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Mr Pol Gallagher

THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD

PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE

 

In the matter of

Mr Pol Martin Gallagher (083098D)

Held on 13 – 16 November 2018

at

ARB

8 Weymouth Street

London

W1W 5BU

———-

Present

Emma Boothroyd (Chair)

Roger Wilson (PCC Architect Member)

Jules Griffiths (PCC Lay Member)

  Fiona Barnett (Clerk)

———–

 

In this case, the Board is represented by Mr Iain Miller of Kingsley Napley.

Mr Gallagher has attended this hearing and has represented himself. He has had the benefit of partial representation by Ms Young of 2 Hare Court on day one.

The PCC found Mr Gallagher guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (“UPC”) in that he:

 

  1. Failed to carry out work without undue delay;
  2. did not return documents and/or property to which his client was entitled and failed to adequately engage in the handover process;
  3. did not make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in his absence;
  4. did not deal with a complaint appropriately in that he did not produce a copy of his complaints procedure upon request;
  5. failed to co-operate with his regulator with regard to a complaint about his professional work.

 

and that by doing so, he acted in breach of Standards 4, 6, 10 and 11 of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2010 (“the Code”).

 

The sanction imposed is a penalty order of £2,500.

 

 

 

  1. At the outset of this hearing the Respondent explained to the Committee that he had secured legal representation, but they were unable to attend on the first day of the hearing because of professional engagements. It was explored with the Respondent whether he wished to make an application to adjourn the hearing until the following morning to enable his representative to attend. The Respondent submitted that whilst he did not want to make that application given the history of the matter he would like to be represented. The Respondent assured the Committee that his representative was fully briefed and would be ready to start the following morning and continue for the full period of the hearing.

 

  1. Dr C (“the Complainant”) and Ms B, witnesses for the ARB, confirmed that they were available to give evidence on the second day. In the circumstances the Committee decided of its own motion that it would be fair to the Respondent to adjourn for the day and return the following morning to allow him to be professionally represented for the whole of the hearing.

 

Application to adjourn

 

  1. Ms Young, Counsel, instructed on behalf of the Respondent, attended on the second day of the hearing and made an application to adjourn proceedings. She submitted that she had been instructed very late the previous day and was not in a position to represent the Respondent fully. She submitted that she would be in a position to represent the Respondent if she had the rest of the day to prepare. If the Committee did not agree with this proposal she explained that she would be forced to withdraw.

 

  1. It was explored with Ms Young how she came to be instructed, given the representations made by the Respondent the previous day that he had instructed lawyers that would be in a position to proceed but were engaged elsewhere for the first day. Ms Young explained that the Respondent had instructed a lawyer friend who was supposed to attend on the first scheduled day but had let him down. Ms Young said that the Respondent then decided to engage alternative lawyers and she came to be instructed late in the day.

 

  1. Mr Miller explained to the Committee that the Complainant was not available to give evidence later in the week and was only available on this day to give evidence.

 

  1. The Committee accepted the legal advice given by the clerk. In considering the application the Committee was mindful of the need to be fair to both parties. The Committee decided to refuse the application for an adjournment for the following reasons. This hearing was rescheduled after the Respondent asked for an adjournment in August 2018 to deal with his family circumstances. It was impressed upon the Respondent at that hearing that he should ensure that all his documents were prepared and any legal representatives instructed to attend the hearing. At no stage before this hearing did the Respondent raise any issues with regard to any difficulties securing representation.

 

  1. On the first day of this hearing the Respondent did not explain that he had any difficulty with securing representation and he assured the Committee that his lawyers would be ready to proceed the following day. The Committee considered that the Respondent had been given plenty of time to engage representation and had failed to do anything until the last minute.

 

  1. The Committee was not confident that if the matter were adjourned to another occasion that the Respondent would return with representation and be in a position to proceed, given his approach to the process up to this point.

