wants DWG files...

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f700es

I agree, the devil is in the details. We have a 2 page document that spells out how we expect to receive drawings after a project is finished. You either comply or you don't do business with us (the university) and you don't get repeat business. We want ALL cad files associated with the project with our layer standards, all rooms naming/numbering are to be set to our room standards. As-builts will be provided to us after project is closed out and then and only then will final payment be made.

 

I would suggest spelling out every detail so nothing is left open to interpretation.

 

The only way to do business.

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RobDraw
We want ALL cad files associated with the project with our layer standards, all rooms naming/numbering are to be set to our room standards.

 

We have a client that has similar requirements. We do mostly renovations with them and they provide their record CAD files for us to work from. We do not work using their standards, for internal reasons, but convert to them after the job has gone out. It's kind of funny that the files that we receive from them are very inconsistent as far as standards go and I have to ignore, rather than fix, those inconsistencies.

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f700es

Sure, work your way and then change after the fact. Very easy way to do it. I can believe in the inconsistencies. I have had to fix some here when I started.

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tzframpton
It's funny that only RK, myself and a few others only see that the contract is the key to this. Morales, good feelings, whatever have nothing to do with this.
I'm agreeing with you guys on the contractual part, I'm just saying it's an unfortunate reality. I'm disagreeing with what the current norms are in regard to the definition of intellectual property. You're right, good feelings have nothing to do with this, but I believe wholeheartedly that moral obligations do.

 

Take my custom residential home versus tract home as an example. If I pay a custom architectural design company to design me a home, I inherently reserve the right to be given the authoring file if I ask for it, without pre-existing contractual agreements because it's a part of my investment that I'm paying for. They own the "design intent" and I own the "physical property" which includes the authoring file used to represent the "design intent" that I compensated the company for 100%. Now if that company gives me an exclusion of CAD services, and deducts the cost in labor to author a design in CAD or Revit format, then I don't get it if a CAD or Revit model exists after those papers are signed. Now, if I buy a pre-designed tract home brand new I do not reserve the inherent right to be given the authoring file if I ask for it because it's the architect's design (not a mutual design between architect and owner) and was created on their time (which I didn't pay for) and is offered as a take it or leave it deal. Two completely different scenarios that hopefully I have relayed in the most simplest fashion.

 

Intellectual property, patents, copyrights, etc. are there to protect the investment of making ideas a reality. If a designer or engineer spends years developing an idea into a reality, investing time and money, then he absolutely reserves the right to be compensated and dictate what happens with the design. This way other's can't take your design intent and make a copy of it, not needing the repayment of time and financial investment because they weren't apart of that process - the original man with the idea was, and he didn't agree to share it with anybody but himself. This protection of investment is short lived and lifted after a while, becoming community property.

 

As soon as you release an idea into the world, the intellectual property now because community property. Your thoughts and ideas are built off the thoughts and ideas of past humans. Original thought does not exist so you're not entitled to "own" an idea. What you are entitled to is your investment in time and money to take a preexisting thought or idea and make it your own. As soon as you accept payment for generating an idea for someone else and making it a reality, then you DO NOT own it anymore, it's mutually owned. This is where situations like CAD files are explicitly owned by both the "payer" and "payee".

 

When I say "unfortunate" reality, what I mean by that is people have taken the definition of intellectual property and inappropriately redefined it to fit an improper legal framework that denies rightful ownership's to paying parties and the global community. It's about as boastful and egocentric as one can get in my opinion.

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tzframpton
We have a 2 page document that spells out how we expect to receive drawings after a project is finished. You either comply or you don't do business with us (the university) and you don't get repeat business. We want ALL cad files associated with the project with our layer standards, all rooms naming/numbering are to be set to our room standards. As-builts will be provided to us after project is closed out and then and only then will final payment be made.
So this raises a very interesting point. Let's take Organic's stance on who "owns" a CAD file. His stance is that he, as the design engineer, reserves the right to hand over CAD files and even has admitted that if no agreement was outlined and contractually signed, the inherent rights fall with the engineer to decide.

 

If this is true, it's contradictory to what I've quoted here in the owner's specifications on how authoring files shall be standardized upon receipt. If the paying party is not entitled to an authoring file, what are they doing outlining how the authoring files shall be set up? If it's written into the contract that all design contractors are to hand over the authoring file, then that's one thing. But there is such a thing as inherent rights and inherent property that do not need contractual outlines to determine entitled property ownership's.

