Our company had a loss prevention discussion this week where we discussed
policies for giving electronic files to clients (or not giving them). I was
wondering how other companies deal with this issue.
I don't have a company, I'm self employed. I'm sure it varies by
The only correct simple answer is, "it depends".
You have to think what you're protecting. Is it the confidentiality
or authentic aspect of the information on the drawings? Are you
concerned that somebody will use the drawings and then produce similar
drawings, for purposes of deception? Could these drawings be used to
mislead a customer or some other organization? Or is the information
itself on the drawings supposed to be confidential?
Some of my customers are engineering firms and their clients
(industrial customers) require engineering drawings at several steps
during the design and construction process. Many of them specify
AutoCAD format, usually 2000.
I can think of one argument for NOT giving them. I used to work for a
company that had purchased a smaller competitor. The small office had
a product line that they thought the larger firm should allow them to
So they took some drawings from the larger company as models and
converted their product drawings so that they looked like the big
company standard. The problem was that they weren't "official". It
wasn't a bad product line, but they had simply faked things like
engineering approvals and so forth that they had not done. IIRC, they
had also come up with dummy part numbers that looked real but weren't
issued the correct way under the new rules.
They didn't really intend to be deceptive, I think they just wanted to
show the main office that they could be professional. It didn't
really have that effect.
good loyal customers can get copies of anything they want. the ones that
take our prints & send them out for bids get modified versions. ( I work for
a sheet metal shop) I do allot of field measuring & this info is up to the
contract winner to produce. I stamp the drawings with "verify all
dimensions" and just give a few general dimensions.
Can't you convert the AutoCAD to some other format, such as PDF?
I did that this week. I worked on one drawing and sent it back. Then
somebody who was not involved wanted to look at it, but they were not
at a machine with AutoCAD. They asked me for a "Word version". I
suppose I could have converted it to a .bmp and then inserted into
Word, but I just sent it to a .pdf file instead.
You mean you're breaking the long standing tradition of borrowing
details from other companies?!?! Shame, shame. lol
On the serious side, and I mean no disrepect to your work, but is there
really anything that incredibly unique about your blocks/details that it
warrants so much worry?
As with everything, it depends on your exact circumstances, but frankly,
this topic seems to be much ado about nothing, generally speaking. If
you send me a paper drawing, I can duplicate it, likely within a few
hours, so what's the point of going through so much to prevent me from
using your drawings? Seems like alot of wasted effort to me.
Liability issues, regarding someone modifying your drawing, would be a
different animal, of course.
good point tom.
i mean from a "its my design/method of design (for the blocks) so keep your
hands off" (digitally speeking focourse). i mean anyone, of course could
copy a paper drawing, you can't prevent that, but a digial autocad drawing
is so much more powerful.
PDF is a great alturnative