Q: Some time ago we had a complete set of plans drawn for a new church, but now we have no further use for them. Is there anything that can be done with the plans? Can we give them away, sell them, or should we just forget about them? Any ideas? A church clerk
A: Plans and specifications that have been prepared by a member of the American Institute of Architects generally remain the architect's possession, even though they may be used to build an owner's project.
Check the written agreement governing the preparation of the plans as to the ownership of the drawings.
If the design agreement does not specify ownership, then very likely the plans are yours to dispose of as you see fit.
Custom plans and specifications are normally tailored for specific building sites under certain local ordinances as well as for owners with a given budget and need for the building. It is difficult to find a second church owner whose needs, budget, site topography, local codes, etc., coincide with the original.
Assuming an unlikely situation in which another church is found whose design criteria approximate yours, then other physical variables might compel the redrawing and reengineering of the plans.
That may be tantamount to starting fresh in terms of design time and cost.
Sell them, give them away, or just forget the whole thing? Unless a marvelous coincidence occurs, you may unfortunately have to do the latter.