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ARB committee slates uninsured Scottish architect

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The arb has dealt out a reprimand to a Scottish architect who worked on a project without being covered by proper insurance. It was the first case of its kind since new laws made it compulsory for architects to have full professional indemnity insurance before taking on a commission.

Iain McCowan, of High Peacockbank, Stewarton, appeared before the arb's professional conduct committee which sat last week in London.

He admitted the breach of the law and the architects' code of conduct, but maintained that his lack of insurance cover had been due to a regrettable oversight. The offence came to light during an investigation into complaints from clients about his work. Although these complaints turned out to be unfounded, the matter of his lack of insurance was discovered.

The committee said that McCowan was guilty of 'unacceptable professional conduct', but it was 'very much at the lower end of the scale', so only a reprimand was given - though the arb can strike an architect off the register for this offence.

Architect Paul Hyett has railed against a new arb demand for details about architects' insurance premiums. arb has sent out a letter asking for the level of cover practices have, but Hyett, who has been in contact with 'leading insurers' has been advised that such information must not be given out. He has written to the arb saying that his own policy details are 'confidential and not available to the board'.

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