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My firm provides design work for a

My firm provides design work for a

My firm provides design work for a

My firm provides design work for a chain or retail stores that uses typical systems and equipment throughout their many locations. The owner provides prototype drawings to us through the architect that we adapt to the space and any unique electrical requirements. These prototypes include some detail drawings (wiring details for registers, electrical room telecom/signal backboard layout, sensor roof can, etc.) that should be incorporated into the final design drawings without modification. I review these for technical accuracy before incorporation at least the first time they are being used.

A supervisor had occasion to review drawings while I was on vacation. He insists that a note be added to the drawings disclaiming liability for the prototype detail designs and excluding them from the certification of the PE stamp. He reasons that these prototypes were created by others not under our supervision. It may also be rooted in his extensive forensic engineering work where questions of liability are regularly discussed. This requirement has created conflict with the client/architect, who believes that the AHJ will not allow this and is reluctant for us to approach the AHJ to discuss.

My reasoning in the past was that though any system of components in question had not be directly designed by our firm, our review of the systems for incorporation in the overall design brought it into the sphere of responsible work. This would be similar to incorporating a light fixture into our design though we do not assume responsibility for the design of the fixture.

Can anyone provide some guidance regarding the inclusion of prototype or vendor drawings into design drawings? Is the disclaimer described above reasonable or is there a better solution? What issues of liability arise from the inclusion of previously designed systems?

RE: My firm provides design work for a

Here is a "smell-test" to consider:

1) Is the project calculations, specs, design basis, drawing package are available?
2) Does the client own legally the design?
3) Is your company willing to consider review the project documents, provide comments/corrections and supplemented as required to meet the applicable code, satisfy the local building code and the AHJ?

If all the answers are affirmative, discuss with your management if the company is in the position to take the design ownership and provide engineering support meeting all legal and ethic requirement.

The next dilemma is the "financial & Manpower Test":
1) How long your company proposing to complete those tasks. (Manpower & qualification)
2) How much to charge for professional services and getting acceptance from the client.

Without fulfilling the above step, consider walking away from this opportunity.

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