Mr Keith MacRae
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Mr Keith MacRae (061369J)
Sean Hammond (Chair)
David Kann (PCC Architect Member)
Rachel Childs (PCC Lay Member)
In respect of the charges against Keith MacRae (“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 Keith MacRae 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 allegation as follows:
- On 16 October 2020 the Respondent sent an inappropriate and/or offensive email to a staff member at the Local Authority;
- The Architect’s actions at particular 1 lacked integrity.
Statement of Agreed Facts
- The Respondent is a registered architect and is Director of his own practice, Heli Ltd.
- In October 2020, the ARB received a complaint from JP, Divisional Director at Tower Hamlets Council (the Local Authority) regarding the Respondent’s behaviour towards a member of staff at the Local Authority.
- In May/June 2020, the Respondent applied to the Local Authority for amendments to the address of assets that had been part of a development formerly known as 250 Bethnal Green Road Ltd. The Respondent’s application was to amend an address for two units in the same building; one commercial and one residential unit, plus an office unit which would be classified as another commercial unit. The Respondent wanted the address to be detailed in different formats with the office unit and residential unit to be given the same address of 250 Bethnal Green Road and for the other commercial unit’s address to be listed as 250A Bethnal Green Road.
- The application, once validated, was allocated to RC, Principal Officer at the Local Authority. RC advised that the units could not be addressed as per the Respondent’s request as this would create complications with blue light services. An initial query was raised by RC with the Respondent on 2 July 2020 concerning the case. There was then a delay in the matter progressing and the Respondent chased for an update on 23 September 2020.
- RC advised that she visited the site in September 2020 and conducted an assessment. She wrote to the Respondent on 24 September 2020 to explain the numbering to be used. Further emails were exchanged between the Respondent and RC as the Respondent did not accept RC’s proposed numbering. During the exchanges of correspondence, the Respondent noted that the application had been with the Local Authority for a long time. The Respondent said that he wanted to make a complaint about the handling of the matter and the delay.
- On 2 October 2020 RC emailed the Respondent. She explained about the regulations and national guidance and that the legal documents were ready to be signed. She explained that her manager was in agreement with the addressing and that best practice principles had been followed.
- On 16 October 2020 RC emailed the Respondent with final documentation evidencing the new address. The Respondent replied 20 minutes later and said:
“F U C K O F F Y O U L A Z Y I G N O R A N T F U C K A N I N C O M P E T E N T C U N T”
- Upon receipt of the email, RC advised her manager that she had received the email. He escalated the matter further to Divisional Director JP.
- On 18 October 2020, JP emailed the Respondent noting she had been forwarded the email. She stated that she was appalled by the email. She advised that if the Respondent had an issue with the service, there were formal ways to raise a complaint as was set out on the website. JP advised that she would be raising the matter with the ARB. She did not receive a response to her email.
- On 19 October 2020, JP made a formal complaint to the ARB.
- The Respondent accepts that he sent the email dated 16 October 2020 and that the content of this email was inappropriate and offensive. The Respondent admits that in sending this email his actions demonstrated a lack of integrity.
Statement as to Unacceptable Professional Conduct
- In light of the admission above, the Respondent further admits that this matter amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
- 13.The Respondent accepts that his actions were a breach of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2017. Standard 1.1 expects an architect to avoid actions or situations which are inconsistent with their professional obligations. Standard 1.1 underpins the Code and will be taken to be required in any consideration of an architect’s conduct under any of the other standards. Further, Standard 1.2 of the Code expects an architect to “not make any statement which is…. discreditable to the profession”. Standard 9 relates to maintaining the reputation of architects. Standard 9.2 requires architects to conduct themselves in a way which does not bring either themselves or the profession into disrepute. Standard 12 of the Code is headed “Respect for others”. This Standard states that an architect should treat everyone fairly, that they must act in compliance with their legal obligations and that they must not discriminate because of age, disability, gender, reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
- The Respondent accepts that his actions in sending the email were a breach of Standards 1.1, 1.2, 9.2 and 12 of the Architects Code.
- The Respondent accepts that the email of 16 October 2020 contained highly offensive language. The Respondent has advised that he was not satisfied with the approach of the Local Authority. The Respondent accepts that the appropriate method for dealing with this was to make a formal complaint and that sending an email of such nature was clearly wrong and inappropriate, regardless of the frustrating circumstances.
- The Respondent accepts that his actions had the potential to bring himself and/or the profession into disrepute. As a professional architect the Respondent should have dealt with the matter, no matter how difficult or frustrating the process was, in a professional manner. The Respondent accepts that his actions breached fundamental principles of the profession, particularly in relation to the need to act with integrity.
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 profession 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.