In November 2018 the Professional Conduct Committee imposed a financial penalty of £1,250 on Mr Thomas Smith, of Gluckman Smith, London, after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct.
Mr Smith was engaged in connection with the conversion and change of use of a house to a nursery school. He was instructed to prepare and submit an application for planning consent and to undertake design work and in connection with the building work. Mr Smith accepted that during the course of the project he had failed adequately, or at all, to prepare tender documentation and/or carry out a competitive tender process; failed adequately to communicate with his client regarding costs, and failed to deal with a complaint adequately and/or promptly.
As all of the allegations were admitted and the sanction proposed by ARB was accepted, Mr Smith waived his right to have the case heard at a public hearing, and agreed that the decision could be made by the PCC on the basis of the papers.
The PCC found these to be serious breaches of the Architects Code of Conduct but in light of Mr Smith’s insight, good disciplinary history and the steps taken to avoid a recurrence of the failings, decided that a penalty order of £1,250 was the appropriate sanction.
A copy of the Consent Order 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
Under ARB’s rules, where an architect admits all of the allegations and the sanction proposed by ARB, they can opt to have the case considered on the papers by the PCC, rather than at a hearing. The final decision on both guilt and sanction will always rest with the PCC, which is not bound by the proposals.
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.
Any queries relating to this matter should be directed to Kate Howlett, Communications Lead, at KateH@arb.org.uk