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On 21 November 2019 Mr Timothy Foster and his company BDS Architecture (Derby) Ltd were each convicted of four charges of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘architect’. As the majority director of the company Mr Foster was liable for the offences committed by the company.

Derby Magistrates’ Court heard that the company had used the title on its website, in its metadata and as part of hashtags on social media despite no one at the firm being registered as an architect. The misuse persisted despite numerous warnings from ARB.

It was also heard that Mr Foster was initially of the impression there was nothing preventing him using the word ‘architect’ however he later accepted his wrongdoing and submitted a guilty plea. Taking Mr Foster’s early guilty plea into account, the Court imposed a penalty totalling £9,797.74 in addition to the criminal conviction.

It is hoped that criminal convictions, fines and the negative publicity associated with title misuse prosecutions will act as a deterrent for those who may otherwise have used the title illegally.

In regulating misuse of the title ‘architect’ the objective of ARB is to limit the harm as swiftly and effectively as possible. Mr Foster and BDS Architecture (Derby) Ltd have 28 days to make any necessary changes. ARB will continue to monitor their trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.

—ENDS—

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Notes for Editors

o ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.

o The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects

o The maximum fine for each offence, currently £2,500, is set by the Architects Act 1997. Magistrates determine the amount of the fine and related costs after considering the nature of the offence and any mitigation put forward by the defendant. Money raised from fines is paid to HM Treasury, not to ARB.

o ARB’s Misuse of Title Policy can be found on our website here.

For further information please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Lead) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at kateh@arb.org.uk.

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