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 7 October 2019 the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Gordon Simpson, of Art Hand Ltd, Gloucester with a penalty order of £1,500 following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC).
The PCC heard that Mr Simpson had been instructed to provide a full architectural service in relation to the design and construction of a low energy, low maintenance timber frame house. His clients complained to ARB after the architect failed to respond to their letters of complaint.
It was alleged that Mr Simpson failed to manage a conflict of interest in that he was acting as both architect and contractor, failed to ensure the build was carried out in accordance with planning permission, failed to pay sub-contractors, and failed to deal with a dispute about his professional work in an appropriate manner.
On consideration of the evidence the PCC found that Mr Simpson was not guilty of UPC with regards to the alleged failure to pay sub-contractors. However, the remaining allegations were found proved.
When deciding the appropriate sanction, the PCC considered Mr Simpson’s good disciplinary history, his engagement with the disciplinary process and his regret for his failings. The PCC also noted the severe adverse consequences for the clients, who were at risk of having their property demolished. Taking all these factors into account, the PCC concluded a penalty order of £1,500 was the appropriate sanction.
A copy of the Committee’s decision 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.
For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.