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Re: Duplication of others work.

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Bill,

Your hypothetical case is quite accurate. I've been doing a lot of fast food
restaurants(but not McDonalds). And in answer to your question if I'll be
upset if they used my plans and details for an exact duplicate
building............my answer is NO!    Why?      Because I copied  the same
plans and details from a set plans they(the owner of the restaurant) gave me.
I just made sure that I reviewed the plans very well and I'm completely
satisfied that it conforms to my standards. And also, I had to do my own set
of structural calculations from scratch. And if I found something that needs
to be changed, framing size or connection detail, I would have changed it
.........but everthing was OK.

My first instinct when I bid on my first job for this client is that I will
use this set of plans and improve on it, modify it a bit. I didn't want to
just copy it. But I was told that this is a prototype building and they have
been using the same set of plans for identical buildings for a long time. They
are very satisfied with it considering it has gone through many revisions and
improvements throughout its use. They don't want to mess around with some
untested new concepts or ideas. Now, should I refuse the job because it is
against my principle of not copying somebody else's plans? If I turn the job
down, I'm almost sure somebody else will jump at the opportunity to do it,
copying the prototype plan.

Do I feel guilty copying the plans?    Well, I did some background checking
first on how the current set of plans came about and I found out that the
plans have been going around different engineers who have been copying it,
maybe improving on it during the early stages, until it came to me. The
original engineer who developed the prototype would be the first one to be
upset because he spent so much time, money and effort to get it in good shape.
But he has been adequately compensated for his initial efforts, plus he has
been paid  a  nice fee for the re-use of these plans for the last few years.
He's still doing some new projects for them and he's quite happy with the
present business arrangment. He would like to keep everything to himself but
......... Anyway, now I don't feel guilty anymore. It looks like the original
engineer is happy, the other engineers who did the jobs for while(including
me) are happy, the owner is happy, the next engineer to do the job is gonna be
happy....................

I've been involved with two other similar projects with prototype buildings
and it seems that  some other engineers are doing it this way......

Is it legal? Is it ethical? Is it standard industry practice?...............I
don't know.

If you were ask by McDonalds to do maybe a hundred or a thousand units using
their prototype plan, would you turn it down?

Ernie Natividad