At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee on 26 – 27 February 2015, 2 March 2015 and 15 January 2016, Mr Rajenkumar Patel was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a fine of £2,500.
In March 2007, Mr Patel was approached by his clients through recommendation by a friend. The project involved making substantial alterations to the home to cater for their young disabled daughter.
The construction work was undertaken in 2009 but was not done well. The clients ended up overpaying a large amount of money to the contractor, and then had to get another contractor to redo most of the work.
The role of Mr Patel was criticised in a variety of ways. It was said that he failed to administer the contract effectively both during its formation and during construction, resulting in overpayments of some £80,000 to the contractor. There had also been a failure to distribute notes of meetings and agenda to the clients following Mr Patel’s meetings with the contractor and a failure to provide proper advice. When the clients wished to sue Mr Patel they found that he did not have adequate insurance in place to meet the claim.
Mr Patel denied the allegations, but the PCC found Mr Patel’s handling of the contract to amount to unacceptable professional conduct. It found that he had abdicated his responsibilities towards his clients to such a degree that it amounted to a lack of integrity.
In finding Mr Patel guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, the Committee noted that he had fully engaged with the ARB’s process from the outset and that he had shown insight into his failings. It further took into account the fact that he had been let down by his insurance broker, and that the conduct alleged had occurred a considerable time ago, when he was a less experienced architect than he is today. Taking all of this into account, the Committee found that the appropriate sanction was a fine of £2,500.
A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here
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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