Serious concerns about architects are rare. On the limited occasions they do occur, as the UK regulator we are here to ensure standards, and therefore trust, in the profession is maintained. We hope the information published about conduct and competence decisions provides useful learning points for others.
On 27 November 2019 the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Jeremy Rolf Denn, of DENN Architects in Saffron Walden, Essex with a reprimand after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct.
Mr Denn was appointed by his client in 2014 to provide architectural services for a kitchen extension, and then again in 2017 to prepare drawings and assist in obtaining full planning permission for a new build dwelling. The client contacted the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to complain that Mr Denn had failed to provide adequate terms of engagement for either project.
Mr Denn recognised that his letter of appointment was not fully compliant with Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code in that it did not identify the contracting parties or who would be responsible for what, provide details of arrangements for resolving disputes, or confirm that Mr Denn was registered with ARB.
Mr Denn admitted these failings amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and agreed to the terms of a proposed disciplinary order. He waived his right to have the case heard at a public hearing and agreed that a decision could be made by the PCC on the basis of papers alone.
In deciding the appropriate sanction the PCC noted Mr Denn’s failings were a serious breach of the Architects Code, while taking into account his insight into the failings and the absence of any previous disciplinary findings against him. It therefore agreed a reprimand to be the appropriate and proportionate sanction.
A copy of the Consent Order can be found here.
Notes for Editors
• 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 UK 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
• ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one lay, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.
• The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The PCC determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence.
Where a guilty finding is made, the PCC will consider whether to make a disciplinary order, which means:
– a reprimand
– a penalty order
– a suspension order (to a maximum of 2 years); or
– an erasure order
• Money raised by fines imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee is paid to HM Treasury.
• Where an architect admits unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence and the proposed disciplinary sanction, the PCC can impose that penalty by consent, and without the need for a hearing.
For further information, please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Manager) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.