At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee on 30 April 2013, Andrew Plumridge of Newbury, Berkshire, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and erased from the Register of Architects.
The Committee heard that in July 2010, Mr Plumridge had been appointed by a client in connection with minor building works to a house in Sunningdale, Ascot. On the basis of the evidence presented, the Committee found that Mr Plumridge had recommended his “preferred” builder without informing his client that they had a close personal relationship. The Committee judged that Mr Plumridge had breached the Architect’s Code of Conduct in failing to disclose this potential conflict of interest to his client.
The Committee also heard that Mr Plumridge had issued valuation certificates without allowing for any retention, and only after virtually the whole of the contract price had been paid by the client direct to the builder. Following termination of the contract, the client obtained an independent valuation of the work. That valuation concluded that the client had been overcharged by nearly £7,700. It also identified payments certified by the architect for unfinished work and substandard work as well as for “extras” that were, in fact, included in the contract price and had already been paid for. The Committee therefore judged that Mr Plumridge had certified the value of the works contrary to the best interests of his client.
In addition, the Committee heard that when the client had repeatedly requested notes of a meeting held with the architect and the builder, Mr Plumridge had refused to provide them, until finally responding with a demand for further fees. The client had previously been unaware of these allegedly outstanding fees and had never been invoiced for them. The Committee judged that Mr Plumridge had acted without integrity by refusing to provide a copy of the minutes unless he was paid money.