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Professional Indemnity Insurance

edited October 2006 in architecture
Can someone please describe the limitations of not carrying PI Insurance? What is it that I can not do without it?

Thanks,
David

Comments

  • edited January 1970
    The simple answer is you can not do anything without PI Insurance.
    It is an offence under the Building Act in Victoria to carry out work proscribed under the Act witthout being registered as either a building designer or architect. To get registered you need to hold PII.
    The only way to "get around" the act is to have your client to act as an owner builder and to submit any drawings in their name to planning and to the building surveyor. This will only work if the building surveyor and your client is prepared to overlook the "who prepared documents" question on the form. In this case the building surveyor carries liability and most of them are wising up (I would in no way condone this as it is technically illegal)!
    Doing this, you will also leave yourself very exposed to being sued by your client if something goes wrong. If you were to consider it you would need to have a solicitor draw up a leeter for you client to sign that removes your liability.
    Of course you could always get PII - try Architeam who provide a group policy as a friendly option - T: 8698 1807
  • edited January 1970
    Which would be good advice if I worked in Victoria ;)...but I don't. Anyone else know what I SHOULDN'T be doing if I don't have PI?
  • edited January 1970
    Dav, not being nosey or anything, but which state / country are you in? This will assist people thinking of advising you.
  • edited January 1970
    Peter, not nosey at all. I think i was just a tad annoyed that it was assumed i was in Melbs hehe. I'm working in Perth currently. Everyone has said that it is fine to do work without PI as long as it is stated and acknowledged by the client.

    Plus, i don't have any assets at the moment, so i'm not particularly bothered about getting sued.

    But nobody can pin down for me the particular tasks that come under the protection of a PI policy. As far as I can tell its professional advice type stuff, like suggesting builders, engineers etc and some notion of building knowledge, that is, claiming i have the ability to design a concrete slab when really i don't.

    Anything in greater detail would be most helpful.
    Thanks.
  • ariari
    edited January 1970
    the RAIA produces example documents for non-registered 'architects'. they are basically a list of things that you should and shouldn't do, and more importantly what you can and can't do legally. they also produce a sample contract for you and the client to sign which basically states that you are not an architect and that they are aware of this. because even if you don't have any assets, being sued isn't really in your best interests! you'll still need to get the design signed off by either a registered architect or a registered building practitioner in order to get a building permit.

    my advice, definitely contact the RAIA chapter office in your state.
  • edited January 1970
    Victorian or not you would be crazy to undertake any work without PII cover. Without it you will be personally liable for your actions and could lose everything - ie it could bankrupt you. Don't be tempted to do residential either as it is those clients who are the most willing to sue.

    cheers

    Phil
  • MBMB
    edited January 1970
    dav_ wrote:
    Plus, i don't have any assets at the moment, so i'm not particularly bothered about getting sued.

    I don't know about Australia but where I'm from your liability stays with you for quite a while. You may not have any assets now but you will do when the building falls over in 10 years time and you get sued.
  • edited January 1970
    Yes I believe that is the cawse - I have even been aware of an Architects estate being dragged into the mix - but that was some time a go.

    The basic fundamental is that if you are not prepared to afford your client who you are supposed to care about some level of protection then I think you are being very selfish. PI is for the common good and I think the Victorian legistalation where it is a legal requirement is a good thing. At least it gets rid of the back yarders and lets those of us trying to do the right thing make a living
  • MBMB
    edited January 1970
    Phil wrote:
    The basic fundamental is that if you are not prepared to afford your client who you are supposed to care about some level of protection then I think you are being very selfish. PI is for the common good and I think the Victorian legistalation where it is a legal requirement is a good thing. At least it gets rid of the back yarders and lets those of us trying to do the right thing make a living

    Well said!
  • edited January 1970
    In saying this I don't believe you need to insure up to the hilt. PII is not a substitute for competency....................
  • MBMB
    edited January 1970
    Phil wrote:
    In saying this I don't believe you need to insure up to the hilt. PII is not a substitute for competency....................

    With some fear of sounding like the Phil fan club, well said again!
  • edited January 1970
    Don't worry I can also say and do dumb things !!!
  • MBMB
    edited January 1970
    Phil wrote:
    Don't worry I can also say and do dumb things !!!

    Was that one of them?
  • edited January 1970
    History will be the judge
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