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Original Set/Record Set

Original Set/Record Set

Original Set/Record Set


Please feel free to contribute.

Recently, a riff with a valued client resulted from the client losing a set of revisions and requesting new "originals".  The client was originally given one full size set of wet sealed plan sheets and two half-sizes.  Somewhere along the line the client has "misplaced" the full size drawings and at least one of the half-sizes.  This leaves them with one half-size set of original revisions.  Our company maintains only a "Record Set" (so stamped) for purposes of answering contractor RFIs.  And so when the client requested we supply them with a new set of "originals" we've answered that we simply don't have "originals" but a set stamped "Record Set".  The problem is further exacerbated in that those "originals" were signed and sealed by an engineer no longer working with our firm.  Thus while we can replot the drawings themselves they will be inherently different as someone else will have to sign and seal them.  Also, this new someone will have to perform due diligence prior to sealing.  While we have not requested any further monies for this action we have been reluctant to do this as the client has a set of half-sizes that may be enlarged (at their expense - remember they lost them).  However, the client feels this is our responsibility - to come up with new drawings - and has become quite indignant about it.

What are your thoughts?

RE: Original Set/Record Set


My first thought is "Why me?"  My experience with major drawing issues is now more or less irrelevant and I cannot really offer you much.

Back in the days when I headed a reasonably significant civil/structural engineering section most of our work was still done at the boards. (That was more than 12 years ago).  Whether done by CAD or by hand, our final output was in the form of transparencies, from which we issued prints.  Our approving signatures were recorded on the transparencies, and issue of a replacement set of 'final drawings' would have been no real problem (other than cost recovery for the prints).  Aus does not have a system of individually licensed engineers, and so we did not have to go the last step and sign/seal the prints themselves.

In my opinion your current stand is fully justified, and I do not see how your clients can see it as your responsiblity to produce replica final drawings to cover mishaps in their own office.  

What does your contracted agreement with the client have to say on the matter?  Surely it defines what you will provide in the way of output drawings for your quoted fees?  If it does, can't you just (diplomatically) ask him to read his contract again, and then agree to treat provision of replacement drawing sets (including further due diligence)as an extra?

Good luck with your negotiations.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

Hey Q...this one's always a can of worms!!

I have had to deal with this on a regular, recurring basis for years, mostly for technical reports but occasionally including drawings.

The "policy" I have instituted for the offices under my responsibility is the following:

Originals remain unsigned/unsealed and are kept in the file.
One "original" with signature/seal is maintained in the file just as was sent to client (record set).
If the client wants additional sets of documents in close proximity to original production, we provide and charge for copies.  If requested after the engineer of record has left, we will make a copy of the record set, stamp it as a copy and provide at copy cost.  It will not be re-signed/re-sealed unless that engineer is still working for us.  If signed/sealed, it will bear the date of signing, not the original date and will be marked as such.

It is unreasonable of a client to assume you will provide "originals" ad infinitem.  Clients who make such requests are usually those who consider our signature and seal to be a commodity....in their eyes, what's the big deal? They usually practice in an environment where all of their liability is civil, not realizing that registration and licensure adds criminal liability to our realm.  That's an unfortunate disparity in our profession (a discussion for another day!), when an unlicensed person practices engineering and something fails, he is guilty of a licensure violation, while a licensed engineer doing the same thing and having a failure is then guilty of negligence.  Sorry for the tangent...just had to throw in one of my pet peeves.

As much as we like to do the bidding of our clients, I think you are right to stick to your guns on these issues.  Hopefully the next engineering firm they ask for the same thing will stick it out as well and not cave. Solidarity my friends!

RE: Original Set/Record Set

heres my two cents.

We usually produce 4 or 5 full sets and 2 or 3 half size sets.  If it is a valued client as you say, whats the big deal about giving them a copy of your record set?  At a small expense to you, you still remain in good standing with a client that apparently has treated you well in the past.
Unless I misinterpreted your question, your Record Set does contain the revisions, correct?  And even if the original engineer who stamped the drawings has left the firm, is he/she not still responsible for its design?  If I design a structure, seal it, and leave my company soon thereafter, and (god forbid) it collapses, am I not still responsible for that?  I dont see the problem with giving your "valued" client a copy of your signed and sealed Record Set.
If cost is a problem, bury the cost of reproductions into the next job you do for them.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

Thanks all for responding.

It wouldn't be so bad if the all the client wanted was our "record set" but they don't want the sheets with the big ugly red stamp and unfortunately thats all we have aside from the CADD files.

And yes this is a government agency; one that is defintely not well versed on the regulations governing licensed/registered practicing professionals.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

Our contracts typically arrange for 5 sealed (and signed, normally in print, except folio documents that by hand) given to the client, or a given number.

The client is then entitled to get as much copies wants of the same character as long he/she it pays for it.

In some cases and to avoid unneeded interaction, a separate transparent copy of originals is also given without any seal in the first set, or if the client is knowledgeable enough we may -but is not general- give a CD with the documentation.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

Ok, I understand they don't want the big red "Record Set".  But why do they want "originals" instead of copies?  Are they just trying to get you to foot the bill?  Is so and you are amenable to that, then borrow their 1/2 size (I assume it has a seal on it), enlarge it and give both back to them.


RE: Original Set/Record Set

They've lost the half-size signed and sealed drawings.  Thats why they want them and we obvisously can't borrow that set.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

In Australia, any building that is under progress has usually  been through a building surveyors office at either the local government council office or at a private building surveyors.

The building surveyor is always the one in posession of the "approved" building plans, including the engineers plan. The engineers can provide extra sets, but never are they an "approved" construction plan. We quite often issue additional plans, but, never do we refer to them as an original as they are only a copy of what was submitted for building approval.


RE: Original Set/Record Set

In California, many building departments retain the original submitted drawings as well as subsequent revisions if the revisions are provided to them.  Sometimes when a client starts requesting items like original or initial submittals, they may be preparing for a lawsuit.  

RE: Original Set/Record Set

To address OLDRUNNER's comments.  These drawings are being requested for final plans processing.  The job is completed and the construction inspectors are finalizing the quantities and noting any significant changes to the plans.

It seems that one department is now speaking (communicating) with the other and may, hallejiah!, have the revised "originals" that the other department lost.

RE: Original Set/Record Set

It comes down to a legal issue. The stamper and his company is the one that must take heat in case something go's wrong down the road. Lemon laws and recalls, a owner would sue the company and a court would order you to provide finished stamped prints on your product.

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