In the UK, architecture is regulated by the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The title ‘architect’ is protected under Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997 and can only be used by a person who has had the education, training and experience needed to become an architect, and who is registered with the ARB. An architect must be a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to become chartered.

Professional Indemnity insurance became compulsory for all architects in 1997 under the ARB Architects Code. The ARB recommended minimum limit of liability for a PI policy is £250,000 each and every claim; the ARB also recommends that, upon cessation of business, architects ensure they have a minimum of six years’ run-off cover.

Claims Examples

  • The insured signed a certificate of practical completion on a residential new build project. Many snagging issues arose that went unresolved by the contractors, who blamed design faults. Amount paid: £450,000
  • A claim was made alleging faulty design of a building causing water infiltration and foundation issues. Amount paid: £2,500,000
  • Problems in the construction of a new house caused delays and extras, leading to a claim against the insured, who had involvement in planning, design and site inspection. Amount paid  £65,000
  • The insured’s client had financial problems and became the ‘client from hell’, changing specifications, sacking contractors and taking fanciful claims all the way to court against anyone involved. Successfully defended but hundreds of thousands of pounds of irrecoverable legal costs incurred
  • Warehouse floor disintegrated after only a few months of use. A claim was made against the architect alleging deficiencies in the design. Amount paid: £110,000.