 

  1. In addition, the Complainant had attended on a previous occasion and re-arranged commitments to attend on both days of this hearing. The Complainant was not available for the rest of the week and so the hearing would have to be adjourned to another occasion which was likely to be in early 2019. The Committee considered that this delay would inconvenience the witness and would be likely to have a detrimental effect on his willingness to co-operate further and attend any future hearing.

 

  1. The Committee was mindful of the need to hear matters expeditiously and noted that this matter had already been adjourned on one occasion because of the Respondent’s personal issues. It considered that he had been afforded ample opportunity to prepare for the adjourned hearing and it would not be fair to adjourn matters again because the Respondent had not instructed appropriate representation until yesterday without any good reason.

 

  1. The Committee was mindful that this would have an impact on the Respondent’s ability to present his case but it considered that this could be mitigated by giving him an opportunity to confer with his counsel before she withdrew. The Committee determined that the public interest in the matter proceeding in a timely way outweighed the Respondent’s interests in this regard.

 

  1. At the outset the Respondent admitted the facts of allegations 5 and 6 and that his conduct in relation to these matters amounted to UPC. The Respondent denied allegations 1 to 4 in their entirety.

 

Background

 

  1. This case arises out of a complaint made by the Complainant in July 2017 in respect of the professional services carried out by the Respondent.

 

  1. The allegations that form the background to this case are that the Respondent was engaged by the Complainant to be the architect and lead consultant for extensive redevelopment works of a Grade II listed building at a prestigious address in central London.

 

  1. A heritage consultant was appointed and a pre-planning application was submitted in June 2015 and it was registered by the council on 9 July 2015. There was a considerable delay by the council in dealing with this application and it was not determined until January 2016. The Complainant had telephoned the council directly to chase matters in January 2016 as he was frustrated with the delay. The council conceded that it had taken a long time to deal with the application. The pre-planning application response rejected the proposed design and recommended a different architectural approach explaining that there was very limited scope for extension of the property.

 

  1. There was due to be a meeting at the property on 18 March 2016 but the Respondent did not attend as he was called away to deal with a family emergency in Ireland. The Complainant at this time instructed a planning solicitor to assist in particular with listed building matters. Also at this time a different heritage consultant was appointed.

 

  1. A further pre-planning application was submitted in November 2016. The Complainant stated that during this period the Respondent was slow to respond to emails and did not carry out tasks he had been instructed to undertake. An issue was identified by the planning solicitor following the submission of the pre planning application that the Respondent’s drawings were inconsistent with the heritage consultant’s report in relation to retention or removal of panelling at the property.

 

  1. The council’s planning officer requested a schedule of works and a list of the changes to the new set of drawings since the previous set. Further documents were supplied by the Respondent to the planning solicitor in December 2016 and sent to the planning officer by the planning solicitor on 16 January 2017. The second pre-application was determined on 21 February 2017 and it was outlined by the planning officer that no schedule of works or list of changes to the drawings had been provided as requested.

 

  1. A meeting was proposed for 9 March 2017 to discuss next steps and to meet with a different heritage consultant. The Respondent did not attend this meeting as he had returned to Ireland to deal with family issues. He sent another architect (JH) to cover his absence at that meeting and to support his junior staff. Following this meeting, the Respondent became particularly difficult to get hold of and did not respond to calls or emails. On 25 April 2017 after the Complainant had not received a response to a number of emails he terminated the Respondent’s appointment. The Complainant requested, among other things, that he return the keys to the property and hand over all information to JH who was taking the project forward. The keys were not received by the Complainant.

 

  1. In an email dated 28 April 2017 the Respondent agreed to hand over all information to JH and proposed a meeting to clarify matters. No handover meeting was ever attended by the Respondent and he did not speak to JH to deal with outstanding queries.

