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Insurance FAQs
Why must Architects be covered by PI Insurance?

It is Government policy that registered professions should have adequate insurance because it is in the public interest. At the same time, PII indemnifies architects for their legal liability to their clients and others relying on their advice.

Architects can be ‘joined’ to a legal case against other practitioners on the same project in a ‘joint and several liability’ case.

The Architects Act makes it an offence to work as an architect without having the required insurance cover.

Is it an offence to work as an architect without PI Insurance?

Yes. The Architects Act (Section 8B) makes it an offence to work as an architect without having the required insurance.

The Act provides for penalties of 100 penalty units (= $14,761.00) for an individual and 500 penalty units (=$73,835.00) for a company found to be in breach of this requirement. (A penalty unit currently equals $147.61)

It is also an offense (Section 8C) to represent to be insured when uninsured. Penalties apply of 100 penalty units (= $14,761.00) for an individual and 500 penalty units (=$73,835.00) for a company found to be in breach of this requirement.

The Ministerial Order refers to ‘All Architects who carry out work as an Architect.’ What does this mean?

It means being in practice as an architect in any capacity, including being available to work as an architect (e.g. as evidenced by advertising). Such persons must be registered in the Practising class of registration.

I’m an Architect employed in a government department (or local council or university). Should I have Insurance?

Proof of employment by Government Department, municipality or tertiary educational institution must be provided to the ARBV.

What sort of Insurance do I need?

Architects must be covered by Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance. The policy needs specifically to cover architects. The details are in the Ministerial Order, and summarised below.

How much PI Insurance cover do I need?

Not less than $1 million plus not less than $200,000 or 20% for defence costs, with one automatic re-instatement. Please check the Ministerial Order for full details and discuss its requirements with your insurance broker.

I’m employed as an Architect in an approved Architectural firm. Do I have to take out my own Insurance?

Employees of an Architect or an approved Architectural Company or Partnership should be covered by the employer’s policy. It is wise to check the details of that cover.
On registration and on renewal of the policy each year, you will have to provide proof of that cover to the ARBV.

If an employee undertakes architectural work independent of the employer, he or she must take out their own PI insurance cover for that work. They are not covered by their employer’s policy for their own work.

I’m an Architect employed by a non-architect. Do I need PI Insurance cover?

Yes. Your employer must have a PI policy that states that it covers architects/architecture. It is wise to check the details of that cover.

What information about my Insurance should I provide to the ARBV?

The form of proof required is a Certificate of Currency or equivalent (e.g. Schedule). The document must contain the validity dates for the policy, including the expiry date.

If you provide an employer’s policy, we require some evidence linking you with the employer, e.g. a letter from your employer stating that you are covered by their policy, or an email providing the certificate that emanates from the employer’s system.

When must I provide a PI Insurance Certificate to the Board?

A new Certificate of Currency needs to be provided to the Board when the policy is renewed or changed, or if the architect changes employer and is covered by a different policy. Please note that architects are no longer required to supply the certificate with their annual fee payment, and are asked not to do so unless it coincides with policy renewal.

Proof should be preferably emailed as a PDF to registrar@arbv.vic.gov.au. Please make clear in the message whose registration the proof is being provided for.

Is a letter from the employer simply stating I’m covered by their policy sufficient?

Yes, however the employer would need to send the ARBV a Certificate of Currency if they do not provide one directly to the employee.

What if there are changes to my Insurance cover?

If your insurance arrangements change (e.g. you take out a new policy, you change employment and are therefore covered by a different policy, etc), you must inform the Board in writing and supply the new Certificate of Currency within 14 days of any change.

I am a contractor – I provide architectural services on short term contracts to various organisations and companies. Am I covered by their Insurance?

No. You are really self-employed, and need to have your own cover.

If I rely on my employers Insurance and become unemployed, what do I do?

You will need to advise the Board of the change. Your registration must be converted to Non-Practising whilst you are not covered by PII. It can be easily converted back to Practising when you are again covered.

Must employees be named in the Insurance policy or the certificate of currency?

No. Firms’ policies and Certificates normally cover employees without specifically naming them.

What if I only do ‘small’ jobs? Do I need Insurance?

The quantum of work is irrelevant. In order to practise as an architect at all, one must be registered as Practising, and be covered by compliant PII.

What are the approved cooperatives for Architects Insurance?

Cooperatives providing insurance cover for members must comply with Part 8 of the Ministerial Order and must be underwritten by an insurer authorised to conduct insurance business under the Insurance Act 1974.

One such Cooperative approved by the ARBV is ‘Architeam Cooperative Pty Ltd’.

I am ‘semi-retired’, doing occasional work. Do I need Insurance?

The quantum of work is irrelevant. In order to practise as an architect at all, one must be registered as Practising, and be covered by compliant PII.

I am considering overseas travel for at least a year. How does this affect my registration and my Insurance cover?

If working overseas or otherwise temporarily out of practise in Victoria for a period of time, you can covert to Non-Practising registration.

I am an Architect about to take maternity leave. How does this affect my registration and Insurance cover?

See previous answer.

If I change to the Non-Practising class of Architect, should I retain Insurance?

If you have been practising as an architect and move to the non-practising class, you are advised to maintain PI insurance cover for at least seven years after ceasing to practise (known as run-off cover). You are not required to provide Certificates to the ARBV.

Other

If you have questions regarding PII that are not answered here, or if you require clarification of any of the answers, please phone the ARBV and ask to speak to the Compliance Consultant.

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