At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee on 16 November 2018, Pol Gallagher of ZAP Architecture in Stratford, London was issued with a penalty order following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC)
The PCC heard that Mr Gallagher had been instructed to complete the renovation and redevelopment of a prestigious grade II listed property in central London.
At the hearing Mr Gallagher denied a number of allegations including that he failed to carry out work without undue delay, failed to return documents and/or property to which the client was entitled, failed to adequately engage in the handover process, failed to make appropriate arrangements to manage the project in his absence and failed to produce work with due skill, care and attention. Mr Gallagher denied these allegations but admitted that he had failed to deal with a complaint appropriately and failed to cooperate with his regulator. He also admitted that these amounted to UPC.
The Committee heard from the client that there were delays with the planning department, meetings arranged but then not attended by the architect. There were then subsequent delays when Mr Gallagher regularly failed to keep in contact with his client, this lack of communication lead to several aspects of the project being unsatisfactory in the opinion of the client who eventually made a complaint to both the architect and then to ARB.
In coming to its decision on the disputed allegations the Committee found Mr Gallagher’s evidence at times lacked credibility and was inconsistent with other evidence and the contemporaneous documents presented during the hearing. It found Mr Gallagher guilty of all particulars of the allegation except one: failing to produce work with due skill, care and attention. The Committee found that the matters proved amounted to UPC.
In considering sanction the PCC took into account Mr Gallagher’s previous good record, his personal circumstances at the time of the events, his reflection and steps taken to remedy his failings. It also saw a number of positive testimonials. The Committee considered the risk of repetition to be reduced as a result. It balanced these factors against the seriousness of the allegation, Mr Gallagher’s failure to take full responsibility for his actions and his late engagement. It decided that a penalty order of £2,500 was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.
A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here.
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.
Any queries relating to this matter should be directed to Kate Howlett, Communications Lead, at KateH@arb.org.uk