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RE: CAD files

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My two (or more) cents/random thoughts concerning CAD files for contractor use:
As a specialty concrete contractor, we find the availability of cad files to be a real benefit to the project. 
1. Many of the reinforcing steel detailers that we use seem to farm their work to overseas groups and the transfer of data really speeds up the process
2. "redrawing" a plan does take a lot of time and there is a bigger chance of a "blunder" when doing so
3. Reinforcing detailing is more about lists and schedules, and the plans are usually used as a background only---the Engineer usually got CAD backgrounds from the Architect, and the structural drawings were generated from them.
4. We have feedbacl from design professionals that seems to indicate that there is a benefit to having their plans used as a background because of the familiarity they have with those same backgrounds, and review is made easier due to the fact that they are not looking at a "reinvention" of the picture.
5. CAD files are usually used by more than one subcontarctor---for example, while we might use them for reinfgorcing, often the M/E/P subcontarctors asre using them for coordination (i.e. ductwork drawings using steel framing plans to identify beam and girder depths for cieling coordination. The General Contractor or Construction (mis) Manager may purchase them and then have multiple entities use them.
6. Many of our projects are attempting to be "paperless" in that contracts require electronic submittal (sometimes posted on project websites or servers) with the onus for hard copies being on the user---a returned file in pdf form, with all comments and review marks included, is what we get back and that gets plotted out and provided to the ironworkers in the field. Sometimes we submit electronic files, they get plotted, hand marked by the reviewer, scanned and returned as a scan of a paper copy. This saves a lot of time and cost (administrative time to make multiple copies, shipping costs, paper socts, etc) and if a project team has commited or is required to "get green" that helps.
7. One huge area we find CADF files to be useful is in formwork layout, for example, complex wall projects, with wierd geomteries......there is software that some vendors use (PERI GmBH. for one) that can import a .dwg plan and readily and efficiently determine what shuttering works best.....hand calculating angles, radii, and the like can be near impossible, especially when Architects (meaning Architects for whom the A MUST be capital) do not do a very good job of dimensioning (becasue they can draw it in CAD the way they want it to look but for the life of them could not tell you what the angles/offsets/face to face dimensions are) what they envision.
8. Many of our vendors and sub-subs have CAD capability and emailing files is a lot more efficient than printing 30 sets of copies to send out to get pricing or detailing......saves a lot of trees, gas, etc.
That is not to say that there are scenarios where good old redrawing is a good idea---we have a few detailers who are very old school (most worked for Bethlehem Steel back in the day) who simply have no motivation for such things. 
When asked to pay for files, we usually let the GC/CM know that without them, add 4 weeks to the submittal of initial draswings. They usually make the fee go away---I am not sure how (see 5 above)
As far as size of submittals, shame on anyone who submits such a small drawing. CRSI and ACI 315 both address what a reasonable size for drawings may be. We see some specifications with size requirements.
OK< I have droned on enough.

Richard W. Stone, P.E.
Madison Concrete Construction
Philadelphia, PA
Based on my most recent experience, I would tend to encourage the vendor =
use my CAD files as backgrounds (to the angst of my E&O carrier). =
Instead, I
got a framing plan that was 8-1/2"x11" and was very difficult to read. =
As it
turns out, it was also difficult to build. Many field corrections. Yes, =
got paid for the fixes, but I still would have preferred doing something
else with my time. Yes, I would have them sign a hold harmless letter =
and I
would ship w/o my title block.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
 V (949) 248-8588 . F(949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Jerry Coombs [mailto:JCoombs(--nospam--at)]=20
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 5:26 AM
Subject: RE: paid for release of CAD files to subs...


It's not uncommon or unreasonable to have the contractor pay for them.  =
$50/ sheet, it costs them less than an hour's pay to a tech.  Have them =
a release of liability (even if you give them away) for errors/ =
dimensions, etc, and go for it.  If you give them away, you're still =
up a small amount of liability, like it or not.  May as well get paid a
little for it.  If they don't buy it, so what? =20


The client shouldn't have to pay for it.  shop drawings are built in to =
construction costs, and by charging them you're saving the contr'r =
If it doesn't save him, he won't pay it.


>>> On 10/23/2007 at 6:32 AM, Adam Vakiener <avakiener(--nospam--at)>


We are often asked to release our CAD floor plans to sub-contractors for
their shop drawing/layout use.

After giving these files away "gratis" for years, I fell that it is high
time we make these guys cough up
Some green as we are making their lives IMMENSELY easier.

Plus, they make a lot more on the project than we do.

Do you guys/gals charge for your files and if so, how much?


David L. Fisher SE PE

Senior Director

Cape Cod Grand Cayman Holdings Ltd. - Cayman

Fisher+Partners Structural Engineers Ltd. - Cayman

372 West Ontario Chicago 60610

75 Fort Street Georgetown Grand Cayman BWI

319 A Street Boston 02210


Our firm charges $50 per sheet for CAD files.  You would be surprised by =

how many people decide against it when that price is mentioned.=20
However, I still usually end up doing it for the rebar and structural=20
steel detailer on most projects.