Mr Timothy James Brown
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Mr Timothy James Brown (056765E)
Paul Housego (Chair)
David Kann (PCC Architect Member)
Jules Griffiths (PCC Lay Member)
In respect of the charges against Tim Brown (“the Respondent”):
a. accepts the facts and matters as 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 order against the Respondent 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 Architect did not enter into any and/or any adequate written agreement with the client which adequately covered the terms of engagement contrary to Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code.
Statement of agreed facts
1. The Respondent is a registered architect at Ashton Design.
2. In February 2018, Simon Doggart (‘the Complainant’) appointed the Respondent to provide architectural services, including the preparation of planning drawings for a new build bungalow (‘the property’). Following an initial meeting at the property, the Respondent was appointed to the project and prepared relevant plans for a planning application. Planning permission was granted in August 2018. The Complainant advises he did not receive any written confirmation of the Respondent’s involvement in the project.
3. Work commenced at the property in June 2019 at which time the electrician raised his concerns about the height of the windows being very low. The windows were built at 800mm from floor height, rather than 900mm. The Respondent attended a site visit on 25 June 2019 to discuss the height of the windows. The Complainant advises it appeared the windows had been designed for someone in a wheelchair.
4. On 26 June 2019, the Complainant emailed the Respondent requesting that the windows be rectified so that they were built at 900mm from floor height. The Complainant also informed the Respondent that he had just found out he was registered with the ARB and would be contacting them to lodge his complaint.
5. On 3 July 2019, the Complainant submitted a formal complaint to the Respondent.
6. The Respondent replied to that complaint on 30 July 2019. He stated he had prepared the drawings and the design had been approved by the Complainant who was managing the project. The Complainant responded on 15 August 2019 stating he did not realise that in appointing the Respondent as architect he should have employed him to manage the project as well. In summary, the Complainant advised the Respondent was the designer and it was his job to look at the finer points of the design
7. The Respondent replied on 23 August 2019 confirming he was not site manager and had carried out his role as instructed.
8. The Complainant referred the matter to the ARB on 1 July 2019.
9. 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 Complainant with full and adequate terms of engagement in accordance with the requirements of Standard 4.4 of the Architects Code: Standards of Professional Conduct and Practice (2017).
10. Whilst the Respondent does not accept he provided the Complainant with no terms of conditions at all, he does acknowledge he did not provide the Complainant with written terms that met the requirements of the Code. He also accepts he did not obtain a signed copy of any written terms of engagement from the Complainant.
Statement as to Unacceptable Professional Conduct
11. In light of the admission above, the Respondent further admits that this matter amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
12. 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 full details of the 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:
I. The estimated total fees for the project;
II. Who will be responsible for what work;
III. Any constraints or limitations on the responsibilities of the parties;
IV. The provisions for suspension or termination of the agreement;
V. The existence of any Alternative Dispute Resolution Schemes that the contract is subject to;
VI. How his complaints-handling procedure might be accessed;
VII. A statement that he is registered with the Architects Registration Board and subject to the Architects Code.
13. 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, or that the Respondent is registered with the Architects Registration Board and therefore subject to the Architects Code.
14. 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:
15. In all of the circumstances, the Respondent agrees to a disciplinary order of a reprimand.
16. The Respondent has engaged in the regulatory process and has admitted the factual allegation. He further admits this amounts to Unacceptable Professional Conduct.
17. 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.