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Re: Record Retention

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Roger has a good point, but I believe your screwed either way.  I delete 
calcs simply because I don't want to maintain paper in a 120 square foot 
office. I do maintain electronic documents, but have had crashes that 
destroyed a years worth of records on tape backup.  The courts can do what 
they want with this one, but there is little I can do other than prove the 
failure occured.
I believe it is much easier to find fault with calculations than it is to 
find fault with design drawings. However, it is more difficult to work 
backwards from the design drawings to prove that an engineers basic design 
stradegy was at fault. There is too much room for interpretation that can 
lead to the work shown on the design drawings.

Don't misunderstand. Once it gets to a point where there is a need to produce 
documents to defend yourself, you are screwed any which way you turn. At the 
very least, you come out clean after spending a few thousand and hours of 
aggravation. 

Dennis


In a message dated 6/30/99 4:56:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com writes:

<< David Puskas asked:
 
 >>I would like to inquire if there are any legal requirements for the time
 period that an engineer of record  must retain structural calculations, and
 construction documents.  I seem to remember back when I started in the late
 '70's my employer had indicated that he needed to keep these documents for
 seven years.<<
 
 At one time, the insurance industry recommended that you destroy all records 
 after a job is finished.  They have apparently now done a 180 as reflected 
in 
 CNA/Victor O. Schinnerer's booklet, "The Litigation Process," dated 7/97 
 which states (on page 4):
 
 "_Never alter, destroy or dispose of the original records._  Any alteration 
 of existing records will either be obvious or subject to detection by 
experts 
 in document analysis.  Changes might be viewed by a jury as an admission 
that 
 there is something to hide or cover up.  Changes to clarify records, make 
 them more legible or to add missing information, even if made in 'good 
 faith,' are subject to misinterpretation by a jury.  The plaintiff's 
 attorneys have access to experts in document authentication."
 
 A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
 Tucson, Arizona >>