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David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 883
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 05:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of the partners at my firm is very nervous about throwing away old sets of drawings. She is concerned that security may be compromised if the drawing fall into the wrong hands.

Do you think that this is a valid concern?
Steve Talanian
Senior Member
Username: stalanian

Post Number: 19
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Thursday, August 09, 2007 - 05:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If security is the concern, then there needs to be a written policy for your firm that states "what to do with what." Meaning, should drawings all be treated the same? Obviously not! The drawings for a fast food restaurant should be treated differently then the drawings for a school, hospital or public building, etc. Security and safety are key!
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 197
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 01:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

While there may be some particularly sensitive buildings I believe that this fear is overstated and that there are other risks that you should pay more attention to.

remember we cannot protect against all risks. We need to have a sense of perspective.

Ask yourself how many accidents were lost due to automibile accidents last year and compare that to American lives lost in due to terrorism. Maybe we should be more interested in limiting automobile accidents.

If you really want to do something positive stop talking on your cell phone while driving.
Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 673
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 06:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Why not shred the drawings and then recycle the paper strips?
Steve Talanian
Senior Member
Username: stalanian

Post Number: 20
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 08:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

"Accidents" are just accidents. Horrible as they may be they are a part of living life. For the most part, they're not intentional. Being concerned about not letting drawings end-up in the wrong hands is a good thing. You shouldn't think on a "terrorist level" all of the time. Some people have no scruples and they may want to use some drawings to commit a crime.

Shredding or some sort of destruction of "garbage" drawings is a good thing. I don't think anyone will mind if you destroy documents that are meant for garbage.

There are companies all over the country that are in the document destruction/shredding business...if that's what you think you need to do.
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: markgilligan

Post Number: 199
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 12:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


Accidents are not just accidents. Accidents are the result of decisions that have been made in design and the actions of individuals. The number of accidents and their consequense can be reduced if we individually and as a part of society take steps to reduce them.

There are an infinity of things that we can worry about but we have limited resources so we must focus on those issues that benifet us the most. This means that we need to step back and look at each of the risks from an objective point of view. The tools of risk management can be usefull in this process.

Research on risk repeatedly points out that people are inconsistent in responding to risks. We spend billions on terrorism where we could save more lives by spending a lesser amount on other topics.

As specification writers part of our job is to balance the risks against the costs. Remember that when you pay too much attention to one risk you end up paying less attention to other potentially bigger risks.
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 613
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Friday, August 10, 2007 - 02:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

ZGF has a document destruction company come to shred all drawings -- this happened after a drawing set ended up in a dumpster somewhere in the Pike Place Market. its too hard to have a multiple document policy because then there has to be a judgement about what is important? the cafe at the hotel? how about the business office?
shred all drawings; shred all spec books.
of course, with document sharing, there is no way to determine what your consultants are doing with them....
David J. Wyatt
Senior Member
Username: david_j_wyatt_csi_ccs_ccca

Post Number: 69
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2007 - 09:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I prefer to co-mingle old drawings and specs with stable manure on my back 40. They cause a slow spontaneous combustion that simultaneously reduces the manure pile and destroys the documents.

Of course this method is very expensive when you factor in the cost of the horses, vet care, grain, hay, etc. necessary to produce the manure. But it helps kill time.
Steve Talanian
Senior Member
Username: stalanian

Post Number: 21
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2007 - 09:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Getting back to Davids core question about "what to do with old sets of drawings because one of the partners at his firm is nervous because she's afraid of the drawings falling into the wrong hands." There needs to be a policy in-place...with 1-3 levels. (1) Public access areas (library's, hopitals, schools, movie theatres, etc); (2) Commercial, industrial & retail spaces; & (3) Residential. If you have more areas try to divide them like this and set your policy to "destroy all related documents" as you see fit. If you don't destroy "all" then maybe another course of action will be "destroy just drawings/floor plans," or maybe there's minimal or not security risk so you discard the material in regular trash."

As long as you have a policy in-place that clearly states what to do most people will follow. If you leave it up to the individual, nothing will be done!

I'm not a spec writer or an architect, but when you have a policy in-place you can expect people to follow and you can think about them less because it should become an automatic process, leaving you more time to spend thinking about the potentially larger risks.
Marc C Chavez
Senior Member
Username: mchavez

Post Number: 221
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2007 - 11:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

1. Well, the policy at ZGF is not being enforced as I see many a set in the plain old garbage.

2. Way back at Nixon/Dersham we found a set had ended up in a dumpster on Queen Anne Hill. Since it was a prison housing building the cops were concerned. It appears that the brother of an inmate was the janitor at another AE firm working on the job and he was lookinig for a way to break his brother out.

3. The sets were numbered so we knew where it came from.

4. There was no way to break him out because we did quality design and the housing was in the middle of a fenced yard with 2 fences and 9 different coils of razor wire.

5. Mark Gilligan is correct, If you have to worry about this you don't have enough work to do.

6. Steve Talanian is correct too.

7. I've spent too much time on this answer already.


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