Changes to liability laws for the construction industry proposed by the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE) would not reduce professional indemnity (PI) rates, according to a leading PI broker.

Executive director of Alexander Forbes, Mike Pummell said changes advocated by ACE would not have an impact on rates.

ACE is lobbying the government for an end to the current system of joint and several liability where any party involved in a construction project can be pursued for the full value of a claim, irrespective of whether they were at fault or not.

ACE claims that rocketing PI rates have forced some engineering consultancy firms to pay premiums that were equivalent to up to 6% of their annual turnover.

It has urged the government to legislate for a switch to limited liability so an engineering consultant would only be liable for its role in the cause of the claim, in a bid to reduce the cost of PI cover.

"If people can be 'gone after' then the industry will attract more than its fair share of claims," said ACE spokesman Andy Walker.

But Pummell said a change from joint and several liability would have little effect on PI premiums.