 

  1. Following this on 12 June 2017 the Complainant’s solicitors wrote to the Respondent and requested a copy of his complaints procedure. The Respondent did not respond to that letter. The Complainant complained to the ARB and the Respondent was notified of the complaint by the ARB in a letter dated 24 August 2017. The Respondent was required to respond by 7 September 2017 and did not reply. Further attempts were made to contact the Respondent by the ARB and a further copy of the complaint was sent on 12 September 2017 which the Respondent confirmed he had received. Although the Respondent said he would respond by the deadline of 26 September 2017 no response was received. The ARB sent further chaser emails and made telephone calls to the Respondent to urge him to respond. The Respondent did not respond to the allegations and the matter was referred to this Committee.

 

  1. In reaching its decisions, the Committee has carefully considered the live evidence of the Complainant and the Respondent, together with the documentary evidence presented to it in the Report of the Board’s solicitor, the defence bundle which includes the Respondent’s statement and drawings and emails produced by the Respondent at the outset of this hearing. The Committee found the evidence of the Complainant to be credible, consistent and measured. The Committee found the evidence of the Respondent, at times, lacking credibility and inconsistent with other evidence and the contemporaneous documents as identified later in this decision.

 

  1. The Committee has accepted the legal advice given by the Clerk. It has had regard to the fact that the burden of proof is on the Board and that the civil standard applies, namely, proof on the balance of probabilities. Whether the alleged conduct amounts to UPC is a matter for the Committee’s independent judgment to which no burden of proof applies.

 

  1. The Committee makes the following finding of facts:

 

Allegation 1: You failed to carry out work without undue delay. (Found Proved)

 

  1. The ARB relies on a number of specific matters which the Respondent delayed dealing with. The Respondent was instructed to make a pre-planning application to the council. This was submitted in June 2015. The Respondent gave evidence that he regularly chased the council by phone every week and followed that up with monthly emails. By January 2016 there was no progress with the application and the Complainant telephoned the council himself. The Complainant gave evidence that the impression he was given was that the application had not been chased.

 

  1. The Committee considered that the Respondent did delay in chasing up the council. There was no evidence of weekly telephone calls contrary to the Respondent’s oral evidence. There were no telephone notes produced in evidence. The emails that were sent do not reference previous telephone conversations nor any sense of urgency and frustration at the delay. There is no evidence that the Respondent chased up the council after his email of October 6 2015 until 12 January 2016.

 

  1. The Complainant gave evidence that invoices would be passed to him from the Respondent with an instruction about whether it needed to be paid. In relation to an invoice from the first heritage consultant, the Complainant was copied in to an email dated 20 May 2016 which suggested an invoice dated 18 April was unpaid. The Respondent was asked by the Complainant what it was for. There is no evidence that the Respondent responded to this email or dealt with the matter and on 22 July 2016 the Complainant was copied in to a further demand for payment.

 

  1. The Respondent was unable to recall precisely what happened to the invoice but he thought that he may have contacted the heritage consultant and been told that the invoice was an error. There is no evidence to support the Respondent’s assertion and nothing to suggest that it was dealt with promptly when requested by the Complainant in May 2016.

 

  1. On 22 November 2016 the second heritage consultants emailed the Respondent and copied in the Complainant. They set out that they were awaiting payment of an invoice submitted on 27 September 2016. There is no evidence that the Respondent forwarded that invoice to the client pursuant to the arrangement to confirm payment. Eventually, the Complainant settled the invoice directly with the heritage consultants on 15 December 2016.

 

  1. The Complainant also referred to an occasion where he instructed the Respondent to pass on a party wall consent to his neighbours. His evidence was that he signed the consent and gave it to the Respondent to give to the neighbours as they were not living at the property. He was surprised to receive a chasing email from his neighbour three weeks later and he responded via email that he had asked the Respondent to pass it on immediately.

 

  1. The Respondent’s evidence was that he had posted it to the neighbour’s house on the day it was signed. This was not accepted by the Complainant who could not recall this.

