Legal aspects to freelance drafting

Hi everyone,

I’ve come across a job where a customer has asked me to make the drawings up for a something which floats on water and people stand on. I can’t give away any details of the project however I am making the drawing based on their measurements and specs.

I’m purely playing the role of CAD monkey in this part.

My wife is scared that since I’m doing the drawings, I am responsible if anyone every got hurt “such as kids” from this project.
My plan was to have written in the project contract that I provide at the beginning of each job, that the customer is responsible for the safety aspects of the project as a whole and the CAD drafter (ie. me) is not held responsible.

Is this something I can do. I’m interested to know other peoples views on this.


You want a clause the indemnifies you. I highly recommend contacting a lawyer and having a standard set of of terms and clauses drawn up that you can easily modify. It is an investment, but if you plan on doing a lot of freelance it will pay off in the long run.

Definitely get legal advice. Some of the work you will be doing could easily fall under an engineering practice (IE something is undefined and you figure it out to get the job done). Doing this type of work without a license is illegal in its own right. If things are to go poorly, you could be in a lot of trouble.

That second part is not necessarily true - the OP appears to be in Australia, so AU, EU and US laws will all differ. It’s important that you get a lawyer who can draft up a standard master service agreement for you and your clients that will include all the standard protections you would want, payment terms, etc using language that is appropriate for your country of business (if this is international business, IE a client in the US you also need to make that clear to them).

It may cost you a few hundred dollars but once you do it once you should rarely need amends and is worth the time. There may be some standard freelance contracts available online for your country as well as a place to start.

Im not sure if you’re a member of the DIA, but they have resources dedicated to designers needing legal and insurance advice/services:

Well worth it even just for the free initial consultation.

They also have generic business and contract information here:

Yes you need a disclaimer or terms and conditions clause specific to your field and have your client agree in writing.
Here in Europe email is a legally valid form of writing.
If your client’s business is a legal entity and legally owns the implementation, they are responsible no matter who did the engineering.
Of course you want to keep a high reputation so it is good going a bit in-depth about the things you are building and have your drawings double-checked. But again the final responsibility is with the legal entity owning the product and with certain business structures, natural persons can never be held responsible unless grave misjudgments were made.