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RIBA ups anti-ARB battle

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The RIBA has triggered further heated debate with the ARB by stating in a practice bulletin last week that the institute cannot support the board's stance on Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).

The institute has hit out at a document sent to ARB members entitled 'FAQ's - Statement of Compliance for PII'.

This document refers to paragraph 8.3 of Standard 8 in the ARB Code of practice. It was introduced by way of an amendment and states that 'architects must... provide such evidence in such form as the Board may require to demonstrate compliance with this standard'.

However Practice Bulletin 283 makes the RIBA's stance clear. 'During the consultation stage for the amendment the RIBA questioned the legitimacy of this provision and continues to do so,' it says.

'Since its incorporation in the ARB Code, the RIBA has also questioned the action taken by the Registrar in respect of it under section 14 of the Architects Act (Professional misconduct and incompetence).

'This is an unresolved matter of difference between the RIBA and ARB and the Institute cannot support statements made in ARB's latest communication about a requirement to provide a 'Statement of Compliance',' the bulletin adds.

However ARB chief executive Robin Vaughan has dismissed the criticism. 'What ARB has done is common across many professions, although ARB unlike others simply asks for registrants to self certify their position; it does not ask for proof from insurers as many others do,' he told the AJ.

'Our regime is perfectly lawful, transparent and not onerous for individuals. And is in the interest of architects and consumers.

'If RIBA does not think it a good idea to let its members demonstrate though our compliance form that they have in place the minimum standards required to give confidence to the public, and to have in place protection for themselves, then that is their view.

'It in not ours, nor is it the view of many other professions. Look for example what RICS does to help you compare and contrast, very different actions and mindset to the RIBA,' Vaughan added.

by Ed Dorrell

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