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Mike_Taylor
Is all of your details 100% generated from scratch from your company alone?

 

I would say 90% of ours are. We occasionally copy a detail from a PDF and add additional notes and comments for additional clarification. We are also very particular about how our drawings appear so we typically spend a lot of time adding minor details (screws/nuts/bolts) to our details to give our details a distinct look.

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Dana W
Original thought does not exist so you're not entitled to "own" an idea.
That statement negates every copyright, and patent that has ever been issued. Why or even how did we evolve beyond wandering around the forest.

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Organic
Put your self in the rival companies shoes. If you received one of these trashed drawings, what would you do with it? I would laugh at it and show it to a bunch of other people and we all would get a good laugh out of it. Now instead of one person with a good drawing, you've got a number of people that have seen the trashed version. Guess what, those people have ammunition to trash your company to their clients, potential client of yours. Do you think those clients would consider using you, knowing the way that you play in the sand box? Something as trivial as a CAD drawing probably would not affect their decision but it does put that grain of doubt in their head.

 

This happens all the time. Not because people 'trash' drawings but because every company has different CAD standards. Company A may have great CAD standards. Company B may have no CAD standards and draw everything on layer 0. Company C may think they have great CAD standards but have 5000 layers etc. Now if we use Tannars thinking that the client only pays for CAD to be done once and Company B is the architect/principal on the job, then all sub consultants will get a CAD file with no layers as Company A don't use layers. It then costs the sub consultants money (which under Tannars model is not paid for by the client but the company would take the hit) to fix the original CAD file so it is workable for them to work on.

 

It's this mentality of trying to figure out how to screw over the next guy in the guise of doing them a favor really gets under my skin. "Why can't we all just get along?"

 

As we are regularly on the receiving end of being screwed over. As I said previously, no problem helping out other consultancies by giving them our CAD files for our good clients or for consultancies we have good relationships with. Why should we be helping out the cowboys of the industry who undercut everyone and win the job for a quarter the price of what most other firms proposed? The work from those cowboy firms reflects why they can offer such a cheap price; as most of their clients find out

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Organic
I disagree. How can CAD (and CAD standards) be proprietary when they can be reproduced so easily?

 

If you can reproduce it so easily then why do you need OUR CAD file?

 

Is it a smart thing to do? Depends on the circumstances.

If you enter into a contract that says you will deliver DWG files, you know the client expects your true working DWG files, not this garbage.

 

I agree. The problem is that for some companies their true working DWG file is similar to the file you attached as their CAD processes are garbage naturally.

 

I see a similar problem all the time. We have a contract with a sub to deliver a survey. The contract says something to the effect of "autocad dwg file containing the finished survey".....and that is it.

 

Wow. I've seen everything from a professional Civil 3D drawing to a non-AutoCAD DWG collection of useless garbage. The latter was not because they were trying to withhold data from us, that was just how they made drawings.

IMO, the problem is the people making the contracts and contract language have no clue as to what the real deliverable should be and how to specify it.

 

I would suggest spelling out every detail so nothing is left open to interpretation.

 

Exactly.

 

I agree, the devil is in the details. We have a 2 page document that spells out how we expect to receive drawings after a project is finished. You either comply or you don't do business with us (the university) and you don't get repeat business. We want ALL cad files associated with the project with our layer standards, all rooms naming/numbering are to be set to our room standards. As-builts will be provided to us after project is closed out and then and only then will final payment be made.

 

The only way to do business.

 

This is the way to do business if you want the CAD file. We have clients that give us their CAD manuals and we have to perform the CAD work to their standards. We happily do this although it is factored into the initial proposal price as it takes CAD operators longer to work with standards they are not familiar with.

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Organic
So this raises a very interesting point. Let's take Organic's stance on who "owns" a CAD file. His stance is that he, as the design engineer, reserves the right to hand over CAD files and even has admitted that if no agreement was outlined and contractually signed, the inherent rights fall with the engineer to decide.

 

If the client doesn't agree to our terms and conditions and fees then work would not have commenced regardless of how big or small the client is. So your scenario wouldn't happen.

