Forums

Our forums are intended to allow both structural engineers and non-structural engineers to discuss the matters which affect them, obtain help with any queries and act as a useful way in which to communicate.

For more information, please visit the I need help or frequently asked questions areas.

General Public forum for all website users to post comments or queries
Institution Forums > General > PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer View modes: 
User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Jason Burstow - 23/03/2012 12:45:44
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Hi Simon,

Just wondering how your business is going - I am looking to set up a consultancy on a part time basis at first and then perhaps progress towards full time. I have already had some enquiries abot design and reports etc... but dont want to commit myself to full time until I know that I will have enough of a workload. One of the problems that I am coming across is how to set up calculation sheets, letterheads, websites, etc... Would you recommend getting these done by a local printer or having templates set up on Xcel - Could you recommend any programs?

Regards

Jason

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Christopher Tomlin - 14/03/2014 14:16:05
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
On the topic of PI and starting out.  One thing to remember is that people rarely get sued for more than their PI.  So when starting out keep it low and so low premium, 

If you start to loose jobs because of low PI then up it.

I know many architects building schools who have only £250K PI.

User avatar
Site User
Site User
jfitzgerald@wtf.ie - 23/01/2013 17:23:06
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Why don't you remain an employee as long as you can till your up and running as a sole trader for starters.  Then move onto a Ltd company when you have enough of your own clients.  You will get most of your work from doing good work and getting referrals.  I run my own company as well as being an employee.  It's a question of life balance.  My PI was circa €700 per year but I'm chartered.  I'm guessing yours will be £1,200 depending on the amount of design you do and what level of cover you go for.  £500K cover should be loads for starting off.  I know loads of Engineers that operate with no cover and transfer the design risk onto the client.  Not sure many clients will go for this though.  Best of luck, go for it.

John Fitzgerald BEng(Hons) CEng MIEI FConsEI

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Jason Burstow - 25/01/2013 09:51:57
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Hi John

Thanks for that. I am also a Chartered Structural Engineer and I am in the process of making enquiries for PII. Like you say I have had estimates of £1,200 for £500k cover. However, the policy excess is £5,000 which seems high. This is for structural design for mainly domestic alterations, survey reports, preparing schedule of works, possibly some contract administration, dealing with party wall etc... I was hoping for a policy excess of no more than £500. Do you have any insurance brokers that I could contact as I may have to consider reducing the level of service until I am up and running..

Cheers

Jason 

User avatar
Site User
Site User
jfitzgerald@wtf.ie - 25/01/2013 12:15:39
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Hi Jason,

That Excess is way to high for the type of work you will be doing, I think mine is €500.

I'm responding from the ROI so you might be better talking to the local brokers.  Just google them and shop around, most of them have the same form you fill in and send off.

Sorry I could not be of more help.

John.

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Christopher Somerville - 05/02/2013 00:15:00
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Jason,

I only just seen your post so I'm not sure if this is still relevant 

Having obtained my Chartership last year I recently setup my own company, I found obtaining PI cover an interesting experience! 
After approaching about a dozen insurance companies and brokers; only about 5 would actually quote me and the variance in their quotes was crazy £650-£3000 for 500K cover. 

In the end I contacted a friend, who had set up his own consultancy a couple of years ago, he recommended John Heath Insurance Brokers LLP. They were very informative on the phone and there website has a very useful online quotation system, I was quoted £770ish for 500K with £500 excess!

I actually took out my policy with them today, and spent an extra £50 for £1m cover with the same £500 excess! Which should cover me for some time … I hope
Also if you cash flow is tight you can pay in 10 monthly instalments.

Hope it helps and all the best

Chris

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Jason Burstow - 22/02/2013 09:21:53
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Hi Christopher,

Thanks for that - I shall definetely bear them in mind when it comes to renewal next year.

One other question - I am looking to work with builders for simple alterations to domestic and small commercial properties. Do you find it best to have the builder as your client or the owner of the building. Personally I would prefer to have the building owner as my client. However, I can see that there are pros and cons for having either.

Regards,

Jason

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
Christopher Somerville - 22/02/2013 10:13:21
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
I don't think there is definitive answer to this, and you will have to make the judgement on a project by project basis. I do a lot small works myself and once you start to develop relationships with your builders and architect it will become easier to make that judgement. 

My preference is to be appointed directly by the main client, as it keeps lines of communication and responsibility clear also you usually get paid quicker. 

However some builders and architects offer a 'complete' building regs service, so they want to appoint you directly, and there are also occasions when the client just doesn’t want the hassle of appointing another professional. 

Either way it is vital that you have a good relationship with whoever appoints you, if it is someone you have not worked with before and you’re not sure about them, you may want to request payment up front, or prior to issuing your calculations.
Me personally unless I know someone really well or it is a large project, I note in my T&C that calculations will be issued upon receipt of payment, however I will provide any pertinent design information, for tendering purposes etc. This way I give myself some security, that if I am having difficulty being paid I still have some leverage.   

User avatar
Member (MIStructE)
Member (MIStructE)
TTT - 13/01/2010 00:00:00
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
Hi Simon C, so hows your own consultancy goes? Is '1 man band' limited to things like loft converstion, kitchen extention...etc? Hope everything goes well with you...

User avatar
Guest
Mr Daniel Brown - 15/01/2010 00:00:00
   
RE: PI Insurance for non-chartered engineer
I fit the bill as a one-man-band and have been self-employed since the 70's. I have never had a PAYE job and I do specialise in loft-conversions, through-lounges and simple stuff. I love it. Everything I do is checked by the building control officer who, I might add, has been the major shaper of my expertise. To get work, I simply placed an ad in the local paper. Free papers were the best. More expensive than yellow pages but I got loads of work. In one street in Kingston, I drew six loft-conversions that I obtained by word of mouth and I always get work, even in the deepest recessions - 1989! I wouldn't want the responsibility of paying wages, offices, etc. but I have to admit, now I am getting older, I wish I had expanded just a bit (a partner would have been good)

1 2 3 4 5 ...

PLEASE NOTE: Users seeking advice on home improvements or adaptations should consult a structural engineer using our Building Confidence service, where you can locate a trustworthy professional near you and get the advice you need to ensure your works are safe and secure. No advice provided within the forum can be guaranteed by the Institution, neither can it be a substitute for a consultation on site.

It is important that before using any of the Institution forums, that you have read and understood our complete terms and conditions of use.
 


All of the pages on this website are the copyright © of The Institution of Structural Engineers.

The Institution of Structural Engineers, International HQ, 47-58 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7235 4535 Fax: +44 (0)20 7235 4294
Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales No. 233392 and in Scotland No. SC038263
Follow us on: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Youtube The Structural Engineer Jobs