At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 1 and 2 August 2018 Mr Philip Mitchell of Mitchell Johnson Marshall, Leamington Spa was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a reprimand.
The PCC heard that Mr Mitchell had been approached by a client to prepare drawings for a proposed development.
It was alleged that Mr Mitchell had failed to enter into a written agreement with his client before undertaking professional work in October 2016 and that when he did provide his terms of engagement in February 2018 they failed to adequately set out all of the requirements referred in Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code of Conduct.
Mr Mitchell attended the hearing and while accepting the allegations were factually correct, denied that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
The PCC did however find that they were sufficiently serious failings that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct. It considered that Mr Mitchell’s choice not to provide a full written agreement had led to misunderstandings and, consequently, problems between the parties. It considered that this failing represented conduct falling below the standard expected of a registered Architect.
In considering sanction, the PCC noted that Mr Mitchell had no adverse regulatory history in his career of 35 years. It considered that he had not been intending to flout his professional obligation and had not gained personally from his failing. It considered that the error was borne out of longstanding systematic failings in his practice procedures and that Mr Mitchell had stated he would send future clients adequate terms and conditions in advance of undertaking professional work.
In the circumstances, the PCC decided the appropriate sanction was a reprimand.
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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