Personal indemnity insurance (PII) is back on the agenda again with the spat over Paul Hyett's father doing a small job without cover.
I am a full supporter of the principle of PII cover for architects, and as a young architect I was always aware of the danger of doing small jobs in my spare time, and the risks to myself and the client if something were to go wrong.
However, the ARB's current approach to PII insurance seems to me to be too draconian. Perhaps a little more flexibility would be appropriate, particularly in not stifling the inventiveness of young, up-and-coming architects, and the experience of those at the end of their careers.
I do not object to the ARB's insistence on PII for full-time practising architects, but it should be permissible for architects to undertake small works for clients, provided that it is made clear in the letter of appointment that the architect does not carry insurance cover, and the client accepts this. Thus it is the client's decision.
To deny the client the right to use an architect to design his building because the architect does not have PII is an infringement of the client's freedom of choice. The essential aspect is the clarity of the letter of appointment and the ARB should only prosecute where this is not made clear.
Anthony Kingsley, London SW15