 

If this is true, it's contradictory to what I've quoted here in the owner's specifications on how authoring files shall be standardized upon receipt. If the paying party is not entitled to an authoring file, what are they doing outlining how the authoring files shall be set up? If it's written into the contract that all design contractors are to hand over the authoring file, then that's one thing. But there is such a thing as inherent rights and inherent property that do not need contractual outlines to determine entitled property ownership's.

 

If you are telling your client that all sub consultants will provide CAD files in a particular format/standard to the client and this is not in the contracts between yourself and the sub consultants (if you are the principal firm who engaged them) or the client and the sub consultants then you are opening your company up to litigation by the client when the sub consultants refuse to your request as it was not in their respective contracts.

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tzframpton

So yesterday at work, our lawyer (aka "general counsel") walked by my desk with me and my boss sitting there shootin' the bull about something (Fridays are super lax at my company, and yes we have a full-time lawyer). I stopped him and my boss and I raised this exact topic with him and he had some interesting things to say. For the record, my boss who's an architect is one who insists on handing over authoring files in all cases and if liability is of concern then simply disclaim it with legal documentation and signatures.

 

In a nutshell our lawyer said this:

  • What the law says: US law currently sides with the engineer. You do not have to hand over authoring files. The engineer inherently reserves the right to choose if nothing is agreed upon before hand.
  • What he believes: He believes the paying party or "owner" should inherently reserve the right to the authoring files.

He stated that he deals with this situation every day at our company. In all agreements the architects and engineers are required to hand over all authoring files and if they don't oblige then they don't work with us.

 

He says it boils down to a misconception among the engineering world. He gave an example of a residential architect designing custom homes (building off my examples I wrote in previous threads). He stated the only thing an architect can take credit for is the arrangement of previously designed, invented and discovered items. The architect didn't design the double pane window, or the standard of 16" O.C. stud framing, or discover the structural integrity of triangular framing designs commonly used in roof systems, etc. All of those are preexisting ideas, discoveries, inventions, and the like. But most architects will hold on to the project "as a whole" and claim it's "theirs" which is not right, although the law doesn't say so.

 

He stated that at some point, somebody won in a court regarding this issue, even though he believes it's wrong. Contracts and copyrights, etc were all of two sentences back in the early 1900's. Contracts and ownership rights were super simple and around the 1920's is where you started seeing real contracts being written up.

 

So back to his position on the matter in real world scenarios. Again, he writes all agreements and contracts related to authoring files in favor of the owner. All must agree prior because architects and engineers are giving us "design intent". We as the general contractor are responsible for building it and the owner reserves the right to own it, and all of our legal documentation supports the owners.

 

But he said it also puts our company in a position to assume more liability as well. Now if something goes wrong, you get into the very gray areas of legal battles of "I built it exactly how the architect designed it" and the architect says "as a professional you should have known it wasn't going to work and we're not responsible for every nut and bolt". An experienced builder could have "known" something wasn't going to work but went ahead with the construction anyways, and it can be provable. He went on to many other examples that are too lengthy to get into, but basically the rabbit hole goes way way deeper than any of us non-legal professionals could ever have imagined, lol.

 

In the end, he stated that most architects and engineers have never swung a hammer or lifted a shovel, so most of them want their hands completely off the liability of construction, which is where it all probably originated from to begin with.

 

So there's a lawyer's perspective. Just thought I'd share is all. :)

Edited by tzframpton

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Organic

In a nutshell our lawyer said this:

  • What the law says: US law currently sides with the engineer. You do not have to hand over authoring files. The engineer inherently reserves the right to choose if nothing is agreed upon before hand.

As is the case in most places around the world.

 

He stated that he deals with this situation every day at our company. In all agreements the architects and engineers are required to hand over all authoring files and if they don't oblige then they don't work with us.

 

This is exactly what I was getting at by saying that it should be in the contract. If your firms lawyer has put it in the contract then it covers you. Hence you would get our CAD files :)

 

So back to his position on the matter in real world scenarios. Again, he writes all agreements and contracts related to authoring files in favor of the owner. All must agree prior because architects and engineers are giving us "design intent". We as the general contractor are responsible for building it and the owner reserves the right to own it, and all of our legal documentation supports the owners.

