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Re: OWNR - Contract, Liability, Ownership of Documents for Mass Produced Building

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Bunch of stuff here. First of all, you need to put a clause in your
contract which limits your liability if the client reuses your engineering
without conset. My insurance broker has instructed me to put the following
in my contract:

"Should the engineering be reused without the written consent of Engineer,
Client will hold harmless Engineer for negligence, errors or omissions."

In my personal opinion, you should retain ownership of all the documents
you produce and get paid (something) for every instance of their use, just
as the client would. You have copyrights and should protect them. Remember,
your engineering are merely "instruments of service" to construct
something. Once the project is completed, the rights revert back to you.

I'm not an attorney (I'm bragging now) but I do not think you can ask the
client to cover your deductible for mistakes you make. I do think you can
be held harmless (by the client anyway) from unauthorized reuses but that
will not stop someone else from suing you.

I'm pretty stringent about this issue. I must say that I am not very
popular in the tract housing market.

Bill Allen

> From: Stan Johnson <hawneng(--nospam--at)>
> To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
> Subject: OWNR - Contract, Liability, Ownership of Documents for Mass
Produced Building
> Date: Tuesday, September 09, 1997 5:55 PM
> Hey Everybody :)
> Suppose you've got a client that asked you to
> design a building for mass production for use in
> California schools (Part of your services includes
> getting the building through DSA as a pre-approved
> assembly)
> Your original thought was to retain ownership of
> documents, include in your contract a fee for
> every unit produced, and bill all plan check stuff
> & other misc. junk after the DSA approval on an
> hourly basis.
> But, now, the client wants to market to private
> interests and perhaps out of state interests and
> the client does not want you to retain ownership
> of documents.  You don't think he's hot on paying
> a per unit fee.
> How do you handle liability issues in this case.
> Can you put a note on your plans disavowing
> liability?  Do you put a hold harmless type clause
> in your contract?  Should you refuse to provide
> anything reproducible except to DSA?  Should you
> refuse to provide anything with your logo, seal,
> or signature except to DSA?
> How should you handle compensation in this case?
> Even if you get a rewrite on your contract, you
> can still get buried in lawyers fees if someone
> tries to hassle you about this.  Can you put
> something in your contract that the client must
> cover your E&O deductible if you get sued, even if
> its the client suing you?  Should you insist on a
> per unit fee?  Does not owning the documents make
> this impossible to enforce?
> Tanks.
> Stan Johson
> BS, EIT, Never thought I'd wish I was a lawyer
> :)