 

  1. The Committee does not accept the Respondent’s evidence. If, as he suggests, the notice was hand delivered to the house it is unlikely that the neighbour had not received it. The Respondent was copied in to the Complainant’s response to the neighbour dated 27 May 2016 that stated the Complainant was unaware the notice had not been delivered. The Complainant went on to state that he had spoken to the Respondent who had assured him he would send it immediately. The Respondent’s evidence was he did not have a copy of the signed consent form as he had already posted it and so would not have been in a position to send it on. The Committee considers it is more likely that the Respondent delayed in forwarding the signed consent to the neighbour as instructed.

 

  1. The Committee noted a number of emails from the heritage consultants in December 2016 and January 2017 which suggested that the Respondent was not responding to emails. The Committee did not accept the Respondent’s assertion that the Complainant was over communicative or unreasonable. The emails sent by the Complainant did not support this and showed patience on his part. There was nothing to suggest that the emails or communication by the Complainant were excessive or unreasonable or that the Respondent raised this issue.

 

  1. The Committee is satisfied that the Respondent delayed in carrying out work that he was instructed to undertake in breach of Standard 6 of the 2010 Architects Code: Standard of Conduct and Practice and January 2017 Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice (“The Code(s)”).

 

Allegation 2: You did not return documents and/or property to which your client was entitled and failed to adequately engage in the handover process. (Found Proved)

 

  1. The Complainant requested the return of the keys to the property in his email terminating the Respondent’s retainer dated 25 April 2017. His evidence was that to date the keys have not been returned to him as requested.

 

  1. The Respondent says that the keys were posted to the Complainant on the evening of his finding out that the contract was terminated. The Committee does not accept the Respondent’s evidence about this matter and considers his evidence to be lacking in credibility and inherently improbable. The Respondent was in Ireland when he discovered his retainer had been terminated. The Committee considers it unlikely that he would have had the keys with him or that he would have prioritised posting them in the evening given his lack of response to emails and calls during this period to deal with relatively straightforward requests. In his email to the Complainant dated 28 April 2017 acknowledging that the retainer had been terminated the Respondent makes no mention that he has posted the keys. The keys have never been received by the Complainant. The Committee considers that it is more likely that the Respondent did not return the keys as requested, in breach of Standard 4.6 of the 2017 Code.

 

  1. The Committee noted that the Respondent said that he had made arrangements for a handover and ensured that his junior staff “work under JH delivering the changes requested by the client”. The Respondent said in his written response to the allegations that he returned to London and arranged a document sharing handover. In his evidence to the Committee he was confident that he had done everything that could be asked of him for a smooth handover.

 

  1. The Committee did not accept the Respondent’s evidence. It was in direct conflict with the emails written at the time which all suggested that he was difficult to contact and that no handover meeting took place to resolve outstanding queries either with the Respondent or anyone from his office. Both the Complainant and JH requested that someone from the Respondent’s office attend a meeting to go through outstanding issues. The Respondent did not respond to these emails. The Respondent has produced no evidence that he instructed his staff to support JH or that he made adequate arrangements for a proper handover process beyond sending files electronically to JH.

 

  1. The Respondent was made aware in an email on 2 May 2017 by JH that the information he had provided electronically would be difficult to understand without any input from him or a member of his staff. There is no evidence that the Respondent replied to that email or arranged for a staff member to deal with a handover meeting in his absence. The Complainant also sent an email to the Respondent on 3 May 2017 explaining that queries could be easily resolved by a meeting with an appropriate staff member to save time and cost. The Respondent did not reply to that email either and there is no evidence that he instructed his staff to deal with the handover in his absence.

 

  1. Overall the Committee is satisfied that the Respondent did not return the keys to the property nor properly engage in the handover process in breach of Standard 4.1 of the 2017 Code. The Committee is satisfied that the Respondent did not have a system in place to ensure his practice was run professionally as required by the Code.

