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RE: Duplication of others work.

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Please, Ernie, don't use the "everybody does it" arguement. I know that, in
the 11 years I've had my own practice, I haven't looked at lot of other
engineered drawings and "lifted" their work.

Let me give you another example to counter balance your arguement. Say you
are working for an architect who specializes in fast food restaurants. They
hire you to do the structural engineering on a "McDonald's" type structure.
You do an excellent job (which I would expect nothing less from you) and the
project goes great. Say the architect gets another project using the
identical building. However, instead of coming to you, he takes your
drawings, cuts off the title block, adds his own and runs shacohs of the
structural drawings. Since this project is in California and architects can
do structural engineering for these types of projects, he does the same with
your calculations. He doesn't hire you or even call you to let you know what
he is doing. Sure, he takes the liability, but he has seen one project go
O.K. (meaning that there were no plan check corrections and no complaints
from the field) and he is willing to take that risk.

If that happened to you, would you feel you had been cheated?

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From: ErnieNSE(--nospam--at) [mailto:ErnieNSE(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 1998 8:13 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Duplication of others work.

I'm not sure what kind of details cannot be duplicated and what can be
considered typical that almost everybody uses.

I've worked for five different engineering firms in the first 10 years of
working and I've been working by myself the last ten years. I have compiled
lot of structural details( typical and special), foundation and framing
and structural notes and specifications during my early years of gaining
experience. And I still keep a file of new and interesting details and other
structural ideas even up to now whenever I see somebody else's plan. The
typical details and structural notes I've seen from my previous employers
from countless other plans of other engineers are pretty much the same or
similar. Special details for a particular condition varies from engineer to
engineer and I usually get ideas from these details and create my own. Some
times, if a detail seems perfect to me that I cannot improve on it, use the
same detail. I don't copy it and paste it on my plans. I redraw it. Even the
way foundation and framing plans are drawn, I keep on changing my style if I
see one that I feel is an improvement on my present style.

I guess I'm guilty of illegal duplication other's work. But how about the
other engineers? If ten or more engineers uses the same details on their
respective jobs, who copied from whom? Is it OK to copy some details but not

I didn't feel guilty when I was using the same details and plans that I've
seen used by other engineers(until now). I thought that these plans and
details are typical or standard in the structural engineering industry and
be used by any engineer in his own work. What I feel was illegal or
is the indiscriminate duplication of plans and details without reviewing if
applies to their project, or modifying it to improve and conform with their

I want to know if other engineers don't use a detail they have seen on
set of plans even if they see a perfect one for their job that they cannot
think of any modification. Or if they see a foundation and framing plan
presentation that they feel is very good and they want to use exactly the

Ernie Natividad