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Why the objections to compulsory PII cover?


In response to Ian Salisbury's letter under the heading 'ARB conduct penalties send out the wrong signals' (AJ 13.2.03).

Firstly, the ARB registrar and chief executive is not the clerk to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). The work of this committee is totally independent of ARB. The Clerk of the Committee is an independent lawyer, as is the PCC chairman.

Secondly, the RIBA policy, with which I understand Ian Salisbury agrees, is that the ARB making public indemnity insurance (PII) cover for architects in practice compulsory is in the best interest of the public, clients and architects.

That being so, it is perfectly reasonable for the ARB, if only in the public interest, to monitor architects to ensure that this requirement is being met. It is not a problem for anyone unless you are practising and do not have PII cover.

To date, more than 98 per cent of the profession have completed the PII compliance form. Not surprising, as the form is a simple box-ticking exercise which confirms they either carry PII cover (many because their clients insist on it), or are covered by their employers' public indemnity insurance, or do not require cover as they are not in practice.

So what is Ian Salisbury's problem? I assume he is properly insured in respect of his architectural and expert witness work.

That being so, all the ARB requires (and this is what he appears to object to, for ideological reasons best known to himself ) is for architects, when renewing their registration, to confirm to ARB they do have PII cover, or that they do not need it.

I cannot believe that Ian Salisbury prefers, as in a recent serious PCC Greatorex case, for the ARB to discover too late that the architect involved was practising without PII cover, resulting in the client suffering very significantly and unrecoverable financial loss?

It is important that all architects - and particularly Ian Salisbury, as his is standing for election to the board - to understand clearly the role and responsibilities of ARB and its board members. It is an organisation set up by parliament to regulate those using the title architect.

Owen Luder CBE, chairman, ARB

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