Re: Re: Professional Indemnity Insurance for Architect
@ Goneill :
A member who is in practice as an independent consultant architect should maintain a level of professional indemnity insurance appropriate to the nature and sale of the practice.
Even for a small practice with 2-4 concurrent jobs going at a time, this could run to €2.5 m easy.
In any case, insurers themselves will insist on minimum insured amounts according to both the expense equalizing tendencies of the insurance sector itself, as well as the actual scale of risk by the professional concerned. (Like public liability insured amounts of €1.3 m added to the smallest business with no public access to their works.)
@Fiona Mansfield :
The essence of your case against the architect may well turn on the construction drawings, the associated notes and moreover the dialogue between architect and builder on the matters giving rise to the losses.
But prior professional history is hard to come by for a newcomer to an area – moreover someone unfamiliar with the building scene.
No new/casual acquaintance wants to stick his/her out and advise for this or that architect/engineer/ surveyor/etc or against another. There’s always the danger they’d be blamed if the advice was taken but the project was a failure.
And those friends who would do so are not always sufficiently au fait with the local professional misfits scene to guide us either.
Added to that is the particular need of someone engaging an architect to find someone who “gets” what they are trying to imagine and trying (awkwardly) to communicate. Client-architect relations in my humble opinion – at least as far as house design goes – seem to hang heavily on the existence on a good communicative union between the parties.
Like with other types of relations, this sense of mutual understanding can be faked by a person with a bit of social skill and a share of personal charm. And so many architects have a lot of this stuff, sadly.
It’s easy to imagine the scene. A woman rushing around trying to do all the tasks that go into building or rebuilding a house. A professional suavely guiding her into the comfy chair. A cup of coffee being handed to the stressed out woman. Then the soft spoken enquiries. “Tell me about your site” and “What sort of design you have in mind” — all the time using her firstname, that infuriating violation of the modern age. Then the sunny eyeball gazing at her as she speaks . . .
We’ve all been “done” by one of these people.
My approach would be :
1. Look at the architect’s own portfolio on their website. If they haven’t got a website by now, they’re deadbeats.
2. Drive out some Sunday and view a couple of the finished houses. If possible, at a later time of mutual convenience, talk to the owners of these houses and listen to their appraisal of the design features and how they worked out.
3. When interested in jobs done by a particular architect, arrange an appointment to discuss your project with him/her. By paying the architect for this time, you avoid being legally – or feeling morally – under any obligation to engage them afterwards.
4. The purpose of the architect visit is as much (more?) about your mutual communicative compatibility as it is about the architect’s ability and will to produce good work.
Do not be shy of using your intuition on points of unease, whether you are a man or woman.
Better safe than sorry.
5. There is supposed to be a type of insurance that a client can take out against the risk of losses arising from different types of failure in a building project. If the project’s potential losses are high look into this.