Mr Steven Johnson of Dzign House Architecture in Leeds has been suspended from the Register for 12 months following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) at a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 3 September 2019.
The PCC heard that Mr Johnson, when acting for his former practice MJF Architects, had been appointed by his client to prepare Building Regulations drawings and carry out a tender process for a refurbishment and extension to her property. He also acted as the Contract Administrator.
It was alleged that Mr Johnson had not entered into a written agreement with his client which adequately covered the terms of engagement, as set out in standard 4.4 of the Architects Code. It was also alleged that he had not carried out an adequate tender process, had failed to provide adequate detail in Building Regulations drawings, and had not undertaken his role as Contract Administrator competently. Mr Johnson admitted the first allegation and denied the other three.
The PCC considered there was a lack of clarity and clear records across the project as well as multiple errors in Mr Johnson’s work, which cumulatively were so severe as to amount to UPC.
The PCC acknowledged Mr Johnson’s acceptance of the first allegation and the provision of testimonials from satisfied clients. The PCC however noted that Mr Johnson had made no apology to his client, and considered that there was a lack of understanding of the gravity of his shortcomings. In addition, the PCC took into account that Mr Johnson had received a previous sanction for a similar failure.
Given the importance of providing proper terms and clarity and that this was the second finding of UPC for a similar matter, the PCC concluded a 12 month suspension from the Architects Register 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 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.
• An individual suspended from the Architects Register can no longer practise or carry on business under a name, style or title containing the word ‘architect’. That individual will be automatically restored to the Register at the end of the suspension.
For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.