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Mr Skehill of M Skehill Architect Ltd in North London was issued with a reprimand following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC) at a hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) which concluded on 18 June 2019.

The PCC heard that Mr Skehill had been instructed to design a two bedroom flat below his client’s house in North London. The architect was also appointed as contract administrator for the excavation phase only for the project. The client complained to ARB after the architect left the project before the excavation phase was complete, and failed to respond to her emails.

It was alleged that Mr Skehill failed to provide accurate drawings, failed to communicate adequately with his client, did not appropriately administer the building contract and did not complete the service that he was contracted to provide. Mr Skehill admitted he did not complete the service that he was contracted to provide.

On consideration of the evidence, the PCC found the architect had not failed to provide accurate drawings, and neither had he failed to fulfil his obligations under the building contracts. There had been unacceptable failures to respond to communications, but none so serious that they might amount to the serious threshold of UPC. The architect admitted that he had abandoned the contract before its conclusion, and the PCC found that this failing did amount to UPC.

Having taken note of Mr Skehill’s good disciplinary history, his positive engagement with the disciplinary process, his apology to his former client, his genuine insight into his failing and accompanying remedial steps to avoid recurrence, the PCC considered that a reprimand was the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

A copy of the PCC’s decision can be found here.

—ENDS—

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Notes for Editors

• The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest.

Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects

• ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one lay, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.

• The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The PCC determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence.

Where a guilty finding is made, the PCC 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.

• 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.

For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.

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