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Serious concerns about architects are rare.  On the limited occasions they do occur, as the UK regulator we are here to ensure standards, and therefore trust, in the profession is maintained.  We hope the information published about conduct and competence decisions provides useful learning points for others.

On 4 March 2020, ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) issued architect Elliot Goodall of Studio Spicer Architects, Stratford-upon-Avon, with a reprimand after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct (UPC).

Mr Goodall was instructed to assist his client, a developer, with planning drawings for five detached houses in a new development.  The client submitted a complaint to ARB following discrepancies in floor plans, elevations and window schedules that led to multiple issues and problems with the construction. In particular, the drawing for one of the plots did not comply with the approved planning permission and resulted in the roof having to be demolished and rebuilt.

Following ARB’s investigation, Mr Goodall accepted he had produced drawings that were inaccurate and lacked adequate detail, contrary to Standard 6 and 6.1 of the Architects Code, and that this amounted to UPC.

The PCC considered Mr Goodall’s failure to check the drawings complied with the planning permission was conduct lacking skill and care. It also concluded Mr Goodall should have been aware the elevation drawings were inadequately detailed and should not have provided them without making it clear that further drawings would be required before the client began construction.

When considering sanction the PCC took note of Mr Goodall’s admissions and that he had engaged in the regulatory process.  It also considered the risk of repetition to be low due to the genuine remorse expressed by My Goodall and the subsequent steps he had taken to change his practices and procedures.  Therefore, it considered a reprimand to be the appropriate and proportionate sanction.

A copy of the Decision can be found here.

—ENDS—

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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 UK 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.

For further information, please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Manager) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.

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