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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.

A hearing of ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee concluded on Friday 10 January 2020 with the erasure of Mr Anthony Pettorino of AJP Architects Ltd in Witney, Oxfordshire following a finding of unacceptable professional conduct (UPC).

The PCC heard that Mr Pettorino had been instructed to design and contract manage the renovation of his client’s property.  It was alleged that Mr Pettorino:

    • had not entered into a written agreement with his clients which adequately covered the terms of engagement
    • did not have adequate and appropriate insurance in place to meet a claim
    • had not provided an effective service and/or worked to fit the brief in a timely manner
    • had not managed the purchase of materials effectively
    • had not communicated adequately
    • had not managed his business appropriately and/or reported the liquidation of his company to the Architects Registration Board.

Mr Pettorino admitted these allegations and accepted they amounted to UPC.

It was also alleged that Mr Pettorino:

    • had not managed a conflict of interest appropriately
    • acted dishonestly and/or without integrity by using client monies for his own benefit
    • had not returned money for goods/services not delivered
    • had not maintained and/or provided adequate records of costs.

Mr Pettorino denied these allegations.

The PCC found all the facts proven. It considered the failings were serious and had placed the client at risk. The PCC concluded the failures, both individually and collectively, amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

When considering sanction, the PCC noted that Mr Pettorino had no adverse regulatory history and had expressed regret for the failings. However, in view of the fact that Mr Pettorino’s actions were deliberately dishonest, the PCC considered this was sufficiently serious so as to diminish not only his own reputation but that of the profession as a whole.

Furthermore, even though he had indicated he would not undertake further building contract management projects, because Mr Pettorino had demonstrated poor insight and awareness of his professional obligations, the PCC also considered there remained a risk of unacceptable professional conduct being repeated in other areas of his work.

Given these circumstances the PCC decided the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession required that Mr Pettorino be erased from the Architects Register.

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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