The firm is calling on the government to take urgent action and underwrite policies
Property and construction consultancy Ingleton Wood has warned that many buildings such as schools and hospitals could go underinsured due to fire safety issues being increasingly excluded from professional indemnity (PI) cover.
It is calling on the government to take urgent action to address the matter, for example underwriting the policies so that all consultancies are comprehensively insured for things such as fire inspections and designs.
The construction consultancy has also launched a campaign to tackle the “shameful” and so-called “fire carve-outs” (exclusions) in PI policies.
David Cresswell, partner at Ingleton Wood, said: “We are very concerned about the rising prevalence of fire safety exclusions in professional indemnity policies.
“Fire carve-outs are shameful documents and essentially mean consultants would be uninsured for any passive or active fire issues, retrospectively as well as in the future.”
Meanwhile the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has acknowledged that PI cover is “becoming more and more challenging” and has pledged to help the industry tackle the issue.
And as a result, insurers are hiking up premiums or reducing the amount of cover provided.
PI insurance is taken out by consultants and professionals in the construction industry to cover the cost of negligence claims that clients could make against them.
An example of such an incident is a building fire that was caused by an error in design or a failure in specification
Cresswell added: “As we understand it, many other consultants are taking reduced cover as they simply cannot afford the full cover. This is a hugely damaging position for the industry and will no doubt have wider ramifications for building owners and occupiers.
“The built environment relies on competent consultants to apply the regulations in order to safeguard us all.
”It is therefore time for the government to step in with greater regulation or, even better, to underwrite the insurance itself. We are also lobbying local MPs, industry regulators and other stakeholders to help tackle this very serious issue.”
Ingleton Wood is a property and construction consultancy covering Central England, East Anglia, London and the South East.