Select Page

Professional Conduct Committee reprimands architect after finding unacceptable professional conduct

At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 16 August 2018 Mr Philip Orchard of P.J. Orchard Architects, Portishead was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a reprimand.

The PCC heard that Mr Orchard had been approached by a client to obtain planning permission to build a property on land at the side of her house. It was alleged that Mr Orchard had failed to enter into a written agreement with his client before undertaking professional work, contrary to Standard 4 of the Architects Code of Conduct.

Mr Orchard attended the hearing. He accepted the allegations were factually correct, and admitted that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

The PCC found that Mr Orchard’s failings were sufficiently serious that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct. It considered that his failure to comply with Standard 4 of the Code was serious and gave rise to the potential for misunderstandings and confusion, and to the breakdown of the architect / client relationship. It considered that this failing represented conduct falling below the standard expected of a registered Architect.

In considering sanction, the PCC took into account that Mr Orchard had not been subject to a previous adverse regulatory finding across a career spanning 40 years; however, it noted that he was the subject of a recommendation from the Investigation Committee of the ARB in August 2006 also relating to providing complainants with code compliant terms of engagement. The PCC balanced this against the fact that Mr Orchard had engaged with the regulatory process and apologised to all parties involved, expressing his embarrassment and remorse for having to appear before the PCC. It took into account that Mr Orchard had not gained financially from his failings and that he stated he had learned his lesson and had addressed his failings by taking corrective action in now sending clients compliant terms and conditions.

In the circumstances, the PCC decided the appropriate sanction was a reprimand.


Professional Conduct Committee reprimands architect after finding unacceptable professional conduct

At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 17 August 2018 Mr Benjamin Vivian of Newton Abbott, Devon was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and issued with a reprimand.

It was alleged that Mr Vivian had failed to act with honesty or integrity by copying confidential records on to a personal storage account.

The PCC heard that Mr Vivian had copied electronic records from two previous employers onto personal storage devices. These files included practice templates, policies and other administrative documentation, together with copies of fee arrangements and a number of documents relating to other staff members, including salary information.

Mr Vivian attended the hearing and accepted the facts of the allegations and that he had acted without integrity. Mr Vivian denied that he had acted dishonestly.

The Panel found Mr Vivian’s actions were sufficiently serious that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct. It considered that Mr Vivian’s actions represented serious departures from the standards expected of a registered architect and represented a lack of integrity, although it concluded that he had not been dishonest.

When considering sanction, the PCC noted that Mr Vivian had no adverse regulatory history in his career of 12 years and that he had recognised and apologised for his failings. It took into account that he had not gained financially from his failings, that there had not been any release of confidential client information into the public domain, and that there was no direct risk of harm to the public. The PCC considered that the issues arose from poor judgment rather than entrenched integrity issues and that the ARB proceedings had been a salutary lesson for Mr Vivian.

In the circumstances, the PCC decided the appropriate sanction was a reprimand.

—ENDS—

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.

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.

Any queries relating to this matter should be directed to professionalstandards@arb.org.uk

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This