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PII is both safeguard and marketing tool

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I write with amazement that our president David Rock should continually argue the case against compulsory PII.

I am a practising sole-trading architect surviving generally on small domestic works (the very type of architect which Mr Rock seeks to protect), and yet I am in favour of compulsory PII.

I compete continually for work against the kitchen-table plan-drawers and architectural consultants, many of whom masquerade as architects. I obtained my own £100,000 PII cover in 1997, which at a cost of just over £200 was affordable, and I now welcome the peace of mind. When tendering for work I also inform my clients that they are employing a professional architect who is insured shou ld any prob lems occur. In effect I regard PII not only as a safeguard but also as a marketing tool.

I regularly experience a complete ignorance regarding who and what an architect is. Most people seem to regard any person that draws plans as an architect.

I participated in the 'Architect in the House' initiative and I regard compulsory PII as a welcome and further attempt to persuade clients that to employ an architect is hopefully to guarantee professionalism and at least insurance should problems occur. Would the recent bad publicity regarding the bodged roof conversion have been such an issue if the client could have obtained redress from the architect's insurance?

Finally, Mr Rock has been quoted as saying that an architect designing one small kitchen extension at £1400 should not be expected to pay PII.

This statement, in addition to his suggestion that proposed hourly rates should be between £50 and £90, is baffling. I struggle to obtain fees of £300 for similar work.

In the week when Barnsley FC defeat the might of Manchester, why is South Yorkshire still so far removed?

A K BAILEY, RIBA (reduced rate! ) Barnsley

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