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Re: Repetitive Use of Design

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This type of thing is actually done all the time.  A local civil engineering
company that we work with uses "standard" designs for concrete storm water
inlet and junction structures 99% of the time.  These designs are very
conservative, and are very restrictive in how they are applied (maximum
depth, width, heights and ratios, type of soil, etc.).  Any time the
required structure falls outside of these parameters we get hired to design
a "special" structure.

The point is, some engineer, somewhere, designed those original structures
and set the original parameters.  They are being constructed all over the
state every day in varying soil conditions.

I see no problem with taking this job, as long as you are aware of the
problems up front.  While I am definitely no expert on law, here are some

- Negotiate a normal fee based on hours, but add extra for the extra risk
and for copying rights.

- Design for the worst possible soil pressure condition

- List *very* clear limiting parameters in the contract and on the drawings,
such as:
  -- Applicable Building Code(s), including year.
  -- Maximum depth of burial.
  -- Maximum live load on the top (don't put it under a road or building,
for example).
  -- If expansive soil pressure is a problem, limit the PI and LL values.
  -- Require a review by an SE if any of the limiting parameters are not

- Make is clear on the contract and the drawings that the concrete plant or
installer is responsible for establishing that the above conditions are met
prior to installation of the tank.

- Sign and stamp the original drawings and calculations, then authorize the
concrete plant to copy the drawings BUT NOT YOUR SEAL AND SIGNATURE!  This
way, the plant has a record that their tank was designed by a qualified
person, but your name isn't attached to each and every copy.

- If a seal is required by a particular individual or jurisdiction
(unlikely, for a septic tank), have a provision in the contract that you can
review the local conditions and seal the drawings for an additional fee.

I hope this helps.  Also, if anyone out there sees any problems with any of
these suggestions, please let me know.

Jason W. Kilgore, PE, SE
Project Engineer
Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.
816-444-9655 (FAX)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Bill Marczewski
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2003 12:26 PM
Subject: Repetitive Use of Design

I've been asked to design the concrete work for some septic tanks for a
local concrete plant.  I was not terribly excited about this request, but
the concrete plant made me feel sorry for them as there are few other people
in the area who perform structural design.  My question is whether or not I
should request some type of repeat fee or other (?) related to the reuse of
my original design.  Has anybody done a similar design task before, and if
so would you mind sharing with me your contractual concept as presented to
your client.  I'm not looking for an actual document, just some feedback as
to whether or not you would request a yearly fee for use of the design in
addition to the initial design.  Thanks.

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