The challenging conditions in the professional indemnity insurance (PII) market are a major lobbying priority for us at RIBA.
The rising cost and declining level of cover provided by PII policies is something that we have been talking to ministers, MPs and civil servants about for many months. While we are pleased that there is growing recognition that action is needed, recent proposals by the government to extend the Defective Premises Act have caused further disruption to the market without providing the long-term solution to the building safety crisis that is required.
While we also welcome the government’s commitment to pay for the removal of combustible cladding on buildings over 18 metres, we too acknowledge that this does not go far enough to protect residents or resolve the crisis. We are therefore actively lobbying policymakers for clarification on the expected impacts of the extension of the Defective Premises Act as well as making clear that we believe that the government will need to set aside significantly more money to pay for buildings under 18 metres to be made safe.
The recent RIBA member survey highlighted the scale of the problem and the findings are an important part of our campaign to influence government.
We hope that the debate around the Building Safety Bill by Parliament over the coming months will provide further opportunities for the RIBA to highlight the need for urgent action to address the legacy issues within the construction, legal and insurance sectors which have made it harder and more expensive, if not impossible, to secure adequate PII for all practices – even those with no exposure to defective mid and high-rise residential buildings.
In addition to lobbying, we have also produced several resources to help members better engage with insurers to discuss PII. The updated RIBA practice note contains guidance on some of the key factors to consider, and the new Fire Safety Compliance Tracker provides members with a template to record and share fire safety information.
The crisis also continues to affect professionals outside of construction and the built environment. That’s why we’re working closely with the Construction Industry Council, legal representatives and those from other sectors such as financial advisors and accountants to try to find solutions.
Please contact the RIBA Information Centre if you have any further queries or comments.