ARBThe ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee has reprimanded Mr Stephen Algar of Ascot, Berkshire after finding him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct for not carrying professional indemnity insurance.

The PCC heard that Mr Algar had been asked for a copy of his PII certificate during the course of a separate investigation. He accepted that he did not carry insurance and explained that he did not think that he needed it in the particular circumstances of his practice as he worked only for a development company of which he was a director. He said he had funds available to meet any liability and felt this was adequate for the work he did for that company, Algar Design Ltd.

Mr Algar attended the hearing and admitted both the facts and that this was unacceptable professional conduct. In mitigation, he said that as he did not have any direct contact with clients and had his own cash reserves in the event of any claim, he did not consider he needed to hold a suitable policy with a recognised insurance company. He had since obtained PII and apologised for his naivety.

The PCC found that it is necessary and important for architects to have PII and agreed that this did amount to unacceptable professional conduct. While Mr Algar did not work for the public or third parties, nevertheless there were circumstances where there might be a negligence action against him as a professional architect, distinct from any liability that his company might have. Should his company not have the resources to meet such a claim a member of the public or other third party might suffer loss. Any claimant would not have the involvement of an independent insurance company.

In considering sanction, the PCC noted this had been a long standing issue, and that the question of insurance was fundamental to all forms of practice. In mitigation, the Committee noted that Mr Algar had been fully cooperative with the ARB, that he had immediately remedied the situation and noted the insight shown by Mr Algar, who had a long and previously unblemished career. In the circumstances it found that the appropriate sanction was a reprimand.

A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here.