At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 4-7 December 2017, Mr Mark Stewart of Building Design, Loughborough, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a £1000 penalty order.
The PCC heard that in 2011, the client had instructed Mr Stewart in relation to the renovation of his property. Mr Stewart provided drawings and proposed untreated oak windows to the rear elevation. As the project progressed, the client made Mr Stewart aware of significant water ingress through the window frames.
It was alleged that Mr Stewart provided the client with incorrect advice with regards to the design of the oak window frames, specifically that they should be left untreated and unpainted.
It was further alleged that he failed to investigate the issues that had arisen with the windows, and failed to act impartially as Contract Administrator.
Mr Stewart attended the hearing and was legally represented. He denied the allegations.
The PCC found that Mr Stewart had repeatedly advised the client to leave the windows’ oak frames untreated and unpainted, which was contrary to the manufacturer’s specifications and in circumstances where the manufacturer had issued a disclaimer if the windows weren’t painted / treated. This advice resulted in significant water ingress. It was a serious failure to carry out his work faithfully, conscientiously and with skill and care, and amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
The PCC found the architect not guilty of all the other allegations.
In considering sanction, the PCC noted Mr Stewart’s unblemished career across thirty three years as an architect and that this was an isolated failing. It also took into account that he had engaged fully in the regulatory process and taken some steps to remediate his failings. However the Committee noted that this was a serious failing which resulted in material inconvenience and potential expense to the client, and that there was an absence of any apology or remorse. The Committee imposed a penalty order in the sum of £1,000.
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.
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