Tony Bingham’s hope that 2007 will be the year when architects do drawings, engineers do engineering and so on (5 January, page 54) is music to the ears of indemnity brokers and insurers.
If architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors all stuck to their core disciplines, risk management would become a whole lot easier and, who knows, could lead to lower premiums.
Sadly, the real world will intrude on this dream scenario. In their desire to be as helpful as possible, I fear construction professionals will continue to stretch beyond their skills. If a professional or a firm is forced to break Bingham’s resolution, I would urge them to ensure they have tried-and-tested risk management practices in place.
One of the most common pitfalls that lead to a professional indemnity claim is advising on matters outside the individual or firm’s experience. If you are involved in a project that requires specialist knowledge that you do not have, it’s vital that your client is informed from the start, in writing.
Sticking to job descriptions is a move to be applauded but if forced to go “above and beyond” in a bid to be helpful, then make sure that your client knows and understands the limits of your knowledge and experience. If they don’t, you might end up facing an expensive and exhausting claim.
Matthew Ree, Howden Insurance Brokers