Approved inspector applies for voluntary liquidation after being unable to source required cover it needs to operate

A building control firm which oversees thousands of projects has been forced to file for liquidation after its insurer stopped renewing its insurance.

Aedis Regulatory Services (ARS) had been buying its insurance through Howden, according to documents from the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspectors Register (CICAIR).

However, on 31 May this year the policy expired, and the firm has been unable to get new cover, prompting it to enter voluntary liquidation. As an approved inspector, the firm required professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance to operate. Such insurance can only be obtained through a scheme approved by the Government.

CICAIR documents show only brokers Howden and Griffiths & Armour are government approved to sell the required insurance to approved inspectors.

However, a Howden spokesperson told Insurance Times that its scheme insurer withdrew from underwriting PI insurance at the end of last year.

Since then it has been trying to find a replacement insurer, but has so far failed to do so.

As well as leaving ARS without cover, CICAIR documents show that two other approved inspectors have also had their policies arranged through Howden expire. There are 11 more firms with Howden-brokered policies due to expire in the next few months.

A Howden spokesperson added: “The strict insurance criteria set in 1996 by the Secretary of State has not been modified to account for today’s challenging market conditions.

“Howden is working with our clients to solve this issue and has been in conversation with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government for a number of months, recently submitting a full and detailed proposal for changes to the insurance criteria. If accepted, this would provide a practical solution to the problem.”


A July letter from CICAIR states that, other than the National House Building Council, which insures itself, Griffiths & Armour is currently the only approved broker offering the necessary insurance to approved inspectors.

According to Inside Housing, ARS managing director Joe Ayre had his request to switch to a Griffiths & Armour policy turned down.

An update on the ARS website said: “Currently, there is only one insurance broker able to offer insurance to approved inspectors. The underwriters of this scheme have been reviewing their position and several approved inspectors (including Aedis) have been unable to secure cover upon renewal.

“This only relates to the building control service (provided by Aedis Regulatory Services Ltd). Structural warranties (provided by Aedis Warranties Ltd) are not affected, and neither is Aedis Training and Development.

“This situation could not have been anticipated and has arisen through no fault of our own, but we are working to find a resolution to this issue as soon as possible.

“However, we do recognise the impact this will have on our clients and the uncertainty it will cause. Therefore, we have already taken some positive steps to mitigate this and, in particular,have put in place an arrangement with another third-party or approved inspector which ensures we can offer continued service delivery.”


The CICAIR letter added: “CICAIR are aware of the current issues concerning the approved schemes of insurance for approved inspectors and are working closely with colleagues within the MHCLG, Welsh Government, ACAI and the insurance industry. At the current time, other than NHBC (National House Building Council), only Griffiths & Armour is offering insurance cover under a scheme approved by the Secretary of State or Welsh Ministers.

“CICAIR recognises the concern, distress and difficulties that the uncertainty in the current insurance market is causing and are assisting the Government and industry colleagues in order to reach a longterm, sustainable solution.”

ARS’s voluntary liquidation could potentially put 12,000 building projects at risk and herald a bigger insurance crisis for the sector.

Insurance Times has contacted ARS as well as Griffiths & Armour for comment. 

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