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My client for a residential project is a developer. My plans are 98% complete. He is asking me to provide him with a set of CAD files (not PDF's). He wants my dwg cad file. I'm worried he can misuse my cad file for other projects. Cad files can be reformatted, imported, exported and shared in other cad programs and used for other projects. He wants to submit the drawings to the building department himself. He could revise the plan check set. I have the standard note on my drawings that prohibit re-use but my cad file can be easily revised to delete this note.
Should I provide my cad file to the client? He already has a full set of PDF drawings.
Thanks for your advice.
Tim Mead, AIA Architect
Maui Chapter, Hawaii
There is no way I would give a developer a full set of CAD files even if we trusted him. A consideration is an edited version without details for cabinet, tile and subs take-offs and I would send directly to subs not to GC to track where they are. I have sent CAD to structural and civil engineers when they are contracted separately.
I have had other Architects asked for CAD files and I have no problem sending those since there is an ethical obligation to not misuse.
------------------------------Timothy Mead AIA Member EmeritusTimothy N. Mead, AIA, ArchitectKihei HI------------------------------
In my experience as both a GC and working in Architecture, we have typically done a CAD release that they must sign prior to handing over the CADs. In several cases this has helped.
Jaclyn G.Faulkner Executive Director
The American Institute of Architects
86 Maryland Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401
T (410) 263 0916
You need to read your contract to see if those are considered deliverables. alternatively, if you provide the drawings, Make sure they sign a waiver Binding them to the terms that are in your note on the drawing. you can also explode everything and make it hard to deal with to discourage tampering.
I don't do residential design, only commercial. I am often asked to provide CAD files and I do, as long as I have been paid. I only provide the floor plans and elevations for the owner's records. I don't provide title blocks, my stamp, details, or schedules. Though the owner could potentially reuse the building plans and elevations for something, they won't be able to reuse much without hiring another Architect. Also these days PDF are almost as editable as CAD drawings if you know what you are doing. Hope this helps.
No way! Do not provide the CAD files.
Talk with your attorney regarding the format type, and have them write you an accompanying letter that states the date, the project, and what you are transmitting under your copyright and the location of the project. And you might review your contract regarding who retains ownership of the documents at completion.
In the past, the firms I've worked for have – occasionally – provided "live" files when requested but kept a record copy plus transmittal in their file that indicates the date and the state of the drawing files when you released them to the Owner. I provide specs, and when I was consulting, I did exactly that in the past with my Word files when requested by some owners. Obviously, you want to reduce the possible blowback if the files are reused on a different site, a different jurisdiction or a different code version. These days, PDF files can be unlocked and manipulated, so that may not be the secure delivery that you envision anyway.
t +1 415 356 8685 m +1 510 388 4333
Michael L. Katzin, AIA
Director | Michael Katzin Project Services, LLC
a | 425 Leasingham Way | Johns Creek, GA 30097 p | 470.469.5586 e | email@example.com
Member | City of Johns Creek Planning Commission
First, I would check your contract to see if the client is entitled to the CAD files. If the drawings are not fully complete, I would not provide them as that can lead to improper use. I suggest speaking with your client candidly about the situation and asking what the intended use of the files are. Perhaps the clients' goals can be achieved through other means.
We've run across this before. The answer for us was 'No'. Your CAD files are your instruments of service, hence the Architect's sole property. One assumes you have customized your CAD program with your own office standards, library parts etc. and these are for your/your offices' use only.
We faced serious pushback from one client - we told him that we could potentially give him the CAD files, but only after reviewing them and stripping out any of our proprietary information, which is very time-consuming considering these are often deeply embedded in the file. The hourly cost to do that was prohibitive. He decided to pursue preparing his own documents, simply for cost reasons, not because he wanted to do the right thing.
Look at it this way: Would an author give his word.doc to the publisher? No. Hope this helps. Best Regards,
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