On 4 February 2020, Mr Lewis Walters (trading under iCad Architectural Design) of Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was convicted of three counts of using the title ‘architect’ while not being registered with ARB.
Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court heard that Mr Walters used the term ‘architect’ on his website and within the website metadata, including reference to the ‘mutual input between both architect & client’. Despite a series of warnings from ARB, references to the title were not removed.
Noting his absence, the Court imposed penalties totalling £3,992.40 in addition to the criminal convictions. It is hoped that the convictions, fines and negative publicity associated with cases such as this will act as a deterrent for others who may otherwise have used the title illegally.
In regulating misuse of the title ‘architect’ ARB’s objective is to limit the harm as swiftly and effectively as possible. Mr Walters must make the necessary changes within 28 days. After this point, ARB will review his trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.
Notes for Editors
o ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.
o 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
o The maximum fine for each offence, currently £2,500, is set by the Architects Act 1997. Magistrates determine the amount of the fine and related costs after considering the nature of the offence and any mitigation put forward by the defendant. Money raised from fines is paid to HM Treasury, not to ARB.
o As regulator we protect the title ‘architect’ by conducting investigations proactively as well as in response to complaints submitted to us. If a problem is identified we take a proportionate approach. Where appropriate, and to address the harm swiftly and efficiently, we issue guidance and seek assurance the problematic activity has. Where the misuse is sufficiently serious we can and do take legal action. More on our approach to title misuse can be found on our website here.
For further information please contact Kate Howlett (ARB Communications Manager) on 020 7580 5861 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.