There are a large number of templates for appointments, collateral warranties and novations in use in the market.

There are so many that arguably there is no true standard position for what such a document should or should not contain. References by others to “market standard” for contracts should be interpreted accordingly.

You should not assume that any contract is fully professional indemnity (PI) insurance supported, just because it is a standard document, or in widespread usage.

Nevertheless some standard documents are more professional friendly than others. The contract documentation issued by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and that issued by the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) is drafted with English law and PI insurance “norms” very firmly in mind.

Whilst it is sometimes objected by contractors and others that the professional body contracts are “one sided” this is not in the case in liability terms.

As such a good starting point for managing contractual risk is to use a RIBA or ACE appointment. This initial position then continues to mitigate risk in any warranty, reliance letter or novation which is based on such an appointment.

Links:

Royal Institute of British Architects

https://www.ribabookshops.com/topic/forms-of-appointment/04/

Association of Consultancy and Engineering

https://www.acenet.co.uk/publications/604

Construction Industry Council (CIC)

In addition to the documents issued by the professional bodies, we would also flag the standard documentation issued by the CIC.

Some insurers go so far as to specifically endorse the use of CIC documentation within their policies, and as such the CIC documentation is the closest thing to a PI insurance standard/acceptable suite of documents in the current market.

Even in the absence of specific endorsement by an insurer, the standard templates are again more “professional friendly” than many other templates, and therefore a much better starting point than many alternatives.

This does mean that there is an “off the shelf” solution to the particularly urgent requests for reliance documentation which sometimes occur (often in the context of a property sale). The CIC collateral warranty is something the professional could immediately offer in answer to the request.

http://cic.org.uk/publications/?cat=contracts