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Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

Background: I am a structural engineer and have a small structural engineering firm. Sometimes, I got the request from clients (steel/concrete sub contractor or contractor) if I can provide shop drawings for the work I design. I have figured it's not a bad business when I could gather few detailers I know (employed as detailers elsewhere) and form another company providing such service.

I searched around for all threads mentioning Shop Drawing Production Services/Business but couldn't find clear answers to my questions:
1. I found that all companies (small or big) that provide this type of services to sub contractors or fabricators are LLC. Is it the standard way to go?
2. When you provide shop drawings which are reviewed & approved by sub contractors, contractors and design professionals (architects and engineers), what liabilities are we looking at? Do contracts between shop drawing service provider and sub contractor or fabricators typically disclaim all liabilities? By the end of the day, shop drawings are not contract documents.
3. What type of insurance policies a shop drawing service provider needs to carry? I've asked my insurance broker and it seems like they don't know much about this and thought this service is providing means & methods of construction and gave me very high estimated quote.
4. Is there any place like Legal Zoom where I can buy contract template for this type of services?

Thank you and any comment would be very appreciated.

RE: Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

One of the risks I have never understood about shop drawings is what happens when you make a mistake on a dimension leading to something being fabricated wrong and a lot of steel being refabricated on site and potential delay claims etc. A colleague in London got into trouble with a project in the middle east with some glass fins this way (the holes were in the wrong spot!). I assume in the US you are held to the professional standard of care, meaning they can't really go after you unless you really screwed up bad, but it does seem liability relative to the fee.

RE: Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

hotmailbox, these are questions for a lawyer, not us idiot engineers. But my understanding of the questions above are:

  • If you have a partnership, someone can sue you and go after your personal possessions (house, etc.). An LLC shields you from that.
  • Don't know, I'm sure it depends on your agreement with the client.
  • Maybe you need a new insurance broker.
  • If you have a firm and don't have a on call lawyer, you need to get one.

  • RE: Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California


    An LLC shields you from that.

    There are professions where this does not work, any profession where "malpractice" can be applied; that becomes a personal liability, hence liability insurance. Subcontractors don', or shouldn't, practice engineering, so no personal liability, UNLESS they are accused of practicing engineering.


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    RE: Questions about Shop Drawing Services in California

    Thank you all for all the input.

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