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. . . as Goldschmied hits out at 'half-baked' insurance stance

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A row broke out at last week's ARB board meeting when Marco Goldschmied condemned a new draft policy on professional indemnity insurance as 'half-baked and half-thought-out'.

Last February the board agreed in principle that all architects on the ARB register would have until March 2002 to prove that they were adequately insured - and would risk being disciplined and thrown off the register if they refused to comply with the requirement. ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan said there was 'nothing contentious or peculiar' in his new draft paper, but Goldschmied took issue with a number of points.

He said the draft took no account of payment in kind, was unclear about 'run-off ' times and used 'lazy' language. Goldschmied said that he had once been presented with a Burne-Jones drawing as payment for a piece of design work, but that the new draft document failed to take account of such remuneration. 'How do you measure Burne-Joneses for turnover purposes of PII?' he asked. 'I'm very worried about it as a draft paper. It doesn't really seem to recognise the needs of the profession.'

The paper advises practices to take out indemnity cover of at least £500,000 for annual fees of more than £100,000.

Goldschmied also criticised the paper for neglecting to tackle in detail the PII requirements of architects who work for a practice but undertake their own commissions. The draft states that insurance must be secured for a 'minimum period of time'. 'What does that mean?' asked Goldschmied.

'At which year would you throw me out if I don't have insurance? You've got to address these issues.'

The board agreed to insert a new clause to quell Goldschmied's fears.A final decision on PII will be taken at the next meeting in November.

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