 

Allegation 3: You did not make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in your absence. (Found Proved)

 

  1. The Committee noted that the Respondent was unable to attend a meeting with the Complainant in March 2016 because of a family emergency and did not make arrangements to let the client know he was not attending until some hours after he was due to arrive. The Respondent’s office did not notify the client on his behalf.

 

  1. A year later, the Respondent was again unavoidably called away and unable to attend a meeting on 9 March 2017. The Committee has noted that the Respondent arranged for JH to attend the meeting on his behalf and sent a member of his staff to assist.

 

  1. Following this meeting, it became apparent that the Respondent would not be returning to the project and was not able to fulfil his professional obligations to the client because of his family circumstances. The Committee does not accept the Respondent’s evidence that he made arrangements for his staff members to support JH or that he engaged in correspondence so that the project did not lose momentum. The Committee considers that the emails from JH and the client demonstrate a lack of response from the Respondent during this period. The Respondent has provided no evidence to support his statement that he instructed his staff to support JH or that he informed JH that he would not be returning to the project for some weeks and requesting his assistance. JH’s witness statement explains that following the meeting on 9 March 2017, it was not until the planning solicitor contacted him that he became aware that he was required to do anything else. He states that he made unsuccessful efforts to contact the Respondent to clarify the situation. The Committee had not heard from JH as he did not wish to give evidence. Nevertheless, his evidence is supported by the evidence of the Complainant and the emails sent at the time. There is no evidence that the Respondent instructed JH to do anything other than attend the meeting or supported him to manage the project in his absence.

 

  1. The Committee concluded that the Respondent did not make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in his absence in breach of Standard 4 of the 2010 and 2017 Codes.

 

Allegation 4: You did not produce work with due skill, care and attention. (Found Not Proved)

 

  1. It is alleged that the drawings prepared by the Respondent and submitted for the second pre-planning application contained an error in that they showed panelling remaining whereas the intention of the Complainant was to remove it and this was supported by the report of the heritage consultant. The planning solicitor pointed out that this was inconsistent and he ought to let the council know.

 

  1. The Complainant’s evidence was that this was a mistake on the part of the Respondent but that it was something that could be “sorted out later”. This is supported by the Complainant’s email dated 22 November 2016 timed at 12.35 which confirms that although the plans did not reflect the removal of the panelling it could “…be negotiated later if it comes to it.”

 

  1. The Respondent said in his email of 22 November 2016 timed at 12.43 that it was a deliberate strategy and he had “…purposely not referenced panelling on our drawings so as not to draw attention to it.”

 

  1. The heritage consultant states in his email of 22 November 2016 timed at 7.29 pm that “I think the Council would also expect the (heritage) statement to be to some extent provisional at this point, so I do not believe that minor inconsistencies matter too much for the time being.”

 

  1. It is further alleged that the documents submitted for the second application were inadequate in so far as they did not contain a schedule of works as had been requested, nor a summary of the changes since the previous pre-application. The council planning officer suggested in her email that the drawings were a re-statement of the previous rejected proposals and that they were vague and contradictory.

 

  1. The Respondent stated that he forwarded everything that had been requested to the planning solicitor and he did not have overall control of what was submitted to the planning officer as the submission was made by the planning solicitor. He stated that the information submitted by him was clear and set out what had been requested.

 

  1. The council planning officer, although she did make reference to the inconsistency, was still able to provide her responses to the main issues with the design. The heritage consultants in their emails of 22 November 2016 and 9 March 2017 suggested that the drawings did not reflect their advice and therefore this was the reason for the discrepancies as identified. It is clear that the heritage consultants did not fully support the drawings that were submitted for the pre-planning application and they withdrew from the project as they felt their credibility had been damaged.

 

  1. The Committee did not consider that the Board had established that the panelling remaining on the drawing and the quality of the pre planning application were as a result of a failure by the Respondent to carry out his work with due skill care and attention. It appears from the documents that the inconsistencies were to some extent deliberate and done with the intention of pushing the heritage consultants and in turn the planning officer to agree with the main features of the desired design.

