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Mr Terence John Hughes

THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD

PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE

In the matter of

Mr Terence John Hughes (045225D)

———-

Sean Hammond (Chair)

Deborah Kirk (PCC Architect Member)

Alastair Cannon (PCC Lay Member)

———–

In respect of the charge against Terence John Hughes (“the Respondent”):

The Respondent:

  1. 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;
  1. 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 (ARB) accepts the facts and matters set out below and consents to the Professional Conduct Committee making an Order against the Respondent in the terms set out below:

The Allegation

The allegation against the Respondent is that he is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in that he: 

  1. Failed to provide the Complainant with adequate terms of engagement in respect of the property contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code.

Statement of agreed facts

  1. The Respondent is Terence John Hughes, a registered architect with DDA Architects.  JM (the “Complainant”) submitted a complaint to the Board in respect of the Respondent on 7 August 2020.
  2. The Complainant contacted the Respondent on 4 January 2020 to make initial contact to obtain a quote for a renovation project at her property.  The Respondent attended the property in or around January 2020.  The Respondent accepts that he failed to provide the Complainant with any written terms of engagement.    
  3. On 13 January 2020, the Respondent emailed two sketch drawings for the extension to the Complainant.  The Respondent engaged in ongoing email communications with the Complainant for several months thereafter.  The Respondent accepts that at no point did he issue written terms of engagement to the Complainant.    
  4. The Respondent issued a fee note to the Complainant in the sum of £400 on 16 July 2020.  The Respondent admits that he failed to provide the Complainant with adequate terms of engagement contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice.

Statement as to Unacceptable Professional Conduct

  1. Section 14(1)(a) of the Architects Act 1997 identifies two offences that may be committed by an architect. One is Serious Professional Incompetence (SPI). SPI is a serious failure to meet the required standard. The other is Unacceptable Professional Conduct (UPC). In both cases, the incompetence and/or conduct must be serious.
  2. In this case the Respondent admits he is guilty of Unacceptable Professional Conduct. 
  3. Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice (“the Code”) provides that: 

You are expected to ensure that before you undertake any professional work you have entered into a written agreement with the client which adequately covers:
• the contracting parties;
• the scope of the work;
• the fee or method of calculating it;
• who will be responsible for what;
• any constraints or limitations on the responsibilities of the parties;
• the provisions for suspension or termination of the agreement, including any legal rights of cancellation;
• a statement that you have adequate and appropriate insurance cover as specified by ARB;
• the existence of any Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes that the contract is subject to and how they might be accessed;
• that you have a complaints-handling procedure available on request;
• that you are registered with the Architects Registration Board and that you are subject to this Code

  1. It is accepted by the Respondent that he failed to provide the Complainant with terms of engagement in accordance with Standard 4.4 of the Code.  The Respondent accepts that professional obligations are owed to clients and that these professional obligations must be detailed in written terms of engagement before undertaking any professional work.  

Disciplinary Order

  1. 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 a reprimand order in this case. In doing so it has taken into account the unacceptable professional conduct of the Respondent in his failing to provide the Complainant with adequate terms of engagement contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code.  
  2. In particular, the Committee took account of:
    • The Respondent failed to issue written terms of engagement to the Complainant
    The Respondent then issued a fee note in the sum of £400 to the Complainant
    This fee note was unexpected by the Complainant and caused her stress by the manner in which it was rendered 
  1. The Committee has also taken account of the Respondent’s admissions and explanations, in particular:
    The Respondent’s admission of the allegation
    The Respondent’s previous good disciplinary record
    The Respondent has demonstrated some insight
  1. In light of the above, the Committee considers that the imposition of a reprimand order would be appropriate to protect the public interest. It therefore makes a reprimand order under section 15(1) Architects Act 1997.