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Re: Duplication of others work.

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ErnieNSE(--nospam--at) wrote:
> 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 a
> lot of structural details( typical and special), foundation and framing plans,
> 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 and
> from countless other plans of other engineers are pretty much the same or very
> 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
> all?
> 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 can
> be used by any engineer in his own work. What I feel was illegal or unethical
> is the indiscriminate duplication of plans and details without reviewing if it
> applies to their project, or modifying it to improve and conform with their
> project.
> I want to know if other engineers don't use a detail they have seen on another
> 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 same
> presentation....
> Ernie Natividad

I have thought long and hard about this thread; and, I must say I agree
with Ernie.  As a young engineer in a small office, I take every
opportunity I can to look at the way other engineers (especially the
"Big Dogs") present their plans, details, and general notes.  Some of
the ideas I like and incorporate them into my plans and some of them I
disregard totally.  How are we supposed to learn and improve upon
ourselves if we live in a box and kick out the same old stuff.  I have
seen plans produced by a Nationally recongnized structural engineering
firm.  I loved the way they presented their general notes; but, I
thought their plans and details were terrible.  In fact, they had a
"standard detail", with a copyright symbol of a drilled pier.  I have
seen the same detail 200 times on other firms' plans.  It was even
similar to the detail shown in the CRSI manual.  How can that be
copyrighted??  How many different ways can you draw a drilled pier with
a bell??

As part of my learning process, I will continue to review other
engineers' plans, specifications, and general notes to improve upon the
quality of information produced by this firm.

Brian K. Smith, P.E.