On 3 September 2019 the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Ian Cook, of Ian M Cook Architects, North Shields with a penalty order of £1,000 after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct.
Mr Cook was instructed to provide architectural services in relation to the demolition of a garage and the erection of a two storey extension at his client’s home. He faced allegations that he failed to issue adequate terms of engagement to his client and that he failed to communicate adequately in relation to changes made to the agreed plans. As a result, part of his client’s extension had to be demolished and rebuilt.
Mr Cook accepted he failed to provide any written terms of engagement to his client at the outset of the contract or throughout, as expected by Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code. He also accepted that he had failed to communicate effectively with his client regarding a change to the design requested by the local planning authority.
Mr Cook 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 took into account that the failings were serious breaches of the Architects Code and that Mr Cook had previously been issued with regulatory advice after failing to provide written terms of engagement on another project. However these factors were balanced against Mr Cook’s positive engagement in the regulatory process and his admissions. A penalty order of £1,000 was therefore considered 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.