At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee on 23 October 2018 in London, Mrs Sandy Hickey of Warwick was reprimanded following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC).
The Architect was engaged by her client to provide architectural services in respect of the conversion of a cottage. It was alleged that Mrs Hickey failed to provide adequate terms of engagement, failed to carry out work without undue delay and/or failed to issue adequate and timely instructions to the contractor and failed to keep her client informed of the progress of the works.
Mrs Hickey attended the hearing and was legally represented. She accepted that she failed to provide adequate terms of engagement, but denied that this failing was so serious that it amounted to UPC. She denied the remaining allegations.
The PCC found the first allegation proved by way of Mr Hickey’s admission, and also that she had failed to keep her client informed of the significant delays on the project. She was not, however, the cause of those delays, so was found not guilty of failing to undertake her work without delay.
The PCC found that Mrs Hickey’s failings were sufficiently serious that they amounted to UPC. It considered that his failure to comply with Standard 4 and Standard 6 of the Code was serious and gave rise to the potential for misunderstandings and confusion, and to the breakdown of the architect / client relationship. It considered that this failing represented conduct falling below the standard expected of a registered Architect.
In considering sanction, the PCC took into account that Mrs Hickey had not been subject to a previous adverse regulatory finding across a career spanning 23 years and she engaged well with the regulatory process. She had taken steps to remediate her failings by changing her working practices, and expressed genuine remorse and insight for the impact those failings had taken on the client.
In the circumstances, the PCC decided the necessary and proportionate sanction was a reprimand.
A copy of the full 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 Simon Howard, Head of Professional Standards, at firstname.lastname@example.org