On 20 May 2019 the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Neil Pike, of Neil Pike Architects, Bolton with a penalty order of £1,000 after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct.
Mr Pike was instructed to provide architectural services in relation to the conversion of a terrace house into two flats. The clients submitted their complaint to ARB following a lack of response to the complaint they raised with the architect in May 2018.
In his response to the ARB investigation Mr Pike accepted he failed to provide any written terms of engagement to his client prior to undertaking professional work, as required by Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code, and that he had failed to respond to a formal complaint made by the client. He conceded that he was not aware of the complaint as it had remained unopened under a pile of paperwork.
Mr Pike also faced the allegation of failing adequately, or at all, to put in place effective procedures for supervising less qualified technical staff and/or for the administration of written terms of engagement. Mr Pike submitted that he did not meet the clients, had no communication with them, and did not visit the site. He accepted that as the principal architect he had an obligation to supervise the architectural work carried out by less qualified technical staff, and that he failed to do so adequately in this case.
Mr Pike admitted the allegations and accepted that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct, and that a penalty order of £1,000 was an appropriate sanction. He waived his right to have the case heard at a public hearing, and agreed that the decision could be made by the PCC on the basis of the papers alone.
The PCC found these failings to be serious breaches of the Architects Code but having taken note of Mr Pike’s good disciplinary history, and steps taken to change the processes within his practice, considered a penalty order to be the appropriate and proportionate sanction.
A copy of the Consent Order can be found here.
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.