Mr Lawrence Nardi
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Mr Lawrence Nardi (048385K)
Emma Boothroyd (Chair)
David Kann (PCC Architect Member)
Martin Pike (PCC Lay Member)
In respect of the charges against Lawrence Nardi (“the Respondent”):
a. 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;
b. 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 finding against Lawrence Nardi 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:
(1) The Respondent did not provide adequate terms of engagement contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code.
Statement of Agreed Facts
1. The Respondent is a registered architect and runs his own practice, Lawrence Nardi Ltd.
2. In 2017, IC and AC (“the Complainants”) contacted a number of potential architects in respect of the reconfiguration and extension of their home (“the Property”). On 9 June 2017, the Respondent attended at the Property for an initial meeting with the Complainants. The evidence of the Complainants is that during that meeting they advised the Respondent that they would like to have a more open plan living space downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs.
3. Following the meeting, the Respondent wrote to the Complainants on 13 June 2017 to provide them with a fee quotation and his Terms of Engagement. In his correspondence, the Respondent confirmed that he would be appointed to survey the Property and to prepare and submit Planning and Building Regulations applications. He set out his fees and the cost of the applications to East Hampshire District Council (“the Council”).
4. The Complainants advise that they received no contract or other terms of engagement from the Respondent.
5. The Respondent surveyed the Property in August 2017 and provided initial drawings to the Complainants on 7 September 2017. On 22 October 2017, the Complainants responded to the Respondent’s proposals seeking changes. The Respondent and the Complainant discussed the proposed changes in November 2017 and the Respondent sent the revised drawings to the Complainants in December 2017. Further revisions were made in January 2018.
6. The drawings were submitted to the Council for planning permission on 7 February 2018. The Council requested further information and revised drawings were submitted in April 2018. The matter was referred to a Planning Committee in July 2018 and planning permission was received in August 2018.
7. A Building Regulations application was submitted in November 2018 and approval was received in January 2019. The Respondent’s involvement with the project ceased at this stage.
8. The works commenced at the Property in September 2019.
9. In late October/early November 2019, the Complainants asked a Mr MB, to look at the Respondent’s drawings. Mr MB attended at the Property to review the progress of the works and reviewed the drawings. He advised that there was a discrepancy with measurements of the bi-fold doors, specifically that on one drawing the bi-fold doors were shown as 5 metres wide and the window above as 5 metres wide but on another drawing the bi-fold doors were shown as 4 metres wide with the upper window still showing at 5 metres wide. At this point a significant part of the downstairs building work had been carried out and works were due to commence on the first floor. The works were put on hold and the Complainants contacted the planning officer at the Council to discuss changing the plans. They met with the planning officer and were advised their proposed changes would result in a significant variation that would require the matter to be reconsidered by the Council.
10. On 13 November 2019, the Complainants contacted the Respondent about the issues that had come to light. The Respondent set out three potential proposal but the Complainants had instructed Mr MB to assist them with the project going forward. On 19 January 2020, the Complainants submitted a formal complaint to the Respondent. On 26 February 2020, the Respondent advised he would be willing to amend the drawings at no cost. The Complainants did not accept as they were working with Mr MB at this stage.
11. The Complainants submitted a formal complaint to the ARB on 28 December 2019.
12. The Respondent accepts that he did not provide adequate terms of engagement at the outset of the contract or throughout. The Respondent admits that he had a professional obligation to provide the Complainants with full and adequate terms of engagement.
13. The Respondent accepts that the limited information sent by him at the outset in his letter of 13 June 2017 only set out briefly his service and the costs for this. The Respondent accepts that he did not provide any correspondence or terms that clearly set out the responsibilities of the parties and any constraints/limitations on those responsibilities. He accepts that in addition, no information was provided on the suspension or termination of the agreement, that he had adequate and appropriate insurance cover and that he was registered with the ARB. The Respondent accepts he did not provide any information relating to complaints handling. The Respondent accepts that all of this information ought to have been provided at the outset in accordance with the requirements of the Architects Code: Standards of Professional Conduct and Practice (2017).
Statement as to Unacceptable Professional Conduct
14. In light of the admission above, the Respondent further admits that this matter amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
15. Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code 2017 states that an Architect is expected to ensure that they enter into a written agreement with the client which adequately covers a number of matters including the scope of the work, who will be responsible for what and details of fees and/or the method of calculating fees. The Architect is expected to enter into this written agreement with the client prior to undertaking any professional work. As a result of not providing full written terms of engagement, the Respondent did not provide adequate details as to:
- The contracting parties;
- Who will be responsible for what;
- Any constraints of limitations on the responsibilities of the parties;
- The provisions for suspension or termination of the agreement;
- The existence of any Alternative Dispute Resolution Schemes that the contract is subject to;
- A statement that the Respondent had adequate and appropriate insurance cover as specified by the ARB;
- That a complaints handling procedure is available on request; and
- A statement that that Architect is registered with the Architects Registration Board and subject to the Architects Code.
16. The Respondent accepts that it was necessary for him to provide adequate written terms of engagement for the project, as required under Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code. A failure to provide adequate terms is serious because, as in this case, it can lead to the potential for misunderstanding and confusion about important matters such as any constraints or limitations on the responsibilities of the parties.
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:
17. In all of the circumstances, the Respondent agrees to a penalty order of a reprimand.
18. 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.
19. 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 low risk of repetition, the parties agree that a reprimand is an appropriate and proportionate disciplinary order to impose.