Mr Anthony Harrison
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Mr Anthony Harrison (050185I)
Sean Hammond (Chair)
Robert Dearman (PCC Architect Member)
Jules Griffiths (PCC Lay Member)
In respect of the charges against Anthony Harrison (‘the Respondent’):
- accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary order against him in the terms set out below;
- confirms that he has been offered the opportunity to appear before a Hearing Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee to present his case, but does not wish to do so.
The Architects Registration Board accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Professional Conduct Committee making a disciplinary against Anthony Harrison in the terms set out below:
- An allegation of Unacceptable Professional Conduct has been brought by the ARB against the Respondent. The ARB has particularised the allegations as follows:
(1) The Architect did not adequately ensure that the architectural work was under the control and management of one or more architects in accordance with Standard 3.4 of the Architects Code.
Statement of Agreed Facts
- The Respondent is a registered architect and is a Director at MHD Architects.
- On 12 November 2020 the ARB received a complaint from GD (‘the Complainant’) in relation to Mr A, an Architectural Technologist who is not an architect and not registered with the ARB. The matter was raised with the Respondent by the ARB.
- In November 2018 the Complainant contacted Mr A and instructed him in relation to extending an existing building extension on Tollgate Cottage (‘the Property’). Mr A had previously been instructed by the previous owners of the Property on that previous extension in around 2012. On 22 November 2018 Mr A sent an initial letter of engagement. No further written terms of engagement were provided. The Complainant understood Mr A to be an architect; she did not note the letters “MCIAT” after Mr A’s name in the foot of the letter, nor did she know what this meant.
- It was confirmed that Mr A would attend at the Property to measure. Mr A then prepared a planning application and drawings for submission to Wealden District Council, with an application being submitted in March 2020. Planning permission was granted in May 2019.
- The Complainant sought to instruct Mr A in relation to an additional second storey extension. Mr A prepared plans for this application which was submitted in October 2019 and refused. The Complainant decided to instead proceed with the single storey extension and to seek planning permission for the second storey at a later date.
- The Complainant instructed a contractor. When the footings were prepared, it was noted that plans (relating to the existing house) were incorrect. Another architect was instructed to prepare further designs and conducted a survey of the house. The Complainant was advised that the plans of the house were incorrect, in that the width of the original house extension was larger than drawn by 300mm.
- The Complainant contacted Mr A on 01 September 2020 advising him of the apparent error. She sought reimbursement of the costs of the other architect’s survey of £619.20. Mr A stated that he had reviewed the archived drawings and confirmed that the original extension had in fact been built, 300mm wider, but that he had not been involved with the build. He said that whilst the new single storey utility extension was designed to the layout of the previously approved drawings, he had attended at site to measure the actual width of the extension and the dimensions had been agreed with the Complainant.
- The Complainant responded to Mr A on 20 September 2020. She noted her concern that he kept referring back to the previous extension. She advised that she had engaged him on the basis of the house as it stood. She requested again reimbursement for the second survey.
- A dispute developed between the Complainant and Mr A regarding whether Mr A would make payment for fees incurred in instructing another consultant. The Complainant argued that Mr A had either incorrectly surveyed the house, or had just relied on the original drawings. Mr A argued that as the new extension was not built to the agreed width, there was no need to adjust the drawings, and that the other architects would have needed to carry out an additional check survey as a matter of course. In light of this the Complainant made a formal complaint to the ARB. That complaint was made against Mr A. The Complainant advises that she did not know who the Respondent was until the complaint was made to the ARB, at which point she was advised that the complaint could not be pursued against Mr A because he was not a registered architect.
- At no point during the project did the Complainant have any discussions with the Respondent, nor did she know he was part of MHD Architects.
- On 9 April 2021, the Respondent sent a letter to the Complainant. In that letter he advised that he had not been aware of the complaint until he received notification from the ARB. The Respondent was willing to resolve the dispute and he agreed to reimburse the Complainant as requested. This offer was accepted by the Complainant. The Respondent made an apology to the Complainant.
- The Respondent accepts that he did not have an adequate system in place to ensure that work undertaken on the Property was overseen by an Architect and properly carried out. Works undertaken by Mr A on the Property were carried out without the involvement or oversight of an architect.
- The Respondent accepts that he ultimately had responsibility for the work undertaken, on the basis that he ought to have overseen the work carried out by Mr A.
Statement as to Unacceptable Professional Conduct
- In light of the admissions above, the Respondent further admits that this matter amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
- The Respondent accepts that his actions were a breach of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2017. Standard 3.4 of 2017 Code states that if an architect is a principal in a practice they are expected to ensure that all architectural work is under the control and management of one or more architects, and that their names are made known to clients and any relevant third party. Standard 4.1 of the Code expects an architect to have effective systems in place to ensure that the practice is run professionally and that projects are regularly monitored and reviewed.
- The Respondent accepts that as a principal in a practice, he was responsible for ensuring that the work of Mr A was under his control and management. The Respondent accepts that he ought to have had appropriate systems in place to review the work undertaken by Mr A and to have day to day oversight of the project. The Respondent accepts that his actions were a breach of Standards 3.4 and 4.1 of the Code.
- The Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee, with the consent of the parties and having taken account of its responsibilities to protect the public and maintain the reputation of the profession, makes the following disciplinary order:
- In all of the circumstances, the Respondent agrees to a penalty order of a reprimand.
- The Respondent has engaged in the regulatory process and has admitted the factual allegation. He has also admitted that this amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
- The admitted allegation has the potential to diminish both the Respondent’s reputation and that of the professional generally and therefore the parties agree that the Respondent’s conduct is sufficiently serious to require the imposition of a disciplinary order. In light of the Respondent’s insight and the low risk of repetition, the parties agree that a reprimand is an appropriate and proportionate disciplinary order to impose.