Mr Domenico Padalino
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Mr Domenico Padalino (061907H)
The Respondent, Domenico Padalino:
a. accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary order against him in the terms set out below;
b. confirms that he has been offered the opportunity to appear before a Hearing Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee to present his case, but does not wish to do so.
The Architects Registration Board accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary order against Ralph Guilor in the terms set out below:
1. The Allegation
An allegation of Unacceptable Professional Conduct has been brought by the ARB against the Respondent.
The ARB has particularised the allegation as follows:
(1) The Respondent failed to communicate adequately.
(2) The Respondent failed to undertake work pursuant to his role as a Party Wall Surveyor; and
(3) The Respondent failed to adequately deal with a complaint.
The Respondent has accepted particulars (1) and (3) and that these justify a finding of Unacceptable Professional Conduct. The Respondent agrees to enter into an Agreed Outcome with the Board on the terms set out below and on that basis the proceedings are brought to an end. In light of what is set out below, the PCC therefore agrees to allow the allegation to be amended to remove particular (2).
2. Statement of agreed facts
1. The Respondent is a registered Architect and runs his own company, DPA (London) Ltd of 25 Tudor Hall, Brewery Road, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire EN11 8FP. In 2011, the Respondent was appointed as a Party Wall Surveyor for 70 Stapleton Hall Road (“the Property”) in respect of works carried out at the neighbouring property at 64-68 Stapleton Hall Road.
2. In March 2014, a Mr T became a tenant at the property with a view to an ultimate purchase. At the time Mr T moved into the Property, the works at 64-86 Stapleton Hall Road were largely completed. On 11 February 2014, Mr T had a survey of the property completed which identified an issue with the adjoining development, in particular the guttering where the two buildings joined. Mr T raised this issue with his landlord’s husband, who in turn raised the matter with the Respondent in an email exchange. Remedial works were completed by 21 March 2014 and it was agreed that the situation would be monitored.
3. The problem with the guttering resurfaced later that year. In late 2014, Mr T had roofing works carried out at the Property. As scaffolding had been erected at the Property, he advised the owner’s husband about this who in turn asked him to liaise with the Respondent. Mr T recalls that he advised the Respondent that the builders doing work at the Property had indicated they could fix the join. The Respondent advised Mr T not to do anything before he could speak to the other surveyor and make him aware of the issues as there was a Party Wall award in place and it was the responsibility of the building owners to rectify the matters. However, no further steps were taken about the issue until June 2015.
4. When Mr T came to purchase the Property, he wanted to ensure the issues of concern would be resolved. Mr T telephoned the Respondent’s office on a number of occasions but the Respondent did not return his calls. Mr T also sent a number of emails to the Respondent. In November 2016, Mr T confirmed to the Respondent that he had completed the purchase of the Property. He continued to liaise with the Respondent and his office with a view to resolving the issues.
5. There were significant delays in resolving the problems with the gutter and an unsealed join. Although initial remedial work was conducted in March 2014, this did not resolve the problem. When the matter was raised again, there were numerous contacts between the Respondent and the adjoining owner’s party wall surveyor, Mr K, seeking to resolve the concern. Mr T was not fully aware of these developments despite the fact that the Respondent copied in his appointing owner into relevant correspondence. The matter was raised again by Mr T in October 2015. Contact was made with the third surveyor by the Respondent, followed by a formal letter on 12 November 2015. Unfortunately these efforts did not resolve the problem.
6. The neighbouring property was then sold and issues regarding the guttering and/or flashing remained outstanding. The matter was followed up by the owner’s husband in January 2016 seeking a resolution of the concerns. Mr T provided photographic evidence of the high level damp to the Respondent in February 2016. At the same time, Mr T raised concerns to the landlord about another issue, namely flooding in the cellar, copying in the Respondent.
7. In May 2016 it was accepted by Mr K that further remedial works were required for the gutter problem. Further contact ensued between the Respondent, Mr K and the builders responsible for the remedial works. Unfortunately this did not resolve the issue. Mr T states that he was not fully aware of these developments.
8. In September 2016, Mr T directly emailed the Respondent about flooding in the cellar requesting a resolution to the concerns, asking if it was a party wall issue. The Respondent replied advising that there was no evidence that the flooding was caused the party wall work and that this was a difficult issue to prove. Following consultation with the third surveyor, the Respondent advised Mr T to obtain a specialist survey, at his own cost, with a view to then reclaiming the money from the neighbouring property owner if the survey showed the flooding was due to the party wall works.
9. Mr T then sought copies of correspondence that the Respondent had had with Mr K about the issue of the cellar flooding. Mr T then received an email from Maxine Padalino, who worked for the Respondent. She advised that they had approached an expert regarding the cellar concern and forwarded an email from that expert setting out potential reasons for the flooding. The email set out his costs for investigating the concern and Mr T was advised that he would need to pay for these investigations and recoup the costs from the neighbouring property owner. Mr T was not willing to pay for the investigations but advised that he expected this matter to be resolved
10. In addition Mr T sought copies of the Respondent’s correspondence with Mr K on a number of occasions but was not provided with this. He was subsequently advised that there was no written correspondence and all discussions had been verbal. Mr T asked what had been discussed verbally and chased a response to this. He did not receive a response.
11. The issue with the guttering and flashing was eventually resolved in 2017. Access was granted to the Respondent to inspect the repaired guttering on 12 December 2017 when the repairs were approved and the Party Wall Award was signed off.
12. In 2017 Mr T requested a copy of the Respondent’s complaints procedure. On 3 April 2017, he wrote a letter of complaint to the Respondent. This complaint raised concerns about the Respondent’s failure to properly deal with his communications and his failure to bring about the completion of necessary works pursuant to the party wall award.
13. The Respondent provided a letter of response to Mr Trainer on 5 April 2017. This letter indicated that the Respondent had no authority to speak to Mr T as the instruction has come from the building owner, not him. The response then went on to state that the wo appointed surveyors agreed that the issue with the cellar was not a party wall matter and that they dealt with the remedial works on the roof as promptly as they could.
14. The Respondent admits the following matters:
a. That he did not deal effectively with the requests made for assistance by Mr T. In particular he should have responded to his telephone calls and emails more promptly and should have addressed the concerns raised in those emails. Be should also have either communicated more fully with Mr T or explained to him at an early stage why he considered he could not do so;
b. That he could have provided a more detailed and considered response to Mr T’s letter of complaint.
3. Statement as to unacceptable professional conduct
15. In the light of the admissions the Respondent further admits that the agreed facts collectively amount to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
16. The resolution of the problems with the guttering and flashing was problematic and complicated. Party Wall Awards are personal to the signatories. Mr T did not have the authority to directly instruct the Respondent to do any particular work as he was not the appointing owner. Such instructions had to come from the landlord. Unfortunately, during the early part of 2014 the landlord was extremely ill, so ill that she died in October 2014. There was little communication after this point from the landlord’s husband with the Respondent.
17. The Respondent himself became ill in June 2015. Nonetheless, he endeavoured to ensure that the guttering problem was fixed. There were on-going issues with the adjoining owner’s surveyor which delayed the necessary remedial works.
18. The Respondent carried out the actual work required of him as a Party Wall Surveyor competently and satisfactorily. However, the Respondent acknowledges that he could have done more to respond to Mr T and greatly regrets his lack of communication. He accepts that he will, in future, deal more effectively with these types of concerns and has developed a new model letter to deal with similar situations if they should arise.
The Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee, with the consent of the parties and having taken account of its responsibilities to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession, makes the following disciplinary order:
• In all of the circumstances the Respondent agreed to a reprimand