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Law changes to protect architects’ clients

Bermuda architects are drawing up amendments to the law designed to protect clients from mistakes.

The Institute of Bermuda Architects, the Architectural Association of Bermuda and the Architects Registration Council are looking for input from the public in support of its proposed Architectural Professions Act.

Krystal Rodrigues, president of the IBA, said one home architectural project had missed a line out of a drawing which represented a beam — which cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix during the construction phase.

Ms Rodrigues, who works for Botelho Wood Architects, said: “It happens quite often. We have lots of anecdotal stories and we receive complaints from members of the public quite frequently.”

She explained that the 1969 Architects Registration Act protected the use of the name architect — but offered little protection to clients for mistakes or rogue operators.

She said: “Not everybody is required to carry professional indemnity insurance, which is errors and omissions insurance.”

Ms Rodrigues added: “There are thousands of things that have to be included in any construction document and it's very easy, even for architects, to miss one item.

“It the design professional doesn't carry professional indemnity insurance, there is really limited recourse for the clients.

“The 1969 Act protects the title of architect — but it does not protect the public in any meaningful way.

“We want the Act to be changed to be all-encompassing. We want an Act where, if you are offering architectural services, you have to have a licence to do that.”

The three professional bodies will hold a public meeting after the close of the public comment period, which ends on Wednesday, June 8.

The public meeting will be held at the Anglican Cathedral Hall on Church Street on Wednesday, June 15, starting at 5.30pm.

Ms Rodrigues said: “Construction projects, particularly homes, are likely the largest investment many people will make in their lives and the public deserves to have a new Architectural Professions Act to help protect their investment.

“The existing Architects Registration Act is not only outdated, it neglects to set an industry-wide standard for professional practice and fails to offer any meaningful protection to the public.

“In order for us to move forward with a new Act, it is important to ensure that we get as much feedback and are as thorough as possible.”

Ms Rodrigues added that the new Act would “set an unprecedented standard in Bermuda's architecture industry and provide long overdue protection for the public.”

The proposed amendments to the law can be viewed online at www.iba.bm and comments can be submitted to info@dl.bm.

Amendment team: from left are Germano Botelho, Henry Ming, Glyn Quarterly, Ari Ming, members of the working group drafting the new Architectural Professions Bill

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Published May 11, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 10, 2016 at 8:15 pm)

Law changes to protect architects’ clients

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