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ARB talks tough after indemnity breach

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The ARB has prosecuted six architects for failing to comply with its strict professional indemnity insurance (PII) rules.

The board's professionalconduct committee last week found each of the six guilty of three counts of unacceptable professional conduct.

Punishment for the six - charged for their failure to confirm to the board that they were PII-compliant - varied from small fines for those who had pleaded guilty to a probable ban for those who had failed to plead and failed to attend.

The move will leave those in the profession who refuse to comply with the PII rules concerned that they could also face prosecution.

The six were Giuliano Zampi, John Simms, Frederick Chinery, Robert Kirk, Brian Cooper and Clifford Gardner.

A spokesman for the ARB regulation department said there was no valid excuse for failing to fulfil the PII rules.

'Although the overwhelming majority of the profession has PII in place, very often well in excess of the minimum ARB guidelines, PII is still an emotive issue with a very small element in the profession, ' he said.

'However, there can be no possible justification for an architect carrying out professional work without adequate and appropriate cover in place.' But former board member Ian Salisbury unsurprisingly attacked the rulings. He said:

'None of these architects was apparently the subject of any kind of complaint and yet they were all found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

'The charges against these architects arose not through any act of misconduct, but appears to have come to the registrar's attention merely from a refusal to submit the so-called certificates of compliance.

'The Architects Act expressly states that 'failure by a registered person to comply with the provisions of the code shall not be taken of itself to constitute unacceptable professional conduct'. It appears to me, therefore, that these findings are unlawful, ' he claimed.

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