At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee in London on 25 and 26 September 2017, Ms Lynsey Claire Rollins of L Rollins Design, Sunderland, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a £1000 penalty order.
The PCC heard that in 2015, the clients had instructed Ms Rollins in relation to the conversion of their loft into a double bedroom and en-suite bathroom. A few weeks into the conversion, the contractor advised the clients that neither a double bedroom nor an en-suite bathroom could be achieved in the space.
It is alleged that Ms Rollins failed to produce a design that was fit for purpose, resulting in a loft conversion which failed to meet Building Regulations, a double bedroom that was too small, and an en-suite bathroom with insufficient floor space and head height for a shower basin and toilet. It was also alleged that Ms Rollins failed to adequately communicate changes to the design to her clients.
Ms Rollins attended the hearing and was legally represented. She denied all of the factual allegations and denied that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
The PCC found it proven that Ms Rollins had produced a design which was not fit for purpose because the relevant head height for building control purposes was not achievable on site. While Ms Rollins said that she was not briefed to create a double bedroom space, and she explained to her clients that there would be limitations with an en-suite bathroom. However, the Committee noted that the inclusion in the planning drawings of a double bed and en-suite bathroom created a legitimate expectation that the space would fit one. Mrs Rollins’ actions in failing to properly explain to her clients both the limitations of and changes to her design were serious failings which prevented them from making an informed decision on the viability of their project.
In considering sanction, the PCC noted Ms Rollins’ unblemished career across twenty years as an architect and that she had fully engaged in the regulatory process. It also took into account that she had expressed genuine regret for the situation of her clients and had taken some steps to remediate her failings. However it noted that her failings resulted in considerable cost, delay and inconvenience to her clients. The Committee therefore imposed a penalty order in the sum of £1,000 which it considered to be an appropriate amount to reflect the seriousness of Ms Rollins’ failings.