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1.  PDF Drawings

Posted 03-31-2017 08:21
I am wondering: what is the norm for issuing architectural drawing sets as pdfs? Does one charge for it? If so, what should the basis be? Also, are there any legal or liability implications with it?

Thank you all in advance for your input.

Joana Tan Jamo, AIA, NCARB
Licensed Architect (CT, Maine, NY)
J T J   A R C H I T E C T S   L L C
P. O. Box 1257
Woodbury | Connecticut 06798
(+1) 203.586.9843

2.  RE: PDF Drawings

Posted 04-03-2017 17:35
I suppose the question of charging for them would depend on who you are issuing them to.  Our office is set up to distribute digitally as much as possible, and PDF's are the method.  Different states likely have different guidelines for how that is handled.  In Missouri, we have to digitally certify documents if they are a stamped and signed documents, OR we must remove the stamp and seal and put a NOT A CERTIFIED DOCUMENT stamp on them.  We use a web based plan room for bidding purposes and generally only print about 10 sets for people who like to go old school.  PDF's can be downloaded for a fee paid to the plan room.  We also use a web based document site during construction for issuing PDF sets of drawings, any revisions, as well as processing all the submittals as PDF's.  See www.submittalexchange.com for more information on that.

So, in a nutshell we don't typically charge for issuing PDF's, and in our state we comply with state regulations to address the leagal implications.
Brad A McKenzie, AIA
Project Architect
3750 S. Fremont Springfield, MO 65804
P417-877-9600 (ext. 228)  F417-877-9696  E: mckenzie@sdaarchitects.com
www.sdaarchitects.com | Facebook Twitter | CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE

3.  RE: PDF Drawings

Posted 04-05-2017 10:47
It's a great question - what is the value of architectural drawings on PDF format? What was the value of a blueprint? What is the value of the blackline prints used on the job site?  In my opinion, the value is in the information, much less the media. We charge for paper copies as follows: cost of the printing, cost for time spent preparing an order and delivery charges. The client already paid for the drawings to be prepared and if so has the right use the information. It's no different with PDF's, but more efficient, less time consuming, and a cost saver for all.

If your fees are hourly based, you will be compensated for the time spent preparing pdf's, although there's not much involved in that. However, at some point, the costs of software, time spent maintaining it, subscription fees, etc. have to be worked into your overhead formula. 

Allen E Neyman
Rockville, MD

4.  RE: PDF Drawings

Posted 04-04-2017 08:54
Thank you all for your input and for allaying any concerns. It sounds like issuing pdfs is not a concern as long as copyright is stated.
Thank you again.
Joana Tan Jamo, AIA, NCARB

5.  RE: PDF Drawings

Posted 04-04-2017 17:24
Our local planroom will distribute full size paper prints at a cost per sheet.  They will also distribute pdfs on disk or email for a flat fee ($25 I think).  For big sets its cheaper to get the pdf.  The pdfs are signed and sealed just like the hard copies. 

Timothy Wall AIA
Senior Project Architect
IngenAE, LLC
South Bend IN

6.  RE: PDF Drawings

Posted 04-05-2017 19:54
I have worked with PDF's as our official documents for several years, a
couple of caveats that I would like to share.
1. If the documents are for progress or client review, remove your
seal, we use a cover note that states the documents are being prepared
by (insert the Licensed Architect who will eventually seal the drawings)
2. Make sure that you put an appropriate and in big letters, IN PROGRESS
3. Always include a copyright notice on any issued documents whether in
progress or for construction, you would hate to find out that your DD
drawings ended up on a different job site with another Architect.
4. Include the above information on your cover letter or transmittal
that you send with the PDF files.
5. Flatten and bind the PDF's so that they cannot be edited.

We have been doing this successfully and our clients appreciate the fact
that contractors or consultants can print out only the pages they need
and that they do not have to pay large Shipping bills to get prints sent
around the country.

Rob Woodhull, AIA, RA, NCARB
Robert L. Woodhull AIA, Architect and Planner