 

So does the contract also specify that the provided CAD documents have to be in your company CAD standards and do you provide all subconsultants with copies of your CAD standards/manual so they can work to them? As if you don't specify how CAD files should be received then you may end up with files where everything is on layer 0 etc.

 

But he said it also puts our company in a position to assume more liability as well. Now if something goes wrong, you get into the very gray areas of legal battles of "I built it exactly how the architect designed it" and the architect says "as a professional you should have known it wasn't going to work and we're not responsible for every nut and bolt". An experienced builder could have "known" something wasn't going to work but went ahead with the construction anyways, and it can be provable. He went on to many other examples that are too lengthy to get into, but basically the rabbit hole goes way way deeper than any of us non-legal professionals could ever have imagined, lol.

 

In the end, he stated that most architects and engineers have never swung a hammer or lifted a shovel, so most of them want their hands completely off the liability of construction, which is where it all probably originated from to begin with.

 

As an engineer I know this very well. The guys on site can generally build it a lot better than I can design it :)

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tzframpton
So does the contract also specify that the provided CAD documents have to be in your company CAD standards and do you provide all subconsultants with copies of your CAD standards/manual so they can work to them? As if you don't specify how CAD files should be received then you may end up with files where everything is on layer 0 etc.
We only deal with Revit models so standards are not the issue, it's the LOD level (LOD = Level of Detail). For instance, we're starting to demand our architects be more accountable with their models. We are requiring thermal properties to be accurately applied to walls and glazing so that our HVAC engineers can leverage that data for their heating load calculations directly from Revit. Things to that nature.

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Organic
We only deal with Revit models so standards are not the issue, it's the LOD level (LOD = Level of Detail). For instance, we're starting to demand our architects be more accountable with their models. We are requiring thermal properties to be accurately applied to walls and glazing so that our HVAC engineers can leverage that data for their heating load calculations directly from Revit. Things to that nature.

 

What happens if the CAD operator at the architects firm inputs the wrong values? Do you check them? If so, does this not take almost as long as entering them yourself?

 

Who is going to take the liability when the wrong data was applied by the architect although then used by the mechanical engineer? I would think the mechanical engineer would fully own the liability.

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RobDraw

LOD has a rating system that should be included in the contract. Any engineer worth his salt will check the values but not scrutinize the fine details unless it is a critical area and then those will be checked with a finer comb. That's what engineers do. It is not a blind trust process. If something is wrong, it should shake out as the design progresses and numbers are reviewed. If not, there is something wrong with the process. Plus, if a low level CAD operator is inputting the values, they should be checked by whoever is giving that operator the data. Then there is the quality assurance review.

 

What happens if the CAD operator at the architects firm inputs the wrong values? Do you check them? If so, does this not take almost as long as entering them yourself?

 

No

 

Who is going to take the liability when the wrong data was applied by the architect although then used by the mechanical engineer? I would think the mechanical engineer would fully own the liability.

 

Duh...

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f700es

Who ever has stamped the drawing (if possible), usually.

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tzframpton
Who is going to take the liability when the wrong data was applied by the architect although then used by the mechanical engineer? I would think the mechanical engineer would fully own the liability.
If the R-Values and thermal properties are wrong, then the architect would be liable.

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Ski_Me

I didn't read the all the post but from my experience I have to have the floor plans every time I do a fire alarm design. Some firms have me sign a waiver or an agreement saying I won't sell the design to some other company. Others don't really care. However when I am done with my fire alarm I send it to the approving bodies as a pdf. I have only been asked for a dwg only once and said no. The effort I put into the design is an attached value and if somebody else changes the design due to code or whatever then that's lost money. I've never had this happen but it is something I think about a lot of.

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Organic
Plus, if a low level CAD operator is inputting the values, they should be checked by whoever is giving that operator the data. Then there is the quality assurance review.

 

There is a reason the architectural technician does the modelling in Revit, not the architect. One is cost although more importantly is that many architects can't use Revit. It is impossible to check and validate a model if the checker cannot use the software.

 

 

 

 

 

Duh...

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Glen1980
There is a reason the architectural technician does the modelling in Revit, not the architect. One is cost although more importantly is that many architects can't use Revit. It is impossible to check and validate a model if the checker cannot use the software.

 

I thought it was because most architects these days can't be bothered with mundane things like making the structure stand up!

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