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Consultants warned over fire risk insurance

CONSULTANTS and architects are being told to review their professional indemnity insurance cover after architect Paskin Kyriakides Sands was ruled against in a landmark court case which could cost it £25 million.

PK&S specified panels with a combustible core for the kitchen of a food plant for Sahib Foods, west London, in 1994. The plant burnt down in 1998. The architect was found liable for the spread of the fire.

Norwich Union is yet to agree with PK&S exactly how much it will pay out. The architect's cover only extended to £3 million.

Norwich Union's insurers paid £17 million for the cost of the fire and the interest totals £8 million. Lloyd's professional indemnity broker Howden account executive Andrew Bowyer said: 'All consultants should look at their insurance policy and limit to make sure it is suitable for the work they are doing.

If the broker is not a specialist it could give underwriters an excuse to ramp up premiums.'