 

  1. The planning application was submitted by the planning solicitor and there is no evidence before the Committee that the Respondent was invited to review the submission or check the documents that were sent. The Committee was not persuaded on the evidence that the planning officer’s emailed request on 7 December 2016 for a “schedule of works” was passed on to the Respondent or that it was otherwise made clear to him exactly what was required.

 

  1. The Committee did not consider that the Board had established on the balance of probabilities that the work carried out by the Respondent for the second pre-planning application was done without due skill care and attention.

 

Allegation 5: You did not deal with a complaint appropriately in that you did not provide a copy of your complaints procedure upon request. (Found Proved)

 

  1. In light of the Respondent’s admission, the Committee finds the facts proved. The Committee has had sight of the letter written by the Complainant’s solicitors requesting a copy of the complaints procedure. The Respondent has confirmed that he received the letter and chose not to respond or provide a copy of his complaints procedure in breach of Standard 10.1 of the 2017 Code.

 

Allegation 6: You failed to co-operate with your regulator with regard to a complaint about your professional work. (Found Proved)

 

  1. In light of the Respondent’s admission, the Committee finds the facts proved. The Committee had sight of the witness statement of Ms B, an Investigations Officer at ARB, which confirmed the steps she had taken to investigate the complaint and set out the responses received from the Respondent. The Respondent did not challenge her evidence and accepted that he had not responded to the complaint as he was required to do in breach of Standard 11 of the 2017 Code.

 

Unacceptable Professional Conduct

 

  1. Having found the allegations proved and having determined that the Respondent has breached standards 6 and 4 of the 2010 and 2017 Codes and Standards 10.1 and 11 of the 2017 Code, the Committee went on to consider whether the Respondent’s conduct amounts to UPC. This is defined as conduct which falls short of the standard required of a registered person. In reaching its finding, the Committee has carefully considered all the evidence presented to it, all submissions made and has accepted the advice from the Clerk. The Committee recognises that not every shortcoming on the part of an Architect, nor failure to comply with the provisions of the Code, will necessarily give rise to disciplinary proceedings or a finding of UPC. However, a failure to follow the guidance of the Code, whether in one’s professional or private life, is a factor that will be taken into account should it be necessary to examine the conduct or competence of an Architect.

 

  1. The Committee notes that to the extent that the Respondent has admitted the facts alleged against him, he admits that his conduct amounts to UPC. The Committee has nevertheless reminded itself that it is a matter for the Committee’s own judgment to reach such a conclusion.

 

  1. The Committee has considered the authority of Spencer v General Osteopathic Council [2012] EWHC 3147 (Admin). It has borne in mind in reaching its decision that for a finding of UPC to be made, “a degree of moral blameworthiness on the part of the registrant likely to convey a degree of opprobrium to the ordinary intelligent citizen” was required. Any failing should be serious. The Committee accepts that “mere negligence does not constitute misconduct” and that “a single negligent act or omission is less likely to cross the threshold of misconduct than multiple acts or omissions….a single instance of negligent treatment unless very serious indeed, would be unlikely to constitute deficient professional performance”.

 

  1. The Committee has made a finding that the Respondent delayed in dealing with his professional work and did not make adequate arrangements to cover the project in his absence or arrange an adequate handover. This caused delay to the project and inconvenience to the Complainant. The Committee has found that the Respondent did not undertake tasks promptly when requested and has failed to return the keys of a very valuable property. In addition, the Respondent has failed to deal properly with a complaint and has failed to co-operate with his regulator.

 

  1. The allegations found proved and corresponding breaches of the Code, both individually and collectively, are serious and adversely impact both on the reputation of the Architect and the profession generally. As such, the Committee finds that the Respondent’s conduct does amount to UPC.

