On 18 September 2017 the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) reprimanded Mr Don James Rush of Rush & Company Limited, Belfast, after finding him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.
The PCC heard that Mr Rush was instructed to obtain planning approval for the construction of six semi-detached houses. While his clients raised a number of complaints, the allegation put to Mr Rush was that he had failed to enter into a written agreement prior to undertaking the engagement. This is expected under Standard 4 of the Architects Code of Conduct.
Mr Rush attended the hearing and represented himself. He admitted the allegation and accepted that it amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
In making its finding of unacceptable professional conduct the PCC stressed that compliance with Standard 4 ensures that both the architect and the client understand their respective contractual obligations and forms the bedrock of the relationship between them. The Committee considered Mr Rush’s failure to comply with Standard 4 of the Code to be serious because it gave rise to the potential for misunderstanding and confusion, and to the breakdown of the client/architect relationship.
In considering sanction, the PCC noted Mr Rush’s unblemished career across thirty five years as an architect and that he had fully engaged in the regulatory process. It also took into account that he had shown insight into his shortcomings and taken corrective action in respect of other clients. However it considered that the matter found proved was serious to the extent that Mr Rush’s failings diminish both his reputation, and that of the profession generally, so the imposition of a reprimand was necessary.
Notes for Editors
ARB is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. The Act requires ARB (among other things) to:
- Maintain the Register of Architects (Section 3)
- Prescribe qualifications for entry to the Register of Architects (Section 4)
- Deal with competence to practise (Section 9)
- Issue a Code which lays down standards of professional conduct and practice (Section 13)
- Regulate use of the title “architect” and prosecute those who use it unlawfully (Section 20)
The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The Committee determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence. Where a guilty finding is made, the Committee 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.
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