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Providing Client with cad file

Providing Client with cad file

Providing Client with cad file

(OP)
I entered into an agreement with a house building contractor to design a project on a very difficult site. I have prepared engineer sealed paper sheets describing a sewage treatment system, these have been submitted to the permitting agency for approval, and have received public agency approval contingent on a layout to "verify it fits".
The client is being difficult plus is complaining about design aspects but I am telling him it needs to be as designed. He is now asking me to provide him with a "CAD Drawing" claiming he paid for CAD drawing. I think it is hoping to modify at plan himself or find another engineer to modify and resubmit plans. My agreement with him is to "develop a septic system design". He supplied a cad file of a basic site plan and proposed dwelling location which I overlaid my design. He is now claiming all he wants is the cad file and he will be done with me, but I think he will come up with something else as he has done through the few months I have been on this project. He said he wants to use this to supply his surveyor information for a layout but he is also saying he won't use my plan since it is too complicated. I offered to discuss the needs of the surveyor with the surveyor but he does not want to provide the name of his surveyor, I doubt he has a surveyor.


What are comments or opinions of forum members on providing cad files to an (ex) client when our scope of work is submittal of a (paper) plan? There are no other engineers or designers using our information as a base of their work, such as a landscaper needing to accommodate setbacks to our design.

Do I have any obligation to release a cad file? (I think not as this was used as a means to prepare the actual useful product that was delivered to the permitting agency.)

Cj

RE: Providing Client with cad file

What does your RFP/proposal/agreement say? You should have outlined deliverables there, and that will determine what you need to hand over.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Technically your design is your product that he paid for...not your "instrument of service" which are the drawings (i.e. your drawings only explain your design to others).

If your original agreement with him did not explicitly call for you to also deliver cad files, then he's got no leg to stand on.
If you don't think you'll ever work for him again then hold your ground, or offer to produce cad files for him for a fee.

In addition, when delivering cad files to anyone, we explicitly state in our electronic file transmittal agreement (a separate contract we insist on) that the files do not represent your design, that they would not be applicable to any other design use, and that the use of the cad files is without risk to us.

I think your thoughts that he is simply going to get another design "that he prefers" is spot on.

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RE: Providing Client with cad file

Is there anything that says your cad files have to be compatible? Or you can copy them onto a student edition and make them essentially unusable.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Agree with JAE....further, your state law might prevent you from providing a changeable file to a client. Mine does.

There is a way you can provide a CAD file to the client and protect your liability. You can redact all of your identifying information and have the client indemnify you against any future claims and any use of your work product/intellectual property. I would also suggest that you charge for this at a reasonable rate for preparation of all necessary to protect you, including consultation with an attorney if necessary. If they don't agree, don't provide anything for the reasons JAE noted.

A Great Place For Engineers to Help Engineers

RE: Providing Client with cad file

At a minimum, have the client complete an electronic media release agreement (or electronic file transmittal agreement, as JAE refers to it) to limit any liability that may arise from their misuse of the CAD drawings. As Ron pointed out, it might be prudent to strip all identifying information from the drawings, as well. Given the circumstances, I would recommend doing that.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Quote (Ron)

your state law might prevent you from providing a changeable file to a client. Mine does.

Your state law prevents this? CAD files go back and forth all the time in my part of the world. I am based in NY but we do business across the country, and I have not come across this. Which state are you in?

Middle CE you do not owe him CAD files by default. We refuse CAD files frequently where we do not trust that they will be used correctly. That said, it sounds like your project is over, and why not make the transition easier. Do you actually want to hurt this contractor or use the CAD as a lever?

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Or put a concrete hatch all over the files and explode it.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

glass99...we exchange CAD files as well; however, in Florida you cannot provide a final document to a client that is changeable (i.e., reports/specs in MS Word format, CAD files, etc.)

A Great Place For Engineers to Help Engineers

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Ron: so what's the status of say a BIM/Revit file which accompanies a pdf set? Is it strictly for information?

RE: Providing Client with cad file

glass99....not sure. I don't know that the state board has figured that out.

A Great Place For Engineers to Help Engineers

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Not a civil guy, but I would ask the question of why not give the client what they ask? Your stamped print was generated from this file correct? The stamped print being the master, the model being only a reference supplement, if this is a quick save-as that gives the client one-less reason to trash your reputation then not doing so simply looks petty.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Quote (CWB1)

Not a civil guy, but I would ask the question of why not give the client what they ask? Your stamped print was generated from this file correct? The stamped print being the master, the model being only a reference supplement, if this is a quick save-as that gives the client one-less reason to trash your reputation then not doing so simply looks petty.

It is very easy these days with pdf software to modify documents. Providing the CAD files just makes it that much easier for somebody to tweak your drawings to better suit themselves, pdf it, and paste that pdf into your title block. We've had people skip the whole pdf part and just tape their own random drawings into our title block and scan them in to submit for permit.

We send our stuff if we trust them. But in this guys case, with the client being a PITA, we would have no issue telling them no thanks.

RE: Providing Client with cad file

Almost everything is editable these days. You can bind the drawing or make it all one big block that they'd have to explode and edit if you're really that concerned. But if you're that concerned about the integrity of the client I'd hesitate to work for them in the first place. You can provide secure PDFs that make it harder to edit the text fields and linework.

If you don't plan on future work, say the PDF full size drawings is all that's owed and leave it at that. To me, the client asking for a CAD file for the design is not an outrageous request. They could already import your PDF drawing and edit it in CAD if they're really that nefarious that they intend on modifying the design and cutting you out of the process.

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