 

Sanction

 

  1. The Respondent addressed the Committee in mitigation and set out a number of mitigating factors to which the Committee should have regard. The Committee then considered whether to impose a sanction, and if so, which one. The Committee has had regard to the public interest, which includes the need to protect the public, to maintain confidence in the profession and the Board and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct, behaviour and competence. The Committee has carefully considered all the evidence and submissions made during the course of this hearing. It has heard and accepted the advice of the Clerk. It has borne in mind that the purpose of imposing a sanction is not to be punitive although it may have a punitive effect. It has taken into account the Respondent’s interests, the indicative sanctions guidance and the need to act proportionately. It has taken into account any aggravating and mitigating factors in this case. The Committee has exercised its own independent judgement.

 

  1. Having taken into account the Respondent’s submissions, the Committee has identified the following mitigating factors:

 

  1. That the Respondent has no adverse regulatory history in his career;
  2. his failings occurred at a time of extreme family stress;
  • he has taken some steps to remediate his failings and prevent a repetition by changing his practice structure to ensure there is a qualified architect to cover any absences and an office manager;
  1. he has reflected on his failings in dealing with the ARB in relation to this complaint and apologised for his conduct in this regard;
  2. he has provided a number of positive testimonials attesting to his abilities and professionalism.

 

  1. The Committee considers the risk of repetition to be reduced in view of the degree of insight demonstrated by the Respondent into his failures and the steps taken to avoid these issues in the future.

 

  1. The Committee has identified the following aggravating factors:

 

  1. He has engaged in the disciplinary process only very late in the day and did not appreciate the need to deal with the seriousness of the situation or the gravity of the allegations he was facing until very recently;
  2. he has not fully taken responsibility for his failings and still considers the client to be partially to blame;
  • no acknowledgement of the impact his failings had on the client.

 

  1. The Committee notes that the matters found proved are serious to the extent that the Respondent’s failings diminish both his reputation and that of the profession generally. The Committee therefore concluded that the Respondent’s conduct was sufficiently serious for it to require the imposition of a sanction and has considered them in ascending order of severity.

 

  1. The Committee first considered whether to impose a reprimand. The Committee considered that the Respondent did demonstrate some of the factors that would make this sanction appropriate including some insight, an expression of regret, previous good disciplinary history and some corrective steps taken. However, the Committee considered the seriousness of the UPC found proved, in particular the failure to co-operate with the ARB despite being given extensive opportunity to respond, was too serious for such a sanction to be either appropriate or proportionate.

 

  1. The Committee then considered whether to impose a penalty order. It noted that this sanction is appropriate where the offence is too serious to warrant a reprimand and there has been limited remorse or understanding. It considered that the Respondent has not appreciated the severity of his misconduct until very late in the day and is still developing his insight into the factors that led to these proceedings.

 

  1. The Committee was mindful that the Respondent is a young, ambitious architect who inspires considerable respect for his talent amongst those he has previously worked with. It is clear that he has a commitment to his profession and that he leads a practice that is in demand for high profile projects. It considered that his failings in the context of this one project were not necessarily incompatible with him remaining as a registered architect given the corrective steps he has taken.

 

  1. The Committee has recognised that the risk of repetition is reduced and that it is unlikely that the Respondent will again fail to co-operate with his regulator. The Committee considered that a penalty order together with its findings in relation to UPC would be sufficient to mark the conduct as unacceptable and uphold the reputation of the profession.

 

  1. Having determined that a penalty order was the appropriate and proportionate sanction the Committee considered a suspension order. On balance the Committee does not consider the Respondent’s failings require a suspension and considered that preventing him from practising as an architect for a period would be unduly punitive.

 

  1. However, the Committee considered that the Respondent’s UPC was at the higher end of seriousness and without his recent engagement and explanations, could have justified a suspension. It therefore imposes a penalty order in the sum of £2500 which the Committee considers to be an appropriate amount to reflect the seriousness of the Respondent’s failings.

 

  1. That concludes this determination.

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